It started raining on the 3rd of January. I always said that the outside of Moria, also known as Afghan Hill, would flow away with the rain, but luckily that didn’t happen. We only got a brown lake at the lowest point, and everything has turned into slippery, gooey mud.
I helped out at the clothes distribution for a while, but it was such a mess. There were some wet people who had just gotten off the buses, then there were dry people who wanted more, better, warmer clothes. There was this young man standing in the line without shoes, but otherwise perfectly dressed with dry and clean clothes. He asked for new shoes. ”Where are your shoes?” I asked. ”In the ocean,” he replied. I recognized him from before, I had even given him the clothes that he was wearing. And at that time, he was wearing shoes. ”You had shoes five minutes ago, where are your shoes?” I asked again. ”No I have no shoes, they are in the ocean,” he replied again. And so we were discussing for some more minutes. It makes me so frustrated.
Sometimes I hate what we are doing, how we question them. Why do you want that? Is this really wet? Do you really have a child? Do you really not have any [insert clothing] or have you just hidden it somewhere? But at the same time, I understand that it’s not uncommon for one person to queue several times to get more clothes – and I understand them. All these people come from so different backgrounds and even though there are here together, they are in extremely different situations regarding what supplies they have, what money they have as well as what they used to have back ”home”. But most importantly, what they can get from us is many times far from sufficient. I’m cold in my thick jacket and hoodie from Sweden, I cannot imagine them.
Edit: I saw this post some weeks later.
After a while, I was pulled into the medical tent. It was a rather calm day, but once again we were lacking Persian as well as Arabic interpreters. We had a young boy from Syria, not yet 18. We wanted to go with him to UNHCR, but we lost him as we were exiting the tent. Another volunteer and I decided to go to UNHCR anyways to see what they actually do for these unaccompanied children. The lady at UNHCR told me that they ensured the immediate registration of the children and the transportation to Athens. The children are under the responsibility of the Greek authorities, who would arrange their accommodation in Athens. They would not be able to leave the country until 1) they turn 18, or 2) a guardian claim them. I don’t know if I’m super impressed, but I guess they don’t have any mandate to do more. Also I don’t even know what I would want them to do. Though I understand that not all under aged might want the help of UNHCR, as it means that they cannot continue their journey.
As we had rather few patients that afternoon, I was mostly hanging around the camp, talking to some people who were outside in spite of the rain, handing out some candy… A big group of young men from Morocco were sitting under a cover around a fire with two darbukas (drums), playing and singing. I spent some time with them, they were very sweet though we had no language in common more than ”Je ne parle pas francais” 😦 Also, the situation with the Moroccans on the island makes me very sad. Ah, remember the boy from Morocco that I wrote about yesterday? He went to the hospital and got his wrist x-rayed. They said that he needed a surgery, but he ran away from the hospital before the surgery because he was afraid of the police. I don’t know where he is now. They had tried to cross three times from Morocco to Spain already, before coming here.
After running around for a while in the rain, I ended up in the volunteer information tent, where some refugees were also hiding from the rain. One of them asked me about dry jeans, which we didn’t have. We’re all wet, I told him, and we don’t have enough jeans. He seemed quite horrified by how soaked my jacket was, and ordered me to take it off immediately. Then he offered me his blanket, which was like the sweetest gesture. Luckily the weather was not too cold even though it was windy and raining, and in the end I found myself a poncho (by that time it was not even raining anymore…)
Now, I’m saying good night!