“I hope one day, my baby will forgive me”… difficult words from one of Ritsona’s newest mums, Rashida. Before giving birth to her baby in December, Rashida spoke with I AM YOU about her fears of raising her child in a refugee camp.
Rashida left Morocco and arrived on the Greek Island of Lesbos where she fell in love and got married. Shortly after marrying her husband, Rashida moved to Ritsona refugee camp. She has fears, anxieties, dreams and huge guilt on motherhood.
“It is really difficult being a pregnant refugee, I never imagined I would be living in a refugee camp. It is hard to imagine I will have a refugee baby. My one wish is that my baby won't hate me. I am afraid to have the baby here at camp because it is not a good place for a baby to be born and raised.
The camp does not have access to doctors during the night, which scares me because if my baby became sick, I would have to call for an ambulance. We have doctors and midwives at camp, but when they can't do anything, I am sent to Chalkida or Athens.
Ritsona is remote and far from Chalkida town so I have to wait for the Wednesday bus to go to Athens if I ever need anything. It is really difficult to be and feel isolated; it is stressful for me as a first time mother. Conditions were much worse in Lesbos but at least we were not isolated, we had more access to transport. I wish we better had transportation at Ritsona; it would be easier if I ever needed anything for the baby. Life in camp is tough far away from my family, in a different country, with a different culture and alone in this place. At Ritsona, we received milk distributed but not milk suitable for babies. Baby milk is very expensive for me and I don't want to breastfeed.
In my home country of Morocco, we have ceremonies at the hospital for the baby. All the family attends and you are not alone. My family doesn’t know that I am pregnant, I wouldn’t dare tell them, and I wish they could be here with me.
I want stability for my baby and me so I would like to stay in Greece. I want to learn Greek even if it is not easy and I hope to have Greek friends. We live in a camp where the main language is Arabic, I only speak Arabic with people and wish to be closer to the local Greek people”.
***This account was provided by Ritsona resident Rashida, written by I AM YOU volunteer Amandine and edited by I AM YOU staff member Nivine.***