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Posted By: Ted Wendel on November 10, 2015

Labels: Macedonia, Syrian Refugee Crisis , Volunteers

Migrants line up at the Gevgelija Transit Center on the border with Greece

The first day of a new mission for Project HOPE volunteers is often an intimidating time. The challenges of a new site, new people, different languages and a host of other unknowns can be overwhelming. But for Dr. Corey Kahn and nurse Louisa Reade, their first day was very productive. 

Each mission starts with planning and orientation. These meetings set the tone for weeks to come. Once the meetings end, it is time to travel to the site and get to work stocking and setting up. 

The team is working on the southern border of Macedonia, just a few hundred meters from Greece. Migrating immigrants travel through Greece heading to Europe. Their first stop in Macedonia is the Immigrant Transit Center. There they get official transit papers and wait for a train that takes them north to the Serbian border. While at the transit center, these traveler receive food, water, blankets and the opportunity to get medical care delivered by the Project HOPE team.

Project HOPE volunteer Dr. Corey Kahn cares for a migrant patient on her first day at the Immigrant Transit Center

On the first day the number of patients was limited. A strike by the ferry boat workers has stalled the transportation of immigrants from Greece. Even with the small numbers passing through the transit center, there were patients to be seen. Most patients have the routine bumps and bruises associated with weeks of traveling. One more serious patient fainted and hit his head. This type of injury involves the skilled care of a well prepared team. The Project HOPE team of Corey and Louisa were well prepared to care for the patient. 

About 2,000 migrants passed through the camp on the team’s first day.  Compared to the last few weeks this is considered a "slow" day. This short lull won't last. The ferry boats are back to work, and there are reports of over 10,000 immigrants on buses heading for the Macedonian border. Tomorrow promises to be busy!

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