It has been three weeks of catastrophes*, non-stop stress, sleepless nights, endless phone calls**, terrifying mistakes***, strings of appointments and an awful lot of driving around picking up donated furniture and scattered refugees, but tonight we got to enjoy the fruits of our labours:
The boys' first night in their own flat - Elkhom, Akbar, Tawab and Shamahmood, with me, Bexy and Nala.
*The Danzer Haus has been forced to close its adult programme and all its 18 year olds are being transferred to adult camps. By a huge stroke of luck, the very day we found out, our neighbour (the one with the right-wing mother who has befriended Sayed) put a flat up for rent, and not only let us have it at a favourable rate but also gave us specific permission to sub-let it to refugees. With four of them pooling the €320 a month living allowance they each get from the state, they can almost afford it if they don't eat very much. There have been lots of offers of help. They are going to be fine. Best of all, Marianne got Akbar, Tawab and even Shamahmood into a project with a Swedish artist that lasts for three months and gives them food, travel cards and German classes. Elkhom isn't part of it because he is going to Tashi's school for a term and is really loving it. We have already had an offer to pay for a German course for him and I have signed him up for an assessment on March 16th, which is the prerequisite for a place.
**I have made more begging phone calls to strangers than I would ever have thought possible, but Wolfgang has been absolutely amazing. It turns out he's a fantastic organiser and a great cold caller - I've been married to him for almost quarter of a century, but only nowhave a truly realised what a star he is.
*** One of our central goals was to get Shamahmood out of his awful camp at Klingenbach, but in our eagerness we jumped the gun and de-registered him too soon, so that he has dropped out of the system, and we are now relying on the goodwill of bureaucrats to get him re-registered in our part of Austria. It should all be all right in the end, but it has been very nerve-racking.