A Brief Encounter
A Snap Shot
Keep on Smiling
When Hope Fades

It is Tuesday after-noon. The big room of the OASIS is filling up slowly with people of different origin, age, language and gender. Children are playing with blocks on a blanket in a corner. At one table, a women and two young girls are coloring pictures of a winter landscape with birds with colored pencils. The five small tables are being surrounded with more and more chairs.

An "Albanian table" with young men from Kosovo is filling up.  There is a much desired list laying on an other table; people are signing their names on it... A women turns around descreetly and feeds her baby. Confused din of voices. Some Algerian men ask for coffee. The Afghan men at another table want sweet tea with milk ("sheer- tshai"). A quarter of the room looks a bit like a hairdressing salon or a barber's shop; that's the reason for the list...

Our international worker friend from South Korea is calmly cutting black, blond, long, short, straight and curly hair. Free of cost! And again and again he is drawing sketches on a piece of paper to make sure, that he understands where the hair needs to be cut shortly and where it should just be trimmed.

People are leaving one table and a group of young and older Somali ladies is taking their seat. Head-scarves; they probabely are not here to have their hair cut :-).  Wishes for clothes and shoes are moving us to go to the basement and the clothing room to try to meet the needs. A few people are standing by the tract- and bookrack, are looking for their language and are starting to read. There are at least 40 people in the room, but the atmosphere is quite calm.

One refugee-man cuts the hair of his friends with electric clippers: "Two, three or four millimeters?" ("a quarter inch or less?"). Hair is being swept away, coffee is being served, cups are being washed and refilled (much sugar and a little bit of liquid :-), communication- and understanding-problems are being overcome... much is happening, and still there is time.

A preacher from Kenya (refugee man) explains to me, that he is having an important interview concerning his refugee status in Austria the following morning. A deep spiritual message is following, just for me :-). What really touches me are the words: "Sometimes God has to disconnect you to connect you! Because of His love!" Yes, sometimes God has to seperate us from many things in order to connect us with Him; that's how big His love is! And we are privileged to hear and learn this from a refugee!