The Emotional and Physical Toll of a Long Journey Shows Through in Serbian City of Sid

The physical toll of the journey is evident not only in people’s expressions and body language, but also in the symptoms of patients shuffling in and out of the primary health care clinic that International Medical Corps runs at the station with its local partner IAN. The doctor at the clinic estimates that 85 percent of patients come seeking care for respiratory infections as a result of being exposed to the cold and traveling in such crowded conditions.

Sixteen-year-old Hedye visits a health clinic with her family from Afghanistan

But the voyage across Europe weighs people down not just physically, but emotionally as well. In addition to a doctor and a nurse, the clinic has full-time psychosocial specialists who are there to provide what support they can as people are in transit.

Salaheddine, a 26-year-old with a university degree in computer studies from Morocco, hasn’t slept in days. He left home two months ago, hoping to find work in Europe. Instead, he has only found obstacle after obstacle. When I met him, he had been stranded in Sid for 15 days, unable to move onto Croatia. And the $4500 he saved to get him to Europe? Gone.

“I want to stay and keep trying,” he told me, wiping away tears with the sleeve of his black sweatshirt. “I want to complete my studies, learn, and get a job. I have a degree in computer studies, but I can’t get a job in Morocco. I just want to be safe and have a good job. My family is poor.”

Psychotherapist, Milica discusses hardships with young Moroccan men in transit to Europe

“These people are changing their identity, moving from one life to another and that is something that has to be supported,” says Milica. “It doesn’t get bigger than that.”

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
International Med. Corps

International Med. Corps

International Medical Corps relieves the suffering of those impacted by conflict, natural disaster and disease by delivering medical relief and training.