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Tag: medical mission


Calm before the storm? Mission Update 12/3/2015


Hi all,

As we gaze towards the Turkish coast, we see the Turkish Coast Guard trolling back and forth all day…and almost no arrivals on this side. Oxy camp is empty. We did some minor jobs and drove down the coast to Skala Camp, also quiet.

Yesterday we helped the Greek Coast Guard to process a group of 74 they had picked up offshore. The buses picked them up by noon and by five o’clock we saw three of the men when we visited Moria Camp, which is nearly empty. Those three men were already being registered, showing how fast the processing has become.

After visiting a likewise-quiet Kara Tepe Camp, we went to the ferry terminal and saw probably a thousand or two refugees queued up to board the 8:00 pm boat to Athens. Our wonderful Arabic speakers assisted in helping sort out some confusion and aiding passengers own what to do.

Today we saw the massive dump site where discarded life vests have been deposited. It really provides a startling visual representation of the population that has fled their violent homelands through this poor island.

Despite their dire economic situation, the Greeks have demonstrated many acts of kindness and humanity. One minor example is that restaurant owners show their support of our efforts with a discount on meals.

No one knows if or when the boats will start arriving again But most believe they will. It is getting very cold, one cannot cross in rubber boats without getting soaked, and nighttime crossings will be terrible, especially for vulnerable children and elderly. We remain vigilant  the next call.


These photos were taken by Sharif at the harbor. The volunteers helped get the refugees dried and warm. We have extra clothes if they need to change out of wet clothes. The mylar emergency blankets are really helpful because they are small, light, and easy to transport.

Lesvos1 Lesvos2 Lesvos3


Greece Mission Update 12/1/2015


Hi all,

We we worked a big boat this morning that may have been overloaded with as many as 250 Kurds. You can see the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTxYwLGl1Y0

Later, while we were at Lighthouse beach, we saw the big Greek navy ship go by. With binoculars we could see refugees on the aft deck. We raced off for the harbor only to find they were heading for the customs dock down the coast, so we raced over there. We got there just before the ship did and were able to help the Afghans.

We briefly helped back at the harbor after dinner with a small group.

It is clear that the agreement with Turkey is not going to stop the flow for some time though it has slowed considerably. The Turks will have to make life awfully enticing to make the refugees want to stay. How much can 3 billion  for 2.2 million refugees do?

We stopped by Oxy camp before returning to the hotel but nothing was happening there. Basel was then off to pick up Sharif at the airport.



Greece Mission Update 11/29/2015

This is an update sent to us by one of our Greece mission volunteers. His next post will be posted immediately after this, with photos taken just yesterday.



Hi all,

Lively day today with lots of boats. It was the first time that the new team was all together. The first boat that we met was along the road to Scala. The weather was beautiful but the refugees came ashore wet and shivering.

We then went farther down the road where other boats were arriving but there were plenty of volunteers there. As we were about  turn around and head to the harbor, our Greek lifeguard friends shouted, “Stop that car!” A small pickup was leaving the scene and we gave chase. It was some locals who had stolen a refugee’s backpack. We overtook and stopped them and the lifeguards gave them a tongue lashing.

The bulk of our day was spent working two groups brought to the harbor by the Coast Guard. Their boats were taking  water so of course they were soaked. One guy had been in the water alone for over an hour and was found by chance.

The end of the day was spent with a shift at Oxy camp but Nick and Olivia just saw a couple of kids there with Tarek translating. We filled the time until the end of the shift sorting meds.

Regardless of the agreement with Turkey we don’t expect things to quiet down…

That’s all for now


Humanitarian AidJordanRefugeesSyria

Matchstick People

Here is another post by Emilie Whitman who was on our November mission and also spent several months in Jordan volunteering at the Malk-SCM Children’s Center.


We were in Rehab, Al-Mafraq, a small town with no consistent medical services. A chilly wind slapped our faces as we stepped out of the vans. It seemed to sweep straight through the cement-block building in which we would work for the day, reminding me that November in the Middle East is still November. Inside, a teenage boy handed us paper cups of hot liquid, more sugar than tea. The doctors and dentists set up shop downstairs, with the gynecologist and humanitarian and psych teams in the rooms above them. Our psych team was four — Syrian psychiatrist, American psychologist (my dad), Swiss psychoanalyst and sand-tray therapy specialist, translator, me. We poured dusty sand into a small tray and arranged the figures (trees, tiny gnomes, animals, soldiers, fences, shells) on a table.

Continue to complete blog post, click here.

Humanitarian AidIraqJordanLebanonRefugeesSyria

U.N. Cuts Food Aid to Refugees From Syria

More on the unprecedented and disastrous cuts to the World Food Program. Please help by donating $31 to our food drive. For $31 we can provide a package of food basics for a family that will last a month. 


GENEVA — Facing what it described as a severe cash shortfall, the United Nations food aid organization said on Monday that it had been forced to suspend a voucher program that was helping to feed 1.7 million Syrian refugees in neighboring countries.

The suspension by the organization, the World Food Program, was one of the most drastic cutbacks ever by an emergency relief provider in the nearly four-year-old Syrian crisis, raising the prospect of widespread hunger at the onset of winter.

The cutback in aid will affect refugees in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey who receive voucher cards from the program, which work like debit cards so users can buy food in local shops. The same mechanism also provides an economic lifeline to communities struggling to cope with the influx of Syrian refugees that has swelled since the conflict began in 2011.

Continue reading full article by clicking here.



Community ServiceHumanitarian Aid

#GivingTuesday December 2, 2014


GT_2014Web-Banner_250x250_BlueAltWe have a day for giving thanks. We have two for getting deals. Now, we have #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. On Tuesday, December 2, 2014, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.

It’s a simple idea. Just find a way for your family, your community, your company or your organization to come together to give something more. Then tell everyone you can about how you are giving. Join us and be a part of a global celebration of a new tradition of generosity.

Please include Salaam Cultural Museum in your #GivingTuesday plans. You can contribute here by clicking the DONATE Button at the top right or left of the screen, or go to our Charity of Choice page to donate or pledge there: https://mycharityofchoice.com/payment/charity/9397?donation=gt

On Charity of Choice you can also sign up to be a fundraiser for Salaam Cultural Museum and start your own campaign to raise funds for our medical missions, children’s center, food drives, or for the general fund.