When Lise Anne Pierce arrived in Germany to help with the flood of refugees the country has been seeing, she was prepared for the worst. But one family stood out for a positive reason.
Two weeks ago, Pierce, a Victoria resident trained to deploy internationally during disaster situations by the Canadian Red Cross, jumped on a plane to Feldkirchen, a rural farming community 10 kilometres east of Munich.
The town, bordered by Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic in the south east corner of Germany, has recently seen an influx of refugees, causing the German Red Cross to call on countries for additional aid.
Pierce’s job was to help distribute 20,000 cots and blankets at the facility.
The family of five — a husband, wife, two kids and six-month-old baby — were among the hundreds of families who came to the centre daily to receive cots, blankets and foods.
“The next day, the husband was hanging around a lot and it seemed like something was bugging him,” Pierce said.
The husband had a brother that immigrated to Frankfurt 11 years ago. He had received word that his brother drove the four hours from Frankfurt, hoping to catch a glimpse of his the sibling he hadn’t seen in more than a decade.
“We drove him out to where his brother had been staying for two days and they got to meet each other again for the first time in 11 years and meet his family and children,” Pierce said. “That was over the top as far as feel good moments.”
Pierce added the family will likely live with the brother in Frankfurt.
“It was a humbling experience to be on the ground and receiving refugees and listening to their stories of having travelled through five or six countries and pretty much any mode of transportation in order to get to safety,” she said, adding that a majority of refugees were from Pakistan, Syria, Afghanistan and Iran.
“It’s really quite amazing to see the strength of humanity.”
The centre Pierce worked at is one of roughly 300 refugee support facilities serving more than 70,000 refugees operated by the German Red Cross.
Pierce returned to Victoria last weekend.