Returning home after six months in Iraq

After six months in Daquq, Iraq, working in an area that was recently re-taken from the Islamic State group, Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders (MSF) Anna writes a final blog post...

Nurse Anna treats a patient

After having spent almost six months here, it is soon time to go back.

I feel, of course, very fortunate for this time, all the people I have met and for all the incredibly interesting experiences I have had.

Working in Iraq

I have worked in a camp for internally displaced people who had fled areas controlled by the Islamic State (IS) group.

Later, I was also helped set-up a clinic in one of the areas where many people had originally fled from. So, some of the patients that would come to our newly opened clinic, I already knew from the camp.

Anna treating a patient in an MSF clinic in northern Iraq. Photo: Anna Blideman

Anna treating a patient at an MSF clinic in northern Iraq. Photo: Anna Blideman

"A town torn apart by war"

Every week, there is more and more life coming back to the town where we have our clinic.

In the beginning, there were almost no people, no life on the streets, only demolished empty houses; a town torn apart by war.

Now, the market is flourishing. We meet children going home from school and people out on the streets.

The situation is still very difficult in many ways, but it’s so amazing to get to see the transition.

Saying goodbye

I am leaving Iraq with mixed feelings.

Sad to leave a beautiful country, with probably some of the most generous people I have ever met. But, I am also happy that I now a have a different picture of this country – compared to the one that I only knew from the often very negative media picture before.

Hopefully, I will be back soon!