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June 29, 2018

Wildly cool: A multi-cultural visit to the zoo

Saturday, June 30, pretty early in the morning: There is a lot of activity at the railway station in Bad Rodach. Seven families meet to board the train to Nuremberg. This in itself may not be unusual, but this group includes Ukrainian, Iraqi, Iranian, Afghan, and Syrian children who live with their parents in Bad Rodach. They all came to Germany from these distant countries and still have some obstacles to overcome to build up new lives for themselves.

The idea of inviting foreign families who are currently being housed in Bad Rodach to a joint visit to Nuremberg Zoo was the brainchild of Klaus Freitag. As a social worker, he was committed to the cause of children and their families for many years and, now in retirement, he works as a courier for the HABA Family of Companies. For assistance, he brought Brunhilde Guski on board, who knows the families well and has been helping and advising the refugees who arrive in Bad Rodach for some time. Anne Luley, an educator of many years, is also there to look after the large group.

“I was really happy that this day was made possible for children who otherwise would not have the opportunity.”

With more than 20 children altogether, the trip to Nuremberg is certainly not boring. Keeping everyone together on the train and in the tram is not easy. A certain language barrier within the multicultural group has to be overcome. Fortunately, 14-year-old Mustafa, a real language whiz, helps out by interpreting among the adults. The children themselves communicate with each other in German, their common language. Or – if they need to say something quickly – they simply speak using gestures.

Everyone is impressed when they arrive at the zoo: the great dolphin lagoon, the JAKO-O children’s zoo, the giraffe enclosure, the antics of the funny monkeys, and the spectacular feeding of predators – all of these fascinate the children, no matter which nation they come from. Little Malak, 6 years old, stands rooted in front of the kangaroo enclosure, her favorite animal. Belin can’t get enough of feeding the big and small goats. Everyone, whether toddler or teenager, enjoys a great day, which ends with delicious ice cream and a long visit to the large playground.

Back in Bad Rodach, the children and their parents thank Klaus, Brunhilde, Anne, and the HABA Family of Companies with smiling faces and warm hugs: “Thank you so much for a wonderful day!”

A special thank you also goes to Nuremberg Zoo, which supported the good deed and gave the group from Bad Rodach free entry.

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