Clowns from Fred Normal’s Utopia Quest brought vital moments of joy and levity through performances, music playing, dance and face painting.
With thousands of people arriving per day in the winter, securing a warm and comfortable night sleep was very challenging. The white UNHCR tent could house over two hundred people laying side by side while other families often packed into the small portable tents or buildings there were 900 people in a place that had a normal capacity of 300.
This was the view in the morning after my night shift of midnight to 9 or 10am. There were not enough tents for everyone so people slept outside on the ground in front of the white tents.
When people come off the boats they can arrive to the camp at night or during the day. Arrivals are happening 24 hours a day. The first stop is getting a ticket that says what day it is which indicates when they will be able to wait in line for official Greek papers. These papers attempt to verify who they are, where they are from and how long they can stay in Greece. Many come without passports. The goal for most people is to travel to other parts of Europe as soon as possible.
I met this group of Kurds from Syria who were waiting for the registration line to take their number. They had to wait a couple days so we were able to talk a while. They were living in these larger tents that house multiple families. They invited me to stay with them. They were worried about me and whether I had a place to sleep. Their kindness and generosity really touched me. They made their way to Germany and we are in constant contact.
I was invited to visit what we would call a nursing home in India. I met 10 of the 15 or so people living there. There were 2 women and the rest men and most were there because they had been abandoned. When I walked in 4 were in one room watching TV and four others in another room. Through translation they let me know they liked action movies.
When I arrived to New Delhi for the first time, I was dropped off by the cab driver to a location across the street from a slum. I wasn’t sure if I was actually in the right place so I asked the cab to wait until I triple confirmed that I should actually get out of the car here. I quickly walked over to some security guards and stood near them until my friend met me. I couldn’t help but wonder what went on across the street yet was glad that with my bags that included cameras and a computer..that I was near security. Over a number of days I was introduced to people who did some outreach, fundraising and educational programming at the slum and I asked about going over there and walking through it. I was introduced to someone who lived there who walked me through. The first time I was a bit scared. I was overwhelmed by the smell, the kids running up to me, and the fact that I really had to watch where I walked as I could step in anything at any moment. At the same time I found people to be mostly receptive to me being there. What I saw was kids playing, women washing or cooking or chatting, dogs everywhere, garbage everywhere. I went back in the evening and saw people warming themselves by fires, people watching TV in their one or two room houses and groups of kids or adults hanging out. By slum standards this was one of the better ones and still life for them meant one set of bathrooms for everyone, no running water and sewerage that could run off into the narrow streets.
I had been wanting to come to India for a while. I wanted to feel like I was in a different place. I got what I wanted. I was up early and went through some of Old Delhi. Most of guys in the photos are getting ready for market. I think I walked in on where they live. I guess they do the live/work thing like we do but with outdoor showers. They are in the spice market area. having a smoke getting ready for market below
i watched this monkey steel this piece of fruit and run up here. Check out the electrical work which is really common. I don’t know if the monkey is good for sales for the ladies boutique but I did notice the sign.
Old Delhi is a busy place…dirty and loud but with lots of character.
I am back in Ecuador trying to help the kids in the many orphanages that we have formed relationships with. If you have seen past blogs you have a sense of what these kids are facing. Dental issues are a huge problem. This one boy is one of many who needs so much help. We brought toothbrushes for each kid but that can only go so far.
One orphanage was only for children of parents in jail. These kids have had it rough…really rough. It shows on their face, in their walk. We played with them and bought them rice, eggs, pajamas and grains. This hardly makes a dent but it is something.
We are seeing leaking roofs, broken chairs, not enough cribs for new babies that come in, new bathrooms built but without doors. I had a discussion with the director at one of the places. How much to pay for a teacher I wondered. They handed me the spreadsheet of the teachers payroll..It is about 350.00 per month. A new minivan to take the kids to school. 25K. Oh by the way…it is a 15 passenger van that would take about 30 kids..
Today we went shopping for paint, cribs, mattresses, lice shampoo, face cream.
Do you feel better sponcering a child? Do you feel better buying them a mattress? Do you feel better knowing the roof is fixed or a vehicle is going to get them to school? Do you focus on education and want to pay for the salary of one teacher which is about 350 per month.
Are you a foodie and want kids to eat well. Whatever feels the most satisfying…I and they would be so grateful if you donate to the right of this post in the “chip in” link. Thank you so much…in advance.. Go to Facebook for more http://www.facebook.com/rachelelkindphoto
I was in Ecuador earlier this year with the Dando Amor group and was blown away by the generosity of my fellow volunteers and the needs of the kids that are there. I wrote about it on the blog here: past blog post. I am going back because there is more need. Through the money that was initially raised so much was done; beds and food and utensils bought, roofs repaired, walls and sewage systems built, toys given, portraits taken and laminated and given to each kid. There was also time to play with the kids and time to hold the babies. Every step of the way we were met with gratitude as well as the need for more then we could give then. More money has been raised in the past months and I am going back to check on projects, photograph the progress, figure out the best way to spend current funds, find other orphanages that have not been given help and visit with the staff and volunteers that do so much every day to care for the kids. Can you donate here on the link to the right of this blog “Chip In”