Night at Hara

I returned back to the warehouse around nightfall, and once again Northern Lights came just before midnight to collect blankets. Did I mention that it was raining again? I recognised one of the persons coming; their teams have been at the warehouse quite a lot. ”That’s enough, I don’t think we have more space in the car,” he said as we carried the boxes. ”Do you need more? I also have a car,” I offered. Still want to use that car as much as possible. It’s like not even altruistic reasons etc, I would just be frustrated about renting a car and not using it, haha. We loaded my car as well, and started driving towards Hara. Hara, and BP, are two other smaller (around 1000 people in total) informal camps just next to the highway on the road towards Idomeni. I had driven past it every day, but never visited it.

We arrived to the camp, and were immediately surroIMG_8773unded by people. Once again, I stood irresolute. How to do this without creating chaos? The other volunteers have done this many times, I thought, I’ll just stay in the background. It was dark, but the camp was crowded. We started walking around the camp, trying to assess peoples needs and to gather them at the hotel reception. Oh yeah, so Hara is a hotel actually, not really functioning as such I believe. And there are some troubles between the owners and the people living here, as well as the organisations. Some days ago, all water supplies here were cut.

”Come to my tent! Look, touch the floor. Touch the blankets” Everything was wet, of course. Everyone needed blankets, sleeping bags. Some of the inhabitants there helped us to translate, luckily. What would we do without them. The people were told to wait at a certain place, but it didn’t seem to work. I didn’t understand the system. Let’s just stand and look, I decided. Another person kept me company, let’s call him D. He’s from Syria, but he speaks amazing Turkish.

Eventually, we ran out of blankets. I have no idea how the distribution was actually done, who was prioritized and so on. There was apparently still a huge need, so we drove back to the warehouse to pick up more blankets. ”Har du vann?” asked one of the volunteers in Norwegian. ”What?” I didn’t quite get it. ”Vann,” he said again. ”Vagn?” (wagon) I asked back, confused, and he nodded. ”What kind of vagn; barnvagn?” (baby stroller – common request) I asked to confirm. ”VATTEN!” (water) he said, and we all started laughing. Language barriers at its best.  It doesn’t sound funny when translated though…

We decided to first park the cars further away as we arrived back to Hara, and gather the people in an attempt to not create to much fuss. I think it worked, I don’t know, but eventually all the blankets were gone. I had my sleeping bag in the back of the car as well, someone took it too. Well, they have more need of it than I do. ”Do you still have blankets?” a man approached us, and we said no. ”I’ll give him mine, I have two,” said D and walked away towards his tent. ”A true Turkish gentleman,” shouted another young man, S, after him. ”KURDISH!”, D shouted back. ”Wups,” S started laughing. ”You are crazy,” the volunteers told him. We were all laughing.

And then, everything was done. We stood around the car, just breathing and looking at the camp which was now empty, without people outside. It had been a hard night – especially for the volunteers who were actually doing things. I was just confused. Apparently, it’s not like this every night, luckily. D and S comforted us, ”you did a good job”.

”Is your car locked?” S suddenly asked me. ”I think so, why?” I went to the side and checked the door. It wasn’t locked. They looked at me. ”The other guy said that he saw two people take something from the car, check if anything is missing,” S told me. ”Jessica, you have to be more careful,” D added. How embarrassing. ”I’m not sure,” I said, ”I didn’t have anything important in the car. I cannot find my bag but maybe it’s at the warehouse. Anyways, there is nothing important there, only some biscuits (of course), and my phone charger. If I lost it, I’ll buy a new one tomorrow”. ”I’ll give you mine,” said D. ”No,” I answered, ”thank you”. He still went to grab it. ”I cannot accept it, I don’t want it!” I tried to explain, but some people are just too good. Really, I don’t know what to say.

I drove home, it was maybe 3 or 4 am. ”I should really brush my teeth,” I thought for some seconds before I fell asleep.

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