Friday, June 30, 2017

May and June Refugee Travels

We have been doing a bunch of short trips this past month or two, with the time between very busy in the office.  We have completed about 415 projects so far.

I took a quick trip to Houston Texas to spend time with my daughter and her new baby. Wonderful. 
We travelled by train to Schwerin in northern Germany to meet with the Red Cross.  They asked for our support of a program where former refugees are hired to visit teach new refugees weekly, teaching the parents to speak and read German and demonstrating how they can teach their own children to read, write and create art and prepare them for school.  Excellent project.

The director of the Schwerin Red Cross accompanied us on a private tour of the local schloss when he realized at lunch that we were interested.  They even took us up on the roof and behind that equestrian statue  .  The schloss is built right on a large lake and has great views.  Later, we took a harbor cruise.

Back home, the YW and YM from Frankfurt, Friedrichsdorf, Offenbach, and Usingen Wards all met at the Bad Homburg warehouse after school one evening and we packed 2000 hygiene kits to be sent to Paris, where members hand them out to refugees sleeping rough.

Next we drove east on our first trip to the Freiburg temple.  We met some temple workers who lived in the Livonia Ward! It was good to be back 'home."

While at the temple, we presented our LDS Charities Refugee Aid in Europe powerpoint and taught scripture and temple enrichment workshopsat a European Mid-Singles conference for 2 days.

Since we were in Freiberg, we met with the Dresden Red Cross, toured a refugee camp and learned about their plans for preparing refugees for existing jobs in Saxony.

They've done a great job of rebuilding Dresden.  This is the interior of the frauenkirche.
Next we drove south to Heidelberg where we met with the Red Cross to learn about their Refugee Mother and Child center in Patrick Henry camp.  This is a repurposed abandoned US military base.  Great idea: great housing and communal buildings.  The Female Friendly Space was in what used to be a Burger King!

We were also in Heidelberg for another Mid-Singles conference.  This time they packed 230 hygiene kits for Caritas.  Again, we each taught several workshops. Members come from all over the world to these conferences.  We have met people from Sweden, Korea, the US and the Netherlands, to name a few of the countries represented.
In Heidelberg we stayed with some friends, the Gee family.  Randy helped each member of the family make their own lightsabers.  A good time was had by all.
We drove north again, this time to Bremen.  Can you tell?  It was only after I learned about Bach's ancestors who were town musicians, that I realized that was a real thing.

In Bremen, right next to a huge awesome public park, the Red Cross has a special integration program for unaccompanied minors and men up to the age of 23.  They have hired the perfect people to work with these young men, encouraging them as they learn German, go to school, start vocational training and prepare to live independently in their own apartments.  This is one of about 10 projects we are doing to support unaccompanied minors.

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