Today was a toiletry distribution to new arrivals as so many boats have landed on Chios these past weeks. Most everyone stayed in the container/storage area getting ready and Janne and I had to go to 3 stores to find enough men’s deodorants to pass out to up to 500 people. We finally found the last 200 and headed back to the containers about 12:00pm.
David from Switzerland was packing up diapers in packs of 10 with Ulie from Norway (and i’m the 2nd Norwegian, claiming it since i’m 50% Norwegian!) so I worked with them for about 30 minutes and we packaged over 500 diapers. The mothers in the camp only get 10 diapers for every 7 days so what Iris House hands out is critical.
The interpreters who are usually like puppies goofing around are still high energy but an edge has been taken off because they all are fasting during day light hours due to Ramadan.
Their 1st bite of food all day was at 8:16pm as this is when the sun set. Those of us who are not Muslim have been told repeatedly NOT to worry about eating or drinking around those who are fasting but my midwestern sense of hospitality makes me only drink sips of water when no one is looking and to snarf down an energy bar when i’m alone.
Plus all the interpreters are tired, so they eat at say 8:15pm, sleep for a couple hours and get us at 2:15am to eat again for the 2nd of 2 meals every 24 hours. So everyone is hungry AND tired!
Loaded both vans with so much aid we couldn’t see out the back windows. AKA the usual. Drove to the outskirts of the camp and set up for distro. One of the interpreters who lives in Vial handed out tickets to new arrivals in the camp. The rest of us met and discussed
everyones job during the distribution. I was a floater, filling bins with back stock of: toothpaste, tooth brush, shampoo, deodorant, pads for girls/women, soap, diapers and diaper cream if needed for the babies and clothes washing powder.
We were in the sun for over 4 hours and had to cut the distribution short as the line was getting unruly. It was hot and no one had eaten for 20 hours. We will return later next week to finish. But we were able to give aid to almost 100 people. One of the 1st people in line was a mom with a 1 month old baby boy. I of course asked to hold it and got to for the 15 min it took for her to register and get her items. Since it was hot and she was carrying things I mimed/offered to carry the baby to the gate of the camp. She readily let me and without a shared language she let me know how tired but happy she was and I was in turn able to tell her I LOVED HER BABY!!!
It was almost 8pm by the time we’d unloaded the aid at the containers, I brought 2 interpreters home in the city and parked the car. Max and I ate dinner at one of the restaurants on the harbor. A beautiful sun set lit up the sky.
Chios seems to be filled with every middle schooler for a 10 island radius. Well, it sure seems that way. As I write this I can hear their screams and giggle, thanking God for ear plugs tonight.