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Granny Maritsa, symbol of Lesvos refugee compassion, passes away at 89

Maritsa Mavropoulou does not live on the island of Lesvos anymore. One of the three grannies, who became symbol of the Greek compassion and kindness with refugees, passed away at the age of 89.

It was October 2015, when the picture of the three elderly Greek women feeding a refugee baby caused sensation around the globe.

The boat loaded with refugees had just arrived at Sikamia village, the mother was about to change her wet clothes, the baby was hungry…

Grannies Efstratia Mavrapidi, 89, her cousin Maritsa 85 and Militsa Kamvisi, 83, did not hesitate a minute to offer a helping hand to the mother who had just arrived in a foreign, unknown country after a risky passage.

The old ladies suddenly hear a baby crying. The mother was holding it in her arms, was trying to bottle feed it. Her clothes were wet, the baby didn’t want the milk.

“Hey, girl, bring the baby over, I’ll feed it,” Militsa told the mother in Greek, a language she could not understand. But granny’s face expression and accompanying gesture were very clear and broke the language barrier. Milits took the one-month-old baby boy in her arms, gave it the bottle, she started to sing a lullaby together with her friends.

Three boats had arrived to Platanos on that day. “We saw the mother in wet clothes, holding a crying baby and trying to feed it. The baby was given a bottle with milk but it didn’t want to drink it”.

“I checked it with my hand, the milk was too hot. As there was a fountain nearby, I cooled the milk,” granny Marista said back then.

The three grannies told media, “a mother is always a mother” and despite their age fragility they were still in position to feed a baby.

“The baby wanted security. the mother’s cloths were wet, the father was in panic because the baby was crying. We were just sitting there and there was something we could do.”

“We sang to the baby and it drank the whole bottle quickly.”

For their gesture full of compassion with the refugees, the three grannies were proposed for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Maritsa’s family, her relatives, her friends and the people of Skala Sikamias will accompany the kind granny  to her last residence on Thursday.

“She was a honest woman who made us proud,” the president of the village community told ERT TV.

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