As volunteers in Camp Moria, we often are exposed to opportunities that are simultaneously joyful and melancholy. One experience that stands out is distributing underwear to the women fifteen years old and older in Section A of the camp. We started by sorting the donated underwear into sizes and counting to see how many we had. Once we could guarantee that each woman could receive at least one pair, we began weaving our way through various tents, children, and projects to distribute the underwear.
Having been in Section A for a little over a week, we thought we had seen and talked to the majority of the women who live there. However, this was not the case. We quickly discovered just how many families are housed in each tent and/or ISOBOX (“rooms”). Anywhere from seven to ten women live in one room with the rest of their families. The women who received underwear vary from young girls to mature women. Several of these women were pregnant, have extremely young kids, or in one room, had just given birth.
As we went from room to room, it was enjoyable to see how excited and grateful each woman was to receive a new pair of underwear. The women eagerly searched through the stacks to find the perfect pair for them. Something so simple reminded us how relatable these women are to us as volunteers. It was eye opening to listen to many women mention how few pairs of underwear they owned, or how one woman owned none. It can be hard to wrap your head around the fact that something as simple as a pair of underwear can be difficult to come by (and keep). Due to the high demand for underwear, there were even two young boys concerned that their mother would not receive a pair as she was away at an appointment in Mytilene and would not be back before we completed the distribution. They continued to follow us through the section until we reached their room where they could pick out a pair for their mom. This experience made the struggles of people living in the camp more apparent, and showed how often these individuals (even children) have to look out for each other. Overall, though there may not have been enough underwear for every person, the joy on the faces of those that did was gratifying and impactful.