Volunteers like Cathy spread some light in Lesbos

Syria

Posted on: 1st December, 2015

Category: Features

Contributor: West Cork People

The boats keep coming, no more than a hundred a day. Rubber dinghies weighed down with refugees, many from the ancient lands of Syria, others from the older, forgotten wars of Afghanistan and Iraq. On to the beaches of the Greek island Lesbos come men, women and children in search of a better life. The crossing may have taken just half an hour from the shores of Turkey, but it is extremely dangerous. This year, up to 2,000 people have drowned on this short journey across the Aegean sea.

Caitlin Ruth, Karen Austin, Mark Oko (chefs) and (front) Cathy Sharma at a fundraiser dinner held in Dunowen House, which raised Û2,500 for the volunteer kitchen in Lesbos. Cathy has been volunrteering in Lesbos for the past couple of months. Pic: Sean Casey.

Caitlin Ruth, Karen Austin, Mark Oko (chefs) and (front) Cathy Sharma at a fundraiser dinner held in Dunowen House, which raised Û2,500 for the volunteer kitchen in Lesbos. Cathy has been volunrteering in Lesbos for the past couple of months. Pic: Sean Casey.

The world has seen the tragic images of the lifeless children, the weeping mothers, the old wrapped in emergency blankets. The situation is dire and European governments are dragging their feet in response to the crisis.

The people who are there to meet the refugees when they arrive do not come from international AID organisations; they are volunteers from around the world giving their time and energy to help in any way they can. Cathy Sharma, a West Cork local, has been in Lesbos for the past couple of months. Here she works up to 12 hours a day, on a beach the size of Inchydoney, where the boats never stop arriving.

For Cathy, the relentless wave of boats feels like a war without bombs. Injured, scared and cold people are everywhere. She has had toddlers die in front of her eyes and watched as screaming mothers search the waves for lost children. But in the depravity and darkness, volunteers like Cathy are spreading some light.

Cathy works everyday in the ‘Volunteer Cook Kitchen’, a makeshift kitchen on the beach, offering out soup and sandwiches to the newly arrived refugees. The kitchen is run by half a dozen volunteers who feed a thousand people a day. They spend what meagre funds they have in local markets buying bread, cheese and vegetables.  The people who step from the water are hungry, having not eaten properly in days as they waited for their turn to board the dinghies.

On November 23, a fundraiser dinner was held in Dunowen House to raise funds for the volunteer kitchen in Lesbos. Chefs Caitlin Ruth, Karen Austin and Mark Dougherty prepared a Middle Eastern feast with lots of Syrian mezze like fetayer, muhamarra, baba ganoush. This was followed by lamb kibbeh and ended with sweets like harriseh and tamarind sorbet. In all, over €2,500 was raised. Cathy travels back to Lesbos with the money in a couple of weeks to continue her work there.

The people who have arrived in Lesbos have survived a perilous journey, many escaping the barrel bombs of war, the corrupt hands of people smugglers and the deadly waves of the Aegean. It is heartening to know that the first people they meet as they step from the water onto European soil are fellow human beings, volunteers like Cathy, armed not with guns but with blankets and cups of tea.

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Strict visitor restrictions have been put in place with immediate effect at Bantry General Hospital due to the number of patients who have presented with flu like symptoms.

In the interest of patient care and in order to restrict the spread of the flu virus within the hospital, it is necessary with immediate effect to ban all visitors to Bantry General Hospital, with the exception of following: critically ill patients are restricted to one visitor per critically ill patient and confined to visiting times only, and attendance at the Medical Assessment Unit (MAU) and Local Injury Unit (LIU) should only take place if absolutely necessary, only one relative per patient attending these areas.

The elderly, children, pregnant women or young adults, those with chronic illnesses or vulnerable others are advised not to visit. Outpatient, Day care services and routine hospital admissions are not affected.

All infection control measures are in place and every effort is being made to manage and contain the spread of the flu virus.

People with flu like symptoms are advised to contact their GP by phone in the first instance and avoid presenting at the Emergency Department at Bantry General Hospital.

Bantry hospital staff are asking people to think about all their care and treatment options and keep ED services for the patients who need them most. Others with a less serious illness can be treated by their GP or out of hours GP service where their GP can refer them to an Assessment Unit the following day if required.
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8th January, 2018  ·  

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15th December, 2017  ·  

RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta’s has just announced its Christmas schedule and it features several programmes of interest to listeners in West Cork.

On New Year’s Day at 12.08 pm we’ll hear highlights from the Éigse Dhiarmuidín Festival that took place in West Cork in early December, remembering musician and broadcaster Diarmuid Ó Súilleabháin. An Nollaig ar Oileán Chléire is an archive show presented by Mícheál Ó Sé on Wednesday 27 December at 5.30 pm about Christmas on Cape Clear and on Friday 29 December and 5 January at 7 pm, Peadar Ó Riada will bring us very special editions of his Cuireadh chun Ceoil programme from Múscraí. Keep an ear out!
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West Cork People - The Best Free Read in West Cork shared Garda Síochána - Cork, Kerry & Limerick - Southern Region's photo. ... See MoreSee Less

REMINDER: An Garda Siochana are hosting a Retail Crime Prevention Meeting, to be held at 7pm on Wednesday 29th November 2017. This meeting will be held in the Munster Arms Hotel in Bandon. This meeting is one of a series being held across the West Cork Garda Division, in association with Operation Thor, the Garda National Anti-Crime Strategy. The purpose of the meeting is to increase the cooperation between Gardai and the retail sector, ensuring that the current low levels of crime in the locality extends past the busy approaching Christmas season. The meeting will be addressed by the local Crime Prevention Officer, Sergeant Ian O’ Callaghan, who will discuss burglary prevention, shoplifting, fraud, and cybercrime. There will be a particular focus on cash handling and cash exposure of businesses in the run up to the Christmas shopping period. All aspects of commercial crime will be discussed, and we would strongly urge all businesses to make a special effort to attend on the evening.

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