4 Beds in 4 nights
The first day was mainly the team travelling from different corners of the globe to Turkey. After a few delayed fights and missed transfers the last of the team finally arrived at Adana at 6am the following day – only 9 hours later than planned! The first night was spent in comfortable hotel beds, although some had slightly more time to sleep than others!
The team travelled south to Antakya, the devastation from the earthquake became more and more apparent the closer they got. There were buildings with obvious cracks, some with holes in the walls or missing walls completely, and whole buildings were leaning heavily to one side. Some buildings were now just a pile of rubble and others seemed untouched. It was heart breaking to see personal belongings exposed and scattered where the walls that once kept residents safe no longer existed. There were lots of houses with tents in the gardens, and different sized camps all over the place, in parks, on the side of the road and larger more organised gated settlements.
After collecting their host en route, the team arrived in Antakya at a gravel courtyard the church owned. An L shape of units had just been built there for people to sleep in, there was a large storage tent and the team were given access to a neighbouring workshop who kindly let them use of their squatty potty. Team tents were set up on the gravel and the gas stoves were on ready for the first team meal together just before dark. Second night was spent in the team tents.
Day three saw the team split into three, logistics set off back to Adana to collect the van they should have picked up the day before but it had been given to someone else (long story)! They were also able to pick up two Korean friends from the airport who were on their way to Antakya to help translate between the Turkish/English.
One sub team headed to the local church to make food packages to be delivered to local villagers who had lost their homes, they had a wonderful day working with the local church – it was only later they found out they had an unintentional change of plan and should have actually been at a different location!
The rest of the team stayed at camp to set up a first aid station to be run the following day and were blessed to meet a family that had survived the earthquake but lost their home and were able to give them essential goods. The lady was so delighted she came back later with two pot plants and a jar of jam to say thank you. But (surprise surprise) they also had a change of plan! It turns out more units were being delivered the following morning to sit on top of where the team tents were pitched, so they ended up packing the tents up.
That evening the team slept in the large store tent and it was an eventful night. Apart from dogs fighting, bin men and gun shots, there were three earth tremors (or aftershocks).
The host told the team of an IDP (internally displaced people) camp in Iskenderun that was in need of workers to help build tents, run children’s activities, support people that were traumatized and possibly provide first aid. So the team headed there to set up camp and were very pleasantly surprised. The camp has toilets, running water, some electricity, the gardens are lovely and they are close to the sea. It feels a lot safer there, is fenced and guarded by police (part of the reason they didn’t stay at the last venue was lack of security). There are 100 tents set up there, which the team helped build. At the moment the displaced people are in other location and will be moving into the tents tomorrow.
A guy called Solomon helped the team build the last tents, then invited then to meet some of his family and have tea with them which was great. In broken English he explained he has about 200 in his family (they count much wider extended family in this culture). But sadly lost 23 in the earthquake it’s the first time since being here that they had seen the trauma in someone’s eyes. Please pray for Solomon and his family. His brother was sleeping when the team visited, he explained that his brother doesn’t sleep at night as he’s too afraid. And when he woke up you could see the trauma in his stare. We hope to see them again.