Darting around the camp, from conflict to conflict. Some people do not fit in very well. Jasmine, 18 years old, visits the clinic daily. Sometimes she has a medical issue. Sometimes she does not, but has a complaint or two nonetheless. She is a little slow, her stories circle around like birds looking for somewhere to land, but finding none. When there is time, I try to talk to her. I tell the translators to be kind, and not just shoo her on like others do. To listen.
We ask about her hopes and dreams. She wants to go to Germany, though she knows no words from that country. Her mother, with exotic tattoos on her face, and a similar bent toward circling, we have not seen for a while. I wonder how her blood pressure is doing.
What happened to her in Syria? Was her house bombed to dust while she huddled with her mother and the tattoos in the basement? Or were they homeless there already, wanderers who just continued wandering when their city became hell?
How long will they stay in the camp, no one knows. Some leave to the “next” stage, some stay longer. Governments wring their hands over who will take how many. Sounds like those in charge have a similar problem with circling and landing.
Written by Paul Bunge, MD
while volunteering for WAHA International in camps in North Greece, under the ASB project, funded by ECHO (European Union Humanitarian Aid).
“This document covers humanitarian aid activities implemented with the financial assistance of the European Union. The views expressed herein should not be taken, in any way, to reflect the official opinion of the European Union, and the European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.”