I’ve completely lost track of the days, they pass quickly and slowly at the same time.
I took a walk to the port yesterday morning to check my ferry ticket. There are still a number of refugees along the shore, waiting for the ferry, but it’s apparently nothing compared to some months ago. I saw some young boys playing around without gloves, so I gave them the ones that I had in my bag. Then some other family came and asked for gloves, hats, socks for their kids, and within two minutes I had emptied my backpack and also given the bag away. One family with three children, I think they were from Iraq, told me that they were hungry, and so I walked back to the town to buy some more food and supplies to hand out. By coincidence, two co-volunteers at the clinic saw me walking on the street, as they passed by in a car, so they picked me up and we drove to Moria (even though my shift wouldn’t start until 7 hours later).
It was a calm day, it’s quite calm in general now. I was hanging around the clothing distribution and the medical tent mostly, also a bit outside with the refugees there. I’m starting to recognise some people who have been around for a while, though they might recognise me more than I recognise them. I’m so bad at this. In general, I spend my free time here just walking around saying ”Hi, how are you?” to people, and practising a bit Farsi and Turkish. When it’s not too busy in the medical tent, patients can stay a bit longer as well just to get warmer and to talk for a while. During the night, we had maybe 6 patients in total. I took a UNHCR blanket and slept for some hours in the examination room. It was raining like crazy the whole night and at some point the wind was so strong I seriously thought that the tent had been ripped open. Something in the generator got wet so it stopped to work around 3 am, and the whole camp (the ‘outside’) remained without electricity and heating for the coming 5 hours. At least it was not a cold day.
I decided to change accommodation as both my room mates have left by now. After my shift, I went to the hotel to grab my stuff, and then I ended up back at the clinic waiting for the morning shift to end. Apparently there was an empty bed in the house where some other medical volunteers are staying. Another bus arrived around lunch, and I together with some other volunteers went down to greet them and show them where to go to get their numbers for the registration line. Just where they arrive, there are also a lot of other people offering money exchange from Turkish Lira to Euros. The rates here are really bad (of course), and we tell everyone to not exchange their money here. This (of course) pisses the exchangers off, and they yell at us. One of the men followed me for a while and started to take pictures of us talking. I’ve never been afraid during all this time in Moria with the refugees, but these people creep me out a little.
Today, I was for the fourth time offered to exchange money by some of those people. I asked about the rate, they told me ‘show me your money’, and I said (in Turkish) ”noo, but how many lira for one euro?” and after much debate back and forth they said 20 euro for 100 lira (according to google, 1 euro is worth about 3,35 lira. So 20 euro is 67 lira) Then they wanted my money, and I got scared and left. xD
This morning, the 6th, a flatmate and I went to Mytilini to rent a car for two days, finally. Next time, I will definitely rent a car from the very first beginning if I come here again (I’m thinking of going further north along the Balkan route next time, maybe). It took about 2 hours, because one shop didn’t have any cars, one had only one super expensive, one didn’t rent to people under the age of 23, a lot of rentals were closed because it’s some holiday… But eventually we got a cute little Fiat, and I feel so cool now haha. We picked up two other volunteers on our way back to Moria, and then I drove three guys from Afghanistan down to the port to get their ferry tickets. Another guy from Iran was standing with them, he told me that he came here as a refugee as well, and he went to Athens, but then he came back to Moria to help.
Now there are quite a lot of medical personnel at the center, some other organisations have also sent doctors and nurses to this project. Though, interpreters are still always lacking. It feels like I’m doing more translation now than medical stuff, hm. Come on Farsi/Dari/Arabic (/Urdu/Pashto) speaking people, we need you. Oh but maybe people will be even more needed during the spring. I asked at the tea tent how they were doing, and they told me that they still haven’t used up the supplies that they bought around Christmas (they had expected it to disappear in 3-4 days). I’m running out of battery now (sitting at a restaurant), will post some pictures / videos later and head back to the room. Might do a night shift at the beach tonight, not that I think that any boats will arrive in this weather. We will see.