14) The Will to Help

This story is about the rescuing of refugees in the Mediterranean sea. A classical image for me, when I think about the aim of this project. And an image that is often discussed. About the signs that are sent with it.

For me it is a signal of empathy and willingness to help. Then the volunteers do not get paid or a certificate for their CV and from many people and institutions not even understanding or support. What is it then, that motivates them to do something like that? Humanity is what I would say.

A friend, E., left 2017 for a sea rescue service. For him, it was a shocking picture that encouraged him to become active himself: the widely known photo of a dead child, whose body was washed ashore. Die deaf sign, symbol of the innocence of children and the finality of death, has moved many people. For E. it meant that he did not longer want such catastrophes to take place. “We are a human family”, is what he says.

That is how he ended up volunteering for a non-governmental organisation, for who he came to the Mediterranean sea- not for holiday but to support a sea rescue mission. Together with a group of more volunteers he searched at the coast in front of Libya. Sea rescue service, for clarification, means to intervene in life-threatening accidents on the sea. Life jackets and water bottles were distributed to the often badly equipped and informed refugees in the boats and the sea rescue coordination centre informed. They do not do any transport themselves. But that creates already ethical questions, especially in health emergencies. The volunteers on board need to be aware before every mission, that they might not be able to help everyone. Medical emergency response is intended, but it can happen that it is already too late for some- and even though you want to help everyone, the resources should be saved for cases that are not lost. That is also part of it and everyone has to question him/herself beforehand, what they can deal with and what they are up to do. Because as many things, humanity is not a simple concept, but one with different faces and angles.

E. and his co-volunteers did at the end despite their open eyes not once have to be active, just as other organisation in this timeframe. Background were the increased measure of the Libyan and Italian coastguard, that made sea rescue impossible for them. And still- through the reports of friends like him, the pictures from the news are suddenly close. And you can ask yourself: what kind of a person do you want to be?

foto: SK
foto: ED

9) Tabletennis trilingual

I know, that it is a problematic topic every single time and in many aspects, but there are also so many positive stories in it: during the wave of refugees, that arrived in autumn 2015 in Europe, there were many acts of humanity on many sides. From some of his experiences reported a friend:

“Today I supported again the refugees on the fairground with the distribution of tea and food and what some people are thinking, about what is allegedly happening up their, is not true!

The most of them are so friendly, they try to learn our language and I wish I could learn some of these foreign words as fast as these kids! I am trying my best and try to speak a few words Arabic with them and then they are even friendlier to me. They help me with the words I do not know and ask me how I am, but they are even more surprised when I try to speak Arabic with them, because they simply cannot believe it.

If you see only the smile on their faces and the thankfulness for our help, you already know that it is worth to help!

Every day that I am there, I make new friendships and try to memorise unfamiliar names and faces and the best is when I can simply play table tennis with them! Try to announce the score in three languages, German, English and Arabic and concentrate on the game at the same time…

But my best experience so far was today: some of my friends had bought their own food (usually they get their food in the canteen) and invited me to eat with them. They, who had lost nearly everything, shared their lunch with me, simply unbelievable and truly rewarding!”