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Medical Mission to Jordan: A visual diary from a week with Syrian refugees and SAMS volunteers

Medical Mission to Jordan: After more than a decade of Civil War in Syria, and continuing conflicts like the unprovoked Russian invasion of Ukraine that further displaced millions of civilians, understanding the longterm conditions that war refugees face remains relevant. But as public attention fades, such topics do not capture headlines today, even as the impact continues to be felt here in Milwaukee.

On January 26, the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) concluded its six day Medical Mission in Jordan to serve Syrian refugees who were suffering after 11 years of Civil War in their distant homeland.

This photo collection was taken over six days, from January 21 to 26, at six different locations, which consisted of SAMS clinic locations in Za’atari Camp, Salt, Jerash, En Albasha and Marej in Amman, and Basma in Ma’adab.

Unlike traditional journalism assignments which do not legally need personal approvals to photograph people in public spaces, the medical nature of this mission required written consent. Every identifiable person featured in these images have granted that permission.

Other parts in this series, Medical Mission to Jordan: A journey from Milwaukee to help Syrian Refugees, share personal voices and stories of those involved in the SAMS mission to Jordan. This feature focuses specifically on the visual message that presents images, without captions or statistics, to express the conditions that were experienced.

Each photo stands as a witness to our shared humanity, and reflects the process that had no insight or backstory while taking photos of these individuals.

This editorial feature is one of a multi-part explanatory series about the “Dr. Majdi Omar” SAMS Jordan January 2023 Medical Mission. The journalism project embedded a Milwaukee Independent photojournalist, from January 21 to 26, 2023, with a group of Syrian American doctors from Milwaukee and Chicago. It documented their trip to Jordan and the medical work done at clinic locations like Za’atari Camp, Salt, Jerash, En Albasha and Marej in Amman, and Basma in Ma’adab. Medical Mission to Jordan: A journey from Milwaukee to help Syrian Refugees, shares the personal voices, stories, images, and conditions around those involved in the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) mission to Jordan. It also explores the refugee experience, and the intimate connections of local medical professionals, who put their work on hold and left their families behind for a couple weeks to provide healing to others who have endured a generation of trauma.

Series: Medical Mission to Jordan

The 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck parts of Syria and Türkiye on February 7. It came a week after the SAMS Medical Mission ended, and while Milwaukee Independent finished the final production of this editorial series. The public is encouraged to make donations to the Syrian American Medical Society in support of their vital crisis relief work.

Lее Mаtz

Lее Mаtz

About The Author

Lee Matz

A Milwaukee native, Lee worked internationally for years as an award-winning foreign correspondent and photojournalist based in Asia. He was also the first war correspondent from Wisconsin to report from Ukraine in 2022. Lee proudly uses MCTS as the exclusive mode of transportation for covering all his local news reports.