Diary of War

17 March 2022

Day twenty-two

Anna [Berlin]

In Germany, people turn out to be as polite and attentive as the Poles. We can stay with Sylvia, a kind and sensitive girl from Scotland. 

Now it’s our job to settle in and get a fresh start. Margo and I go to the social assistance centre in Berlin to get temporary financial assistance. People have been gathering outside the building since 7am, although the doors don’t open until 9am. 

We are given coupons with numbers and we all wait in the courtyard. We have to fill in the forms with our personal details and the purpose of the visit. We stand in a queue for four hours. It’s chilly.

They call us in and ask for a picture. We get a voucher that allows us to get a one-time ATM payout. We want to save the money and only spend it on food and some personal hygiene products when needed. Since we don’t have a photo of ourselves, we have to find a photo booth and mail it to them. We use Google Maps. But finding a photo booth and buying an envelope takes time.

The funny thing is that we can’t buy just one envelope each, we have to buy a pack.