“We often see people in the medical cabin with complaints that people usually go to the GP to: fever, sore throat, etc. But those problems are so much bigger for them and there is a lot of mental breakdowns attached to it. Someone who has a sore throat is completely broken down because of it. It’s all very emotional and stressful! That makes the work harder.”

Joep (67) had his own general practice in the Netherlands for 27 years and the last three weeks he worked in Moria. “Being in the Netherlands, I was upset that all these people are just stuck in the camp. Then I thought, what am I supposed to do? Demonstrating is not my thing. So that’s why I came here to work. At least I’ll do something I can!”

The team of doctors is a varied bunch of people. Different nationalities, big differences in age and various expertise. “It’s so nice to work as a team! Meetings go very easy and we really distribute the expertise well. That is very positive! Also physically I’ve been able to keep it together.”

But every day, our doctors are faced with the consequences of a life in a war situation, the journey to Europe or life in the camp. “The panic attacks and auto mutilation I find very horrible to see. Some of those people we see on a regular basis. I think that’s so dramatic and that is something that will really stay with me. What has gone wrong that you’re able to do this to yourself? That is very sad to see!”

Despite this desolate place, Joep is also impressed by the resilience of the people in camp Moria. “There are barbers that set up their business in the camp, our interpreters who are trying to make something out of it, children who are just doing children things by for instance sliding down a hill from a piece of cardboard. That is so great to witness!”

When he returns, Joep first wants to reflect on everything, but chances are that he’s coming back to help. “I’m glad I could have done a lot of things with my experience. I’ve tried to be as kind as possible and give people certainty and trust. And with a number of people, I felt they were able to receive that.”

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