Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Refugee "Syndrome"

Focus (the German news magazine) wrote up a great piece today over a German social worker who was hired roughly a year ago to help handle the immigration overflow.  It's a piece worth reading.

From the description....this social worker was in some initial stage of exhilaration and jubilation when hired.  This was an atmosphere where she'd be able to help good people and demonstrate the worthy nature of German people.  

Today?  Disillusion has arrived, and on the miserable index of one to ten....she's pushing a ten.

She says it right up front....the vast number of her daily encounters are now troublesome.  Her effort was to support a center in Hamburg with around 1,500 refugees.

Weeks went by in the initial stage of the job, and each client drilled directly into the enthusiasm that she brought to the office.


They came to Germany with expectations.  There was some imaginary checklist and benefits package in their mind when they crossed the border.  You arrive in'd show up to register.....paperwork would lead onto the package deal.  There would be the nice apartment, the car, the immediate job, etc.

How did the refugees reach this conclusion?  My hunch is that social media helped to funnel the image to them.  We aren't talking about just reaches across to each particular group.  A handful of people who made the transition back in the 1990s....simply spoke of the stepping process and made it sound simple and easy.

People pumped up and fuming?  Yeah.  They really did believe the initial story and were willing to walk from Greece to Germany to get this fantastic deal.  When days in the refugee camp in Hamburg stretches in six months, and there's no apparent apartment handed to them.....simply a voucher to lead onto a down-payment and they have to find the apartment themselves, and are a bit shocked to see what a simple two-bedroom place costs.....the aggravation starts up.  The car business starts next....because they didn't note what a decent car costs....what the fuel prices add up to....or what monthly insurance (mandated) costs.

The most interesting part of her story is the paperwork and information process.  You see....some refugees sit there and provide data for the required paperwork....which turns out to be false.  You can imagine a German....hyped up on factual necessities....then discovering that they've wasted an hour in the interview process with someone who told them a bold-faced lie.  You'd like to ask why.....but you realize that they just don't know any better and probably were told by a friend to avoid the truth.

She even gets around to doctor's appointments which she has to help make at times....which people show some tendency to skip or forget.  In Germany, that's considered really bad manners which you miss some doctor's appointment, and that usually will get the clinic's administrator all irked.  When you call the next time.....they point out that they know that the last such appointment was a missed one, and be rather blunt about problems.

Being photographed?  That was one of the more negative comments in the article.  Germans would prefer you ask before you photograph someone.  It doesn't matter if we are talking about an instructor, a government worker, a teacher, etc.  In this case, the social worker had male refugees attempt pictures of her and she was fairly negative about that.

What you burn-out.  It took in this woman's case....twelve months to reach this stage.  She doesn't say she'll quit soon, but it'll eventually turn into some mental issue with physical symptoms.  A doctor will send her off to the Kur or some rehab unit for a month, and eventually.....she might even be able to get early retirement because of the issues.

My guess is that some mental doctor will eventually develop a syndrome for social workers, with all the attributes listed.  Refugee Syndrome will get diagnosed and eventually become some treatable illness.

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