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One year later~Ein Jahr danach

Last week, I received an invite to a very special event for all the volunteers helping with the refugee crisis in Frankfurt, Germany. As fate would have it as a flight attendant, my flight was cancelled and I received three days off, in order to attend.

The event was held by Hessischen Rundfunk and was very graciously catered to spoil the attendees for all their efforts over the past year.

I went along with my friends, whom I had closely worked together with this last year, during the Gleis 24 (Track 24) at the train station in Frankfurt.

Some of us had lost contact, others were still always organizing and communicating on the many platforms we share in Frankfurt to help the families settling in Frankfurt with clothes, German lessons, or asylum questions.

That evening, we were welcomed by Dr. Frau, who shared amazing stories of late night phone calls, one of which asking to prepare 1000 beds in less than 48 hours. Though some people may have given up or not been able to manage, Dr. Frau and her crew settled in, began to work, and through magnificent efforts,were able to get every last bed ready. Meanwhile, the city of Frankfurt was abuzz with volunteers helping with apartment hunting, asylum requests and language translation.

Volunteers creating miracles

I couldn't help notice all the many volunteers, young and old, working for the same purpose;

To keep the human spirit alive.

This moment was, truly, a miracle for all of us to encounter.

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We were entertained by a group of musicians, some from Germany and some were from Afghanistan under the name, Hope. I remember that evening as they played their instruments with such intensity, such passion.They say that music connects and that night, its integration was finest.

Afterwards, there was a group of teenagers who performed a theatre piece. They spoke in various languages, telling about their families, all from many backgrounds, races and religions. They spoke of growing up in different countries, learning multiple languages and learning to be accepting of one another. In more ways than one, a beautiful performance.

Later in the evening, a motivational speaker shared his story of growing up in Germany.
His father was African American and had lived with discrimination throughout his life. However, he had decided that he would overcome it, defeat it and come out on top.This man, who revealed himself as an Olympic athlete and powerful motivational speaker, showed us how he had accomplished so much in his life.

I recall and meditate on this man’s words of wisdom:

“Don't worry about the expensive shoes and clothes. What matters is only what you do in life to make it a better place.”

“Take action.“

“Don't pay attention to what other people think about you.”

“Stay authentic.”

As evening unwound, Hope treated us to more music and we all enjoyed a lovely meal together. I had the pleasure to sit next to a retired man from Germany, who now gives German lessons to the newcomers on a regular basis.
He mentioned how much he enjoys to meet them on a weekly basis, see the progress and share his love of the German language. I asked him if he had learned any Arabic, but he said he's quite strict and only speaks German.

"It's about the young people coming to Germany, not about me."

I remember when he recited that famous quote from Mother Theresa:

"One drop in the ocean can change the world."

Looking back on that night, it was lovely to see old friends, meet new ones and enjoy conversations with those I had only conversed with on Facebook. I’m finding that every month the cyber friends become real ones and that is a beautiful thing.

Thank you to HI-FFM, all the volunteers and the wonderful city of Frankfurt, for your big hearts, your welcoming spirit and your never ending efforts to welcome all the newcomers to the city. Honored to be a part of it all…

As one once said, we're all just a drop, trying to make the world a better place.

Thanks to Marc Marean for additional editing on this piece.

Kayra Martinez

American citizen, born in Colorado with a passion for travel and working for a major airline. Humanitarian, Founder of Love Without Borders-For Refugees in Need.

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