A nurse in Iraq: Inshallah

Anna recently returned from her second posting with Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders (MSF). She's been writing about her experiences in Kirkuk, Iraq, where she's been working with communities affected by the ongoing conflict...

I left Sweden, my home country, with one day’s notice.

After I got the call from MSF to say that it was time, I quickly cancelled my goodbye party and went home to pack. I flew the next morning.

I arrived in Iraq and travelled to Sulaymaniyah, where the MSF coordination office is located. I was heading to Daquq, a camp for people who have been displaced by the ongoing conflict in Iraq.

At the point when I arrived, security restrictions had come into place which meant I couldn’t travel onwards to the camp for several days.

In the same way it started – with everything changing fast, all the time – my time here so far has been very dynamic. We have experienced many security challenges, we opened a new project in an area that was recently retaken from the Islamic State group, we have had two earthquakes, the number of displaced people living in the camp where we have a clinic decreased from 10,000 to just over 2,000 in a very short period, and so on.

The context makes it almost impossible to plan, or at least to make plans and stick to them. I’ve realised that I’ve started to use the term “Inshallah” a lot. It means “If God is willing.” Because some days the only thing you know for sure is that you don't know what tomorrow will look like.