I am about to embark, in two weeks , on my eighth volunteer trip, seven of them under the auspices of Volunteers for Peace. I’ve done this over the course of the past 15 years, mostly for two or three weeks in the summer, once in November for a month and a half .
This time I will be spending two weeks in Berlin. I’ve been there once before, when I was in college, when the Wall was still there. I think it’s changed a bit since then! My major memories from that trip are landing after a steep decent at the airport in the middle of the city( Berlin being surrounded by East Germany at the time) and crossing the border at the Brandenburg Gate to spend an afternoon walking the streets, among many still bombed out buildings, in the East.
My work this time involves project called Wikipedia for Peace. It is sponsored by the German organization SCI, counterpart in Germany to Volunteers for Peace here in the US.
This is what I know thus far (which is more than I have usually known in advance of my previous projects.) This is the 3rd year of Wikipedia for Peace, which took place in Austria the previous two years. Our international volunteer group of 15 will be learning to research, edit, and write Wiki entries relating to the subject of persecution and refugees. Each volunteer will be writing entries in her or his own language. We will be staying at a Mennonite Peace house, a former villa on the outskirts of the city, within the Berlin city limits. The accommodations sound dorm- like, a grade up from the usual accommodations on these volunteer trips. To be fair, I’ve stayed in dorm settings on a couple of previous trips, but more often on the floors of empty apartments, shoulder to shoulder in sleeping bags on the floor, with limited shower and toilet facilities to share. (Paris is a bit less romantic when you are sharing two toilets and one shower with a group of 24!)
That’s about it. I’ll tell you more when I get there!