Monday – today as we turned onto the road to the camp there was a police check post. Then, as we entered the camp there was a heavy police presence. I found out later in the day that they were looking for refugees who were to be deported.
When their asylum is denied many ( 50 % ) go into hiding, but are still around or in the camp because, where can they go? If they have money for fake passports they are lucky but if not????? Syrians are deported to Turkey where the EU has made a deal and Turkey is considered a “safe” place for them. But that is is not what we hear. We have been told of Turkish prisons, and see physical proof of torture that tell a different story.
The RSD – Refugee Status Determination is complicated and even if a person is fleeing war, obtaining asylum may not be easy.
Example: The Afghani man who tried to kill himself, the one with the DEEP wrist wound was denied asylum. He is in hiding and maybe was caught today. He has not shown up at the clinic for his necessary wound care and we are all worried about him.
We heard many stories of torture from our patients today. People are really frightened right now. A young man from Ghana came in the late afternoon, he was terrified. He is a new arrival and he showed Scott a video of people being beheaded in his village. He fears for his life. Ghana is not considered a high risk country.
Today more providers arrived and we are now orienting them to take our places. A lovely Pakistani doctor from the UK, a nurse from Slovenia and a doctor arrives tonight from Germany. Providers regularly rotate through for 2 weeks to several months. It is hard for many to take large chunks of time off so they come for 2-3 weeks. There is a wonderful dedication to serving the refugees.
Only a few emergencies today, I did wound care, am orienting Tama to it. She has decided to stay at least another month. I wish that I could.
I could not find an eye patch anywhere for my Somali friend so I got one made. Leslie donated her sleep mask and I cut it up to fit and got a refugee from the MOSAIC workshop for refugees to sew it. My patient was so happy! He gave me a huge hug and later in the day I saw him walking around the camp still wearing it — so It worked!!! We are still trying to figure out these ulcerating skin lesions and have arranged to send 2 patients to the hospital. Also, we are sending images to infectious disease specialists. It is a huge problem.
The end of the day, as we were walking out of the camp, we handed out cards written by our friend Mary Kitchen. Refugees don’t get mail. She made over 150 cards saying “We are thinking about you, stay strong and safe, Love Mary and Guy from the USA.” People loved them. We had to translate for many what it said and it made them smile!
Tomorrow is our last clinic day. I am feeling sad to leave and determined to return soon. There are not words to adequately express the depth of the experience here.