In memory of Igi Schönberger
Would you listen me, if I ask you to do that. Just on the street. Ask you to stop for one moment and listen to what I will say. When you go from one a sleek new goods store to another. What is more important for you to - new jeans in New yourker store, which will not disappear or the man who waited for your whole day. Will you read what I wrote here or maybe immediately you will read another article? Are you sure it is important to you what I tell you or maybe everything crossed out and the red light activates after one sentence – I'm asking for support to Africa.
The day before you feel how your legs start trembling, the heart beats more often and anxiety impregnate you. Your flesh and body parts all recognize the imminent danger, you are no longer secure, you feel how it's coming, soon it will start .. In the morning, after breakfast, some sandwiches, a bottle of water, some fruit and 20 pieces of magazines called "African Voice" travels to the bag . Last Looks at the school who knows where and you're on the road. By train or bus with your teammates to achieve one of the nearby larger cities in Denmark, where simply more people on the streets. Once, we tried to joke and so raise yourself mood, but soon it was no longer funny. Now we just quietly waiting. Now we just wait quietly. You tried to stop the time, cast on his allegiance and draw him back, only that more would take a trip, try to feel the moment when it has not yet begun. You are already here. Almost all the urban centers is fantastically similar - about a kilometer long pedestrian street, and right-and left them in shop windows. If someone just show me pictures of these streets, difficult to divide, where or where Esbjerg or Kolding city, the same firm, the same trees in the middle of the streets .. the same people who walk here, it goes down to one, then to another store and so eventful lives in.
A cold wind blows you in the face. Warm weather here is not even in summer. Uncomfortable, but here in the street will spend the rest of the day. Tenth in the morning, many shops are not open yet, so few people around. Twelve Sigh. Smokers will definitely smoke a cigarette before it begins. From backpacks you pull out your magazines and stood in the middle of pedestrian streets. There, where people walk around you stand.
It has begun.
Fundraising has its own type - face to face fundraising (or street fundraising) Green Peace first began to practice it and apparently found it. Everything is simple. you're in a busy street full of people and here you are trying to stop passers-by. You then said noble goals of saving the world and request them to throw money into the donation tin, buy a magazine, or even to tell their bank account for monthly payment.
In Danish school - an organization that are preparing volunteers for Africa and I had to suffer such a fundraising method. For preparation stage, and tickets to Africa is about 6 thousand euros. This is the amount that are required to collect by selling magazines with information about the school, teams and projects in Africa. Street full of people with full pockets of money and beautiful dreams - all sounds simple, right? Only one problem, it just sounds simple
The first thought that occurs to everyone that this is the same as to beg. Nobody would want to do it, but no escape, your dream to help Africa have led you to up these traps. For the first time, you need time until you stop the first man. Must overcome the psychological barrier, the fear that you are stopping unfamiliar to you man. How will he react? Helps the thoughts that you are in a foreign country where nobody knows you, so can do whatever you want. Relax.
On that day many years older German Hainers ran somewhere from the start . Another German IgI decides to take a walk, alone. I have to work alone.
Thank God a majority of Danes understand English perfectly, so you can refer to them in this language. To Stop them is easy, just simply turn to them with the text – "Excuse me, can I bother you for a moment?" To be even more convincing, you can add - for a very short moment.
Here comes an elderly female. Excuse ... Nein tag (dan. language - no thanks) A young man about 30 years ago - Excuse me, can I ... Nein tag. A couple with a child - Nein tag. An elderly man - Nein tag, one older female - Nein tag.
Congratulations - you well know how to pronounce the two Danish words. Sometimes, other people response and trying to find reasons for not stoping differently. I don't have time. I'm on hurry, I am going to work, I'm late. Later, after a few minutes, you see how they are leaving the ice cream shop with a large piece of ice-cream and slowly walking a few meters away from you.P erhaps sorrow conscience don't let to say no, so they make up some excuses. I don't know. I am not local, I'm not eighteen and etc, while yo uare trying to explain that it does not matter, they already managed to run away from you. Not today (this is for sure, that tomorrow). Others even say anything, from the distance make an eye contact, shakes his head, extends his palm against your face or with any other signs say no. Other do not show any sign, just pass through you like you would be invisible to them and none existent. But mostly it is "nein tag", even with a smile, but nein. After few hours of listening negative responses I feel that something is wrong with my motivation to continue to do so. I'm trying to find a teammate. i need a motivation. That's Igi goes into my side. We continue together.
The most important is somehowto stop a man. "Stop please" - obviously you will not gona to shout. There are a few tricks. For example stand, while asking for a moment, in such a way to block the pedestrian path. Then he at least for a moment really stops. No matter how you view it, this is an aggressive fund-raising. Because you stop people, preventing them to go from point A to point B. Konstanz once told me, how shepreviously did not like any of these funds raisers, which was full of Western European streets, how she get angree when they stop her and how she never stoped. But karma did that, now she has to place herslef in their shoes. To not feel so bad, you can to thank every stranger that you will bother and wish a good day.
Well and most importantly is to be happy. Smile, as if on the length of your smile, will depend on whether you will travel to the wells full of crocodiles, or not. .You have to attack people with your enormous energy and motivation. You try to clean your head and have only positive emotions. Yes you are lucky. Big smile on your face. And here comes a man, looks so nice. let's come kindly near him. Joyful and lively with a smile, tell him - Excuse me, can I ...
- Nein tag,
- Thank you, Have a nice day.
Don't worry, in the next hour might pass away about 50 pedestrians like this , only don't forget to smile. Nein tag. What they don't see when they go away and turned back to you is how your children's innocent smile disappeared after their response, and your face turned from happy enthusiast into man who lost all his property, family, career, where his face for itself says that its owner is experiencing a greater tragedy than the global crisis. But you must reborn again, here comes another one ... a new smile.
- Nein tag,
So you play a ping pong with you dismotivating passers-by negative responses, and your interior, which still must find energy for a new stranger, which probably will just hate you for the inconvenience. Thank you, good day.
You are trying to remember your dream, why you gave up on everything and come here. Help to Africa, volunteering, at least aim for something meaningful in you live. Nein tag. Thank you, good day.
A short time later you observe an interesting phenomenon. Around you creates a vacuum.Passers-by when they see from the distnce are trying not to go across the street at the center, but at the sides, behid the stands or the shelves with goods. that only bypass you and not face you. You create a new movement in the streets, it's enought to see you and they immedeatley change the direction of movement. That what is a real loneliness , you may think. Not to be alone on a desert island. But standing in the street and know that hundreds passers-by do not want to hear you. Tired with the IGI, we decided to look for our colleague Heiner. - Nonsense, it does not have anything to do with Africa, Igi said to me. Probably it is the worst place for it, but here in the street you doubt the most - what the hell are you doing, why all this? And this is where you lose most of their willingness to continue to help Africa. Maybe he came here, maybe here, and here I can see through the window Heiner is sitting in the Cafe, drinking coffee and reading a book. He gave up a long time ago and decided to not request funding for volunteering. Honest destiny later will make that he will go to volunteer in Africa and we with Igi no. A short coffee break and I with Igi continuing.
- yes I listen you. One passer-by stops. I've lost - something really stopped. What I should say to him? Magazine, yes magazine, show him a magazine and start introduction about yourselv and the school project in Africa. Looking into your eyes , do we really have a connection between us? yeah, what you learned in the training. With education we will fight againts HIV, every second person infected in Africa, a lot of incorrect myths prevail, no one yet knows what is really HIV. Uncomfortable silence. Need to grab the bull by the horns. So it's time to tell him that you are collecting money forfor the preparation phase of the volunteering program, and if he is interested he can donate, bought one of the only magazines for 50 kr. or donate a smaller amount. Another silence passer-by a clear second to consider what to do. Your fate decided. No thank you I'm not interested and he goes ... You can only keep silent ... and start again from scratch...
'They expect some fun, that you entertain them or provide entertainment' - once Eric said tom in the discussion about that - 'There are people who can sell anything, just because they are able to sell, so I'm not so I can not do' - he made excuse.
' Here you really sell not a magazine, you sell your idea,at least with small amounts of work to change the world. The idea is not easy to touch or to pack. So why should people buy a magazine?' - once tried to explain for me hungarian Bank. - Perhaps some of them previously dreamed of volunteering in Africa, but now because of the the situations - family, career, are no longer able to fulfill their dreams. So they can support you. They see a live person, to who has their aid will go, it is not simply a transfer of money tonowhere. You may agree to write them an email and inform them how you are doing in your project - the pros listed Bank.
'This appeal to their conscience' - had one more opinion Eric. 'Maybe once again because of the sorrow of conscience you can heard various excuses why they are not buying the magazine - do not have money, they said, while holding in hands fat wallet. I have all the money in the card , I'll go to withdraw and I'll return. They never return . Others say that they has already donated for other organizations. It does not have anything to do with you today and now, but with a smile on teir face, they can say - my conscience is clear, I cleaned it when I donated to others.
Once before the fudnraisinh, I listened to Zsófia stories about successful "fundraisers" who managed to gather in the streets thousands kroners. One was bothersome, and walked with strangers until they perhaps from desire to be left alone buy a magazine. . Other to -by offered a quiz - Do you know the number of HIV patients living in Denmark? Do you know how many in Africa? All find their donor groups, one followed better with older people, other with youth. However, all these success stories thet have encouragedyou does not work, because here and now you can not see it. You see only despair, tears, failures, and a few penny's in your hand.
Another legend is about a volunteer who in Copenhagen met a person, he told him for a long time about the whole program, how hard it is and how much still needs money to finish it and for trips to Africa. Later passer-by asked to wait and came back with all the missing money to the team. It turns out he was a famous Danish footballer. Norway, another volunteer was lucky even more during the first month he also met a football star which donated the entire amount required - 36 000 kr. Sometimes, suddenly, unknown from where they came, f they are usually warm and pleasant, and they bought the magazine. With 50 kr. and a smile on your face you are going to your teammates and show him your trophy. Sometimes a small amount of coins formed rounder. This is a little and you will never fall below targets, but still you not feel so frustrated, as the full-time earn only a round zero.
Towards the end of the day you feel tired not only from the standing and waiting, but it starts to be hard to talk for you. Because of the constant repetition of the same phrases you can not pronounce it clear, you dont know what the hell you are saying. Brain will automatically work for you. All the faces looks the same, you can't recocnised who you already asked to stop, who not. You lack a lot of money, but you can not give up. You have to fight for your dream, you will go to Africa. This is not simply fundraising, here will be decited your own destiny. You have to do it. Did not miss any passerby, trying to stop everyone, you feel desperate, the desire to scream and howl.And here he comes. He seems friendly, intelligent. Yes it is him, you waited for him all day, he will really stops, he will listen you, he will understand you. He is a good man. And he certainly will buy a magazine from you. Yeah sure, just do not miss the opportunity. Finally he approached. Finally, breathless.
- Nein tag.
We live an individual lives. How often do you think that you are part of the world. That when you receive, you must give, that somewhere is poverty, fear. How often do you even help your neighbor?. I just opened the door, the H and M store, bought for my son the latest fashion cap for 300 kr. and now i'm hurry to jewelers to get the ring for my wife for 2000 kr. Child are doing poorly at school, at work crisis, rising car loan every day, lack of money for all of my wishes. I have a set of problems and thne in the street someone trys to explain to me about the world's problems. I am me, you're you. I have a problem, your problem is your business. My money is mine, and it gives me security, no one will receive them.
About sixth o'clock in the evening from the neares shops comes , elegant young lady, with a uniform, which are working here. Then even more. They folded umbrella, outdoor goods pushes back the store. As soon as they are bback window blinds. Like a game of dominoes starting blinds down one after another in all other stores. Shops closed, the street is empty, no more passers-by. Ironically but the capitalistic need to buy more and more is the center of gravity, which helps to collect people for charitable organizations to collect donations.
More happier manages to get out of it when they received an offer for a job at this school, which have very strange rules (you are not allowed to work for someone else. Half-day school work, half- day studying and you finish of preparation and can go to Africa. Other attempts to obtain support from various companies. I heard about a girl who agreed with the shampoo company that they will support her if she will use their products in Africa and describes her impressions. Well, mine letters didn't recieved response. Others have no other option as this frustrating fundraising on the streets. Until finally, they have no more energy and give up or are expelled from school. It happened to Igi. One day he decided to leave laone to collect money. It was like the last try for him, which finally confirmed that he simply can not convince people to support him. I saw his sad eyes, he suffered from depression, I knew how much he truly wants to leave to Africa. However, he left school when I was not there. i did'nt had a change to say goodbye to him.
You trie again and again. Good ideas can not die, in this world must still be a miracle. But finally you feel how land down. The body hits the cold floor of a boxing ring. Light goes out and you hear the words of your fate - "Nein tag" It happened to me too. Thank you for your article read. Have a good day.
I wrote this article in 2008, before leaving the school. 2 weeks after that from my exteammate I heard the tragic news. Igi after just returned home to Germany committed suicide.