• Tamerlan Bibulatov

“It wasn’t our choice to come here.”

“It wasn’t our choice to come here.” Those were some of the first words I heard as I arrived at Quittenweg refugee camp. A camp rich with many languages, cultures and religions and stories.

Over the past few months I have been able to work with and among incredible people. Every day I get to learn more about a variety of countries, languages, cultural practices and the lives they had before coming to Germany and I realize that the title refugee is merely that. A title. By definition a refugee is someone who has been forced to leave their country to escape persecution, war or natural disaster. This definition eliminates personalities, faces, and names. It erases identity. Because of this, I hope to share a few stories that I have collected over the last couple of months, on people who are just the same arefugees who are real people, with real stories.
Over the past few months I have been able to work with and among incredible people. Every day I get to learn more about a variety of countries, languages, cultural practices and the lives they had before coming to Germany and I realize that the title refugee is merely that. A title. By definition a refugee is someone who has been forced to leave their country to escape persecution, war or natural disaster. This definition eliminates personalities, faces, and names. It erases identity. Because of this, I hope to share a few stories that I have collected over the last couple of months, on people who are just the same as you and me.

One day at the camp we set up a volleyball net. One of the men excitedly rushed out to play with us. Unfortunately he does not speak a lot of German, nor I a lot of Farsi. As we started to play I quickly realized how good of a volleyball player this man was. He knew how to serve it correctly, bump it off his arms and set the ball with the tips of his fingers to have the ball land perfectly on the other side of the net. This man who I had interacted with previously in broken sentences, came to life. He wore a serious, competitive face as he waited for the serve to reach him. He taught each of the kids the proper rotation and even explained the rules of the court.

Tuesdays are one of my favorite days at the camp. Every Tuesday we have an event called Dienstag Café. It is an opportunity for the everyone to come out of their homes and enjoy snacks, tea, juice and coffee together. "It is a chance to get to know one another and as I discovered, let loose of the "single story" in your head, whose danger Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie once described in this Ted Talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D9Ihs241zeg." It was on one of these occasions that I learned the love story of one of the couples. The wife had worked in a factory as a seamstress. In the neighboring store, the husband had worked as tailor, making fancy men suits. The wife was quite young at the time, but the two, working practically beside each other, fell in love and were married. They built a life together and had three beautiful children. It only lasted a few short years before they were forced out of their homes, out of their country and away from the beautiful tailored suits and sewing machines.

Each week I was able to teach English to the sweetest, most polite family of teenage boys. They were full of laughter and life. When I asked what they would like to be once they were grown up, they responded that they were going to be doctors. Doctors that helped children. They had goals, hopes and dreams just like every other teenager.

Doctors, athletes, tailors, professors, artists, writers: Refugees may lose everything they once had and knew but keep hopes, dreams, families and professions.

Kate Hadfield came from the USA to do an internship with us. This article consists of encounters she made at the refugee camp in Quittenweg, Altglienicke.

People vector created by pikisuperstar - www.freepik.com

 


About the author
Gastbeitrag
Gastbeitrag

Gastbeiträge kommen von engagierten alten und neuen Nachbar*innen und Projekten in Treptow-Köpenick und darüber hinaus. Unterm Artikel steht, wer's geschrieben hat.
Guest contributions come from committed longtime neighbours, newcomers and projects in Treptow-Köpenick and beyond. Below the article you can see who the author is.

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