Working in Augsburg: Day 1, 09.09.2013 – Arrival and Learning

Like I have mentioned here, and here, I have gone fundraising in Augsburg, but returned earlier than expected.

At first, let me explain about the work I had to do. The company is called talk2move which looks for young people who helps them raising funds for NGO’s like WWF, Amnesty International, SOS Kinderdörfer, Malteser, and a lot more. It was a 6 days/week and 10h/day job. On the streets in little groups with a booth we are supposed to talk to people on the streets passing by and trying to convince them of the projects we do in the organisations. The job was not a volunteer job, but we also didn’t get so much money. The ticket, stay, food, and drive to the city were all paid by talk2move. Every worker gets a compensation of 30€ per day which makes 180€ per week. Then you get points for the people you court. If you convince someone to contribute 72€/year, you get 1 point, for 96€/year you get 2 points, and 120€/year you get 3 points. Then there are also bonus points for contributing people who are older than 25, because they are financially more secure than the younger ones, and might as well extend the membership (the membership we do on the streets is non-recurring, for one year only). 1 point makes 11€, 2 points make 12€, and 3 points make 13€. And if you have already worked 5 weeks, you get an extra bonus of 400€. In the end, one could earn about 1900€. And at the end of every week, the group is going to another city.

So, that’s the concept. It is quite vague, but I still wanted to try it out. They also allow you to leave whenever you want to. It is not forcing you into something. If you notice, that the job is too hard, you can leave whenever you want, and still get paid for the few days or weeks you have endured.

My father of course bet that I wouldn’t be able to stay for 3 days there. For him, it was also very vague with payment and working conditions. But I told him that I would endure it as long as it would be possible.

So, on Sunday I packed my suitcase and the next day I left for Augsburg (That week was an exception. Ususally, new members arrive on Sunday, but that week they had their summerfest on that sunday). I should arrive at 4 pm at the train station in Augsburg. My train left at 13.58 from Stuttgart train station and should arrive in Augsburg at 15.40. I thought it would be better to book an earlier train in case of delays. My parents accompanied me to the station because my suitcase was ver uncomfortable for me to carry. It was an old vintage one. The newer ones were all big Samsonite ones. As we walked from the parking lot to the train station, we saw 4 black porsche driving one after another.

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After we arrived at the platform, my train also arrived after 10-15 minutes. My father helped me to put my suitcase inside, I said goodbye, and as soon as I found my place and sat down, the train moved and I waved to my parents. In the train, I couldn’t spend the time with reading “the hunger games” or a magazine. I had to read the guideline of Malteser which I should know by heart, as I was told by my team leader on the phone, only a few minutes before, when I was still in the car with my parents. The guideline was on the website of talk2move on the Malteser page (yes, I was put in the Malteser group). I read it the whole train ride through, and tried to remember everything. I was surprised, just like my team leader was, that I didn’t know about the guideline before. He said that the man on the phone who called me on Thursday should actually tell me to learn the guideline. But I can’t remember him saying anything about the guideline. After 1h40min I arrived at Augsburg train station. I heaved my suitcase off the train and searched for the exit which I found in no minute. I stood outside of the train station and looked around and asked myself if I should buy a coffee or something to eat. But somehow I didn’t feel like, especially not with the suitcase next to me. I phoned my parents to tell them that I have arrived in Augsburg and was waiting for someone to come and pick me up. I discovered a closed fountain in front of the train station and walked there to sit down. The weather was quite sunny, hotter than I had expected. I was starting to sweat in that thick pullover I had worn because it was so windy in Stuttgart. The team guide already told me that they would come bit late to pick me up, because they arrived just in Augsburg themselves. And had to bring their suitcases to the house first before they could pick us, the new ones up at the train station. I expected to be wating until 4.30 pm latest. Meanwhile I tried to memorize the guideline. At 4.20 I got a text message from a girl named Kim. She said to be arriving at the train station at about 4.50pm to pick us up. I sighed and was a bit annoyed, having to wait so long. I couldn’t concentrate anymore, because it was so hot and the people passing by distracted me. Finally, at about 4.50 pm I discovered the girl who was supposed to pick us up. She found the other girl, who was also waiting at the train station with a suitcase. I saw her from far, but didn’t know that she was also a new one. Although I guessed that it had to be her, because she also had quite a big suitcase (I mean, it has to be enough for 4 weeks). We went to the car, and the girl said she had to go grocery shopping at the super market near, and asked one of us to come with her, and the other one to wait at the car for the other talk2move worker who should arrive. I went shopping with her, and the other girl, Manu, waited at the car. I searched for the eggs, and Kim did the rest of the shopping. While shopping and walking we talked. She came from the north of Germany and it was already her 6th and last week at talk2move. We arrived back at the car, and there was already an asian boy waiting together with Manu. We sat inside the car and drove to the house. I thought it wouldn’t take so long, but it took about 40-45 minutes. That’s also why it took Kim so long to come to the train station. In the car we talked about what we were doing. Kim was also a student of empirical linguistics. Manu has just finished her A’levels and wants to begin a training as a nurse in February. The boy, Ben, was also studying politics and history (I think). He originally comes from Stuttgart, but studies near Bodensee. He also worked for talk2move last year in summer for 4 weeks. He was at WWF. And he said that he enjoyed it. After hearing that, I was optimistic.

After a 40-minutes car drive we arrived in the middle of a little farm-like valley. There were ponys and goats next and in front of our house :D

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The goats were so cute!!! I love goats! Later that day when the sun was slowly setting, one goat climbed up the roof of the wooden hut in front of our house. It looked so beautiful and cute! Unfortunately, I didn’t take a photo of it. Another girl, Alisa, took one and maybe I will ask her to send it to me, since I have her phone number :)

The house was also very cute, and as we entered, everyone was behind the door and awaiting us. I was overwhelmed because the all greeted us so heartily, I couldn’t remember their names after we settled in our rooms and went outside the door to sit under the sun and talk with the others :) I walked around the house and observed it. It looked so beautiful.

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The house was belonging to an educational club or something like that. It was called “Sonnenhof” (Sun court), and really looked cute. There were drawings everywhere in the house :) The house was also quite clean, except for the flys annoying us there every day. But later to that.

As we sat outside, we talked a little bit about what we are doing. Then the team guide, Michael, came down, a young man with blond dread locks. He looked puzzled and sleepy. There was also another girl coming from upstairs. Then I noticed it was the girl who presented the information to us at Tübingen. I found out that she came here after the summer party to stay for a few days with us :D I found it quite funny to find her here. As we sat outside and talked, Michael came, too, and made an introduction round with us. The one who was holding Melvin (the honeydew melon with a face drew on) was allowed to talk. Everyone had to say what he or she was doing right now, how he or she came to the idea of working at talk2move, the favorite place of that person, and the favorite music genre and band. I liked the introduction round. I also told about the girl, Jenia, who was at the presentation at Tübingen, and I was proud to announce the kills as my favorite band of the moment. After everyone was ready, Michael told us new ones to learn the guideline, because he wanted to test us. So we went to a place for us and learned on our own. Before learning, I phoned my dad, and told him that I had already arrived home. After learning for about 30 minutes we went to eat. They cooked potatoes and eggs. It wasn’t delicate food, but we could eat it. After the meal, one of the girls came inside to practice it with us. After a few times, we were ready. We went to the kitchen and the other ones started. They started with the experienced ones and the new ones should be the last ones. As all four of the old ones were through I volunteerily began. At the end Michael also gives feedback and how he estimates us. When I was finished everyone clapped loudly and I saw that Vera (the girl who practiced with us) was smiling widely. Michael said that I had a sassy and perky touch but he liked it and that I was quite good. The other ones were good as well. After that we had an argumentation practice. We had to write down and learn the right arguments to the corresponding statements of the people. After that, Michael gave us our Malteser passes and told us some things about Malteser’s history and projects. It was quite interesting. I didn’t know so much about Maltesers. I have only seen the Malteser dogs sometimes at street fests or so. I also didn’t know that they were engaging in projects in different countries all over the world. The project we supported was the fight against world starvation. It is a very common topic, everyone knows about it, but I wanted to convince the people to be a part of that project.

We went sleeping afterwards, because we had to leave the house at 8 am. With an optimistic thought I went sleeping, trying to relax enough despite of the flys.

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