There is a lot of heaviness in our work in Moria. Conditions are crowded, dirty, and cold. People are tired, hungry, and many have been traveling for months- staying in the forests of Turkey for weeks.
But in the midst of all of this hard, I have seen the most incredible demonstrations of strength, courage, kindness, and love. Real life happens here, and these are normal, everyday people to whom terrible things have happened.
I met a young couple from Syria who said sheepishly that they are on their "honeymoon."
I met several preteen boys who just wanted selfies with their American girlfriends. Pretty sure our faces are all over facebook.
This man proposed to me. (He also asked us to take his picture as a souvenir.)
A little 6ish year old boy named Mohammed insisted that I share his cookies with him. (This was on the night when we were running out of food.)
I was befriended by an Iranian man who taught me about the immigration process and how registration works in the camp.
Several families chose to sit up for their 6th night of no sleep so that more families and children could come sit in the warmth overnight.
I got to tickle a precious little green-eyed Syrian girl, head full of curls, who giggled incessantly.
We worked with an Arabic translator who broke down when she had to tell families that we have no more room on her second day of work.
A quirky little 10-ish year old boy became "ruler" of the camp and frequently initiated a handshake, only to pull his hand back in a game of "too slow." He would repeatedly ask for things that we didn't have (in English), then when told no, would shake his head, grin, and say "speak no English."
I helped a young Afghan man search for his family for almost an hour, who could not find them, and then kept apologizing for "taking up my time."
Several men chose to leave the camp in the rain so that their family members could enter.
I had the privilege of adding a smiley face to the mark enabling children and families to re-enter the compound, and seeing the children grin as they recognize the mark.
I held a mother who wept when her adult son could not enter the compound with her.
A beautiful Syrian woman left the compound and came back to offer me a cup of chai.
Countless angry men came to gate to plead for a place for their pregnant wives and toddlers and were persistant in trying to find them the best place.
I met a family from Libya who have been traveling for a month, carrying their toddlers the whole way.
I met a young man with Autism who argued with his father and struggled to remain calm inside the camp.
Children quickly took ownership of the camp- running in and out, and in and out... and in and out to get VERY sweet chai.
A Syrian man volunteered to help us translate, though he had not slept in a week. Then, though he lost room to lay down, he insisted that we bring in more people to share his room.
These people have made a deep and lasting home in my heart. I've told some of these "ordinary" stories, because I want you to understand that these are normal people. They are people with family histories that they love to share, with children that they must discipline and care for, and with ongoing health conditions. They want wifi and to wash their hair, and people have preferences in food and others have allergies. Many are deeply religious and others are not.
Regardless, they are the very image of Christ and it is the most precious and beautiful privilege to hand them blankets and baby bottles. I wish that it were more.