Our last jungle clinic. A chaotic and emotional day. A group of folks from Afghanistan came and we had a marginal translator. Our African group also came so we had a lot of people. Thankful for Georgia and Marcia coming up to help on their day off from the clinic. This camp has been difficult on many levels. There are few resources, deplorable conditions and such intense suffering. All of us have succumbed to this stress. Morning conversations with some team members have kept me focused on the present and to stay in task mode. I try to stay there because it is not about me – it is about serving these people and bringing them as much attention, love and care as we can give. I have the privilege of leaving here and returning to comfort. I am grateful to each person on my team for their contribution and to each person I have met. Their faces and their stories will not be forgotten.
I know we have given them our full attention and everyone has given them LOVE.
Interesting conversations with people from here in Vathy, Samos. They are frustrated with the refugee situation on so many levels. There used to be many tourists on this island. Now there are few. Businesses are failing, the town is full of refugees, people have had clothes stolen, and they are afraid to walk around at night. All this is understood as there are over 5,000 refugees in this small town of Vathy with a local population of 1,888 people. The towns of Samos and Vathy together have 5,000 people. The heart of their economy is tourism. They do understand that these refugees are human beings and should not have to live like this. They are compassionate, but their lives are so affected and stressed out. They blame the EU who they feel deserted them, sharing this sentiment with the refugees.
The owner of one of our favorite restaurants is a burly Greek man who came out to show us his financial papers. His business went from earnings of 390,000 euros in 2014 to 80,000 in 2018. He had owned three restaurants and employed 24 people. Now just he and his wife and the delivery person remain. He showed us his twitter communications asking for help from the Greek government, comments to the EU asking for help for the refugees and the island. It is so difficult.
Imagine 5,000 refugees arriving in our towns with no services available. They are forced to camp in the forest, no sanitation facilities – nothing. How would we cope? What would we do and what if no one listens? That is the reality here.