“Forgotten by the system” Ilektra noticed. Such dramatizing comment allured my camera lens. Guided first by social workers’ nods and then scalped by projections of flames on the upside brick-wall …
I circumvented the ambulance, where Rose, the German nurse, dictated migrants how to avoid fights with each other and how to take care themselves.
After I passed through fifteen 3x3m tents, I reached rugged Afghanis and Pakistanis clamping each other to access the fading flames. At first they wondered who I was, but then ignored my presence once more to seek for some warmth.
As I was musing on these migratory birds nesting near the weak flames, Frank interrupted my inertia. “Yorgo, come over here. Distribution is about to begin”.
We assigned roles. Harisz would assign numbers to refugees and keep their lines in order. Some days later, I realized that even though he despised disorder and cheating of sans-nombres, he comforted himself within the position of inspector.
Frank, our head-chef would take charge of the meals—today we had been soup—, Natalia would provide mandarin juice, and me as rookie, I would remind “Keep your Spoon” to Afghanis and Pakistanis and “Maleaqatoh” to Syrians, Algerians and Moroccans.Some Syrians would be desperate for bread. “Khubz, Yezin”—bread, Yezin— they were shouting every day.
Indecisive to move on, two Lebanese prompt to wait for the NGO to call them forth to get their meals. Behind they were pushing. Stagnant and hesitant, Abdul and Farouk pleased those behind them on the line to calm down …
Frank, the head-chef nodded to Harisz. At once they stood towards the crowd and shouted “No lines, no food.” And they kept the rule for a while. The same breaking of the line rule came along over and over again.
Few steps from the lines of hungry migrants, Kate and Lucie distributed socks, jumpers, trousers with a stubborn tension to be “fair and generous to the have-nots”. Tension overrules throughout the air. The refugees remain sleepless. As a beginner, I asked the NGO staff “What do they expect?” “Nothing” they mumbled. Kate pondered “Maybe it is the fascists’ offense the other day.” “What offense”, I dared to ask. “Last week, the fascists abandoned few yards from the camp a souvla—huge metal skewer—penetrating a fifty-kilo row pig.” The unbearable odor woke up the migrants in the morning. “Violence everywhere”, I whispered.
The distribution was near to finish. Some Afghani friends called me to capture their few delightful moments, some weeks before they would depart for Europe. One of them, Rays, being bewitched by my status of handling a camera, approached me to check his appearance.
Rays insisted that I should recapture them, and later to follow him, exclusively him. Then he re-approached me and inspected the last-shot images. Something disappointed him again. Me, inconvenient by his requirements, passed him the camera.