I return from Greece and the refugee camps...different. And while I know I helped individual babies...individual mothers. The big picture is soo bleak for these resilient souls. With spotty internet, I did journal along the way on my facebook page. This is simply one of those entries.
Thank those of you that supported my efforts...Ongoing support is still needed and there is a link at the end of my post.
September 16th, Kahlachori Greece
I've been to and worked at three of the refugee camps surrounding Thessaloniki Greece. Each is Different from the other. Some are predominantly Kurdish. Others more Arab and Iraqi. Yet...each camp, inside, has the acrid smell of rotting garbage and raw sewage.
I worry that I may be getting used to this mishandled crush of humans and poor poor infrastructure. Something seen and done regularly ( and we do work every day. Dawn till dusk) can quietly become "normal".
The smell, however, slaps me, and wakes me each time.
Here these beautiful bright eyed children, these often college educated women create moments of normalcy in the makeshift shelters they call home. Through grit, resilience and often, the help of each other... They wait for the day their country stitches itself back together. I desperately want to change this for them. It hurts how much I want to.
I had to stop by a young mothers tent to deliver a package of food this afternoon. On the way, I was met with the beaming face of Amina... (I had sat down with this pregnant mom earlier in our clinic tent, assessing her situation). It was no different from meeting a neighbor on the street at home. Arms reaching out, she brought me to her with a kiss on each cheek, beckoned me to sit. There was one dingy broken chair outside the row of tents. She hurriedly brought it over gesturing me to sit. I sat. I so happily sat. A spoon of Nutella she had been licking, was offered to me. It was a decadent treat and she wanted to share. I tried to suggest she eat it, gesturing to her growing belly.... But her eyes and her beaming smile and her spoon of chocolate insisted. And so we shared a spoonful of Nutella. Three other mothers came over and joined us. The spoon was passed and Sweet black Syrian coffee was offered in thimble sized plastic cups. And there we sat, us five, on a damp and muddy floor, with laundry hanging to dry on the tent roping. We giggled We joked. We shared.
Perhaps...the best sharing I have done in a long long while.
They ARE us. We ARE them.
You can donate to this valiant and small non profit that is doing important work Here
You can spread awareness....ask your politicians and the UN to allow these refugees a home. In Europe...In our country.