52 SONGS

...the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life...

Thursday, February 4, 2016

You pull a missing size-43 boot from under a pile of 100 other shoes. Then you try to mix baby formula in the most hygienic way you can, given the conditions. Eight hundred refugees have to be squeezed into a space fit for only 450. 
Though the camp falls officially under the purview of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, it is actually managed daily by hardworking volunteers. I counted eight nonprofit groups that don’t integrate smoothly, nor communicate effectively. So camp life is an accurate simile for the larger forces at work, with kindness competing against organizational self-interest. 
That said, it is solely by the good grace of individual volunteers that these camps continue running. This is the bright spot in a crisis dominated by bureaucratic maneuvering in Brussels and barbed wire fences on the EU’s eastern borders. The camp is neither sanitary, nor comfortable, but it is vibrant.

[from

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