Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Hard times, guns and bed bugs

This evenings post isn't going to be such a happy one I'm afraid. There has been lot's going on, and none of it that good.

Today was pretty intense, we rocked up to do the free shop, which I had been really looking forward to as I was paired up with my buddy Bella who I always have fun working with. However after we had unpacked the entire shop, humped tons of food up onto the shelves and opened for all of 5 minutes, security came and shut us down on the premise that they were going to spray the community kitchen for bedbugs. So the long, slow process of getting everything out of the kitchen while people were trying to get their items began. Eventually we setup in the other kitchen and ran the entire operation from there, which was cramped, and very very hectic. It was going ok until some 15 year old kiddy turned up without his card. We need to make sure that everyone gets food, and we will never let anyone leave without getting at least the basic items. However each day we have 2 'treat' items, today's were tomatoes and apples, which only go to people that have the cards to make sure everyone gets some. This kiddy had rocked up wanting 7 of each for the guys in his hut. Bella quite rightly refused, asking him to go get his card, and then things started to go south quite quickly. He started getting abusive, and trying to throw our paperwork about over the counter, in the end he threatened to kill her before being escorted out by some other refugees. She was obviously quite shaken, but was a trooper about the whole thing. It turned out that this kiddy was in  bad place. He had paid money to a smuggler to help him get out of camp, however the smuggler had just ripped him off, this only happened 2 days ago, so he was pretty raw about it. Eventually I met him outside and had a chat to calm the whole thing down. He had felt disrespected by a girl, and this was the crux of the situation. In Afgan culture there is a big divide between women and men, and being told no by a ballsy little Italian girl had pressed his buttons at a time when he was already feeling very wound up. Nothing came of it though and everything was fine in the end. One thing I find myself having to remind myself is that these guys are having a terrible time. Whilst it's not acceptable in any way, it can be understood by the terrible conditions and danger that makes up their lives.

While we are on the subject of danger in camp there have been another couple of incidents in camp. Today as we were closing up shop someone had let a tear gas canister off in the toilet block next to the shop. I have no idea who or why, but there were some very unhappy looking guys with their eyes streaming outside the block. Whilst this may seem like an extreme incident, it pales in comparison to what went on 2 days ago. At just 6pm in the evening a fire fight broke out that ended up in 5 people being shot including 1 security guard. Again I have no idea how it came about, but the camp has been visibly very tense since it happened. At this point I'd like to interject that I have seen very little of this, and don't feel threatened at all. There is a criminal element, and a very dark one at that. I've talked before about sexual abuse and violence, however the vast majority of people are amazing! They live in such horrible conditions, getting grief everyday by the police, and treated like animals, yet through this they are some of the most welcoming, and genuinely amazing people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. I think about my friends out there in camp, and how they are able to just keep going, and it amazes, and humbles me every time. I wish there was more I could do, or even that I could tell them it will be ok in the end.

Ok, enough heavy stuff for tonight. Here's a couple of kudrish words before bed:

Bashi: You good?
Bashum: I'm good!

T x

No comments:

Post a Comment