Giorgos Moutafis for SolidarityNow

Danyal, the sleepless guard

by Valia Savvidou

A restless teenager with black lively eyes, curly black hair and expressive hands that talks endlessly, while passing next to you singing and laughing!

Danyal makes everything during the day to serve anyone who needs it.

At night, he reads and learns. I ask him why in the night. “Why? It is quiet because I have insomnia, what does that mean ‘why?’ – I like it!” And yes, Danyal’s night has proved effective since, as an excellent user of the new technology, he has learned English online, and now he is also learning Greek.

In the meanwhile, he is the man who intervenes both for the service and for solving problems that arise between the people who reside, as he himself, in the accommodation structure for refugees and migrants in Elefsina. Among the rest he does, he welcomes the volunteers, while having the English language as a weapon -“I conquered it too“-, he guides them in the structure, shows them what to do, where and how they can help, naturally in agreement and with the instructions of the people of the structure; of course, he acts as the mediator between the organizations’ teams operating in the structure and the refugees-beneficiaries.

Everyone, younger and older, Greeks and non-Greeks, addressing vividly Danyal! He replies to everyone and they all listen to him – they wait for their turn until he can assist them.

I am more pleased when I help others than they are themselves – I never get tired!

Besides, in four years from now, ‘remembering me, in four’, I will be the best and I will not be here of course! I will not stay here forever, but until I leave I want to do my best for me and for the others!”

For the people of the organizations, “these guys are like my family; we are all day together.” Danyal exudes his energy in sports activities that take place in the structure and is distinguished in the volleyball, which he loves the most.

He’s got plenty of dreams and has this beautiful arrogance and exaggeration of a teenager; the young man who wants to leave nothing to chance, but he has the will to fight and is certain to succeed in whatever he decides to do! Besides, in four years from now we share his confidence that he will studying biology, become an amateur singer, a very good volleyball player, and at the same time he will be speaking ten languages! But most of all he will be the ‘bright leader’, as he characterizes himself, for his family!

The ‘bright leader’, Danyal greets me with a sweet look, kissing my hand as a young gentleman, and leaves by saying “whenever you want to see me again, I will be here for a while.” Bright for everyone and not just for himself, Danyal is the best example in the structure for his siblings and other children who love him and listen to him; I too did the same -obeyed his instructions until I had a conversation with him because he had many tasks to sort out!

* Danyal is a beneficiary of the Blue Dot program in Elefsina. The program in implemented by SolidarityNow, supported by Unicef and funded by the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations/ECHO.