Starting at 8pm every Wednesday evening, the tables and chairs are brought out and tea is brewed, turning the basement of the hostel in Kirberg into what we call our tearoom. Right from the start, we wanted to make time to meet our new fellow citizens and welcome them here.
We get to know each other, sympathize with diverse and sometimes shattering life stories or simply play board games. We communicate using gestures - if all else fails and our English runs out! Asylum seekers can practise the first German sentences they have learned, or later, increase their knowledge.
It's a big challenge to get used to living in a country with a completely different culture and language. Here we try to offer initial orientation and assistance and are the contact people for all kinds of questions. Sometimes we can give practical support and, for other things, we help asylum seekers to find the expertise they need and get in touch with the right people.We might even accompany them to meetings.
In return, we learn a lot about other countries and their inhabitants along with their customs and traditions. Even though the basement is furnished sparsely and the neon lights don't seem cosy, the evenings are based on an atmosphere of respect and trust. We celebrate festivities together and plan leisure time activities. Our tearoom has seen the beginnings of many new friendships.