Ritzonia-

We have fallen already into a nice routine- I am up after about 6 hours of sleep go to the breakfast room to fine tune plans for that day, plan next couple days, write and Zach arrives about 9 and we have breakfast together.

Yesterday we were heading to Ritzonia- this is the “best” camp in Germany that we visited and gave baby bags to during our last visit.  I needed to go see the volunteer who runs the women/children’s tent.  The day before a big SOS went out that they needed water.  Over 1000 people call this home- with no running water all water must be brought in and with the increase in daily temperatures water is in big demand.

Stopped off at the warehouse and loaded van with water and helped unload a couple big vans of aid that came in.  Zach got a work out loading the water onto the cart and we both did loading it into the van.   It is an easy drive out to the camp- we stopped at a Jumbo to buy 10 soccer balls to bring.  Zach learned the valuable lesson that one should never give soccer balls directly to the children as you will be mobbed – which he was.

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Zach bringing the last 2 balls to the tent of the person who runs the nightly football games…..

We arrived just as lunch was being distributed- looked like chicken nuggets and rice.  Found the camp leader (another 25 year old) told her we had water for her and a message from Katrina (from warehouse) that they had a full container from a Spanish NGO coming with 1/2 food-1/2 clothes tomorrow.  She turned white and wanted Katrina’s number.  Storage is always at a premium at the camps- it needs to be secure.  They are out of storage options at the camp.

Zach went off with the kids and I went to the women and children area.  A new container has been placed and volunteers were busy building a 2m high fence that the women will be able to come into, take their conservative outer wear and relax.   The door handles will be up high so that the little kids will not be able to come in.

The NGO Light House Relief (from Sweden) is in charge of this area.  The same woman is inIMG_2702 charge as last visit, although she looks about 10 years older.  We went into one of the tents to talk, a young girl kept popping her head in.  Supposedly she was 18 – I said “no, she looks more like 13 or 14”, Mae’s age.  Well “her” story is that she is 18.  She is 4 months pregnant but has not gained any weight.  They are worried for her.

A big problem at the camp is because of lack of running water to make baby milk is not allowed- BUT, if a mother is not able to nurse then how is baby able to be fed?   The coordinator looses sleep over this.  They also need to have birth control pills to hand out to the women- right now they do not have access to any.

We were at the camp for about 3 hours.  Zach had 2 boys hanging on him the whole time- they wanted their own footballs.  I don’t think we could ever buy enough for everyone…..the need is so great.  IMG_2703

The Red Cross has built a water processing plant, but no well.  This is the camp that has been in the International news because they are going to add a garden- the land has already been cleared- maybe enough time for a crop this year.

Met some other groups here visiting- met a woman about 70 who was here trying to maybe do baby boxes with a group of women from Montana and Canada.  The older woman had been volunteering on Lesbos island- the epicenter of this crisis until Mar 20, 2016 when the flow of refugees was cut off by a treaty between EU, Greece and Turkey.   I love meeting all these people who have been drawn this crisis- such an interesting group.

It was a bit tricky trying to leave the camp-the 2 boys would not let go of Zach.  A volunteer saw our predicament and lured the kids away with his phone screen- he had a little boy on his shoulders……….

We drove back to Athens, a nice drive.  Hit a bit of traffic and as usual it was 8pm and we

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Acropolis behind us…….

were STARVING and just trying to figure out dinner.  We eat breakfast in the hotel and carry energy bars and fruit with us to have for lunch.  Hotel staff told us of an Italian restaurant not to far away so headed to a touristy area to walk about and eat.  It was such a beautiful evening- had to wear my coat as it was a bit chilly!

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