Joanna Kakissis

The migrants on rafts began landing on the rocky shores of Lesbos a year ago. In a pretty village of colorful fishing boats, one of the first people they saw was Efstratia Mavrapidou, 89, who was born here. She's fragile, her eyes clouded by cataracts. But she made her way to shore by cane.

She wanted to be there to embrace the migrants crowded onto those rafts, especially the young mothers who wept as they clasped tiny, sea-drenched babies.

On a cold, rainy morning a few weeks ago, eight black inflatable rafts, loaded with migrants, bob in the waters off the northern shore of the Greek island of Lesbos.

One of them isn't moving.

Vassilis Hantzopoulos of the Hellenic Red Cross points to the horizon.

"This boat up there?" he says. "No engine. Failure of the engine. That's it. So they ask for help from the coast guard."

A Norwegian rescue boat with the European Union's border agency, Frontex, heads toward the distressed raft.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Three teenage boys are lugging boxes of donated shoes into a stately neoclassical home in Mytilini, the capital of the Greek island of Lesbos.

Two of the boys are Syrian, and the other is Algerian. For the moment, they live in this house, a shelter for underage asylum-seekers traveling alone.

Inside, Christina Dimakou, a high-energy young lawyer, greets them. "Kalimera!" she says, Greek for "good day" and flashes a smile. The boys repeat the word, giggling.

Pages