Illustration: Paul Aitchison
Illustration: Paul Aitchison

“Madam Merkel, can you hear me?”

The Making of a Refugee: Part 4 – A series on Afghans in Germany

~This is the third part of an eight-part series, 'The Making of a Refugee', a deep dive into the lives of Afghan refugees and migrants living in Germany.

Germany was out of the World Cup, and on cue the weather turned grey. Hamburg was bathed by a fine drizzle, a deceptively gentle stream that acquired potency as it was flung around by the wind. This was what summers are usually like, I was told, and people seemed to relax into the routine. Bracing their bodies with practised ease against the wind, cyclists pulled out not only waterproof jackets, but also slick cycling pants, and shoes, and hats.

I walked near the harbour and was caught in a shower of rain that seemed like sand, pouring in everywhere. I cursed my lack of foresight, but I could have more accurately rued the crucial gaps in my knowledge. My tropical assumption that summer was a fixed, unchanging entity fled with the wind. And yet the shift in light gave a new beauty to the landscape.  Hamburg appeared anew, like a city full of mysteries, a truth hazily understood, poised perennially on the edge of revelation.

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Himal Southasian