I first wanted to participate as a guest to discover the concept, in the idea to host after.
So I went one Thursday evening with another volunteer, Stefano, to have dinner with unknown hosts. It was quite exciting, but also quite scary to arrive in a new neighbourhood in the night… To be honest, I was expecting a new couple found of travels and meeting people, and I thought there would be many guests. I was quite surprised when I discovered that Stefano and I were hosted by a Syrian family and that we were the only guests. It actually made sense: one family couldn’t cook for 15 persons… I was really touched to see how much they cooked for us and felt bad not to have brought anything. I plan to invite them so thank them!
Our hosts were Feras, his wife and their three children. They live in a little flat of 30 cm2 in the North of the city and really wish to have a bigger one. Before living in this flat, they had to share one with another family. They come from Damas and arrived in Germany a few months ago.
Feras was telling us his story, we were speaking in German even if him and I couldn’t speak so well. Fortunately Stefano could speak very well. I was really happy to be with him because, honestly, it would have been quite hard to be in this situation alone.
The dinner was amazing, they made Syrian specialities: chicken with rice and vegetables (plus a delicious bakes pasta, even if it wasn’t Syrian) and a salad of raw vegetables. For the dessert, they made a semolina cake, chocolate bowls and crepes with nutella and banana. To be polite, we had to eat everything, but I was so full… They even gave us the rests to bring home!
The children were really cute, the oldest girl was going to the school and could already speak German very well. The mother unfortunately didn’t speak German or English so I didn’t have a discussion with her, but Feras told me that she was a teacher in the university in Syria and that she doesn’t work anymore in Germany. Feras wants to pass the B1 test so that he can find a job. It is very important to him, because without this certificate, he can’t find a job, and he wouldn’t stand it no longer.
He explained us that it was really hard for them to be away from their family because it is very important to them. They used to meet altogether at the swimming pool every week.
They also miss the Syrian food, because they don’t like the German food at all, so they often eat Kebabs.
Even if I knew that the life of the refugees was hard, it was different to hear it from a person that is just in front of you and asking for help. Feras did this villa-dining to meet German people so that he can practice his German. Unfortunately Stefano and I are not German, but we advised him to go the the Sprachabend in the villa (every Tuesdays, you can meet new people and speak German, English, Spanish or many other languages).
During this evening, I realised how lucky I was to know that when I will come back in France after my EVS, I will find my family, my friends, and my city will still be there, undestroyed.
This villa-dining is an amazing chance to meet people from a totally different social environment, which is a very enriching experience. The food is also delicious!
It would be amazing to develop the concept so that the people in the city are more united. Besides, it is so easy: you just need a platform to register! It is free and it works thanks to the hospitality of the people.
So let’s spread the idea!
Here is the website of the villa: