From prosperity to chaos: “Goodbye Germany!” Doctor helps the poorest in Peru

Updated on 04/08/2022 10:16 p.m

  • Forgoing a high salary and a comfortable life – the Zeier family of seven dared to do it.
  • The VOX documentary soap “Goodbye Germany!” accompanied these extraordinary emigrants in the Andes.
  • Would you want to stay in Peru after two years to continue helping the poor there?

He was “just capitalistically socialized,” said “Goodbye Germany!” emigrant Dr. Benjamin Zeier (39) in the current episode of the VOX docu-soap when he and his wife Lena (36) considered extending the family’s stay in Peru. However, there was little evidence of this socialization in the rest of the show – on the contrary.

At the beginning of 2020, the urologist, the trained physiotherapist and their five children between the ages of four and 13 left a comfortable life in Germany to move to the small Peruvian mountain village of Curahuasi. This is where the indigenous Quechua people live, mostly in abject poverty. Very few can afford medical care. In the Diopsi Suyana Mission Hospital, however, the sick are treated free of charge. The doctor couple Klaus-Dieter and Martina John opened it in the summer of 2007.

Waiting for a divine sign

Benjamin Zeier received an e-mail from Klaus-Dieter John shortly after the birth of his youngest son Jonas, just after the devout Christian thanked God and asked him for a sign. Which “chapter in our family history” should he open now that “the chapter of reproduction” is closed? The sign came.

John was looking for a urologist for his hospital, Benjamin discussed the offer with his family – and in early 2020 the time had come: they moved to the Peruvian Andes. There was no fixed payment for the hospital work, instead the doctor had given lectures in advance and collected donations for his mission.

Deeply moved, he remembers a little boy who saved 80 euros for a year and also motivated his big brother to donate. “You’re either motivated by love or by fear, and we chose love a long time ago,” said the doctor.

Unimaginable conditions in front of the clinic

Rumbled roads, difficult water supply and other everyday things – they were not used to all this in Germany. And yet the Zeiers were still doing much better than the patients who waited in long lines in front of the clinic.

Some had traveled up to 36 hours to wait several days for treatment, including an elderly man who was at risk of kidney failure without surgery. Or a malnourished six-year-old who only weighed as much as a three-year-old because his parents, his four siblings and he lived only on what they could grow in a small field.

When he sometimes happened to pass the hospital service after treating such patients, Benjamin Zeier sometimes cried: “This unconditional love that God has for me… and that’s why I’m here.”

Two years is not enough

From idyllic Mosbach in Baden-Württemberg to the Peruvian Andes: the Zeier family dared to do it.

© RTL / Flamingo Pictures

Actually, however, after two years, the farewell was imminent, his contract would expire at the end of the year. But he could have it extended. So what to do? In conversation with his wife Lena, both quickly came to the conclusion that they wanted to stay. Because, according to Lena, since both have been “on the road together”, they have always felt when “there was something new”. “And I’m missing the feeling at the moment. I have the feeling it’s just good that we’re here.”

Would the children see it the same way? After all, they missed a lot, as they said: kebabs, for example, or swimming pools with diving boards. On the other hand, they also appreciated their experiences with the other culture, as the eldest son of the family, 13-year-old Lucas, described: “The downside is: you want to do something quickly – you can’t do it quickly. But if you put your mind to it has given up the habit, that’s a huge advantage, because you can take everything in a much more relaxed manner.”

And so the couple’s worries were ultimately unfounded: the children immediately agreed to the extension of the emigration. The Peru chapter of the Zeier family is not yet finished.

© 1&1 Mail & Media/teleschau

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