Someone recently sent me a message asking me not to post any further “horrible stories” about refugees because it “frightened and discouraged” helpers. I answered that my work was to report on what I saw and that I would keep on doing it even if some people disliked my depictions. Maybe I’m not reporting enough on what’s good. But right now it seems more urgent to point out what is wrong so it can get better.
Tonight though, as I came back from work, I received a message on my phone, from an unknown number, starting with +963. I know since August that this is the international code for Syria. The message was from a man I had met a few days ago (see here), who had needed to reach Munich, where his wife and children were, as they had been separated at the Serbian border. He had reached the Austrian-German border on his own, but despite having explained to the authorities that his family was waiting for him in Munich, was sent to Berlin with another five hundred relocated refugees.
Since our meeting, I have seen more than two thousand new arrivals. I obviously spoke to much fewer people individually, but remember each story I heard, even if they inevitably get mixed up as they pile up in my memory. Yet, I remembered Khaled and his story well. So when he sent me a message tonight in which he was thanking me and telling me that he had finally made it to Munich, to the shelter, through the registration, and was now receiving medical treatment after having been reunited with his family, this just made my day. He’s doing well, says the shelter is really good, and has finally seen an end to his journey.
This kind of news just gives me- and any helper out there – the strength to keep on doing what we do, and tonight’s happy ending is yet another nod telling me we’re taking the right path. So here’s to many more silver linings.