A 60 year old woman with metastasis breast cancer that I visited every day with a young doctor from US to give palliative care drugs into her tent, where she made flat bread (non-stop) for all the refugees at Eko station camp. When someone like her tells you that she loves you like a daughter and asks you not to leave her, it really tears your heart into pieces.
Xelo :: Age 36 :: Nurse :: Spanish – Lives in UK
Why did you come
My plan was to spend a month chilling in a small French island near Madagascar with friends, instead, I changed destination to visit the Idomeni camp. At work I help people with not much hope or chance to have a better life, and this was an opportunity to do so, for thousands of war victims that need hope, opportunities and the right for a better and dignified life.
What did you know about the place before arriving
The only thing I knew was that people are stuck there – running away from war and horror, with nothing, leaving their entire life’s behind .
When did you Arrive and for how long
I went for two weeks with my friend Andy and his truck, which is used for logistics and all sort of transportation.
What reactions did you get from family and friends before coming
Family and close friends were a bit nervous, but extremely proud of me and very supportive. From Collegues some support and some criticism, not understanding why I chose to go volunteer instead of a holiday. It was hard, having to bite my tongue and not speaking-out my thoughts when hearing people say ‘they will take our jobs’ or ‘it will be bad for Europe to let them come’.
An influential / defining moment you had
Having helped hundreds of people who came to the ambulance with all sort of symptoms, wounds or cancer is difficult to choose, but one morning playing with children, 3 special Air Forces planes flew very low over the camps, the expression of fear and horror in the children’s faces, thinking they needed to hide because the next thing will be bombs, calling their mothers crying.. That is like a slow motion image that I will not easily forget..
What did you learn new about life and people
I learned that it is only the people you find out there helping others selflessly that can really make you believe in people..
Have you experienced a moment of trauma
When donations are brought to the camps to be distributed its a moment of complete chaos of desperate people fighting between themselves to not be left without, especially for food.
Do you remember anyone in particular among refugees or volunteers
Volunteers, it’s impossible to choose one from such a big community, every single one has been truly and magic in their own particular way and actions, Larry the missionary brought tears out of my eyes saying good-bye. A 60 year old woman with metastasis breast cancer that I visited every day with a young doctor from US to give palliative care drugs into her tent, where she made flat bread (non-stop) for all the refugees at Eko station camp. When someone like her tells you that she loves you like a daughter and asks you not to leave her, it really tears your heart into pieces.
What are you taking with you back home
A huge urge to come back and carry on until it is over.
Despite the criminals and corrupt governments, the unbelievable amount of beautiful hearts willing to help and care for those less fortunate.