Meeting the Schäper(d)s of Germany
While traveling through Germany, I decided to spend the weekend in a city called Köln (which is Cologne outside of Germany) with a friend that I met while in the States, Amy. We spent some time in an Air BNB while exploring the city and met the wonderful Theresa Storck (whose story will come later this week). However, while we were in Köln, we decided to travel to visit some of Amy’s friends that she had met through her time in Uganda in Africa. This led us to a small city called Koblenz just South-East of Köln to meet Christoph and Anya Schäper.
This couple is incredibly wonderful and the love that they have for others is apparent from the first moment meeting them. They have a light and radiance in their eyes that shows that they are interested and invested in you from the first second you interact. We met with them in their apartment and got to meet their two wonderful children, Joseph and Julia, that they adopted from Haiti. Their hearts are so wonderfully service-oriented through the way that they care for their children, each other, and how they have traveled around the world to help those in trouble and in need. I loved meeting them and had so much fun with their children and at their apartment, being part of their family, if only for a few hours.
Due to traveling to Koblenz by train from Köln however, Amy and I unfortunately did not have as much time as we would have liked to spend with Christoph and Anya. Between eating lunch, hanging with their kiddos, and seeing a German military base, we were fortunately able to find time at the end of our meeting to do an interview.
One reason that I am especially excited about this video is because most stories are finished, however this one is just starting. Since Christoph and Anya are both teachers, I asked them if they would be willing to discuss different aspects of teaching in Germany. In addition, I wanted to see how people who are actively living in a society that is caring for and receiving refugees react to that, particularly when their profession is impacted.
While this story may not be finished yet, I believe that is why it is important to hear. To be able to see where the story could go. As such, we focused more on a discussion of what German culture is like and how it is adapting to helping other nations. The way that I framed our interview was with a multi-questioned prompt of: “What is it like to be a teacher in Germany? How have you seen a shift in that profession since the acceptance of Syrian refugees, and how do you hope to see Germany grow through this?” and decided to let them run with it.
I want to thank Christoph and Anya for their time, but also their devotion to the people around them. Their hearts are so incredible for caring for the childrens in their classes and the nations represented there. It was an incredible honor to be a part of your home and family if even for a few hours, and I really had a blast talking and being with you. A special shout out to Amy as well, without your friendship, I wouldn’t have met these wonderful people. So thanks for needing a jacket at REI before going to Amsterdam. Side note-I am not sorry for the pun in the title, and if you don’t get it, an “ä” in German makes an [eh] sound. Being professional doesn’t mean you don’t have fun! Tschüss!