On Thursday, well actually this is going on for months, but last week it became finally known to a wider public, it turned out that at least 500 people from Syria, Libya, Albania and many other countries, had been kind of stranded in front of the Office for Health and Social Affairs Berlin. Every refugee arriving in this city has to show up at this office to get registered and to receive help, with for example a place to sleep or to get food. An inevitable step, before properly being able to seek for asylum. The problem these days, it can take days, or even up to weeks, to get this simple number aka the appointment, which means that people who have fled horror, who are most likely traumatized and totally exhausted, that they have to wait in line for at least hours, if not days. Not daring to leave their spot; no food, not even water by their side. As the temperatures were rising, it became more and more obvious, that in the middle of my city, this bright and exciting Berlin, there is a humanitarian catastrope building up. As we couldn't bear even the thought of this, the husband and I decided to take action last Friday and we've opened the doors to the Fishbowl, asking the hood for donations of food, water bottles, kid's clothes, whatever our neighbors were able to give. What happened during that day, will stay with me for a long while. Within two hours the studio was filled with food, with clothes and toys, we had ice cream, tents and strollers. People were offering money and help. Others distributed the information about our collection point via social media or the papers. After only two hours, we had enough stuff to fill up two cars up to the max. Incredible. Berliners, you absolutely rock.
After everything was safely stored into the cars, we've made our way to the Office for Health and Social Affairs, only being awaiting by hundreds of like minded Berliners, who had already shown up with even more help, goods and men and women power. And by refugees, who haven't seen food, not to talk about ice cream or toys in quite a while. Within minutes, we gave out everything, heard "thank you" constantly and looked into faces so thankful, I don't even have words for it.
Don't get me wrong, I didn't do it for this pleasure, but because I am angry and shocked about the officials. I can't believe, how they couldn't see this coming and how little they are obviously willing to do something about it. I am angry about a horrible and inhuman discussion on who is a "real" refugee and if Germany is able to help them all. And about the so called "besorgte Bürger", claiming our social security is at danger. It is not. Forget it. And it is not the question. (There are quite a few blog collegues who have written impressive texts about this topic. If you are German speaking, you should have a look into their bright and intelligent thoughts: Minza will Sommer, Frau Meike or Kurzhaarschnitt). I trust my fellow Germans to be smart and emotional intelligent enough to understand, if someone needs help, you do exactly that. Help.
Therefore, we have made space in our schedules and will be opening the doors tomorrow again.
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