Located down an old tired road miles from the nearest village sits a field of ISO
boxes that house over 400+. The road is mostly used by shepherds moving their sheep and goats from field to field. Next to the acre of ISO boxes is a field with colorful tents and sitting areas- a place for these people to call home.
The Yazidi are a people who mostly come from Iraq, Syria and Armenia who practice a religion that predates the Christian and Muslim faiths. Because of this, the Yazidi people are persecuted in their home lands. In Greece they
are put in 1 of 2 camps that only house Yazidi people.
For the next 4 days we will be working in one of these camps setting up a children’s space and women’s space for the NGO- Lifting Hands International (LHI) that supports this camp and the Yazidi population. I will also be teaching an class on how to make baby and adult socks.
Yazidi women are often captured and sold into sexual slavery when their lands are taken over by Islamic extremeists. The women and girls as young as 9 are sold multiple times during their captivity until they either die or escape. This is
happening today, it happened yesterday and will happen tomorrow.
LHI has worked supporting this camp during 3 moves. Currently in a field next to the camp, LHI has 3 tents that offers classes and a space for the refugees to meet 6 days a week. Of the 400+ people who call this camp home- LHI offers a respite from the boredom of camp life, a way for people to continue their education and a place to gather and celebrate.
I was last at this camp 17 months ago when the population was in tents- today they
are in the ISO boxes, but because of the continued wave of refugees landing everyday in Greece an ISO box that is supposed to house 5-6 people has upwards of 12-13 people sleeping like sardines.
LHI leadership gave us a wish list of items to make their Women’s tent and Children’s tent more comfortable to the families that visit. We took took the list, after a tour of the area, to Thessaloniki 90 minutes away where we chipped away at the list, mostly at IKEA.
Like most trips we have been given funds from friends and relatives to supplement the Carry the Future money budgeted for the different projects. Today at IKEA -CTF purchased 4 carts of items from the wish list and donated funds purchased the next 2 carts of goods.
This task took almost 9 hours to complete including the 90 minute drive each way to and from Thessaloniki. It was fun for Aline and I to finally bring Sarah and Afia to a Jumbo
department store- a place they had heard about but had never been. Jumbo virgins. One must experience it to believe it- my head is still spinning even after a 10 minute nap on a chaise lounge in IKEA!
We walked to a restaurant for dinner. Tired from the walk, having eaten multiple plates of yummy local food we all are tired and should sleep like babies.