Here is the rest of humanitarian worker Jean-Baptiste Lacombe’s story of his mission in Bangladesh, where over 600,000 people have sought refuge in makeshift camps since August 2017.

The sun rises between two latrines. The air is heavy with humidity, haze and dust, giving the scene a hot, golden hue. The neatly aligned tents that house the humanitarian workers at the Rubber Garden base camp are covered with morning dew. The Iranians, Norwegians, Danes, Japanese and Canadians wake up in the early hours of the morning and get to work at the hospital and all over the huge camp in Cox’s Bazar.

eff8fbb6-6ed1-4128-bd88-3b97d2d77717_350_197.jpgEach team adds their own touch to this ephemeral little village; there’s Iran Street, Viking Village, Helsinki Square and the Danish Hygge Cafe. The Iranians have massive sacks of dried apricots and brew very sweet tea, while the Norwegians make eggs and potatoes every day. Niels, the base director, looks after us like family. He knows that for many of us, the nights are short and the days, never-ending.
It’s difficult for everyone. Difficult to see lives suddenly being snuffed out. Difficult to see an elderly man, who is unable to get around the camp’s muddy terrain, carted around in a wheelbarrow. Difficult to see women come into our clinic covered in skin infections because they have nowhere private to shower and are scared of being assaulted. Difficult to see young girls, and sometimes young boys, caked in makeup and selling their bodies in an attempt to survive.

I often ask myself why we’re doing this. Every morning, even before the sun is all the way up, the camp swarms with activity. Each person is at their post, regardless of their role and regardless of the fatigue, sadness, and cold.

And slowly, we realize that it’s not all doom and gloom. We remember why we’re doing this. For the young boy just past the hill who, every day for the last four months, has accompanied us to the bridge while yelling “HOW ARE YOU? HOW ARE YOU? HOW ARE YOU?” at the top of his lungs. For the patient we cured who brings us sweets as a thank-you. For the smile on the face of the man dying of AIDS when we brought him blankets and painkillers. To convince a little girl that she can play soccer with the boys. To play with the kids. To reunite two sisters who were separated as they fled. To translate, examine, treat, listen, play, give, thank, learn, walk, walk some more, sweat, cry, smile, shake hands, drink tea, and work late.
There are no borders within the team. We help everyone who needs it. Today we went to the market to sample strange fruit, buy chocolate, and wander the noisy, bustling and intoxicating streets of Bangladesh. It felt good to take a step back. On the way home, I saw a young man trimming the trees between our tents. A white liquid was coming out of the trunks and running into small plastic cups. 
Rubber Garden! They were rubber trees, hence the name of the camp! The mystery was finally solved.

You can help by donating to the Myanmar Refugee Appeal.