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  • Writer's pictureCRR

Blog mission Chios - Matthijs

And yet it happened… Between the massive mess and rubbish in the kitchen I saw a baby bottle standing….

Safehouses are needed on Chios because certain people are not safe in the camp. Woman with or without children which husband is murdered or absent, are apparently for common use. Men can do with them what they want. That also counts for the mentally ill. They and children from vulnerable families are not safe in the jungle of the camp. They cannot go to the toilet or bathroom without company. Also they cannot go alone in the dark, and now it’s summer in the camp with long evenings… These very vulnerable people are accommodated in safe houses by several ngo’s. On Chios there are 72 of these safe houses. People and families are living sometimes for years in a safe house, sometimes with 2 or 3 different families together.

Volunteers are asked to clean and paint a safe house last week. Our CCR team from the Netherlands, consisting of a retired doctor and his wife a practice nurse, a pastoral employee, a passionate English with a heart of gold and a 60+ police officer, singed in on this job.

Full of positive energy we entered the safe house. It was reachable by taking two stairs down from the street. When we entered we faced an army which flee away without fighting. It was clear, we interrupted the party of family C. Ockroach.

In the front room of this dark nest were a 1 and 2 person bed. We lifted the bed and in rained cockroaches under the bed and on the mattress. Behind the bed, in the small living tunnel we explored the kitchen. Looking for a cold beer I opened a cupboard. Also there a big party of the cockroaches. Some dozens, big and small, jumped on us in their enthusiasm. Everything in that kitchen was moving and covered with a layer of fat. The bathroom, behind the kitchen, was the only thing that did not move. It could not. It was stiff of the dirt and fungus.

The room at the back was equipped with a double bed. This is always used by whole families. Let’s see if here is life as well. And yes, we moved the bed and also here a lot if living creatures. Next to the bed we noticed a kids bed, including a teddy bear.

we’ve cleaning this safe house. All rooms, one by one. In the kitchen in happened. In all the mess I saw a baby bottle. A big fat cockroach was looking at me from the teat. I was looking and it touched me. I was crying and not because of the poison we used. Last week a baby has lived here! In this incredible dirty place was a crib. A baby born as refugee. Ware? On the long run for the enemy? Born in a shelter before the crossing? Who knows? Had this baby no change beforehand? Where was your crib?

I fully realized this reality. What a big difference with the place where my crib was. In a safe land. In a clean house. Surrounded by all needed healthcare. Born, not as a refugee (yet a stranger) but as recognised state citizen. Full of chances in good education and development. Almost a guarantee on good and healthy food. Wat a contrast! I stood still for a while to process this moment. And then, move on with fresh energy. Cleaning walls and ceilings, removing paint and eliminate all mildew. Before finishing the job we have sprayed anti cockroach on every inch of the place. After that we changed our clothes and we go for a swim. Just trying to forget all the misery and sadness and let it go with the waves.

Finally we delivered the house, because it was returned to this title, completely clean and pained. It was amazing to see how happy the next inhabitants were. After months of living between walls made of sheets, no privacy, a lot of heat, dixi as toilet and bathroom and after months of danger… An own house with protecting walls, closing doors, own toilet and bathroom and most of all. No danger. Maybe here starts another, new life?



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