Moira, a military building is now home to thousands of people. People who are trying to find safety in a world full of closed doors, turned backs and fear. This is a refugee camp for all ‘Non Syrian’ refugees. People from Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq… they are all fleeing years of violence and poverty. They are brought here to register their refugee status, which then allows them to travel within in the EU.
If you’re lucky, you have a tent or a blanket but a lot of people have nothing. No blankets, no coats, only the clothes they wear which are thin and damp. We have been told there are toilets, but after 2 days of being there we are as yet to find these elusive toilets. A food truck arrives twice a day and serves a small pot of food until they run out. There are now taps for water, which is a huge step, but more steps are needed. And fast. No one should be sleeping out in the open. It’s cold here, from 4pm the sun starts to set and the temperature plummets. 14 hours is a long time to be cold and in the dark.
We head to Moira first thing in the morning and join the rest of the Health Point Project team, including our interpreter who has guarded the tent all night. He is 22 years old, travelling alone, hoping to get to Holland to become a Doctor, husband and father. We unpack our supplies and unzip the tent. A crowd is waiting for us; the young, the old, the frightened, the lonely… where do we start?
Deep breath, dive right in. Trench foot, ulcerated toes, ear infection, newborn babies, pregnant women, infected wounds, dehydration, hole in a head with brain visible, fear.
A frail lady in her 70’s, from Afghanistan travelling alone. She sat down and held her head in her hands. She looked heavy with grief and sorrow. How many wars has she survived, why is she alone? I think I know the answer. She has no belongings except a small handbag, no tent, no sleeping bag, no blanket. Something has to be done.
One key element of nursing is advocacy; my experience is put to the test. We stocked her up with water and drove her to an area of the camp where a charity has claimed an indoor area. I meet a man at the locked gate, smile, and introduce myself, ‘oh good’ I think ‘he’s from the north – a connection. After a lot of begging and negotiating (and my foot in the door), the lady is allowed in. I am told ‘no promises’ that she will be cared for. As far as I know, they helped her on her way.
The supplies that you helped us buy are being used all day every day. They are providing relief, treatment and comfort. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We would not be making as much of an impact without you all.
After reading this, I’m sure you’ll be happy to hear that we are spending some of your donations on tents, sleeping bags along with more medical supplies. We will be working in Moria with Health Point Project until we leave as together, we make a formidable team.
By Sarah Entwistle