My Refugee Journey – 14th March 2016

A refugee sleeping on the Greek/Macedonia Border - Taken by Refugee on Mobile Phone
A refugee sleeping on the Greek/Macedonia Border – Taken by Refugee on Mobile Phone

So my shifts change to nights again and tonight I will be on duty from 10pm to 4am basically patrolling the camp to make sure everyone is OK and the camp is safe.  The day starts in the morning with me doing some writing for my website before meeting up for lunch with Fred and his wife to talk about a fact finding mission up to the Greek/Macedonia border and to go over recruitment of new volunteers for HSA.

David, Fred and I have been talking about the idea of heading up to the Macedonia border to make a report about what really is happening on the ground there, rather than the media/press information which has often been quite wrong in reporting about the border area in recent weeks.

I’m now looking at the logistics of getting me up there, I will look to travel in the same manner as the refugees would which is by coach and on foot and once on the border I will just sleep where the refugees are, on the road side and not in some nice hotel…  I want this to be as factual about the refugee status up on the border as possible; I want to feel the same suffering of battling the elements and conditions whilst I’m up there as the refugees.

Once I’ve come back from the mission, I will have wrote a document to show what I see is happening and what I feel needs to happen to support the refugees whilst they are trapped on the border.  So the rest of the afternoon is working on sorting new volunteers and the logistics of getting to the Macedonia border before I head on out to my night duty – I’m keen to see the state of the tents on camp that had to house many refugees with the emergency crisis we had on camp due to the shear numbers exceeding the capacity of the camp…  The camp capacity is 1500 approximately, but during the day before I turned up there were approximately 2100.

border-1Once I was at the camp and caught up with the duty UNHCR person, I found that there numbers had dropped after several hundred departed for the ferry to Athens.  The current number that night was 1600 refugees.  I went then over to the tent and instead of seeing the 30+ tents I helped put up, we had only maybe 6 standing.  The weather has got quite bad again and the tents are more like the quality of summer festival tents, not very strong and so many were trashed in the poor weather, the strong wind.

After a slightly shorter night duty than planned due to the numbers of refugees on camp I headed back to the house to have a sleep before getting up for another day of admin sorting out the journey to the Macedonia border.

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