My Refugee Journey – 1/2nd March 2016

Mural of a woman wearing a Hijab at the Mytilini Port
Mural of a woman wearing a Hijab at the Mytilini Port

My Refugee Journey – 1st and 2nd March 2016

Back on Tea duty at Kara Tepe Refugee Camp – a very busy camp with over 1000 refugees on site – at 6pm about 400 refugees left for the ferry to Athens but coaches full of refugees keep arriving – speaking to my UNHCR Friend Abdula who says by the end of the night we will be back up to 1000 refugees again…  Tea Duty is great, when I was a cub scout, my very first badge I earned was my tea making badge at the age of 5yrs old.  I think Ive earned it 50 times over in the past couple of days.

We serve approximately 250 cups of tea in just 20mins during the middle of the day! That’s a lot of tea!

The situation on the Greek/Macedonia border is getting worse and worse…  I’ve had some photos from my new Syrian friend Safwat sent to me, when he sent them, he had been there 10 days, he’s now been there 14days and he’s all but given up going forward and thinking about coming back to Kara Tepe, here he knows it’s safe and warm.  He’s become ill like many others on the border, his voice message to me sounds bad, a lot of distress in his voice.  The Macedonian authorities have been firing tear gas at the refugees, if sleeping on the streets at the border in the cold isn’t bad enough.

Had an interview with News Reporter Nicolle Hodges from Canada for CTV – I think I gave some very long answers but hey, I guess that’s what editors are for lol…

Last night an hour before shift ended we had an interesting visitor, Abdula from UNHCR found a stray refugee lone male wondering around camp at around 11pm, when asked in English where he came from he was very disorientated and made that he did not speak a word of English but kept saying Syrian as if to say hes from Syria.  At this point I was involved and he then started making more stories up, finally admitting he speaks English and that his story changed from being Syrian after he couldn’t understand Arabic from Abdula, then claimed he was Afghan so we got an Afghan translator on the phone and he didn’t understand and then admitted to being from Pakistan, but other stories didn’t run true either, two things jumped into my mind, either he was confused, and in shock etc or he had other ideas on his mind that might become a security issue.  Contacting the other camp (Moria) they said just let him head off on foot to Moria which is at least a couple of miles away and not a direct route, I said not good enough as if he was in shock and we let him go, we’d likely have him found the next morning laying dead on the road side the next morning and we had a duty of care for him, the other was the potential security risk, either way he couldn’t just be let go to walk to Moria.

Eventually Luis who I was on duty with said he would drive the refugee to Moria whilst I clear up the tea station so we could end our shift and go home.  I found this incident a little alarming that there was No SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) for this happening.  Something I’m going to take up with someone I know at the camp tomorrow.

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