I took a beautiful photo of this girl at a demonstration on the road from Greece to Macedonia. It was an impactful sit-in. They occupied the highway for about 14 hours, preventing all travel on that road to Macedonia. They seemed to say that if they weren’t allowed into Macedonia, neither was anybody else. There were heated moments of the demonstration, both from the heat and confrontations with Greek drivers. None of the Greek drivers were responsible for the refugees’ predicament, but this was the only place they could be heard.

Politics politics politics.

Tala was about four years old and didn’t understand any of this. Continue reading “Tala”


Khaled and the snake family

Khaled had a pretty big family. It was hard to miss his mischievous young step brothers causing havoc all around the camp. His parents had come to the request table often. And Khaled and his wife had become kind of friends with me. I only found they were all related when Khaled killed a snake in his family’s tent. Everybody crowded around. The snake’s head was crushed, but its body still flailed about.

Our first concern was whether there would be more and whether they were venomous. There was about a 50/50 chance the one Khaled found could send you to the hospital, and Doctors without Borders had no protocol for snake bites. Build a tall wall around your tent, they said.

We passed on the information, and the family remains ‘the snake family’.  Continue reading “Khaled and the snake family”


Promises to Mr. Laughs

If I didn’t remember this person by his face, I would have remembered him by his laugh. He didn’t speak a word of English, but you could easily understand his laughter.

When we went on tent duty at our camp, we visited two other sites besides Hara Hotel. Incidentally, all three were gas stations – Hara Hotel, Eteka Gas station and BP gas station, with about 400, 50, and 150 people respectively. Mr. Laughs lived at BP station, across the highway from the others.

One night we began the tent duty too early, and started at our usual last stop, BP, so others couldn’t ask for tents just to sell them later. It was about midnight, and we arrived to find a group of a dozen people crowded around a fire. Immediately they all invited us to sit down and join in their tea drinking. It seems across Arab, Kurd, Turkish, Persian, and perhaps any Middle East culture, tea is an intensely social activity for any, all and everyone who may pass by. And the tea is of course always about half sugar. Continue reading “Promises to Mr. Laughs”