A day in the life of a refugee: the wait

UNHCR Idomeni 2018

A mother feeds her two youngest children outside their tent in a makeshift camp near Idomeni. © UNHCR/A.Zavallis.

This article was exclusively written for the Sting by Mr Blehuiu Bogdan-Ionut, a 24 year old and medical student in 4th year at University and Pharmacy Craiova, Romania. Mr Blehuiu Bogdan-Ionut is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Association (IFMSA). The opinion expressed in this piece belongs to the writer and does not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

I often find myself in bed and watching TV to see news about the refugees. As I am the kind of thinker, I put myself in the skin of other characters, I often sit and think about what a refugee’s day looks like. I did not meet one, but thanks to the press and the information we have so easily accessed, I managed to paint a vast picture about this subject. I got a top 4 refugee stories:

  1. Greece. An Emergency Camp for Refugees. On the land is full of garbage and the unbearable odors do not lead you to the proper living conditions for people. Each day is the same: approximately 3,000 people go apace through the dirt, some of them simple people, others with higher education, even PhDs, exiled from armed conflicts in which many of them would have lost their lives if they were remaining. They sleep in improvised unhealthy tents, without toilets and list goes on. They want to go back home, but they have no reason, they want to leave, but they don’t know where.
  2. The refugee camp at Berlin’s Templehof Airport shelters over a thousand souls, daily. They are waiting to be relocated, given papers, not to live in 25-square-meter cabins, detached from hygiene and electricity. They are frightened and would like to be able to get out of this situation and continue their studies in their home countries, to live a life as close to normal as possible. But the more or less legal way they got to Germany’s territory, and the uncertainty with which the authorities take decisions that concern them, they are stuck for months in this building, which some call shelter and others prison.
  3. Two Kurdistan refugees in the camp on the edge of Timisoara, Romania. They live on a field with other refugees, and their daily activities are limited in waiting for good news. They talk to each other but they are afraid to talk about the refugee status papers in Romania which will not be ready as soon as they think. Some dream to get to Germany, others to Hungary, but until then they struggle to live from the 100 euros they get in a month from the refugee camp.
  4. In a Fast Food in the center of Cluj, 4 Syrian refugees work in the night shift. While working, they talk anout how they traveled to Romania on an inflatable boat and although they do not speak English or Romanian, they are friendly and try to earn their living. They try not to think about parents and siblings which were left behind in Syria. They built their life from zero, in a country in which they don’t know nothing about, with people who look at them with distrust, but hoping to break through.

Some refugees were lucky, somehow managed to stabilize, others are still in standby. They all share the same thing: the wait. Wait for help and news about the end of the war that they left behind. A war whose consequences turn them into innocent, helpless and worried victims for tomorrow.

About the author

My name is Blehuiu Bogdan-Ionut, I am 24 years old and I am a medical student in 4th year at University and Pharmacy Craiova, Romania. I am Vice President of Internal Affairs at Craiova’s Medical Students Society which is a member of Romanian Federation ofMedical Students’ Associations (FASMR), IFMSA. In FASMR I am the Coordinator for “Dignified and Non-Discriminatory Health Care”Program. I’ve been volunteering since I know myself, I’m a multi-tasker, self-motivated, team player, dedicated person. I dedicate myself in volunteering, medicine, music and also human rights. I like to travel and meet new people.

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