Mar 3: Today was mental health day . . . horrific stories of witnessing murder, imprisonment and torture.
The jungle medical camp has become a small refuge for the people. They come with their health issues but also for attention and recognition. We see predominantly Africans who are so marginalized. Over and over we hear how they feel people don’t like them, they feel they are treated like dogs. Officials have told them they are unwanted. It is hard to see and hear this. Those we have met are kind, intelligent and polite.
The young minors find us and we try to get them what they need as far as warm clothes, shoes, sleeping bags. Omar has informed us to distribute what we can to whoever is in need. The shortage is in men’s clothing and shoes. Just not enough of anything.
Today was mental health day. I mean we saw some folks who were just unstable. One man was brought in by another refugee. He was making no sense – wandering around camp inciting things, not eating, mumbling, shouting that he wanted to stab people with a knife. It turns out he has a horrific story of witnessing murder, imprisonment and torture.
One of our really smart and wonderful translators from Cameroon told us he had been kidnapped by the rebel army. They went village to village taking boys to make into soldiers. He escaped by jumping down a cliff and they left him thinking he was dead. He wandered in the forest with nothing – no food, adequate clothing, phone. He made it to a city and somone helped him get to Turkey. His long road to hopeful asylum began. He said the boys are given drugs to make them crazy and are forced to kill and torture. They themselves are beaten into submission, food deprived and rewarded when they have a kill. Impossible to imagine how this must leave these innocent boys. The world can be so fucked up.
We continue giving love and basic medical care and letting them all know we will tell their stories and work for some resolution to the inhumane situations they are in. But I find myself just not knowing what to do. The immensity of the problem, the immensity of needed global change. I am overwhelmed.