Nov 30 - Dec 2, 2016
In Berlin, we landed with no concrete plans.
The Maxim Gorki Theater never responded to our months of outreach even though meeting Shermin was part of the inspiration for this tour.
Within two hours Equiano had a tour set up with a Syrian refugee group the next morning, Monica finalized plans for us to volunteer at a camp in the city, and a woman who reached out to us over email, that we never met, introduced us to Club Al-Hakawati نادي الحكواتي, who invited us to their weekly meeting, which was later the same night we arrived.
We learned an incredible amount with Club Al-Hakawati at their base Theatre X. An incredible man named Ahmed, a Palestinian German, gave us a crash course in the refugee situation, and we became immediate friends with him and Sally, Hamoudi, Veronica, and the whole crew there.
We learned the politics taking place between larger institutions like the Gorki and smaller organizations, and the refugees and how they are used and treated throughout the scene.
After that it made sense as to why The Gorki wouldn't answer, as we clearly would have lobbied them to work more closely with groups like Club Al-Hakawati, and have more respect in their relationships with refugees. We still urge them to do so, and even though there has been some disrespect, the smaller groups are still open to moving past it and working together if the bigger groups like Gorki can take the risk.
The next day, Our morning tour with Mohammed from Syria was fascinating as he compared German history to Syrian history at different Nazi locations...
Later the second day we created a street piece with Club Al- Hakawati performed at another subway station. Then went to a camp that was meant to be temporary but has become more permanent housing for about 300 refugees, Berliner Stadtmission.
We offered to play with the children for a few hours. Equiano and I took a group outside to kick the football around.
About ten kids ran us ragged until it was time for dinner. When we got inside, there were a dozen more swarmed around Leah, Dennis and Monica, and as we left, the children had to be pried of of them...the best we could hope to do is tucker them out for the night and give their parents and the staff a brief moment of support...too little time... so many emotions...guilt, self satisfaction, joy, immense sadness, confusion, hypocrisy, anger...concern...determination.
A long day. A privileged one. Thanks to our gracious host in Berlin.
We left for Vienna the next morning.