When I think of this mission, I think of flowers.
I have been covered with bunches of small colorful flowers and kids put small rings and bracelets around my wrists. Receiving flowers is always heartwarming: in the camp there is only sand and dust and children must go a long distance to pick up flowers. When I see them running back from the fields with short breath and sparkling eyes, I understand these gifts come from their hearts. Their eyes want to be seen and their hands need to be hold.
I left Italy with Anna (the doctor) and Paolo (the photographer).
We had to make a Covid test before leaving and upon arrival. Some of the flights back were canceled and we had to postpone the arrival home.
Missions are always different, even when you do the same activities and everything is wisely planned. The unexpected is on the agenda, but we have a very cohesive team and we have well learnt how to reinvent times and ways of responding to unpredicted events.
There are moments when you need to wait and others when you have to rush. Sometimes you get stressed because you have to struggle in a difficult environment, or you have to quickly change plans. And most of the times, you didn’t get enough sleep or you have to suffer extreme weather conditions, flies, thirst and the sensation that you should always do a bit more, even if you have done all you can and you have met the schedule despite the unpredictable.
The doctor visited patients for five days with almost no breaks. We bought and distributed medicines to those in need. We took care of malnourished children and distributed milk powder to dozens of small kids. Without this milk they would simply die. We identified three children in severe conditions and we will organize and sponsor therapies and surgical treatment.
The distribution of vouchers to the orphans is always the most challenging activity: there are so many of them and we need to gather, take pictures and take them to buy the food at the store. Finally, we collect the pictures and send them to the donors.
We also distributed food packs to the families of the camp. This is also a difficult task, because people are usually very hungry and chaos easily takes over. Fortunately, our referents at the camp are well trained for this situation and they work on lists that are prepared in advance.
Our Rainbow tents are fully operative and it is such a joy to see that kids are learning to write and read. We have a computer and run different classes for the older and the younger ones. We bought and distributed some school material, together with some games donated by Italian supporters.
For the first time we connected with a primary school in Torino (Italy) and started a didactic twinning with our small tent. The contact between these kids, thousands of kilometers away, was incredibly emotional: it was so touching to see how easily and naturally they communicate.
We always spend a lot of time in the tents, listening to stories and trying to support the most difficult situations, even though we are aware that we’ll never be able to fix everything.
We always cme back full of life, aware that we did all we could possibly do. Nevertheless we are accompanied by that sense of emptiness that comes from getting in touch with so many little invisible creatures. And our mission is to do all we can to give them hope and future.