The beginning of each mission sees the pharmacy and the supermarket as the first stops. The employees and cashiers know who we are, they know why we are there and like every time, even this one, we came out with a huge amount of shopping that required 5 trolleys to be transported: 100 kg flour, 100 kg pulses, 50 kg sugar , 50 kg salt, 80 l of oil, 100 kg rice and then still many, many packs of sweets, lots of chocolate bars and, since you can not mess around with your teeth, even toothbrushes and toothpaste. The car, made available by the volunteer that helps us, was so full that we could not do anything except pile packets of pulses on the dashboard at the front!

To get to the camp we had to walk along a road in the middle of fields of vegetables and peppers. It would have been a pleasant pastoral vision had it not been for the bent backs of Syrian men, women and children, all intent on picking vegetables.

We arrive at the first part of the camp which has 120 tents, and it immediately becomes evident that they are not camping tents, but improvised solutions with plastic sheeting, wooden canes, twine and drapes.

We put all the food in the common tent, divided by type, and the person in charge of the camp together with his son take on the task of distributing it. Each family gets two packets of pulses, a packet of rice, a bottle of oil, a packet of salt or sugar.

The camp is located near a river, which means having a water source that can be easily accessed. Here the refugees fill tanks that once were used for detergents; the water, even if present is not clean, even the waste and rubbish end up there.

In the distance there is another camp: a camp of Syrians (130 tents) created on a rubbish tip of which the remains are still there. Some barefoot children play on the wet and filthy ground with plastic cups found there: they pick them up, put them in their mouths and this seems to be how they spend their time. In this part of the expanse there is only one source of water, a pipe that emerges from the ground and which in hiccups dispenses water for the 130 tents.

The hygienic conditions of the two settlements are disastrous. Hygiene in the fields does not exist: flies and insects everywhere, flies and even more insects, which crawl on your hands, on your face, which go into your mouth, flies and insects that in the end you don-t even feel anymore. The bathrooms are holes in the ground around which 4 branches of wood have been fixed and pieces of material have been hung. In the second camp, even water is a big problem: it is in a big bucket, filled with canisters, which must be enough for 4/5 families and whose content must be used to wash objects and for personal hygiene.


The food, vegetables and Arabic bread,  is cooked thanks to improvised fires in large iron pots. I still smile at the thought of what the women were cooking when we arrived at the camp: fried aubergines and bread, the same dish that my Sicilian grandmother prepared for me on summer afternoons.

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