Dr. Dan, the pediatrician, is here and we had lots of kids for him to see. He did really well the first day, working with refugees in our make shift clinic. Kids coming in with asthma. The cold season is just starting and the fires to keep warm have started exacerbating their respiratory issues.
The bed bugs and scabies are a really difficult issue as well. There are no showers and washing clothes is just not easy. Clothes hanging in the sun to dry have to be carefully guarded or they disappear – the needs are so great people take them. There is no way to clean a mattress that is infested. I saw an elder woman today who had huge welts from bites, itching incessantly. Can you imagine these conditions? Small tents on top of each other having bugs crawl all over you every night – biting, biting, biting. it is more insult to already horrendous situations. People cannot sleep because it is cold, the ground is hard, there is PTSD and bugs. It is beyond imagination how deplorable these conditions are.
And yet, they are so grateful and smile at us for the little we do for them, handing them Benadryl and only six of them. It will last two days and likely will not stop the itching very much.
I was walking along the port and saw a group of Arabic women walking with their children, they were laughing with each other. They met some of their friends and I imagine shared the days gossip. I thought, “As bad as this camp is, as horrible as the conditions are, here they are safe, no bombs falling, no taliban or boka harem. Their sons and daughters are not kidnapped and made into soldiers.”
The choices people have to make to survive. As a privileged American I have never had to consider these things.