Yes, our room here in the refugee shelter is small. Often we stand in each others ways. Beeing on the 7m², you can imagine how complicated this can be. We definitely had places were we felt more comfortable than in the room we have at the moment.
Sometimes, however, you only have to change your perspective to see what you actually have. And that happend this night to me. This evening our room felt like a villa or a 5 star hotel. Why this was so? Let me tell you.
As every night we closed the doors at 11pm, turned the lights off and took the emergency telephone with us into our room. We were just about to go to bed as suddenly the phone rang. At the other end of the line there was a young man from Zimbabwe who called from an information desk at the airport and was desperately looking for a place to stay. He had just arrived in Canada as a refugee and wanted to know if we had a place for him. I knew our house is more than crowded and we can not offer him a place. But I promised to pass him on if he would call me back in a few minutes. Carmen was already talking to one of the other staff on the phone and they could find a way for him through the Red Cross. When he then called again after a few minutes I could refer him to another place.
At the same time, I also knew that at the moment all refugee homes in the city are full and the newly arrived refugees can often get no other place than in a homeless shelter. These accommodations are not cozy or quiet at all, as you can imagine.
I was not satisfied with the phone call because I would have loved to offer him a nice place in our house. I wondered where he went at the end of the day. Carmen and I sat together and prayed for him. Then we went to bed.
When I switched off the light I was grateful as never before about a comfortable bed and a warm, dry an quiet place where I feel safe.
From my new perspective, I feel like I’m in a 5 star hotel and I also fel a little bit ashamed for my complains I sometimes have.