Fortunately the man had a document from the hospital so the driver accepted us. The Afghani man thanked me and introduced himself. His name was Ramish
During the ride and even though the taxi driver was speaking constantly, I was thinking about Ramish’s wife who’d gotten into a plastic boat nine months into her pregnancy. I don’t think I could ever do that. Half an hour later, we arrived at the hospital. The taximeter said 25 Euros. Ramish took his wallet out right away. But a Greek would never let a guest pay. And to me, Ramish was a vulnerable guest. He had to save his money for his wife and his newborn baby. I knew the exact expenses he would have to pay until he reached the Greek- Macedonian border. I knew how cold it would be in Northern borders of Greece. I promised him that he could buy me a drink once they were in Austria and I paid for the ride. It made me so happy to have helped him a little.
He took me to the hospital room where his wife was staying. Even though he couldn’t read any of the hospital’s signposts, he knew better than me the shortest way to his wife’s room.
I took some more photos, gave my number to Ramish and then walked out of the hospital. I was feeling very I took some more photos, gave my number to Ramish and then walked out of the hospital. I was so happy I met Ramish and his family and I hoped that they felt they’d gained their first Greek friend. Ramish messaged me later to thank me. After one or two days I messaged him asking whether he needed any help or anything from the market. I really wanted to visit them again but I had to find an excuse. Finally, we arranged to meet! Before heading to the hospital I thought that it would be a great idea to buy something for the baby. The only store open was a Chinese market where I found some baby clothes. I got a pink and a white babygrow, maybe the first baby clothes I’ve bought in my life and I headed towards the hospital. I even bought some necessities that the hospital couldn’t provide for the baby’s mother.
When I arrived, Ramish insisted again that he pay. I greeted his wife and then went with him and his cousin to a nearby cafe where he offered me some iced tea. He and his cousin talked to me about Afghanistan and their journey to Europe. Ramish told me he’d worked for the Afghan police and then for a security company. The fact that he was working for the Police made his life very dangerous there, so he’d decided to leave. Among other questions, I asked him what name he was thinking of for his newborn daughter. His reply not only surprised me but it made me a little overwhelmed. “I suggested to my wife that we name her Anna, because the doctor who helped her to give birth was named Anna and you are also Anna!” he said to me.
Later, he told me he wanted to offer me a bottle of wine. I told him it wouldn’t be a good idea as I was working in Lesvos and I wouldn’t be allowed to take it on the plane. It was a good excuse for not letting him spend any money on me. Finally he decided to give me his rosary from Kabul and I accepted with pleasure. Some days later I bumped into him and his cousin near the port. That was the last time I saw them. We went for a quick coffee and said goodbye. He and his family were leaving that night for Athens. Today, they are in Austria, trying to start a new life.