By the standards I have become accustomed to, my fourth week on the island was relatively quiet. No major emergencies took place, and my team was able to complete a few projects aimed at further improving living conditions in the main camp. Due to a burst pipe, running water was unavailable early in the week and remained shut off for two whole days. Because the residents have no reliable source of produce in the camp, our main focus for this week was to construct a small garden on an unused parcel of land in the camp. Planting watermelon, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, and peppers, our hopes are that the garden will provide a source of nutrition to camp residents, as well as serve as a project to help occupy the minds of the residents. Ehsan, a former farmer from Pakistan, was crucially helpful in the construction of the garden, single-handedly preventing the would-be demise of many of our store-bought plants. Following the garden, the condensation outlets of air conditioning units running in the camp were plumbed and connected to a central collection tank. This tank will be used to water the new garden and prevent unnecessary strain on the camp’s already limited supply of water.
Towards the middle of the week, an organization operating on the island of Samos arrived by ferry to collect donations to be distributed to refugees residing on the southern island. Over one thousand articles of clothing were given, including clothes (for all ages and genders), shoes, blankets, and school supplies for a new school being constructed on the island.
Working near the clinic in the camp for the past few weeks has made me aware of a systemic problem. While having more doctors available to treat patients would be ideal, one of the biggest problems currently facing the camp is the lack of a centralized computer system. Residents of the camp must carry all medical information in tattered folders and are often seen more than once by the clinics operating within the camp. Implementation of a modern computer system would allow organizations focusing on healthcare to cooperate much more efficiently, in turn greatly increases the number of patients able to be seen each day. For the time that I have remaining here, I will investigate this issue further to see if such a system would be feasible to implement, as well as reach out to other organizations that may be able to provide the necessary equipment.