February 2019 mission
The Camp in Moria is the Hell on Earth. During our missions we have seen lots of camps but the atmosphere in Moria is devastating. Nowhere 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 freedom but they 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 waiting 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 tiredness 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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