The Tramprennen 2016 is over and still after three weeks and a lot of hitchhiking after our arrival in Tsigov Chark we can hardly find words to describe what happened during the past weeks, which felt more like months, between Halle, Freising, Leutkirch, Innsbruck and Tsigov Chark.
Thousands of encouters, exchange in all its forms: with an Albatross, Raki or Palinka, cursing at the spot or through the discussion about European immigration policies in the car; emotions, joy, frustration, joy, desperation, even more joy, memories, challenges, disturbances, motivation, touching stories- the usual craziness, you experience when you dare to trust to chance and travel across Europe for two weeks just with your thumb and a group of freaks.
The pictures of the arrival at the destination have already etched themselves so deep in our memory that they will probably stay there forever. The moment when really everybody arrived, when the last team drove the car across the finish line by themselves, the endless amount of backpacks on the side of the road, a huge make-out zone, a cop, who couldn’t believe what he was seeing, the guy from the food-truck, who sold over 200 pizzas and took even more videos of the joyfully smiling hippies, freaks, doctors, students, engineers, musicians, people out-of-work…. Moments that were incredible, just good and amazing, moments when hospitality and helpfulness met openness and thankfulness and suddenly the world seemed to be a place where you actually want to live.
The next day at the lake was filled with 30 new haircuts, babys (maybe), tattoos, stories, thougths, weird stuff, the final ceremony which was just wonderful, a facebook-livestream that showed more of the sky than of Tue but it managed to transport a small portion of the hippie-shit into the world. The hippie-shit that we celebrated until early in the morning around the fire and everywhere else in Tsigov Chark.
The next morning, when the owner and other people around the campsite are amazed by our group and the whole event, when basically no trash gets left behind, when even without any control everybody paid for the campsite, when slowly everybody hits the road again to continue hitchhiking in different directions but still around 30 hitchhikers stay to have a barbecue together and peacefully enjoy the last Albatross, while a 70-years-old really nice cyclist from Switzerland, who is currently travelling from the Northern Cape to South Africa the only person is that throws up everywhere (don’t worry, he was fine the next morning), everything is just f*cking amazing.
This year again the Tramprennen was a unique platform for great and random stuff, for things that are too crazy to be shown in movies, for new friendships, for hippieshit and thousands of other things, at least that’s the way we think about it. It was not the perfect planning of some event manager that made all of this possible, but all of you. So all the people that participated in some way in the Tramprennen 2016! Over 150 hitchhikers on six different routes, that all created a unique and special Tramprennen themselves, at least 2000 drivers, who didn’t drive past the few freaks that were standing on the roadside, but stopped and opened their doors, placed their trust in us and helped us in difficult situations and enriched our experience significantly, all the hosts from the family of the mayor to a group of squatters or normal people, that offered a place to stay for 25 or even 50 people and overwhelmed us with their hospitality. Among all the joy, the exchange and the amazing experience an unbelievable large amount of money was collected. This would not have been possible without the 460 wonderful sponsors, the money can now be used for extremely important projects.
And there we are with an unbelievable record of donations: never in almost ten years of Tramprennen have we ever collected more money than this year… 18,500 Euros (!!!), which will benefit the two organizations Viva con Agua and PRO ASYL. All of this and all of you is amazing we are overwhelmed by your support and still struggle to find the right words. The money is needed by both associations the specific purpose will be, at least that’s the plan, published on our blog in the next weeks.
We will not forget the moments when drivers were upset about refugees and immigrants and perpetuated all the stereotypes and we told them about our intentions to open borders to fight for a dignified life for all asylum seekers and that those drivers supported us and our intentions through their act of helpfulness. This was, despite the lousy situation, somehow satisfying.
But still we were shocked by all the prejudices we were confronted with. Prejudices against Gypsies, Refugees, Muslims, and so on. The justification of these prejudices, even though it was dull and hollow, was not easy to straighten out, but, when critical questioned, uncovered as simple scaremongering. We won’t give up hope that all our encounters and all the exchanges, the discussions and the meeting of new people and cultures will someday help to carry open-minded and tolerant views into the world.
Next to all these negative and among all the positive experiences there were also this year concrete racist and sexist actions, that participants of the Tramprennen had to experience. It is important to talk about this, even though these lousy actions did not occur frequently, but already once is too many! The variety of these disgusting incidents start with teams that didn’t get taken as soon as they saw a male team-member. Really bad were situations in which hitchhikers were physically molested by drivers! Other participants were not taken hence to their appearance and had to go through rigorous checks at the borders. All these actions and negative experiences did not occur often but anywhere and anytime. This shows were society stands and how important our daily struggle against any form of discrimination is. We don’t want to underestimate these experiences or let them be covered up by all the positive that happened along our journey. We don’t want to raise doubts on our project but use these experiences to fight daily discrimination side by side with the organizations we support even stronger and more focused than before.
We draw our motivation from the countless situations in which we were met with tolerance, hospitality and helpfulness regardless of gender ethnicity or skin-color. Drivers that told us how they take matters into their own hands, help refugees and stand up against discrimination in their own countries. Again and again we met people who are open-minded, helpful and tolerant, people who actively want to change something, people who cannot understand how prejudices drive peoples apart from each other. All these people we met along the way and the amazing experiences we shared are the reason we are yet again excited to start with the preparations for Tramprennen 2017.
What is the “we” that is behind the project Tramprennen? Well, “we” is basically just a group of freaks, who learned to love the Tramprennen and decided to shape and organize it. We still lack some professionalism but be sure we put our hearts and souls into the work for Tramprennen. So please excuse, when we don’t keep a deadline, when chaos takes over, wrong shirt sizes are ordered and also excuse quite a few mistakes in our English translations. When you feel like you can and also want to support the project Tramprennen in any way, write a mail to gro.nennerpmartnull@ofni, come to the first planning-meeting the beginning of 2017 or try to contribute in other ways. If you have great ideas but no time, please tell us! We would be really happy if you Support us!
We can’t wait to stand with 20-25 crazy people on the street again and to have no idea what’s going to happen!
Your Tramprennen- 2016 Crew
Links about Tramprennen 2016: