The first cultural day trip by TeachBeyond Germany with the refugees housed in the former BFA Blauen dorm in Marzell was a resounding success. It was a Saturday full of new impressions and relaxing fellowship in beautiful Freiburg.
It started with an inclined-plane railway ride to the Schlossberg, a hill overlooking the city, to view Freiburg and its surroundings from above. Then the 16 Syrians and four Bosnians from Haus Blauen listened to an explanation by TeachBeyond member Benjamin Rudolph about why people build cathedrals. They heard in English, Arabic and German about the rise of Christianity and the work of Jesus on the Cross with reference to some of the colorful mosaics and stained-glass windows within the Freiburg cathedral. They learned about the lighting of memorial candles before climbing the steps to the cathedral tower.
They could not pass the open-air farmers’ market surrounding the cathedral without spending some money on the delicious food.
Natalie Rudolph, another TeachBeyond member who planned the trip as a practical part of the integration training, led the group to Augustinerplatz, a plaza in the pedestrian zone where young people gather in the summer, and explained the “pillar of tolerance.” This 9-foot-tall light column changes color from green to yellow to red at 11 p.m. to signal the start of “quiet hours” when music and noise must end. Thus, the refugees learned about the German noise ordinance.
After a few hours of free time, the group met for dinner at the Martinsbräu restaurant. It was a wonderful day that brought all closer together and furthered the integration process. One of the refugees commented, “Natalie and Susanne, you’re both more than social workers for us. You’re real sisters.” Yes, our God unites the nations – is that not wonderful!? (ist das nicht wunderbar!?)