I could hardly sleep from excitement because my first day as a doctor in the clinic of “Better days for Moria” was just around the corner. All I knew was, that I was going to work in the unofficial camp and that mostly male refugees from Pakistan reside there permanently.
At 07:00 am my alarm went off and at 08:00 am I was already on location to start my working day. After I got to know my team, one of the female doctors showed me the rest of the hospital as a lead-in. The clinic consists of a lounge, an overnight room, a pharmacy, a kitchenette and a relaxation/praying room.
After the tour we got right down to business. A few minutes after we had finished, the doctor asked: “Are you ready to see your first patient?” A certain excitement came over me, as it was the first time I was allowed to treat a patient alone, as a fledgling doctor. I answered: “Yes, I am ready”.
When I opened the door to ask my patient in, at least twenty Pakistanis were already waiting outside the door. The other doctors told me that the clinic used to examine about 100-200 patients a day.
My very first patient was a young Pakistani, only 17 years old, with symptoms such as cough, runny nose and sore throat. I got him lozenges and let him know it was a virus, and that he was going to get better by resting and drinking lots of fluids. He gave me a funny look, remarking in his broken English: “Pakistan, doctor a lot of tablets”. Through this incident, I found out that in Pakistan one is always given many different medicines upon visiting a doctor, most of which are not even necessary.
Before I even got to look at the clock it was 02:00 pm already, the time really flew by. Some volunteers kindly brought food from the kitchen. It was lunch time. We went to the relaxation room to eat there, and it really tasted excellent. The volunteers working in the kitchen, had prepared a wonderful vegetarian dish with pita bread and chickpea casserole. Delicious !!
After a short coffee break we went right back to work. Three doctors and three nurses were present per shift and there was a lot to do, non-stop. Boredom was certainly not a problem.
We were later informed that there would be a peaceful protest against the closure of borders at 5 pm; so at that time we went out to join the protest and show our solidarity.
One of the Pakistanis, sang to us in Urdu, the national language of Pakistan. In that moment, all the volunteers joined hands and caroled the English song “Imagine” by John Lennon. The song is about a world in which there are no states and no religions, a world in which we live in peace; it is about being dreamers and that one day the world will live as one. Everyone was singing and humming, even those who did not know the lyrics.
It was very emotional, and many tears were shed. I do not know if it was because of the song, or just the situation, or perhaps both, but it was one of those moments where you feel as if the whole world truly was one. I felt as if we all were bonded together, as if there was hope, a better future and peace. It was one of those moments where you put all the negatives aside and only see the positives; it was one of those moments that I will carry forever in my heart. It was truly unique to see people standing in solidarity.
During the demonstration one could feel these young Pakistani men suffer, their greatest desire and their best hope: to live in Europe and have a better future or any future at all, could be felt to the bone. It was impressive. All these men have travelled far, have taken risks to sell their possessions and borrow money; all of this in order to get to Europe.
The following picture shows a young man sitting on a tree with a rope around his neck. This is to bring those to mind, who tried to take their lives a few days ago. The incident happended due to the hopeless situation.
It did was not long until I knew my way around the hospital and understood where to find what. After a few hours of work, it already feels as if you have spent a whole week there. All volunteers are in the same boat and help each other, it was excellent to see the team spirit alive in this clinic.
Today I felt so truly “alive”, there was much to do, I examined several refugees and was really actively participating – it was a good day. I can hardly wait to be back tomorrow.
Translation from German: Serena Nebo
|We are humans, not numbers||Isabel Scharrer||CC BY-SA 4.0|
|Help us live||Isabell Scharrer||CC BY-SA 4.0|
|Peaceful protest||Isabel Scharrer||CC BY-SA 4.0|
|Volunteers showing solidarity||Isabel Scharrer||CC BY-SA 4.0|