The first day in a foreign country, with new and different people was a bit difficult. My internship was in Langeoog, Germany, with AWO Langeoog Mutter-Kind Klinik (Mother-child clinic). I landed in Bremen and everything was in German as expected, and all I could hear is German, which can be a little overwhelming. I did not understand half of the signs or some of the directions, but somehow, I managed to find my way. After a 10 and a half hour plane ride, a 2.5 hour train/bus ride and a 45 minute boat ride, I finally made it to the island Langeoog. The Island was quite large, with not many people, and it was cold and gray. It had actually rained everyday for the next two weeks.
My actual first day of work was interesting. I met the children of the See Schwabbeln. The kids in this group were from ages 6-10 years old, and a few 11-13 year old’s as well. Of course I received the looks, well because I was a stranger, but the kids were accepting of me. Some introduced themselves and the others were a bit hesitant. The first game I played with the children was Uno, a classic. I was pretty quite with the children. I really did not know what to say to them, so I decided to put my artistic talent to good use. The second day, I decided to draw super hero logos for the boys. I drew Spiderman, Batman, Iron man, Green lantern, Superman, and the Incredible Hulk. Sadly I do not have pictures of the others, because as soon as I was finished drawing, the boys took the logos to go play. I also drew this nature scene (below), but a bit further into my internship.
The next day, I was told to work with the younger kids in the Lachmöwen (seagulls). These kids were ages 4-6. By far, this was the most trying group that I worked with my whole internship. The first day I worked there, I was taunted by two four-year olds and called an “ugly chocolate lady”, told that I knew nothing and that I come from Africa. Now how do you correct a child on his blatant racism, because this was something he was clearly taught. I ignored the child and told a supervisor, whom made the children apologize. The children then went on to bully other kids. No matter how many times I said “stop”, “no”, “that is not nice”, they continued on, and their parents were not notified of their behavior. From this I definitely gained some patience and tolerance.
The children surely knew how to work every nerve, and push all the buttons, and not just my buttons either. The children that came to our clinic had mental problems. Whether it be ADHD or behavioral problems, it was our job, as interns and employees, to ensure that the children had a nice and relaxing time.
Also in the first week of my journey, my body had to acclimated to not only the weather but the air as well. On the Island of Langeoog, Germany, the temperatures never reached passed 80 degrees Fahrenheit. In fact, I wore a sweatshirt for most of the time I was in Germany because it was so cool. The air was so fresh and crisp. There are no cars allowed on the island, although there were mini electric-trucks, so the air is not polluted with exhaust. And since there are no gas stations on the island, everything is electric. The residents even had electric lawn mowers. And due to the changes in temperature, air, and the added pollen from the thousands of beautiful flowers, I spent half of my internship sick, or having allergy issues.
There were only two ways of traveling on the island, and those were by foot or bicycle. However if you were a tourist, you could experience the island in a horse-drawn coach!
One week down, 9 more to go!