Brian translated from French and that was really helpful. They wanted to chat with us. There were so many injuries from torture and we are so lucky to have Karen Cooper massaging them. Watching her give her all, her healing touch brings me to tears.
Next a group of Afghanis came to the van. Our Farsi and Darai translator had been a social worker in Kabul. He lost his family and living in a war zone was just too much. We moved our van back to the usual spot in the olive grove camp. People came right away – some were waiting. We saw 80+ patients today. Mark is so good with. “just one more,” that inevitably means 5-10 more. It is too hard to say no. Many people today needed antibiotics, pneumonia from the cold. A guy with strep throat that was so bad u could smell the infection – this man was sick!
There were a couple of babies who looked really sick and a pregnant woman who was fainting a lot. Life is so rough here . Everyone is so stressed. It is puzzling there is a Doctor inside the wire who sees patients, writes them prescriptions but does not fill them. They are expected to go to a pharmacy to fill them, but there is no transportation and no money. So what is the point. So many people show us their camp medical records and ask us for the medicines. We have some. We brought some meds for hypertension, gastric, and diabetes but mostly antibiotics and pain meds. It is heartbreaking not to be able to help these others and to have them hear another no. There are so many no I can’t help you today or I can’t help you at all . . . .
We have given out tons of vitamins. 30 days worth. We are low on them and have started giving out prenatal vitamins to everyone. They will run out soon too. It is an amazing group of people here, I heard the refugees are from 70 different countries.
Yesterday after work we brought all the medicines back to our bnb and today the pharmacy was stellar in efficiency, now the end of the day we are very low on medicines and may have to take a day off to troll the pharmacies. Omar says people are happy with us and say the Americans are giving medicines. They say we are generous.
hree times Mark has seen patients with respitory complaints smoking cigarettes and when he points it out “ they get irony” there is a lot of smoking in Greece.
Bathing is an issue. There is no shower in the olive grove camp. This morning I saw some of the African men warming plastic water bottles over a barrel fire to use for bathing.
At night the camp looks terrifying, three rows of concertina wire, Klein lights, bright terrifying, it seems people are free to come in and out but go through checkpoints. At some time it is locked down. Conditions inside are deplorable. Many prefer the olive grove camp.
Yasmin, the Dutch women, said the way to interact with refugees is to know we are all refugees. We are outsiders in Greece trying to work in a chaotic system, with unclear regulations, we are refugees from our comfort zone
The good things:
Translators miraculously show up, teachers, social workers , professors, they show up at the time we need them, they just appear and help, there is a sense of comradary. And there is a sweetness about everyone, no matter African or Arab, giving their space in line to a sick child.
I am seeing the good things. I am seeing the innate goodness in people and seeing some amazing strength and resilience. Our hearts are so raw and open, it makes it even more heartbreaking.