As other volunteers have written on their blog posts, it is hard to put the experience working as a doctor in Camp Moria 2.0 into just a few words. There are so many intense moments and a whole spectrum of emotions. They vary from laughter with the staff and patients, to feeling totally hopeless and helpless to change the situation of those living in the camp. It’s a good feeling to help people get well, to comfort and reassure them that they will be okay soon, and to practice medicine with both empathy and your brain, without all the machines and the laboratories we are so reliant on back home - ie, the reasons I wanted to become a doctor in the first place. But there is also the frustration of seeing just how limited the work as a doctor in the camp can be. We can‘t change the circumstances of our patients, which are often the cause of the illnesses and they’re therefore impossible to completely heal.
That being said, the work Kitrinos and the other NGOs do in the camp is extremely important for the people there and it felt great to be a part of that. ‘Team Kitrinos’ is more like a family. All the interpreters, the doctors and the admin staff are so dedicated to their jobs and are really helpful with all kinds of problems that might occur during your placement. I met so many wonderful people and hope that I will manage to stay in touch with some of them.
I am grateful for the experiences I had - for example, helping to deliver a baby in the middle of the camp. I’m grateful that I could help a little bit, for the insights I got into the refugee crisis, and above all for having the chance to meet the camp residents and learn that they have similar dreams, hopes and expectations in life as I have. The only difference is that I have a passport from a safe country and could simply take the flight home to continue with my safe life, whereas they are stuck in Camp Moria 2.0, after they had to leave their homes, their work, their schools, their loved ones. They are on hold. Their dreams are on hold. Their lives are on hold. I don't believe this is acceptable, and I await the day that refugee camps no longer exist.
- Kitrinos Healthcare Volunteer Dr. Jan, June 2021.