Today’s “first” is that I did some voluntary interpreting in a situation that was new to me. The interpreting itself doesn’t matter too much, suffice to say that it was at a public authority and under circumstances I’d never experienced before. A purely bureaucratic matter and nothing spectacular as such.
But what was spectacular was the fact that when I said this was voluntary and they (a young refugee family) therefore didn’t have to pay me, they just couldn’t believe it. I kept telling them it was really my pleasure but they insisted on at least covering my travel costs, eventually shoving the money in my pocket as I still refused. Just imagine: these are people who have left everything behind, come here under circumstances you and I can’t even begin to imagine, who get financial aid so low it makes me ashamed of my government – yet they wouldn’t have it when I said it was fine. Why is that often those who have the least give the most? I was so touched by this generosity and gratitude that I walked away with tears in my eyes (and in the hope that they really will get in touch if they ever need my help again).
And as if that wasn’t a nice enough experience for today, C., F. and I also got a mention on the local radio in C.’s hometown today. His uncle works as a radio DJ once a week and tonight he really touched us when he greeted us in his show, talking about what a great little boy our F. is. So (if we don’t count the time my brother had a song played for me on the radio when we were teenagers) in a way I had a second “first” today in being mentioned on the radio. What an altogether lovely day! I suppose there is hope for the human race after all.