PARIS REFUGEE CAMPS: MARDi SITUATION UPDATE 01.05.2021 - VOLUNTEER DIARIES: VOLUME 1.3 - ASHLEY COLLA-HAFER (NURSE, USA)
May 1 2021, Mid-Pandemic Clinic Day:
We had a super crew today working at the warehouse. Two UK doctors, two international nurses, a translator and a physical therapist.
All our bags were stocked up from the day before, so we popped on our medic coats and headed into the wind. The commute was easy today, as we were working the Paris Events Center, a refugee housing center just 5 minutes away. The guard smiled kindly at my French as we greeted him and he unlocked the gate for us.
The guys are sleeping when we arrive during Ramadan. Miriam, the sweet social worker, grabbed the key for our clinic room and helped us to set up. Two men were waiting on the couch for us while glued to the Manchester United match. They continued to wait while we wiped down the table and unloaded our supplies. Lily, one of our experienced Clinic Coordinators, manages the door and takes down names that are recorded for the center. Each guys grabs some gel and adjusts his mask as he enters to tell us his tales. Luckily, our translator is available to ensure we understand him and he can express himself fully and freely.
As the day goes on, a line gathers as the center is waking up and coming alive. As a MARDi day begins, you settle into the comfort that you have a smile in your eyes that these gentlemen need. You have ears to listen and resources to provide. You are there to make a difference in the life of someone today. Maybe many someones.
As the afternoon passes, one of our regular French patients comes to request his weekly allotment of a medicated cream. From behind his back appears a small bouquet of lily of the valley. He has remembered that it is a tradition to pass hope and good wishes with the traditional ‘muguet’ to another. We only hope that today we can reciprocate right back.
It’s good to be here.
To get involved email info@MARDi.org.uk.