Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Day 10

We are finally back to Moria refugee camp. 
It was a no drama, quiet day. The police has rearranged the camp and now the families' queue is right in front of the place where we store the clothes. This is good and bad. But mostly good. It means we can look at the people waiting for their papers and assess their needs. We can quickly figure out which kids need shoes, nappies or jackets. Because we don't always get sizing right we have to go back and forth many times so it's good that we are close to the families now. It means we get to help more people in less time. The downside is that now everyone sees us leaving this room with the clothes and supplies and more people come and ask for things they don't need. Everyone wants new shoes even if they are not wet. Or a new t shirt or even two or three. Although we have some clothes, if we distribute them around the people who don't need them, we would run out in 2 days. I understand the position of the parents that know we have new shoes and come and ask for some for their kids even if they don't really need them. I would probably take the chance myself. But we have had to be ruthless sometimes, smile and say "no". Yesterday we gave all the men's shoes we had available and also all woman shoes. That means that today, whoever needs shoes won't be able to get any and will have to wear their wet ones. This is a hard situation to say no to. I wonder if the people that ask will understand that the reason we aren't giving them shoes is because we have none. 

There was one story that stuck to my head though. 
A translator came in the room with a father and daughter from Afghanistan and she begged us to help them as they had been wearing the same wet clothes for over 3 days. The girl was around 10 and crying non stop. I did everything I could to try and get her to smile. It finally worked when I gave her a colouring book and some pencils. But only for a few minutes until she started crying again. Her father told us she is ill and needs to see a doctor but the priority is taking her off these clothes. We search for things and finally find stuff that fits. I take her to the doctor's office and the doctors start asking questions to the father which the translator was helping him understand. The father then explains "she has epilepsy. It got really bad when we told her we were leaving Afghanistan and doing the journey to reach Europe. She would have seizures very often and specially on the days before we left. She has to take pills everyday twice a day, but because I don't know when we will be able to buy more I have only been giving it to her every two days. She also gets anxious when she is around many people. Being here at the camp and having to sleep in a tent with so many people hasn't helped. I worry that the crying, the fever and all other symptoms are all the result of the psychological trauma and there's nothing we can do about it."


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