‘Our life here exists of waiting’

PORTRAIT 11 – LESVOS – CAMP MORIA – JULY 2016

He’s from Pakistan and currently fasting. These first days of July are the last of Ramadan. It’s hot and he hasn’t got the energy to stand in line so instead, he leans against the guardrail with a friend. “Perhaps I’ll stand in line later today but for now it just takes too long.”

“Our life here exists of waiting. We rise and stand in line at six in the morning for breakfast, meaning actually having breakfast at around ten. We wait in line, about three hours, to see a doctor. In line again for a shower and toilets, as there are very few of them.” Another long wait here at camp Moria, is to continue life. As do many. It is not sure whether this will be a life in Europe. From those people that had to return to Turkey, most of them were Paskistani.

Portret 11- Lesbos ©Vluchtelingen in Europa

And now there’s a new line for him to wait in: Aaman Foundation started handing out food in the evenings at the side of the road. He proudly points at the founders: “They too are Pakistani.” These volunteers turn out to be Belgian Pakistani plus other nationalities of which one is Canadian. They cheerfully scoop food in bags. Men, women and children alternately are allowed to pass by the volunteers who each hand out something. Today’s ‘menu’ is a shawarma sandwich, orange, bottle of water, bread roll and a cup of what seems to be a chocolate pudding. The food car shuts it’s doors as soon as the people waiting in line get troublous. Children who try to pass the line several times are firmly addressed. This month Aaman raised money mostly from Belgian business owners. One of the founders says: “we don’t judge the people in this camp and we have no opinion about the food supply… We do however want to give people here something extra during Ramadan. Every evening we hand out 600 meals.”

He’s still leaning against the guardrail with his friend, listening to our conversation with the Aaman founder and visibly impressed by this fluently English speaking man who shares the same background as him. Still uncertain whether he’ll stand in line today or not: “Perhaps when everyone else has left.” At least watching the line brings some variety in this one of many monotonous days behind the bars of this camp.

Would you like to know more about the circumstances in Lesvos? Read: About Lesvos