Looking back

Lesvos, this must have been the weirdest experience so far in my life. It feels like I have being in another world – a beautiful one, where everyone cares about each other, where you would help the person next to you on the streets. At the same time an ugly one, with the unjust consequences of bureaucracy and politics as tangible as the mud under our feet. I have felt lonely and lost, frustrated and confused, but I have also felt hopeful and inspired. I have felt the strength and solidarity that exists only when strangers unite for the simple cause of humanity.

THANK YOU to every single person that I’ve met on Lesvos, who has dedicated time and resources to support and help other people around them – may it be refugees, locals or fellow international volunteers. I’m trying to resist the urge to tag people, because I don’t think that I could be fair. You know who you are; I will never forget you. ”None mentioned, none forgotten”, as we say in Swedish. Though I cannot not mention Off Track Health – Moria Medical Center, which has been my home for the past two weeks. Thank you again for everything you’ve given to me and everything that I’ve learned.

Really, I have learned so much here – about medicine, languages, the world, myself and others. It was an exercise in planning as well as improvisation, and also a gentle reminder about the diversity among all people. Being a refugee or a volunteer or even a police doesn’t necessarily tell anything about how your personality or your background – for good and for bad. Also, I understood how difficult everything can be – logistics, communication, organisation, distribution, really, everything. What I bring with me home, is a strong desire to learn those languages that I’ve been talking about for years (Arabic, Farsi, Urdu and Kurdish speaking people – you are so needed!). Also, I want to become a doctor now-now!

Our work is not ending here, our work has barely begun. I asked another volunteer if he would come back to Lesvos as we departed and he said no. He said ”we have greater work to do at home, in our countries”. Even though I hope to go back to Lesvos, to the Balkan Route or to some other island or camp sometime soon, I must agree to this statement. The work ‘there’ is extremely important, but also symptomatic. The walls of safe countries are growing higher, the conflicts are causing increasing displacement. We have to tackle this as well. We have to raise awareness, create understanding, change policies… Let’s act from where we stand, wherever that is. It is important. It makes a difference. Dont give up.

With love,

Jessica

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