We went to bed early last night…….before 1:00am and got up refreshed. We had been told the Iris Center and most of the island is closed on Sunday so we’d made arrangements to visit a Syrian family we’d met. Mom and Dad and the worlds cutest baby girl- 22 days old.
Because Vial camp is NOT a place for babies most of the babies and their family are housed outside of the camp. We met at the young Afghan families efficiency and also had an interpreter from Yemen meet us. The Afghan family could speak a little English, but the Yemen interpreter was working on his PHD in English Literature before the war so he did most of the interpreting for us.
The 20 unit apartment building housed refugees from around the Middle East and Africa. French was being spoken by most of the households and there was 1 other family from Syria living in another unit.
I got to hold the baby most of the visit and like a Auntie took about 35 pictures of her.
Mom had dark circles under her eyes but both Mom and Dad would gaze lovingly at the baby when ever she made a sound. Because Dad had left the Army (Syria has manditory military service for 2 years) before his discharge date he was wanted by the military police. Imagine fighting for a regime you do not support, killing in the name of a dictator who rules your country and not having any choice in the matter.
We learned the Yemenis interpreter was a father of 6 working on his PHD in English dystopian literature (living that!). He was a professional soccer player for 20 years and his oldest daughter is graduating from dental school in Yemen next year. This year it is estimated that 3 million people will starve to death in Yemen. 3 million. To add insult to
injury their family won the “US immigration lottery”. In addition to applying to the US as a refugee, most refugees and really just any other person with non-US citizenship can apply for the citizenship lottery. It literally is like winning the “Mega Bucks” lottery statistically. They won- but because Yemen is on U.S. Muslim ban list they are not able to take immigrate.
We said goodbye and drove the 15 minutes the city to see if indeed “everything” was closed. Everything was closed. Have made a list of the NGO’s we still need to visit, the jobs we still have to do, the aid that still needs to be bought we know that it will be a VERY busy next couple of days.
Hoping magically there will be about 10 hours added daily in the next 3 days before we leave the island.
The other 1/2 of Team 48 is Sara (with an “a”) that was the team leader on Team 8 the 1st CTF trip I went on in April of 2017. Without a doubt it was that trip and the amazing job she did leading that team that has me still going on trips for CTF. I was lucky enough to work with her a couple trips ago to Northern Greece last year and jumped at the opportunity to work with her again. Sara is wicked smart, has a heart as big as the Aegean Sea and gets to say she is Canadian (she actually is from Nebraska but recently moved to Hamilton, Ontario, Canada).
She is my navigator when driving around this crazy island and in this unbelievable life as an aid worker.