Jocke Hedman – Project manager at Lesvos

Joakim, better known as Jocke, is our project manager at Lesvos and responsible for all off our operations such as cooking and purchase. He is a absolute delight to work with and has selflessly been volunteering for quite some time now.

What was it that made you give up your life at home to go away and volunteer?

– I do not regard being here as giving up something, it is not about that. I cannot disregard the privileges being born where I was, but what is of importance is what each person decides to do with what has been given to them.

For how long have you been away?

– I’ve been on Lesbos for almost 9 months now, since the beginning of November 2015.

Have you been volunteering before working with WE ACT?

Before starting in WE ACT, I had done quite a few other volunteer works, a variation of stuff.

– For a couple of years, I was active in The Swedish Red Cross Youth in Lund. Twice per week we helped a class with unaccompanied children with their homework. In Lund, I was also for a short period of time active in Skåne Stadsmission, an organisation helping homeless people.

In excess of the examples above, I worked one summer in one of Red Cross café and second-hand shops in Stockholm. I worked in the kitchen, and prepared and cooked the food served in the café.

Before I went to Lesbos in early November 2015, I volunteered as a English teacher in Chisinau, Moldavia, for three months. The original plan was to stay there for six months, but I decided to break it off earlier than planned, and go to Greece instead.

What does a typical day look like for you?

– I start early in the mornings, oftentimes between 2-3 am. The breakfast needs to be ready to serve at 7:30 am. After that I start cleaning the kitchen, and get on with the preparations for the next coming day.

Now, when I do not cook lunch and/or dinner, I am generally finished early afternoon. Of course, the days looked different when I did the other meals as well. Ramadan also changed the schedule dramatically, and the work load increased a lot.

I work between 10-15 hours per day, seven days a week.

Do you work all by yourself?

At the moment I do all the work by myself.

How many meals do you cook a day?

What do you want me to answer on that question? At Oxi I have no idea because it was a transit camp and people could eat how much they wanted to, at Pikpa I cooked between 800-1800 portions/day all together (breakfast 500 portions, lunch 500 portions and dinner 500-800 portions), and at Kara Tepe it has been between 600-1000 portions/day (breakfast).

Have you been cooking before?

Before I came here I had done some cooking, but not like this. I worked part time as a chef in a small café in Lund before I left, but it is not comparable with the amounts I am cooking here.

What are your future plans?

Soon I will leave Lesbos, and go back to Sweden. I have some stuff I need to take care of regarding my personal life.

After that I most probably will spend some time in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

WE ACT is planning a new project in Kurdistan, northern Iraq, and as I feel right now I would love to be a part of it. Me and Kurdawan , have talked a lot about it, and I promised him I would go with him if it were to happen.