I don’t really have much to tell today, since I wasn’t out much. At about 11 p.m. I wanted to collect some tickets from the bus station for the volunteers. But then I walked around some more, looking for refugees with children. Some families with kids don’t realise how cold the nights get at the moment; one volunteer had told me that children had needed to be treated for hypothermia the night before. I was introduced to a young Syrian who also spoke English, who was assisting with translating at the station. This was my only conversation on this short evening.
“Are you Syrian?”
“Are you a refugee?”
“Yes, I’ve been here for 3 months.”
“So you’re already registered?”
“And where do you live?”
“In a camp in Taufkirchen.” (I’m no longer completely sure if it was Taufkirchen that he said.)
“And how are things there?”
“Unbearable. There are only 5 toilets for 375 people.”
“Only 5 toilets?”, I asked disbelievingly.
“Yes, I can’t stand it. I only go there to sleep. Is it true that a room in Munich costs €500?”
“Possibly. But first you would need to be allowed to work.”
“I have the permit, but where can I find work?”
“Are you learning German?”
“Only over the Internet.”
“Is there really no German being taught at the camp?”
“No, nothing. The situation in Munich is really difficult.”
“What did you used to do for a job, before you escaped?”
“I studied mathematics, but I also worked in gastronomy. I want to work here, so that I can rent a flat and get out of the camp. Life there is very tough, it’s killing me.”
We were silent for a moment. Until now I’d only talked to recently-arrived refugees. This guy had been here quite a while, but was still living in temporary accommodation. I felt depressed.
“Are you coming to the concert tomorrow?”
“It’s a big show for volunteers and refugees. Do you know Aeham Ahmad? He’s playing too.”
“He’s a pianist from the Yarmouk camp. He was playing his piano in the ruins; there were lots of reports about him. You never heard of him?”
“Ah yes, I did hear about him! He’s playing? How can I get there?”
We asked at the volunteers’ desk and got tickets for him and a Syrian friend of his.
We walked towards the subway together. “I used to sing in Syria”, he told me. He sang me a few bars in Arabic.
While waling I said; “Aeham sang in a group in Syria called ‘Youth of Yarmouk’. Mybe we could form a group here called ‘Youth of Munich’?”
He smiled.“Yeah, why not? I’d be in.”
Translated by Math Tovey