Thinking of all my family and community and the covid numbers in the USA. Here on the island there were 70 new cases yesterday. That is huge and people are wearing masks. The restaurants and most businesses are closed. Are there still gatherings of friends and family? I am not sure.

Working in the camp we are using PPE and feel somewhat protected, are we? At a medical ngo meeting we were told 8% of the camp are positive and 21% of those are having GI systems like diarrhea. It feels somewhat under control. As I work triage I screen for covid and have not really seen that many positive results or anyone really sick with covid. I would assume I would see them. Apparently the isolation area is dismal with nothing inside. People dread going there and resist being tested for this reason. We are going to try and see inside and use some funds to make the space more acceptable.

This weekend, off from clinic, we helped with a small food distribution. We went to visit HOME AWAY, the Greek run ngo handling food distribution and clothing. They are great. They serve hot meals to the vulnerable, special diets every day at 3:30. Also they send a daily hot meal over to the prison where there are 40+ refugees awaiting deportation.

We have been discussing the roles of the ngos ourselves included. The UNHCR and the EU give money to Greece to deal with the refugees. Where does that money go? I have never seen the budget or know how much the cost is per refugee. I see the logistical needs of tents, water, porta potties, garbage, water distribution, food distribution, minimal medical care, police, etc. What seems to fall through the cracks and become the need for the ngos to provide are medical care, blankets, bedding, clothing, nutritious food (not MRE’s), etc. It is not really their responsibility but the services are needed. Desperately needed. And the smaller ngos really are the ones providing the boots on the ground. The smaller ngos are not paid. They are volunteers, dependent on support from donors.

It seems it has become that way at home in the USA now too. Our government-sponsored care for those in need is shrinking and we are dependent on the kindness and care of small community organizations. We need to take care of each other home and abroad. It is up to us all to fill the gaps.

We have become close friends with a doctor who is a refugee from Afghanistan. He is amazing and we all love working with him. We have gotten to know his family and yesterday his wife and sister-in-law cooked us an amazingly delicious afghani meal. We are blessed to have these new friends.