In a Facebook post that's now gone viral, Dirk Voltz explains the reality of taking refugees into your home. And it's lovely.
If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to help the four million displaced Syrian refugees by opening up your own spare room, then it’s time to look to Dirk Voltz.
After witnessing the refugee crisis in Germany first hand, Dirk and his partner Mario decided they needed to do something about it. And by opening their spare room up to Syrian, Iraqi and Afghanistani men and women who needed somewhere to stay, they were able to stop witnessing the crisis from the sidelines – and actually make a difference in 24 refugees’ lives.
Now Dirk has turned to Facebook to explain to his friends, family and colleagues – some of whom were afraid of having close contact with the refugee community – what it’s really like to live with strangers from all over the world.
‘In bad times, one should consider their own balance sheet,’ he wrote. ‘Mine looks like this: Since July my partner and I have hosted approximately 24 people from Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq in our place in Berlin.
‘Our knives are still in the kitchen, precisely where I left them on the board. Before our guests from Syria and Iraq arrived. We never needed a key for our bedroom, except for one time a dear guest from Afghanistan needed it to play with our cats. Our four fat, old cats had as much fun as the young man.
‘But back to the knives: All that was stabbed with them in the weeks we hosted refugees in our home were onions, garlic and a looooot of meat.
‘Mario and I are still alive. Perhaps, even more intensively than before.
‘Whether we´ll ever return to a “normal,” we do not know. How can I care about the luxury chatter from yesterday? Really, what the hell is happening here?’
Dirk goes on to explain that at no point did any of the refugees comment on his sexuality, or lifestyle. Instead, they were focused on learning as much as they could about their hosts.
‘No Muslim who was there wanted to kill us in our sleep,’ Dirk wrote. ‘No one insulted us because we are two men and share one bed. No one, by any means, said they prefer Sharia law over German Law. We did not meet one person who did not regret leaving their home. The only bad experience I can recall is that our new friends used a lot sugar and salt. So we bought it at the market and that was that.’
‘The real disappointment that happened to us came in the form of ordinary text messages, death threats on the street, or insulting letters at the front door. Or simply from school friends, who cried and quoted the AfD [Germany’s right-wing political party].’
‘Instead of tackling the crisis, we act as if there is no tomorrow. Wake up! As if one could stop this migration of people. As if we could personally influence which war will break out. As if we all don’t have a responsibility in the world’s happenings.’
‘Who knows? I mean, who knows what will be someday? Certainly I know that what happened this past summer and this fall have changed our lives. You can be there for other people. Or you can be scared. And if that happens, I’m sorry. I’m sorry for those who live in fear.’