Waiting, waiting, boarding buses going somewhere, and then more waiting…
Yesterday I briefly visited the newly erected tent city in Eastern Croatia that acts as a temporary holding place for 5,000 refugees until they are bused off to Hungary.
Yesterday I was again struck by how powerless and out-of-control people must feel. Some are not even sure what country they are in or where in the country they are. Where are the buses going? Should they believe the authorities if they tell them anything? What is happening next?
My friends working at the Slovenian/Croatian border said that yesterday when they were trying to move the entire camp back 1 km, more refugees showed up. When they were encouraged to go back to Zagreb with the idea that from Zagreb they would be transported across the border, the people did not believe them.
I can’t say I blame them. How many times have they been given false information or no information?
I understand why so many times they just set off on foot despite the fact that they may not know where they are going or that the hoped-for destination is miles away. For a moment you have control over your destiny—to start moving yourself rather than just waiting at the mercy of others.
I tried to imagine what it would feel like to be that out of control and powerless—but really nothing in my life can compare to their experience.
As this crisis continues to unfold, I feel like we are already in phase three of how things are changing. We struggle to keep up with the questions and ideas for answers—but by the time you respond to one thing, something else changes. My friend Teanna is doing some great writing on the questions and challenges as this crisis continues: http://centraleuropenaz.org/2015/09/21/border-stories-the-questions-in-a-crisis/
As I see the dynamics changing, my question for ‘we the Church’ here in Croatia, is this: Can we work together to have a consistent and long-term ministry of presence and service to the refugees? One person, one group, one church cannot do everything. Together, our shared power multiplies our witness and ministry rather than trying to forge your own path.