On a Wednesday, we had arrived in Germany with 109 severely injured children from six different countries. Three days later, we returned the same way, starting from Dusseldorf – on board with us the recovered children ready to return home.
In Tbilisi, the Georgian and Armenian children were the first to exit, along with their medical supplies and luggage. In Tashkent, the Uzbek and Kyrgyz children left, followed by the Afghans and several tons of aid supplies in Kabul. For the most part, such supplies consist of medication for former patients of Friedensdorf. The final stop was for Dushanbe, where the Tajik children were returned to their families.
At every stop, the children asked excitedly:
“Now Georgia?“ “Where Uzbekistan?”
Eagerly they anticipated their return.
In each country, there is a sheerly incredible outburst of joy when the children return to their relatives after the long, albeit necessary, time apart. Curiously, the parents listen to the course of medical care their children received. Proudly they learn how well their sons behaved or what their daughters learned.
The parents whose children had to stay in Germany are kept informed by the returned about what life in Friedensdorf is like and how their children are doing.
With astonishment they learn that their children’s best friends are from Gaza or Angola.
We also have met many former patients who by now have grown up but still need regular medication. They pick it up at our partners. It is very special to us to see how the once ill or injured children have developed. One is studying to be an engineer, the other works as a cab driver, the third at the customs, another one has become a history teacher while a young woman has chosen to be a nurse. Another woman we meet is now a married mother of two. It makes us happy to see that most of the younger ones attend school. They all go their way, enabled by the fact that they received medical treatment that could have not been provided in their home countries and unfortunately still cannot be provided there today.
The children are the future and hope of their families and can now again take an active role supporting them. This is urgently needed in a state that does not provide public welfare. A drive through the capital Kabul never fails to reveal the sharp contrast: the rough struggle of everyday life on the one hand, the optimistic determination with which people face up to it on the other.
Article translated from German by volunteer Chrysante Iliakis –
IB student at International School Dusseldorf