Started the day with a visit to Nea Kavala camp, 1km away from the village where we are staying. We wanted to give some dates to the woman that we saw yesterday and to hopefully meet a new arrival- a pregnant woman with a one-year-old. We ran into logistical problems as the sun was bright and hot and we did not feel comfortable asking a pregnant woman to walk a kilometre across camp carrying her other baby. We sent some dates, tahini, and almonds in with our interpreter, along with the message that we would come back another day, later in the afternoon when it was cooler.
After that we had been invited to lunch with a family that we are supporting in Thessaloniki and on the way we stopped in town to buy some liquid iron and notebooks. The woman at the stationery store was very interested and moved when we explained what we were doing and gave us a handful of pens and a book on babies. The generousity of the Greek people is amazing.
Our lunch date was with a Kurdish couple, Rwida and Ali, and their 4 children. They are living in an apartment complex run by Filoxenia, (http://filoxenia-intl.org/), an organisation which has rented an entire apartment block on the edge of Thessaloniki to house refugees. While the location is very much on the outskirts of town, the atmosphere in the apartment block is one of joy and community. Kids are coming from one apartment to another to borrow lemons and return plates, and there is a pre-school on site as well as a school bus to take the older children to school. There was construction taking place on an on-site clinic when we arrived, to be staffed by Médecins du monde. The apartment building is new and of good quality, unfortunately because of the economic situation in Greece…..
Our meal was a very extravagant barbecue, cooked on a small hibachi in the field behind the apartments. A vegetable truck had arrived earlier and Rwida had purchased some aubergines, which she promptly sliced and interlaced with meat on skewers. Some parsely was turned into a delicious salad with onions and some tomatoes and hot peppers grilled and back in the apartment it was expertly plated by Rwida who worked in a restaurant in Aleppo before she left. We had a chance to talk extensively to her and her family and hope to share her story here later to give CRIBS donors a personal look at how their donations are helping people get out of the camps.
We left much later than planned and it was like saying goodbye to old friends. In keeping with the theme of visiting new Kurdish friends we visited a friend of a friend who recently had a baby and got to hold yet another sweet baby. One thing that pleases us greatly on this trip is that the majority of babies that we have seen are healthy and happy.