Reddit user verstehe_nur_bahnhof shares her experience of visiting Syrian refugees in her small German town.
Yesterday 78 refugees arrived in my small town in Germany. Many people have already been talking about how dangerous they will be and women will be disrespected by them and they'll kill us. That type of ignorance.
My friend went yesterday to the encampment, inside what once was a small shopping center. She said the men were so nice to her and her daughter that she wanted to go again today to see if they needed help with anything else. I asked if I could go as well to help.
We arrived there at around 9:30 and most of the men were still sleeping. I thought it would be rude to take pictures so I didn't get any of the inside... but just imagine a place where the walls are white and inmates are put 4 to a cell in bunk beds, and each "cell" was sectioned off with metal fences they use for construction sites, with some white plastic attached to it so the men had privacy from anyone walking in.
My friend had brought cigarette lighters for the men since all of them smoke (except the youngest, 16). The people in charge didn't really know what to do with us, but then I told them my first language is English, and they right away brought us to a Syrian doctor who could speak excellent English.
He told me what the refugees needed and I translated that to the boss running the encampment. At one point some men told him they needed shoes, because theirs were falling apart (literally). We split the people into groups because others wanted to go get groceries, and others wanted to take the bus into town for other stuff. We went with the group to get shoes and jackets.
5 men came with us. They all had thin jackets on and no umbrella, and it was raining like cats and dogs as we were walking. They got completely soaked on the way over. I had an umbrella and didn't use it because I felt bad that I could stay dry and yet they would get soaked. However, one of the guys (a 16 year old) told me in hand gestures that he would hold the umbrella for me, and he held it over us the whole way to the store. And I'm supposed to believe now that all Muslim men disrespect women? No. Never again.
In the store my friend bought them umbrellas, because their money that they had (200 euros for one month) could be spent on better things. She doesn't earn much either, and I thought that was really kind of her to do.
On the way back I was trying to learn some Arabic words, and I asked about mama and papa. One guy said his mom and dad are in Syria still. Then he said brothers, showed me two fingers, and then made a shooting gesture and said "IS". He said freedom as he showed me the gesture for handcuffs, and said "Gone". I cried. I looked at him and the brother that is still living (the 16 year old) and I could not stop crying. These poor men. They have nothing but broken shoes and a few clothes, had a third of their family killed by IS, and then they get stared at by Germans with looks of disgust on their faces.
I apologized to the two brothers. It made them sad to see me sad, they said. They called me "sadiq", which means friend in Arabic, and that touched me. They showed me pictures of their mom and dad and little sister and asked if they could take pictures with me so they could send them to their families. I'm glad that they and their families know there is someone here that wants to help them.
Forget stereotypes. These people want to be happy just like everyone else in this world. And even though I only helped them by showing them where the store was, I hope that they know now that there are people here in Germany that want them here. I want these men to be safe, to be able to go back home one day to their families and be happy.
I wish with all my heart that everyone in this world would want the same for everyone else.
I just would like to also say that there are so many people in Germany who want to help the refugees. Just today alone I picked up 10 bags of men's clothes from different people for me to donate to their living place. I mentioned they needed electric kettles to my son's Oma, who isn't a fan of refugees, and she offered the two that were in the cellar for me to take. The people here are overall good people, but some buy in to what the media or hate groups say about the refugees. If they'd just take the time to help their minds would be changed. At least, I hope they would be...
Compassion is the wish to see others free from suffering. SHARE if you agree.