We actually are in a little village- Sidirokastro which is about 25 minutes from the camp and warehouse. We seem to be higher than Serres and we can see snow on the mountains in the distance.
We drove straight to the warehouse this morning and spent a couple of hours sorting
and rearranging the aid. It is always good practice to have teams work sorting in a warehouse- if for nothing else to be aware when we donate at home what NOT to give. Like those old underwear without elastic or the one sock, the nasty flip flops……or the shirt of the half naked lady……
I’d had some baby Moses baskets shipped here a couple of weeks ago and was able to get the baskets filled with the aid CTF had purchased and to add the diapers, wipes, baby shampoo and women’s pads we purchase in Greece.
Today was a rainy cloudy day, we could hear the rain dripping on the metal roof and unfortunately had to throw a couple of boxes away because the clothes had gotten wet because of the leaky roof. While we were sorting there were a couple families of new arrivals that came thru and shopped at the “store” in the warehouse. In addition to clothing the new arrivals also get a bag of food to tide them over until their cash card (each Greek registered refugee is given $85 USD to spend per month- on food, clothing, transpiration……..) comes in.
Warehouse work is never a highlight of aid workers trips, but it is an intricate part of what helps make this machine run. After a couple hours of sorting and organizing we had a list of items the warehouse needed (bar soap, baby shampoo, newborn diapers, baby wipes and zip lock bags for loose tea) so we headed out to the local Jumbo to purchase the goods. We forgot it was Sunday and basically small town Greece is closed on Sunday. So back to the camp we went to help in the women’s tent with “Beauty Day”.
We arrived to a pile of shoes in front of the women’s tent and ladies doing their nails and
putting Korean face masks on each other. Children under 13 are not allowed in the tent but that does not stop them from trying to get in. It is a place for mom’s to come and take their head scarves off, the teenagers to dance traditional dances and the grand mothers to sit and watch everyone! The space was truly transformed with the items we’d purchased- so fun to see it all being used.
Both Aline and I had been to this camp 18 months ago- at that time everyone was in tents a couple of miles from this location. I pulled some photos up and everyone had a good laugh looking at the tents, open fires heating water and the people who had gone. Only about 20% of the residents were here 18 months ago. Some have been relocated within the EU, some abroad (only less than 1% of the worlds refugees get settled into Europe, the US or Australia) and some to Athens or Thessaloniki. I also had some photo’s of the other Yazidi camp (Petra) on my phone and showed those pictures to the moms. People would get excited seeing older photo’s of friends. In one of the pictures there were 5 girls who had been hamming it up for the camera when we were there- about 20 minutes later one of these girls came into the tent!
She looked at the Petra photo’s from 18 months ago and reminisced about the girls and friends she recognized. Naming each one with a smile.
That is her on the far right………
We drove back to the hotel and took a bit of time to explore the little village and tried to get up to a church we could see high up on a hill. We only managed to get turned around but did get to see some of the beautiful country side.
Dinner was here at the hotel as the only restaurant in the village is closed to night-
Tomorrow the Jumbo run and we will head back to Athens.