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In October we go to the camp twice: in mid-October and at the end of the month. Since our last mission in August, we have worked tirelessly to the project of the water well for the camp. We have developed the project through many contacts, quotations, video calls and we have run a fundraising campaign.

The works started at the beginning of October and now me and Luca are there to monitor the improvements and deliver the funds collected.

We check the excavations and notice that they have already reached the water. We assist to the building of the internal coating and buy the extraction pump.

We spend few beautiful days at the camp and we are deeply fulfilled by the awareness that this project will change the life and health conditions of hundreds of people and children. The children’s happiness is immense after they see the water coming out of the well.

During this mission we also provide support to the most fragile people of the camp, as we always do, and we start to buy the materials needed to re-open the Rainbow Tent. Lastly, we organise the creation of a second school tent as we realise that we cannot fit all children just in one.

 

At the end of October we go back to the camp, together with the doctor (Anna), the teacher responsible for the tents (Elisabetta), and the photographer (Paolo).

The building of the well is finished in one part of the camp. The water comes out and people can take it manually, but our intention by the end of the year is to install the filters, the accumulation tank, and build other points of supply throughout the camp.

For two entire days doctor Anna visits and cures everyone who is in need. She examines the conditions of malnourished children we are used to follow, as well as the new cases.

Together with Elisabetta, we select 4 teachers for the two Rainbow Tents. She also organises the activities that will take place over the next months. The opening of the school activities is a touching moment of happiness.

Later we distribute the supplies of milk powder to the malnourished children and the vouchers to the orphans supported by Italian donors. Again we find new kids and families in need that will have to be associated to new donors.

We finally distribute food packs to all the families (following as usual the lists prepared from the two coordinators of the camp) and we take care of supporting the most fragile and unlucky people in the camp.

Me and Luca stay at the camp two more days in order to organise the widespread web of support that we really want to provide.

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The Covid19 pandemic caused the closure of all borders. As a result, four months have passed since we last visited the camp. During this time we have been able to keep up our projects (food packs, wood and coal supply, monthly vouchers for the orphans in the camp and the families in the urban area) thanks to a network of wonderful local partners. During the past years they have become devoted and fraternal friends.

Me and Luca finally get back to the camp in August. Moving across the country is more complicated than usual due to the safety measures, social distancing and masks, but we try to be respectful and responsible.

The situation in the camp is difficult too: misery and desperation are suffocating and often cause tears of helplessness.

The weather is so hot that the risk of feeling sick is tangible. There’s no water, food is scarce, kids are really thin and parents exhausted.

Families or alone children continue to flee from the bombings and come to populate this desperate place, that is very close to collapse. While counting the groups of orphans supported by our donors we notice that their number has severely increased. I start to panic thinking that we will have to find new donors willing to help these sons of nobody.

Under a merciless sun we distribute food packs, milk powder for malnourished children, and medicines (while talking on the phone with the doctor in Italy).

The Rainbow Tent is closed by police order due to the pandemic, but I’m happy to know that it’ll be able to open again in one month. Children keep on asking about the tent and I feel like I’m disappointing them.

We decide to rent a bus and take a good number of children to spend a day by the sea. It is a wonderful day where children that usually never laugh had the chance to play, splash and have fun. I have never felt so good and I’ve never seen more fragile, still bright, eyes. Luca, my husband, plays and swims next to us.

After the trip we go to visit some very vulnerable families that we have supported in the past years: Salema who is sick, two children who have thalassemia and few other very difficult situations, like young Youssef.

This time again we cannot go to the urban area because of Covid19 restrictions, so we have to leave the donations to our co-operator who will take care of distributing the vouchers to these families that leave in very rundown accommodations .

Going back home is always painful.

Arianna

 

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We leave at the end of February in a moment of deep uncertainty due to Covid19 world pandemic. It is me (Arianna) and Luca. We are not frightened by the situation, nevertheless before leaving we collect all the information necessary to ensure we have a safe journey and we don’t find ourselves unprepared.

Malpensa airport is strangely desert. We embark on the plane and our trip will end late at night.

When we arrive in the camp the weather is cold but we always have a very warm welcome, full of hugs and smiles from our kids as well as from many adults that have become a genuine family to us. We soon get ready to start our activities. There so much to do and we only have two days before we get back.

We realise that it is a very difficult moment because of bombings. Besides, moving around is dangerous and complicated because of the curfew. Still we manage to distribute food packs to all the families of the camp, milk to malnourished children and vouchers to the orphans supported from the Italian donors. We also assign the funds for the Rainbow Tent, that we supervise, and we find it full of children so much willing to learn and show us their improvements.

In addition, we leave medicines and sustenance to the most fragile families and we buy a tent for a family that has just lost theirs in a fire, while trying to keep warm.

We cannot go to the urban area, where we support 25 families, since the curfew doesn’t allow us to move across different regions. Therefore we leave the money destined to those families to our local co-operator, who will take care of distributing the vouchers and sending us the pictures of the distribution.

The last day of the mission we realise that we are stuck in Turkey, because the Turkish Government decided to cancel all flights to Italy due to the pandemic. We contact the Italian Embassy, that kindly tell us to try and find a way to go back on our own, but actually there are no flights to Italy available.

Fortunately we find our way back home after a long trip and many stopovers.

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In the last months of 2019 we were able to go to Turkey regularly every month.

In October the group was very cohesive: two doctors, one photographer and Elisabetta from Comitato Mahmud, responsible for the small school tent, the Rainbow Tent, where they organise recreational activities and the work of two local teachers.

The weather was mild, and our experienced routine allowed the doctors to visit all the children of the camp, the malnourished children and the adults in need. In particular, they could happily see that malnourished children are growing normally thanks to the treatments and the milk powder provided each month.

We distributed vouchers to the orphans, as well as food packs, and organised the activities of the Rainbow Tent for the coming months.

In November and December it was again Arianna and Luca. They took care of the most vulnerable in the camp, distributing the vouchers to the orphans and the malnourished children. They also continued to assist those in need, following the instructions from the doctors in Italy. They distributed covers and wood to all the residents of the camp in order to face the cold in the incoming winter.

Finally, they made it to Kilis where they gave vouchers and coal to the families who need to face the two coldest months of the year with no heat in their homes.

 

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In May 2019 we started supporting 21 families who live in Kilis, close to the Turkish/Syrian border. They have been selected amongst the most vulnerable and helpless. The families are usually made of orphans, invalid parents or disabled children, and they can barely survive.

The project is based on the support of Italian donors who give an amount of money every month. The money is then converted into a Voucher that we deliver directly to the families. This way we can develop an ongoing relationship between our organisation, the donors and the Syrian families.

We are very proud and thankful for the generosity and trust that many people give us.

 

 

 

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The Camp in Moria is the Hell on Earth. During our missions we have seen lots of camps but the atosphere in Moria is devastating. Nowere we have met the exasperation seen here. The families living there do not communicate, there is no mutual aid, and some people suffer because of mental disease. Maybe these people thought of Europe as the land of freedon butthey realized they were wrong, and now they think they haven’t the slightest prospect of future. They just realize that they are alive. In Moria it is almost impossible to . bring some help due to the many rules that an association must or should undergo. And, unfortunately, we are neither accustomed nor prepared to face them.

We left Italy with 2 vans loaded with clothes, blankets, jackets, shoes given by common and generous people.
The journey of Matteo, Marino and Jamal was long and tiring . They drove to Brindisi and then by ferries to Lesbos.They travelled at night and arrived early in the morning at the port of Metilene, on the island of Lesbos. Myself (Arianna) , Luca (my husband) and the Refugee4Refugees volunteers were waitng for us. The volunteers were there to give us support and logistics for the distribution of clothes.
Marino, the doctor, as always , will spend his time at the camp visiting all the people in need, mainly children, who show through their eyes tirederness and hopelessness.
With the logistic support of Refugee4Refugees we will ensure that the majority of families will receive the clothes they need. Families will go to the shop of the association, and get what they need, free, also after our departure, and this makes us very happy. Mothers go the the shop and get what they need for their families. Talking to people, in Moria, we face stories that leave deep signs in our heart. We met Parisa, an Afghani girl. She was asked by Holly (Holly and Andrea arrived a day after us) what was her name and she handed him 8 pages written in Persian containing her own story. There is also the story of a handsome k17 Syrian boy put by his parents on a rubber dinghy so that he could survive. The trauma of being left alone, the stress and deprivation he had to go through during the journey brought him to forget everything. He hardly remembers something either of the journey or of his past, mixes the days of the present and seems to suffer from dissociation. He listens to music and does nothing all day long. His eyes are the ones of a child: full of wonder.
We have met a young Syrian doctor who works in a small clinic outside the camp. Nearby it, some people are trying to do something that might give the idea of life: a school, a canteen, a makeshift gym .
There are other camps on the island, all inaccessible and fenced , to suggest that they do not need anything. But that is not true: when we hand out clothes, blankets etc. the people come near and crowd around in a bitter way to get something. The scene of misery and desperation is unforgettable.
.After 3 days some of us go back to Italy. Matteo and Jamal by vans and we must thank them because they are the ones who gave more in terms of time and difficulty.. Dr. Marino Andolina flew back, I (Arianna), Luca, Holly and Andrea stayed in Turkey for a couple of meetings with our local contacts. We are planning not only to distribute food and basic necessities, but to understand how and if, we can open a school in the camp we have been following since 2014. Then we move to Kilis to visit a family we support, and think about a stable project that involves the “citizen” refugees who have been living in garages and basements for years, without any help and without being able to work.
As we always do, we visit some families and, as always, our hearts are broken by the sight of children, sick people, elderly, disabled, orphans and widows who live in nonhuman and unacceptable condition
Our idea is to give birth to distance support, but also to set down a project that might allow the baking of bread to be handed out regularly. We might also think of setting up some job to foster single women to work. Our contact has submitted us some valid projects. We are ready to take them into consideration and set them up, if only we receive some donations, or would win some financial support from the government and/or foundations.

After 3 years I succeeded in crossing the border and returning to Syria; the situation is that of a humanitarian catastrophe : beyond any description!
There is nothing left: no houses, roads, lack of infrastructure. Syria is a vast sea of tents , refugees, surrounded by mud and debris. These people, mostly widows, elderly and children, receive almost no help and the children beg on the streets instead of going to school and play. They have been deprived of everything and it is unlikely for them to be able to go back to their homes. Their children will be the next generation of illiterate, angry and ready to be recruited by any sort of fanatics.

I came back home with a sense of anger and helplessness. I try to imagine what we would like and could do, but I know they are a lot, thousands and thousands and that our association SSCH can do just a little to help them. There are no funds, no energy, the international community does nothing to give birth to huge projects.

May these words be at least a spark for something important, I will go on telling what I observe when I go to meet the refugees and hope the world community will act.

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For the first time we won’t go to the refugee camp that we have supported during the past years.

We will meet two contact persons in Gaziantep camp, in order to give solid ground to our future activities. We will then move to Kilis, where we intend to run a project to support families facing extreme conditions.

The meeting in Gaziantep is very important and cannot be postponed.

The camp has no organization and no NGO is there to support, apart from few occasional activities. We are the only ones trying to provide a regular supply of food, medical care and essential goods, critically needed in winter time.

Within the camp we are supported, but outside we don’t have many connections.

We decide, together with the two contact persons, that we will start the following activities: we will bring food packages every other month with their support, we will start a school project and we will try to support more closely the orphans (more than 100) living in the camp.

During winter time we commit to provide what is needed to stay warm.

This is an extremely big challenge, in financial terms, since we are a small organization. I personally (Arianna) am really concerned, but we do want to give this project a try, since no one else is there to help. We will try to cover more than 1000 children and almost 500 families facing conditions of real deprivation and despair.

In order to achieve our goals, refugees will be divided into small groups and we will look for donors who will take charge of each group. We will also write down a project in order to increase financial support.

In Kilis we selected 22 vulnerable families and we will connect them with 22 Italian families who will provide them with food and school supplies for children. These are usually families where mothers, often widows, don’t know how to feed their children and have no solution rather than sending them to work. Some of them have to take care of disabled children and/or elderly relatives.

Fathers are often missing, or they are mutilated and disabled, so they have no opportunity to work.

Our goal is consequently to support these families by providing essential needs, so they can at least feed the children and send them to school. In Kilis, unlike Gaziantep camp, they do have schools and we want to give children the opportunity to attend them. This is the only way they can save their lives.

 

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LIFE AT THE CAMP

Yet another departure for another mission! I don’t number them any longer, but I don’t blur any of them and I don’t forget any emotion they aroused .
We left at dead of night to stay longer in the camp, already tired and worried, as usual. When you leave you bring some burden with you, the burden of what you leave and what you already know you will meet. You know that you have to work very fast, your activities will be frantic and exhausting. The unforeseen always occurs.

We are only three this time, no doctor neither the photo reporter. Ok. That is. From Italy we asked the people there to get the food baskets ready. The families are 400 and the orphans are 40. We had launched a fundraising that unfortunately did not cover the cost of the food supplies. I feel discouraged and worried . Even the thought that in a while I ‘ll meet again the children and people who have been waiting for us for years is able to make me feel better.

When we get to the camp, after overcoming some difficulties, obstacles and so on, we find ourselves facing a surreal atmosphere.
The camp seems to be empty. No children run to meet us, no mothers or weary women, no men to welcome us.
All of them are tired, they have no hope and they are getting used to the idea that they will be left with no coumtry and with no rights there, in those camps for many years to come.
For the first time I have no words.

But then they appear. Slowly, very slowly …. and they are a lot, a crowd. The children look for attention, they take by your hand and try to communicate with hugs and signs, as they usually do.

We give out the food baskets. It takes 3 hours to meet the three camps. Some of the people will need medical treatment but the doctor is not here ; they were used to come together into a tent and line up to be seen by a doctor and receive medecins , but not this time! They are disillusioned, I am saddened. I feel guilty.

The children want to play, but there is not enough time. We carry on saying “baed” that means “dopo”. They
take you by the hand, they just want you to look at them, to spend a little bit of your time with them.
Women at the beginning stay aside, then they come near me and ask me how I feel, how are my children.
Men show through their lifeless eyes how much they appreciate what we are doing for them.We hand out the baskets and feel like to distribute, together with food, kindness and love that worm their heart. We smile at them, nearly joke. We brought some milk and candies, but it is getting dark, they will be shared tomorrow.

We have some tea sitting on the ground and our mind already is planning on what we will be doing during our next mission: either to give support to a school or to build a football pitch. Yes, we brought some footballs and we saw pure joy in the children’ s eyes! We think that a part from the body, also the soul should be cared if you want to have better citizens.

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We already know that the missions at the Syrian border are always dangerous and difficult to plan. We need to set up things from Italy with the help of people and associations on  site as for  our safety and the distribution of food and first aid supplies.
When we leave we already are aware that the unforeseen is always on the agenda. We just need to handle it  without getting into a panic.
We left , myself (Arianna) and Andrea (the photoreporter). Andrea ready to take amazing shots  of our little children. Personally,  I’m not at ease, I mean, less than I usually feel. We had been threatened ,as it had already happened, but this time the threat has a name and it seems real.
We are not heroes, so we tried to weigh every move and every risk and before  reaching  the camps  we received some safety measures.
The heat was stifling , we really didn’t feel well. And something went wrong! We had problems in hiring a van to carry the food baskets, the number of baskets was uncertain,  and mainly,  our escort  didn’t appear.

But we are determined: if you give in to despair every mission will fail. Andrea and myself  work well together, easily understand  and stand each other, even when we have to stand up to hard work and sleep hasn’t been enough

When at the camp we found the situation worse than ever: the families are more that before,  they have been facing years in extreme poverty and despair and they are exasperated, so it  becomes difficult to handle them.
What is wonderful is to meet again the kids  we know and have been  supporting for years. They run to meet us, they call us by name. We like to sit inside the tents and watch people who try to make us feel well with the little they have ( this time it was Ramadam and they made us fastening too!).
Some time ago, it was difficult to hand out the baskets, now everything is well organized, we have lists with the names of people  entitled yo receive the basket. This is thanks to the contacts and friends we have on the spot.
This time we have planned a double basket for the many orphans, the same that were given energy bars last March.
The doctor is  not with us, he is taken up in Irak. No health care then, but fortunately no serious ilnesses this time,  as if often occurs.
We always try to find some time to spend with the kids, sitting on the floor, telling them something about ourselves and listening to their little hearts talking about their very sad life.
We know all of them, we hug them, we reach their higher level: the one of , innocence. They smile, even after spending hours of hard work in the fields, exploited and wonded in the soul and dignity.

These kids hàve no parents, no dreams, no future. They are invisible, fragile like  butterfly’ s wings, but they can offer more than what they receive. We never leave empty handed: it can be a plastic ring , a fruit.
We go away feeling that we did everything possible but not enough. No child, no human being should live on charity.
Yet, our help can do and made the difference between life and death.

It has been a very short mission, always in a rush. Just two days dangerous and in great agitation, but everything went well . We know that we have no choice: come back as soon as possible.

That is the promise we made looking into the eyes of a child.

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BEYOND THE BORDER  –   Travel diary – by Lidia Boncoraglio

MARCH 2018

The departure is always a moment full of emotions. The division of weight seems to be like an easy thing but   it consists of 120 kilos of food, clothing and games.

Then we must try to plan everything though we are aware that unexpected events are very frequent.

 

The situation changes quickly   often from day to day and therefore our memories are no longer current.

The question of memories is delicate for us. We leave them a sign and they leave us an unforgettable sign. We find this sign in our eyes!

For example we can see the sign in Luigi’s eyes while showing the dress bought for Samia, five years old.

We can see the sign in Arianna’s eyes when asking me: do you remember Fiore? and other children met during these five years. Andrea does not say a word but his photos describe his emotions.

Finally landed in Adana! In total we are 6: Arianna, Marino, Andrea, Matteo, Luigi and me Lidia.

A LIFE BASED ON UNEXPECTED EVENTS

Once outside the Airport we found out that,   instead of  two booked vans, was actually only one van. We then applied for another van.

After many laps we finally arrived at the shop where our interpreter was waiting for us. He is a very

generous man and never takes money from us because he says   ”you come from Italy to help my people and I cannot accept money from you”.

The dealers start to load the vans and Haj Ali car. He and his son Hussein live in the camp and they are now great friends of Arianna.

Andrea is helping to load packages and I noticed a boy sitting on a wooden bench. He is alone, dirty and he is   looking at us with an extreme sadness.

I approached him slowly because I did not want to frighten him.

Immediately he pulls out of his pocket a box cutter. I offered him two chocolate bars, sweets and games.

THESE CAMPS CALLED HOME

Just left, direction Karatas. Arianna and Luigi are commenting about the change of the landscape. Very well kept farm fields and perfect infrastructures. When labor is free, it is easy to get good results.

From the car we can see some of these slaves. Many are women but also children.

Arrived at the camp, everyone ran to us. They recognized us. I know because a group of girls around me began to count in English.

Arianna was practically assaulted, Luigi with a child in his arms, Andrea walking hand in hand with a blond child.

In this group   there is a young girl I met last year. She is no longer the little Turkish girl but she is almost taller than me.

The ground is always sandy and even muddy. The number of plastic curtains has increased from 174 in 2015 to 283 according to the number of families. There is not enough living space and the bathrooms are always holes in the ground surrounded by plastic curtains.

So we started distributing food baskets following a list. This is the most difficult moment because families suffer lack of food. Something went wrong because some families were not on the list.

I love being in the camp. Although hunger, thirst and lack of hygiene make it “the middle of nowhere”.

They have lost everything but nonetheless they struggle and resist.

The distribution is over, now is time for Marino ( pediatrician) to visit his young patients. He worked in Iraq in these months to save children, too.

Meanwhile we went around the large camp looking   for lonely children and people with medical needs.

REHYANLI

Rehyanli is a border town  surrounded by a wall. It strikes to see the great concrete snake that spilts  the hill: from one side  us, and on the other side the hell. It’s a small town, of run-down  houses,  some even seem to have been hit by explosions. The inhabitants are more Syrians than Turks, many of them beggars in the street.

Some of them  have been living here for years, since the war began, so they put on their activities: small restaurants, small shops,  tiny petrol stations , and some well-stocked shops. The sun hits and it is hot. We are terribly thirsty!  We have got some bottles of water but we would like to keep them for the kids we are going to meet, mainly for Sanaa, Ali’s wife who lives here with her 5 children.

Our daily programme is very busy. We will be meeting Sanaa, a menber of an association of  French doctors, and at last a child who suffers from a serious pathology at limph nodes.

A BROKEN FAMILY

Here the problems start. We had saved on the phone Sanaa’s house  position but we find ourselves  in front of a cemetery. Some children are playing among old graves, and that makes me  shiver without any apparent reason. We  call Alì in Italy to ask him  where exactly his wife  lives.  Then start going round Rehyanli far and wide for almost an hour, with no result. We call him back and he sends us a different position, which turns out to be wrong as well.
Ali tells us that one of his children would come to fetch us but there are two cemeteries. Andrea, Matteo, Marino and myself stay here, while Arianna and Luigi move to the other one.
The children start to look at us with  curiosity and get closer but when we try to talk with them they run away. We open the car, take  some almond bars for us, and offer some to the children. They approach, take them and go back to play, waving their hands.

I start eating my bar and I find it too sweet and disgusting. Soon I feel ashamed as I know that in a few days I will eat properly , while the people here have quite often nothing to eat.
Arianna and Luigi come back with a Syrian interpreter who is  a member of an association based in Istanbul. He tells us he is happy to help, and will act  as  interpreter if we need it. We are immensely grateful.

We need to meet Sanaa to talk to her about the situation caused by her husband . We know that  she and her children will never be able to come to Italy to rejoin the family due to her husband behaviour when in Italy .

The story in short is this: when ALi arrived in Italy to have his son Mohammed  treated in hospital, the plan was that they would be reunited with the family within two months. But Ali started to behave badly, violently, to drink, to threaten the nurses and anyone he met,  nearly reaching the point to lose the custody of Mohammed. He even asked for a prostitute.
I, personally, living in the same city, suffered a lot  because of  his behavior . We told him that if he hadn’t change attitude, we would have never let his wife and children  come to Italy, and he answered he didn’t care!

My pain towards him turned into anger. As for me, but I know, it’s a shared thought, I’d like to kick him out! He claims that everything is due to him, and he does not want to go back to Turkey. He isn’t worried about his 13 year old daughter who is obliged to work , instead of going to school, to support the family. That’s why I hate him and quarrel any time I meet him.

It was difficult to find Sanaa’s home. After almost two hours of wandering around, we discovered that she lives in a village 20 minutes from Rehyanli and decided to meet her tomorrow.

The village is very small , extremely poor, worse than Rehyanli. To say, the roads are not asphalted, some houses do not have either windows, nor the floor. I wander it it is worse to live here or in a camp.
Sanaa, instead, has a beautiful home but empty of furniture. There is only the kitchen, with gas that does not work,  since she cannnot  afford to pay for it. There is  a small gas cylinder to be turned on just when in strict necessity. They just have what they carried away from the tent: three mattresses and some clothes. Nothing else. The children are skinny; Ali Hmoud, the 2-year-old little boy, Samia, the princess of 5, Youssef of 8, Husseina of 10 and Majada of 13. Majada,  is no longer the little girl we had met a year ago. She has now become a woman.
She comes next to me and I hug her; she’s the big one, the one who takes care of the family, who brings home bread, the one who hides  into her pocket the knife, as a weapon of defence, when she goes out to go to work.  Samia ,  approaches holding the dress and the doll, the presents  Luigi brought to her, while Youssef and Ali Hmoud are exchanging their gifts: a little red lorry and a puppet. Husseina shows her gifts to her little friend from the village, and I realize that the girl is a bit disappointed, so  I  take a little purse out of my bag and give it to her. Majada is wearing her  new bracelet , which matches with her veil and the little brooch that holds it firmly.
We must talk to Sanaa about her husband, about the fact that he has been  reported to the police and that this inevitably  has compromised everything . We don’t want the children to hear the bad news, so I take them out together with the men except the doctor and Luigi.
Majada, though, stays there, and from the way her mother clasps her hand I understand that it is her place. She is only 13 but she is mature for her age. I have noticed that she can write,  so I thought that , when tomorrow we will take all of them out for shopping, we will buy exercise books, pens and books.

While Arianna was talking to Sanaa , outside the house we were having fun, we played soccer, captive ball, together with other boys who had joined us.
Inside things are not going well.  Sanaa is desperate, but  I know she is a strong woman . What I don’t understand is that she goes on saying that  she does what her husband wants. They: Ali,  the interpreter, Sanaa an Arianna are talking through  a video call. Mohammed  is improving a lot and is now waiting for the transplant of kidney. We explained the troubles to Ali but he seemed unable to understand, he went on laughing and eating. We told them that the solutions were two:  either Ali will leave the child here and go back to Turkey (Mohammed cannot be  moved, but, rightly, he does not want to be left alone in Italy)  or he meets the requirements for the reunification. The last solution is definitely too optimistic due to the reality of the facts. What we certainly know is what will happen if he still gives signs of violence:  he will lose his parental authority. The first solution is sad but realistic,  but Ali insists in saying that he will never go back to Turkey. We also must consider that Mohammed neither can return  to Turkey, if he wants  to live, nor he  wants to stay alone in Italy.

Sanaa is desperate, and she bursts into tears. Her despair is so deep that she says that it would rather be better, for all of them, that Mohammed returns and dies.
To save one, means to sacrify 5. The children here are slowly dying. It’s true, apart from Majada, the others go to school but the level of poverty they are subjected to is such, that they are slowly  killed from inside

Majada left  the house and is back with some tea. I try to comfort her and together with Andrea, Luigi, Matteo and other children living nearby we go on playing

Arianna and Marino are still inside with Sanaa. When they come out they are destroyed. Sanaa is crying clasping her little child in her arms.

 

We go back into the house. Mohammed is on the phone with his mum, he has  just come back from school.
We promised Sanaa to come back tomorrow, so when we say goodbye we know it’s not a goodbye. Despite this she goes on crying in Arianna’s arms.

We were ready to leave when  a boy who had been playing with us came holding  three large freshly made Arab breads. We thanked and hugged hoping  to see him again tomorrow.

 

While driving back,  we discuss Mohammed ‘s situation . Everyone has different ideas, apart from the fact that in case he would be separeted from his family, nobody would object.

To relieve tension, Luigi suggests to take Sanaa and the children out for lunch, tomorrow and then to buy some food. All agree. We receive some donations , plus some money offered by Luigi and we decided that Sanaa will never remain without food.

Light hearted we reached the UOSSM headquarters located exactly in front of the wall.They have their own office on the border of Rehyanli. Outside the building there is  the flag of the European Union and that is impressive.  Is is a local association  of doctors who work in clinics and  make medical tests, but non inside the refugee camps. For our purpose they are of no help and we were rather disappointed.

We leave the spot and start looking for the house where the sick child lives.  We have got the position but also this time it turns out to be wrong and we find ourselves lost in Rehyanli.

A NEW DAY, THE LAST

Well, it was not my imagination; the sound was of shots and bombs, Andrea heard them too. Moreover, this morning, while we were going to meet another association of doctors, we saw some tanks on the road.

This time we were lucky, the meeting with this association of doctors went very well,  there are real possibilities to collaborate, mainly for Marino, but also for us. For example, giving medical assistance and psychological support to Sanaa, her family and her neighbours .

We’ll see each other again next time.

 

We went to  Sanaa’s home and  took her and the children down town and we really had a beautiful day.

Majada was at work, unfortunately, and could not come with us. I have never seen children so happy to enter a supermarket. It was the first time for them.

our way back we met a demonstration of “Grey Wolves” very well equipped and holding different national flags.
At home, Majada was waiting for us. She was crying as  she hadn’t been able to come with us.  Cried even more when I gave her the presents, because she was overcome by emotion.
We left and when inside the car we looked into each other’s eyes , neither smiling, nor crying, with no word but perfectly aware of the emotions that were crossing our hearts.

We’ve been back for days now. On my bedside table , I have the bandana I had tied around Piccolo Rambo’s face,  the one he had given me back after receiving some games and it reminds me of all the children we left there.

The first days are the most difficult, because here everything  seems  absurd and superficial. We talk about the refugee camps with the people we know but only a few understand us. I feel breathless when I think that  at night we keep warm, we eat  at least three times a day. We miss all of them, it’s painful to be obliged  to leave them there. But it is this sorrow , I think, that allows us to go on with this kind of double life.

Then we took them out for lunch in a sort of restaurant in Rehyanli. We ordered Syrian food but,  there, we  realized that  they don’t have our idea of meals, when they are hungry they eat a piece of bread and that’s all. They were very happy and mainly the children appreciated the food. Sanaa took some pictures as a souvenir of the day out.

On the way back, I found a stationery shop. I wanted to leave a nice gift to Majada, and bought her a beautiful diary,  notebooks and books. My dream is that one day she will go back to school.  I know that studying there is not the same as studying in a proper school, but it helps psychologically. I hope she will be able to follow her dream to became a teacher.

our way back we met a demonstration of “Grey Wolves” very well equipped and holding different national flags.
At home, Majada was waiting for us. She was crying as  she hadn’t been able to come with us.  Cried even more when I gave her the presents, because she was overcome by emotion.
We left and when inside the car we looked into each other’s eyes , neither smiling, nor crying, with no word but perfectly aware of the emotions that were crossing our hearts.

We’ve been back for days now. On my bedside table next to my bed, I have the bandana I had tied around Piccolo Rambo’s face,  the one he had given me back after receiving some games and it reminds me of all the children we left there.

The first days are the most difficult, because here everything  seems  absurd and superficial. We talk about the refugee camps with the people we know but only a few understand us. I feel breathless when I think that we sleep
thought that at night we keep warm, we eat  at least three times a day. We miss all of them, it’s painful to be obliged  to leave them there.But it is this sorrow , I think, that allows us to go on with this kind of double life.

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