[Music playing in background]

[i] Welcome to our Specially Unknown project. My name is [name]. Today we have [name], as one of the ten people [here] that we, who I have chosen myself, and he will tell us his life stories today. And I won’t keep you in suspense for long [to torture] and I’ll immediately pass the word to Mr. [name]. Mr. [name], Mr. [name] I mean, Mr. [name] wished the conversation to be conducted on Fula, and that’s why I would now say everything on Fula. And ask the questions and so it goes on […] Yes, [name], you listen to the selected people, to the ten people from the Guinean community who tell your life story here, and today [here?] you are one of the ten selected people. It’s about your life story, starting with your childhood, the time you were a teenager, how you got here, what it looks like for you at the moment, and how you see your future. So that you don’t have to talk too long, you can introduce yourself first and then we’ll look at how we’re getting ahead step by step [that we? Now Mr [name], you have the word.

[r] Okay, thank you. My name is [name], I am 19 years old and I will soon be 20 years old. Well, I’m originally from Guinea. Since I’m here, here in Germany, it’s almost two years. I currently live here in Germany, that’s how it looks with me, thank God.

[i] Okay Mr [name], thank you very much. We could take a look back at your story now. Back to your childhood and youth.

[r] Hmm hm.

[i] Could you tell us about your experiences as a teenager? Could you give us a glimpse of your life story in the stories? Were there any experiences […]?

[r] Hmm hm.

[i] […] that you would like to remember? Memories that you associate with something positive, or things you have experienced in your past that you associate with something negative?

[r] Hmm hm.

[i] And [could you] present your life story? You can refer to your family, the country and the place. It’s up to you whether we start with the family or not.

[r] Yes, we can start with the family. Hmm hm.

[i] Okay, could you tell us something about your family now?

[r] Um, my family, we’re from Guinea. My father is called [name] and my mother is called [name]. We belong to the family [name], which in turn belongs to a family from Guinea and my family comes from Dalaba. Our city Dalaba belongs to Central Guinea. Central Guinea is also called Foutah-Djalon.

[i] Okay, Mr. [name] from Dalaba.

[r] Hmm hm.

[i] What would be your recommendation for someone who has never been to Dalaba ? What would you tell her or him, in your opinion, where to go when you’re in Dalaba, not to miss anything?

[r] Hmm hm.

[i] What’s in Dalaba […]?

In Dalaba there are many places of interest. I could tell you some of them. Dalaba has a place called after the fir trees [Dalaba by the fir trees].

[i] Okay.

[r] The trees form a unique selling point for Dalaba throughout Guinea. This is how Dalaba is identified. There is also uhm […] The climate in Dalaba is unique within Guinea. The climate there is different. When you arrive in Dalaba, you would [immediately] notice that you are in Dalaba.

[i] What is there in Dalaba, [something you would call] a part of the history of the country, or [something you would call] the history of Africa?

[r] We have heard the story of Dalaba. I don’t know exactly, but I was also told the story that a very famous and wise man came from Dalaba. The man [actually] comes from a place called Kebali. Kebali also belongs to Dalaba. In Dalaba there is a place, which is in the lower area. And this place is called Koladhe. The place is located in the lower part of Dalaba and is called Koladhe because the land there is well suited for agricultural activities. The soil is bounded by solid or loose rocks and this is the reason why the place is called “Dantari” because of its soil and composition. The lower part is called “Koladhe”. Hmm hm.

[i] Is there anything in Dalaba that would interest a tourist? For example [something you can show] to a German who wants to go to Dalaba?

[r] For example, you could show him what I just told you. You could show him agriculture, because in Dalaba many people work in this field. When the […] [tourist] sees this, and this is something that the tourist can see. If a German goes there, we will show him what we grow and what is suitable for agriculture in our country. Because we have a lot of things that thrive in Dalaba.

[i] Okay, do you have cattle breeding, farms in Dalaba or did you live in the city centre yourself?

[r] In Dalaba we had cattle trains, we worked fields with good soil conditions for agriculture. We used to have that.

[i] What did they grow back then?

[r] We grew rice. For example, I didn’t know my father well. But I heard that he had grown a lot of rice back then. I was also shown fields that belonged to him. He worked in agriculture and he was also a teacher. He was a Koran teacher. My father had done that.

[i] Um. You just told me about your father’s work, that your father was a teacher.

[r] Yes, he was a Koran teacher and worked in agriculture.

[i] What about your mother?

[r] My mother only worked in agriculture. She worked a bit in the fields and cooked at home for my father and for us children. We ate then. She was a housewife.

[i] She was a housewife and also responsible for education?

[r] Yes, she also took care of the cows. That was also my mother’s job.

[i] Okay, we all start small and in this context, has there been something, have you experienced something that you remember and to which you associate something beautiful? Or the opposite, when they were children or teenagers.

[r] Yes, in my childhood, I experienced things that I felt were nice. Like when I left [with friends] and we played there together. We went into the woods and played. We went [together?] to a place. You know, it’s a little different there than here. We had bushes where we went and where we played. We were in the rivers and we went swimming there. And later we came home. We did all this when we had nothing else to do. That’s how we spent our time playing games.

[i] You could swim too?

[r] Yes, in the rivers. Although they say there are snakes there. We went there anyway, and we had fun there. We didn’t assess the risk. We only had our goal in mind, to have fun.

[i] [?] […] Were there experiences that weren’t good and have remained in our minds to this day?

[r] Yes, there is something that still burdens me today when I think about it. The fact that I dropped out of school because [when?] I was enrolled. I went to school, but I wasn’t there long. The memory of it burdens me. The fact that I didn’t go to school.

[i] Okay, is it because they didn’t take you to school or because you didn’t go on attending school?

[r] I was enrolled in school, but I didn’t go to school for long. […] because of this I have not been able to attend school. because things prevented me from going to school?] I didn’t go to school for long.

[i] What was the reason?

[r] The reason was that at that time my father had passed away. I couldn’t go on to school anymore. There was no one to support me. My mother was busy with her cows. And many other things. Everything was […] I had to leave school to support my mother. Even if I only had to bring the chickens to the stable. When I can’t do some [other?] things, so I could do my part.

[i] If you can remember, if you could compare the education here with your own, what could you tell us?

[r] Yes

[i] How did it go with you? Here you saw the people and made your own impressions. How living together is and how they protect each other. How people formulate their wishes and how they ask someone for something. How was it with you, if you think about it today? How do you explain that?

[r] Yes, when I think about when I was little, the upbringing we got as little boys is different from what I saw [here]. That you’re asked [here?] in the morning what you want, what you’re doing right now. Of course, we did it differently, and the way we raised them differs. Hmm hm.

[i] Okay, that was with the family, and what about religion?

[r] Hmm hm.

[i] Can you tell us what role religion played in your upbringing? Things you associate with religion?

[r] Hmm hm.

[i] And now to the education and something left for you.

[r] Yes, we all had to learn religion. It insisted that we learn the Koran. In the morning and in the evening. But that has brought us many advantages, because what we have learned inevitably requires respect and consideration. You also learn how to stand together, who is your age, who is younger, and who is older than yourself. All these things were taught to us in the time when we learned the Koran. We learned such things while learning about religion. We learned how to sit down, how to sit down while eating with peers, how to behave when we are with people who are older than ourselves. All these things were taught to us and corrected as needed.

[i] Okay. What were you doing from morning till night?

[r] Back then, when it was morning, sometimes […]

[i] Yes, go on, if you like.

[r] When I was still in school, I got up in the morning and went to school. When I got up in the morning, I washed my face, had breakfast, had breakfast, and then went to school with a bag like this. When I finished breakfast, they gave me something to take along. Something to eat like, something like sweet potatoes or something else I put in my bag. A bag that you […] I then went to school, where we had school until 12 noon. Then we went out and we stayed there because we lived a little further away from school. We had school in the morning and in the evening. We played near the school. We played football. At 15 o’clock we had school again until 17 o’clock and afterwards we drove back home. At home, in the evening we went to the Koran school. Monday, Tuesday […] and Wednesday evening there is no Koran school. On Thursdays there is also no Koran school.

[i] Okay, can you tell us about the place where you once lived?

[r] Hmm hm. Do you mean the place where we used to live?

[i] Did you live in the city center? Or in a small town or village?

[r] No, I lived in the village and I grew up there. That’s where I lived. I lived in the village. I didn’t live in a town, but we lived in the village with others. Relatives and people with whom we all share the same family name. Some had a different last name than us. They tell us that we are all relatives. Some are called Diallo, some are called [name], and we all lived together.

[i] Okay, Hmm hm. The neighbors, how was it with you? What were the advantages and disadvantages with the neighbors? How do you see that?

[r] Yes, with the neighbors there were many advantages. With us, the neighbors help each other, for example when cooking, when you realize you need something else, like salt. If something is missing and you need it badly, you can send someone to the neighbor. I remember that my mother sent me to the neighbor and said, “Go to the neighbor and tell him I need salt,” or [they] asked the neighbor for something else. So if I […] If we did something we weren’t allowed to do, or if we got into arguments and strangers wanted to beat us over it, then the neighbors were there for us too. They stood up for us and apologized to the other. In such cases, they admonish us to stop, otherwise they would not stand up for us in the future. This is how we have lived with our neighbours. We support each other in celebrations such as naming the child, weddings, if necessary the children who can get the water. Everyone makes his contribution. We could not carry much water, but we still followed the others. We followed our older brothers in fetching water, collecting wood or the like. Even if we were too small for that, we just followed them and did what we could. So they taught us a lot. And so we could take over everything later when the older ones were no longer there. Getting firewood for the upcoming activity and the […] And so we could make our contribution.

[i] Well, it was like a family, a big family. And the neighbors supported each other.

[r] We supported each other in all areas.

[i] In the event of a dispute, how do you proceed? If you’ve caused trouble. What did they do to punish you?

[r] When I made trouble, I was beaten. I was beaten. Or when I got out of school, they would ask me to repeat [_?] ten times instead of five times, for example. They then took stones or corn grains and they are taken as help to enumerate. I was always allowed to pull out a piece of [stone?] when I was done. Otherwise, if I only had to repeat ten times in the evening, I would be asked to do it twenty times. And that was to prevent me from making the mistake again. Or if I forgot something while reading, for example if they repeated something to me several times and I made a mistake afterwards, then I was allowed to repeat the part twenty times so that I wouldn’t forget it anymore.

[i] Okay

[r] That’s it. I then repeated the part several times so as not to forget it. And she also threatened me with blows or something else. Things like that.

[i] Are there any old friends from back then who you would still call best friends today? Or the opposite?

[r] As friends?

[i] Yes, Hmm hm.

[r] Yes, I had friends with whom I played together. We went to school together, we ran together, and on the way back we made some kind of contest about who was the fastest. We ran and everyone wanted to be the first home. And we had bicycle rims. We used to run a lot and could run faster.

[i] With the bicycle rims?

[r] Yes, exactly, bicycle rims or what you […] [ something round] It’s […] we ran with it. And so we ran and nobody wanted to be overtaken. So we went to school and we didn’t notice the distance.

[i] There was an experience in the forest, for example with the animals. That you saw them there and found it interesting or frightening?

[r] Yes, when we left I saw monkeys, little monkeys, they are called “Kula bhale” there. There are also monkeys called “Kula Kero”.

[i] “Kula Kero” […]

[r] There are also big monkeys called “Kula Wulen”. But these are big monkeys. But we were afraid of them. We weren’t afraid of the small ones, but we were afraid of the big ones. When we met the big monkeys on a Bowal alone, we ran out of fear. We ran away from them because we were afraid.

[i] What are you afraid of?

[r] We’re afraid that the monkeys will beat us or do something else to us. With the little monkeys, when we take little stones and try to chase them away, they run away. But with the big monkeys, they do […] [laughs] like this.

[i] Yeah, okay.

[r] Then we made our way home.

[i] Hmm hm. Okay, are we staying in the time when you were still a little boy, were there any difficulties you experienced back then? Like when you were playing or with playmates? Or what did you like to do and how did your parents take it? Were they encouraged or praised when you did what you really enjoyed? Was there such a thing?

[r] Yes, I liked to play soccer, I liked the soccer game very much. But our parents had their problems with it. They thought we wouldn’t learn when we play football. But when we were still on the soccer field, sometimes we had to look for socks and inside we filled them with cloths until […] is gone [?], then we went to the “Bowal” to play. We also made balls for ourselves. We split up and played. But our parents didn’t like it when they saw us playing there. They don’t like that at all. If it were up to you, we would learn instead and take care of the sheep. Or sleep in “Palewil” or support our parents. If we didn’t have a school, we had to deal with reading the Koran. We are lucky that we were allowed to go to school, but our older siblings were not. They thought that the Koran could not be read through school. But we have the luck to learn both by changing our mind. [i?] They talked about football

[r] Hmm hm.

[i] And they said that you made balls yourself. How did you do that?

[r] We take the liquid from a tree and rub it on our finger first. We put the liquid on the finger until it gets wet, then we try to pump air in and do it like this […] until the ball reaches a certain volume, then we put more of the liquid on the surface. Sometimes we have rubbed the liquid thickly on the [den?] belly and when blowing the liquid, which becomes rubbery over time, takes on a shape. We keep sticking it to the ball. There are many of us who get this fluid from the tree. When you scratch the tree, the liquid runs off. We put several layers on it.

[i] What is the name of the tree from which the liquid runs out?

[r] Legal Porè (literally = rubber tree).

We unwind the ball until we get a real play ball. So the ball lasts longer and doesn’t burst so fast.

[i] Okay, I’m listening. It’s about your life story and we’re listening.

[r] Yes, that’s how we grew up there. So we stayed there until I couldn’t go on. Then I stopped going to school. My father died and I left the place. I couldn’t stay there anymore and went to Conakry. I stayed with relatives. I was in Conakry with relatives. So I stayed there until […] I wasn’t in school anymore, I had to leave school and in Conakry I didn’t […] you have to pay money for school and I didn’t have anyone who could pay for me. I didn’t have anyone there to finance the school for me. I stayed there and found a place where I could read the Koran. I went there to learn a little. So I stayed until I got a little bigger. Sometimes I went to my mother’s to see if she was all right. There I supported her with some things and then I stayed [stayed], after that I drove back again. Whenever I’m there, my mother wants us to be together and spend time together. She talked to me a lot and showed me a lot. After all, I was the [only?] boy of my mother’s children. I have an older sister and a younger sister.

[i] Did you have a younger sister?

[r] My mother showed me fields where my father used to work. She showed me what my father had done during his lifetime. She said, “Your father liked it, he didn’t like it at all.” She told me such things. She continued by telling me that my father had given advice to many people. She continued by telling me that my father was compassionate with other people and that I should be with them as well. She often told me about it.

Okay, so you were in Dalaba, from Dalaba you went to Conakry.

[r] Hmm hm.

[i] Who were you with [in Conakry]?

[r] I was with my uncle, but my uncle and my father didn’t have the same mother.

[i] Why did you stay with him?

[r] My goal was to go back to school there. I [but] couldn’t go on to school there. But I didn’t want to go back and I was satisfied with learning the Koran. Sometimes I bought and sold things. I stayed there and I had […] I went to play. In Conakry I also played football. I trained there. I played together with friends, I did all these things. I played with friends of the same age. I also worked in retail. We sold little things in Madina. Otherwise, I also went to the center [Kaloum] and sold little things there. Sometimes we don’t have electricity at home. And it also happens that I arrive home and there is no food left for me. When asked, they tell me that I was working in retail. That’s how I [lived] until I turned about 15. I moved because we didn’t understand each other anymore. I moved to Madina and stayed there.

[i] Well, they moved from Dalaba to Conakry.

[r] Hmm hm.

[i] When you arrived in Conakry, what did you notice? Was there anything unusual for you?

[r] Yes, when I arrived in Conakry, I first lived in Cosa and there I saw for the very first time a train called the Fria train. Night I heard a loud noise “Wohhhhh…” from the train. I got up and saw a train running for the first time and wondered what it was because I had never seen anything like it before.

[i] Okay.

[r] There were also many other things I’d never seen before. When I was with us in Kankalabe, everyone could visit and play. But in Conakry it was different. You can’t visit anyone at any time. The system in Conakry was different than in Dalaba, where I grew up. But with time I got used to it. There I had friends with whom I played together. We learned together, we walked back together and sometimes we collected bottles together and made cars with them. We then packed the things together and put them on the street. We drove our made cars and ran into each other. We collected the lids from cola bottles and placed them along the rails to flatten the lids. We played with it. The more you have, the more often you can play. We played with it and soccer too.

[i] Hmm hm. And in Conakry, how was the climate compared to Dalaba?

[r] The climate was different. In Conakry, when it rains, it rains a lot. And in the dry season the heat is unbearable. But with us in Dalaba it is not hot. I was used to the climate of Dalaba. There it does not get so hot. But in Conakry, there will be […] in Conakry there are many mosquitoes. With us in Dalaba, there are no mosquitoes and you can even sleep outside. In Conakry all entrances and exits must be locked. In Dalaba, where I lived, you can sleep outside on the mat without any problems. From outside you can see the moon. There was no such thing in Conakry. In Conakry you have to go into the apartment no matter how hot it is. That wasn’t easy for me to get used to. The mosquitoes […] were there and in Dalaba we don’t know that. We don’t have any mosquitoes there. Hmm hm, it was also the case that I usually had to buy corn, mangoes or oranges during that time. Usually we would have picked and eaten the mangos ourselves. Otherwise we came to the mangos with the help of wooden sticks or stones. We washed them and ate them. In Conakry you need money for this. Even if you see them, you can’t eat them. The situation was that you couldn’t eat mangos, corn or anything like that without money. With us in Dalaba it was all easy, we just had to pick them. You could just pick the fruits like maize, mangoes, oranges according to the season. In the [area] of the rivers you could find enough mango trees and you could eat as much as you wanted.

[i] Okay, there was enough food.

[r] Yes, there was food.

[i] In the Foutah area, or Dalaba, what do people eat the most? Or what is more expensive in Dalaba but cheaper in Conakry?

[r] Here in Dalaba, a lot of “Ndappa” [corn semolina] is eaten with milk. And especially at a time when cows have more milk. You can eat that without any problems. But in Conakry you only eat rice. You also have to eat that together, in the time from 13 o’clock to 14 o’clock you eat together. In the village, on the other hand, you eat it when you are there. In Dalaba you have breakfast in the morning, until 12 o’clock the food “Tori or Ndappa” is ready. Or sometimes there is also rice. But it was not that you always have to eat rice. The food was more varied.

[i] We are still in Guinea and was there something, like hope or fear, that caused you to leave the country?

[r] It was like I started to get sick in the city of Conakry and my mother had no money, the cows she had been left with died. I didn’t have any money for the medicine I needed. I got sick more often and couldn’t afford the cost of treatment. I then decided to go outside the country and see if I could get help there. I suffered and was not well. So I decided to go away until I got help or died. I wanted to spare my mother the look of having to look at me helplessly. That would also be a burden to her if she saw me like that. It is very stressful to have to watch your own child suffer and you are helpless. So I decided to run away, in the hope of getting help or […] I said that to myself.

[i] You told me that you were not well. What did you have?

It turned out that I was diabetic.

[i] Okay.

[r] My parents are also diabetics and my parents didn’t know they were diabetics. They called it “Bhuuri. In the village they always said that they had “Bhuuri” and took herbal remedies. There is a recommendation to use certain plants as a remedy against the disease. My father probably got sick from it and died early.

[i] Okay, so for you the stress started?

[r] Hmm hm.

[i] The disease started stressing you out.

[r] Yes, exactly.

[i] What did you want to do, what action did you take?

[r] Hmm hm.

[i] To get away.

[r] The action I took […] As I said before, I moved to Madina.

[i] Hmm hm.

[r] I sold mobile phones and accessories. One day I talked to a driver about it, he was there at the bus station, he helped me and I went to Mali first. I was determined to leave the country not to risk my life. I had the illness and I suffered from it. So he took me to Bamako. There I tried to make it and it was like that that I was healthy today and sick the next day. With the time I have left the country and have traveled further.

[i] Hmm hm. So, we escaped from Foutah, respectively Dalabe, then to Conakry. Was it easy for you to decide to leave your familiar environment, the place where your mother is? After all, you went to Conakry, did you find the decision difficult?

[r] The decision was a bit difficult for me, but my mother accompanied me to the bus station. She had bought some corn on the cob for me and accompanied me until I took a seat in the car. I was sad to leave my mother and brother. But then I knew that I could come back at any time. The farewell was not easy, but I always knew that I could come back any time. It was not easy for her either. But the hope that I could go on to school in Conakry was stronger.

[i] You assumed you couldn’t go to Dalaba any more […]

[r] I couldn’t go on to school there. I didn’t go to school much. And all the schoolmates had bicycles to go to school with, except me. My friends went to school without me and I preferred to go to Conakry. I hoped that they would support me for the school.

[i] They then came to Conakry and made contact. How was the farewell?

[r] The farewell was very hard for me because I hadn’t told anyone. I didn’t say goodbye to my mother. I decided to leave on my own. I remember the day before I decided to run away, tears came out of my eyes when I was lying and thinking. A friend asked why I was crying. I said that everything was fine because I didn’t want to talk to him about it. It is not easy to tell Jjmandem that you want to run away without knowing where. My intention was to leave until I got the chance to be treated. I was sad and thought whether I would ever see my family again, whether I would ever see my younger brother again. I thought about what would happen to my mother if she found out. But it was so that I had to dare to see if I could be treated somewhere else.

[i] Then you met with a driver.

[r] Yes.

[i] Hmm hm.

[r] I met the driver at the bus station, he took me all the way to Mali. I stayed a little bit in Mali.

[i] Did the driver ask you for money? Or was it free?

[r] I didn’t pay any money for it. To be honest, he didn’t get any money from me.

[i] Was there anything you did in return?

[r] Yes, there was a quid pro quo. In the past, I used to look for customers for him at the bus station. I ran everywhere at the bus station to find clients for him. If I saw someone with a bag who appeared to me as a traveller, I contacted them and advertised for them [the bus drive[r]. I explained to the customer that the man is a good driver and that there is no stress with him. Sometimes he gave me 1,000 GNF or 2,000 GNF. That’s how it started until one day I told him about my concern. He then said that he knew me as a polite person who had learned and he would see what he could do for me. He further said that he could take me all the way to Mali and the rest I had to see alone how I got along. I agreed with that.

[i] Were there any unexpected experiences along the way you wanted to tell us about?

[r] Ahh, I saw some things along the way. When we came to the border and I was told that I couldn’t go any further. I was asked for my passport. The driver stood up for me and said that I was his apprentice. Such things also happened to me.

[i] Okay, you went to Mali then, I’m listening.

[r] After that I left Mali after a little over a month’s stay. Then I went on to Burkina Fassau.

[i] Okay. I stayed in Burkina for some time. In Burkina I was in a place because of the medication. There I saw children with bottles in their hands begging. When you have something to eat and those kids come, they stare at you until you’ve finished eating and when you leave some of the food, the kids have eaten it. Then I told myself that I couldn’t get any better here. Then I went to Niger. From there I came up with the idea of trying to go to Europe. I was convinced that I would feel better in Europe. I stayed a bit in Niger and headed for Agadez.

[i] Hmm hm.

[r] I arrived in Agadez and from then on the stress increased. But there [I?] was ready for [was ready?] […] [since I decided?] to move on to Europe. The decision to move on to Europe was due to the precarity [?] of the place. I then said to myself that I absolutely had to move on to Europe. No matter what has to be done. My goal now was Europe because I hoped to be treated there. I spent some time in Agadez. Later I tried to come to Libya. I then arrived in Libya, where I stayed for a long time.

[i] In Agadez or Niger, were there no difficulties with the authorities? How were the people there with you?

[r] It wasn’t easy. In Agadez it was like that when the police caught you, they said that you were going to kill yourself, you went illegally […] it prevented you from going on and staying there wasn’t easy either. Yes, the sun is hot there too. It’s hotter there than in Guinea. The sun there needs getting used to. Food is different there than in Guinea. Life there was different. I got sick several times. That’s where I stayed [with] others and worked. I stayed with someone there for about three months. After there was a certain intimacy between us, I told him about my concern. He said that he would help me. But the responsibility in case they arrest me on the way or if I die, I have to carry it alone. He said that he only did this to help me. I then said that I agree with it and if something should happen to me on the way, I am solely responsible for it. And I added that I made the decision myself and alone. And I finally got here alone. And if he wants to help me, he should do it and he has no responsibility. Then he agreed and I got on a pick-up with his help. In the pick-up was a Lybier and a driver from Niger. I sat on the back of the pick-up and there we were a total of 28 people. We sat behind and the strong ones outside around. And the other little ones like me were placed in the middle. So we drove and there were many difficulties. Many problems. On the way the car broke down, the car got stuck, we were thirsty, each of us had a small barrel of water for himself. If you drink your water empty, there was nothing left. We used it very sparingly. At the border it was not easy, sometimes money was demanded. Those who had money had paid for it. And if you had no money], you were beaten. So we drove on until we reached the Libyan territory. In Libya we came first in […] I was last in Zabrada.

[i] Zabrada?

[r] Yes, I stayed there last before my trip to Italy. In Zabrada.

[i] Does Zabrada belong to the capital Tripoli?

[r] It is on the side of Tripoli.

[i] Is it on the coast?

[r] Before Zabrada I was in a town called “Ben Walid”, where I worked as a helper. If you refuse to work, you get beat up. If you’re lucky, you get 10 or 15 dinars. In that case you had to give the guard 10 dinars and keep 5. If he finds out afterwards that you got 15 dinars and you gave him 10 dinars as income, you’ll get beaten. After that you have to rely on the compassion of the guard to be able to work afterwards. Otherwise you can’t go outside the house or the yard to do something else. In the city “Ben Walid” it was very difficult. So it went until I came to Zabrada. [_?]

In Libya I was last in Zabrata. There I was in a house fenced with a wall. I thought I ended up in a madhouse. Everyone there was crazy. The people inside looked like crazy with long hair, many had galenic blisters on their skin. During the day there was no place to pray. There was no place to sleep. And when you leave and are arrested, you are beaten up and put in prison. When you go out and are arrested, you are called and asked to call the family in your home country and say that you need money. But if you know for yourself that you don’t have someone who can send you money to get you fired, then […] they take razor bells and hurt you so that you call your parents screaming. I saw [that] myself one day. I was really scared that day. I saw an Arab, someone grabbed him. [?] He [?] came with a gun in his hand, he grabs a person. He then called two black teenagers. They threw themselves on his wrists left and right and then his feet were stretched up. He then took a metal pipe and hit him on the feet. He was beaten several times and two days later the man died.

[i] Did you see that?

[r] I saw it with both my eyes. I sat there that day, crying and God asked me to get out or kill myself to save myself from more such suffering. I have also seen many similar things. Suffering, hunger […] in that time I didn’t talk about my illness anymore. It went so far that I cried because of hunger. You’ve hardly seen anyone who has something to eat, and if someone has something to eat, you can only watch them. You don’t dare go out to look for something. One realizes that life there is very difficult and thank God I kept it up anyway. So we got on a boat with 147 people. We got on the boat. When I tell you how it all worked out, it was difficult without money. But no matter where you are, if you spend some time in one place, you get used to each other. No matter how hard the other is, if you meet each other every day, there will be days when he [man?] will be ashamed […] One day when a lot of people were boarding and me and others were standing in front of the beach. It was like when they carry the boat [in?] their hands, they say out loud, “Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar” Until the boat is in the water and then people get on and then the ride starts. But in time, only those who are authorized to sew on to it are allowed. [unclear?] There was one I got to know well over time. It’s called the Senegalese. He’s a tugboat and we were there together. I often helped him with his work. He told me that day that I should carry the boats with the others and try my luck. I carried the boats with the others and fortunately the Lybia didn’t see me, thank God. They didn’t do any checking after that either. So we carried the boat and we all said “Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar” and carried the boat into the water. We all got on and during the crossing our boat got a leak. We met another group we had met at the sea. I don’t think anyone survived from the group. I’d be surprised if some of you survived because your boat had holes. I saw them go down with the boat. I saw it with my eyes. I didn’t feel well and passed out on the boat. There was also an Algerian on the boat who had a juice and he gave it to me when I got dizzy. The Algerian was allowed to take a bag and inside he had had the juice. On the boat we, the blacks, had nothing with us, but he then gave me the juice and that saved my life and when the rescuers came, I and others were the first to be taken along. […]’s boat also got a leak and I don’t know how the others did it.

[i] When you speak of saviors, who is meant by that?

[r] I think they were from the Red Cross.

[i] Did the rescue take place at sea?

[r] They came in the middle of the sea and used smaller boats to take us one by one to the big boat. They took the people in smaller groups and took us to the big boat. They started distributing life jackets. Everyone put one on. Then they took ten people each time, who were then taken to the big boat. And then they came back. But I was one of the first ten to be taken. Since our boat was leaking, I don’t know what happened to the others.

[i] You were sick, too.

[r] Yes, I was ready on the ship sick? Some were transported by ship from the Red Cross. I was on another ship. When I was on board, I was dizzy and fell down and they gave me water. I was lying for about an hour and in the evening they brought us cookies and water. The next day they cooked rice on the ship. We got on […] around 14 o’clock. The next day we arrived at the harbour at 14 o’clock. We arrived in Italy. [_?]

[i] You have just told us about violent things you have seen, for example in Libya. Are there things that you have experienced or things that you have only seen but not experienced yourself?

[r] The most violent time was in prison in Libya. The prison was not that big. There we were about 30 people who had been imprisoned there.

[i] Did they put you in a small room there?

[r] Yes, they locked us in a small room and it was very hot in that room. I walked in Libya and it was hard and I had never experienced anything like it before. I walked there for a very long time. I thought it was cold in Dalaba, but what I experienced there was much more violent. From “Ben-Walid” to “Ala Zabrata”, the route was very long on foot. We paid someone to take us to a place. And from there we walked the night. We walked all night and slept during the day. Around 19 o’clock we walked further to the foot.

[i] Did you just walk through the desert?

[r] No, we walked into the [_?]. We have been on the Libyan territory, the first city is […] I have now forgotten the name of the city, there ends the Sahara and the rest is provided with many dangerous mountains. We have walked on dangerous mountains.

[i] On the route […]

[r] I was also in “Saba”.

[r] Because of the difficulty like fear, hunger, walking for a long time […] what has made you the most exhausted?

[r] [laughs]

[i] What was the worst for you. You could also form a sequence.

[r] People scared me most of all. I was most afraid of being arrested. I know that if they arrest me there, it won’t be good.

[i] Who do you mean exactly?

[r] The soldiers, but you can’t tell the difference between soldiers and bandits. Nobody was wearing a uniform. All you can see is that everyone has a guarantee.

[i] Where?

[r] In Libya you only see armed people. If you’re arrested by them, they demand money, and if you don’t have money, death is certain. Or if they beat you up, you won’t survive.

[i] Have you seen anyone who has had this happen?

[r] Yes, as I said before, I’ve seen them put someone’s feet up and hit him. He died two or three days later. Here […] The man was beaten and two days later he died. I have also seen accidents in the desert. We arrived and saw accidents there.

[i] Was it a car breakdown or an accident?

[r] It was a car breakdown and people were sitting in the desert. There is [?] no help and no water. The people who were there will not survive without God’s help. They had no water and no help there. If they stay there longer, they will not survive there because the sand is hot. In the desert it is hot and when you have no more water […] When the drivers see that they can reach the destination because of the petrol or […], you can leave the car there and drive with the next car. And the passengers are left alone to watch them get by. The route is dangerous, sad. What I have seen there I have never seen before. I have never seen what I saw from Agadez to Libya.

[i] When it was bad, did you think of certain people during that time, for example your mother or something else? Or do you “only” think of survival when you’re so miserable?

[r] In those days, I only felt sorry for myself. I thought I wouldn’t survive it. I thought that I would never see my mother again. I didn’t think about my mother’s well-being during that time. My concern was whether I would ever get out of there alive. I wondered if my life wouldn’t end here. That was what I saw at that moment. Sometimes, [did I remember?] my mother is worried about me. I also thought that my mother was worried about me and asked me if I would ever see my mother again. Thought if my life, if I would not die here. When I got something to eat, I thought whether I would get food again tomorrow. I thought about how it would be the next day. If I have something today, I think how I can get something tomorrow. Thoughts like: “What will happen tomorrow? “Will I hit today?” It happened that you are in rooms and everyone is standing, you have no place to sleep, that’s hard.

[i] In those days, there were moments when you would have liked to return home? When you consider the hurdles they have overcome?

[r] Oh, when I was in Libya and came to Zabrata, so really, if I had met someone in that time who would tell me he could take me home to my mother, I would have agreed. But there hadn’t been that possibility.

[i] So, according to the motto, now just “look ahead” and move on. Okay.

[r] I didn’t have that option, and the option I had was the sea crossing. Much more realistic was the dying than the way back. I didn’t know what to expect if I continued the trip. But I know exactly what to expect if I decide to go back.

[i] Does the hope that things can’t get any worse play a role?

[r] I just thought that if I was either rescued or the boat got a leak and sank. But on the other hand, I know what’s going on. I know what I’ve done. That’s why I preferred to go further.

[i] So you’re from Guinea to Mali, then Burkina, Niger, Libya.

[r] Hmm hm, then to Italy.

[i] Yes, then to Italy and what happened next?

[r] In Italy [I] arrived without shoes. We got some there. We took a shower, but before that everyone got something to eat. We were registered and accommodated. We were asked to hand in our clothes and they were burned. The clothes were thrown into a garbage can and then burned. We got cream and clothes. I had spots all over my body. Later we were accommodated in the town called “Bari”.

[i] What is the city called?

[r] Bari.

[i] And that belongs to Italy?

[r] Yes, I was in the hospital there and told them that I wasn’t feeling well and that I also had a headache. When I was lying down, I felt like I was falling into a hole. I could hardly sleep and I told you that. I had pimples and you gave me ointments for them. My pimples became thicker and thicker.

[i] Okay, what does your daily routine look like now?

[r] My daily routine looks like this: I have two days, Monday and Tuesday internship and Wednesday, Thursday and Friday I have school. The school was looking for a job for me. That means I go to school five days a week.

[i] Do you have a hobby?

[r] Yes, I like to play football and in the beginning I played “Badmint” [Badminton].

[i] Ah Badminton.

[r] Hmm hm. I played that. But I used to play soccer at home and I still like that and I go play a lot. It also helps me with integration, because I can communicate with the others there.

[i] Are there places here in Bochum where you like to be? Or the opposite?

[r] Yes, there’s no place in Bochum where I’m afraid, but there’s a place near the town hall, where the courthouse was, where you can sit down. I go there more often. I sit down and think about the time when I came back. Sometimes I sit down on the benches opposite Bochum main station.

[i] Where the bicycles are?

[r] Yes right there. Yes, that’s where I’m going, but lately I’ve been going down more [to the town hall].

[i] When you’re there, what do you think about?

[r] Um, when I’m there, I think about a lot of things.

[i] The entrance is at the station, you can see people going in and out.

[r] There are restaurants on the right and left, but I’m not going in, I’m on the bench. In the time when I still lived downstairs in […] [?] I had a bicycle, so I went there with my bicycle. At the moment I live further from that place, but until today I still cycle there.

[i] Now it’s about the eating habit here, how was that for you?

[r] [laughs] In Guinea I’m used to eating rice every day, and when I came here […] In Libya there were spaghetti and other things. Here it goes with the food and I’ve got used to it now. Pizza, kebab and the like were unusual and I didn’t eat them in Africa. There are things I just don’t know.

[i] Um, let’s talk about your disease diabetes and my question would be whether you knew anything about it beforehand? Did you know anything about sugar disease or did you have any other information?

[r] I only knew I had a disease, but I didn’t know it was diabetes. Yes, I knew I had a disease.

[i] Have you heard of diabetes before?

[r] I had already heard about diabetes and it is described as a dangerous disease. And many died of it. Yes, I knew that. I knew I had a disease, but I didn’t know I had diabetes.

[i] What do you know today about diabetes?

[r] Yes, what I have to say to all diabetics is […] If you have diabetes from birth, you should be careful and listen to the doctors and follow the instructions. Before my arrival here in Germany I was burdened by the disease. I had a headache and was [very] irritable. It was so that I trembled with rage. Sometimes it gets shaky, sometimes the values rise. But if the values were stable, you wouldn’t notice that I had the disease.

[i] What’s the situation at the moment, are you shaking?

[r] At the moment I feel good, I just have to make sure that the values don’t go too low or too high. The value should level off between 80 and 150. If the value is in addition, then it can stay for two or three days and I wouldn’t even notice that I am diabetic. But if the value is outside that, then it’s not good. My advice would be to follow the doctor’s instructions. With diabetes, you need to know what you are eating and how to eat. That is the secret of the disease.

[i] Let us speak with the experience of the people here. Your experiences with the people living here, the contact, for example. What is different here than with us? What have you experienced, or what help have you experienced?

[r] Yes, the people here are calm, you need an appointment before you talk to each other. Without prior consultation, you won’t let it get to you. And if not, you won’t even be greeted back during the greeting. In Africa, on the other hand, it is the case that if you go past the person without greeting, and if you turn to him afterwards, he won’t pay attention to you, because you didn’t greet him before. Here it is the case that you do not necessarily have to greet each other without an appointment when you meet. I have noted that here.

[i] You have done a lot of successful things here, such as going on to school. Have you experienced anything similar with people from Guinea? Were there any support from people from Guinea who live here? Support from the Guinean community?

[r] Yes, I got that, here I got a lot of support from people of my ethnicity. When I first came here there was no one who understood my language. Thanks for your help, I could understand important things. In the beginning I didn’t understand the locals, even if I was told “hello, how goes”, I didn’t know what they wanted from me. I needed someone to help me. In my first year here there were German courses from a compatriot, an association [Guinee-Coop e.V.]. That’s where we went. We went there after school to do a German course. It was with you. The association is called […]

[i] Guinee-Coop e.V. or somewhere else?

[r] Yes, Guinee-Coop.

[i] Was it only you and your group there or also other nationalities?

[r] I saw many Guineans there. There was always one teacher a day, a teacher who waited for us there. The teachers were very patient with us and explained everything to us well. Some of them still recognize me when we meet on the street. I also had contacts through the course.

[i] Was it a teacher?

[r] It was a teacher, but I forgot her name.

[i] Okay, let’s say, in a few years, you’ll start a family here and have children. What role does home culture play for you? How would you raise your offspring, what language would you speak to them?

[r] If I have children here, I would like to teach them my native language. He will learn the language Fula in such a way that he will always be able to connect with the culture. I would like to teach him my language, because here he will speak German anyway. I assume that he or she will not have the problem to read and write German. That’s why I would teach him or her my language.

[i] The question of home is often asked. Today you live here in Bochum. Where is your home?

[r] One says yes, one says on Fula: “No matter how long a tree stays in or under water, it will never turn into a crocodile”. But a person, where he is, where he lives, where he works, where he goes to school, where you spend your childhood, that’s where your home is. But it doesn’t change the fact that I am a Guinean citizen. I am an African from Guinea. I have certain characteristics, my skin, my name […] which betray my origin from Guinea. But this is also where I am at home. Here it feels like a home, because I live here, here I grow up. This is where I spend the time of my youth. When I have children, they will also grow up. When I have children, I also want them to stay here.

[i] Here in the city of Bochum, what about the community here? How strong is the Guinean community here? How is the community working with the city? Does the community come into contact with other organizations? How does the feedback look like?

[r] According to my own observation, many people from Guinea live here. Many people from Guinea live here and the number of young people is considerable. But to say that they work with others is not known to me. But I don’t know if they are doing anything. But I know that there are many people from Guinea here. I do not know what they are doing. I did not hear anything about it. To say that we do this or that, or we meet in […], I don’t know anything like that. We don’t have a place here where we can gather or organize meetings. We don’t have that. Places where you would say: Today on Wednesday or Thursday in […] meeting I do not know. I don’t know a place where we can cultivate our language.

[i] Hmm hm. What do you want to do to change that?

[r] Everyone from Guinea should meet and if there are clubs that help people from Guinea, then I ask for support. With the aim of making our culture known and thus giving us the opportunity to do something here and make a contribution.

[i] It is said that North Rhine-Westphalia is known for its openness and hospitality compared to other federal states. What is your experience?

[r] Yes, that’s how it is. I know Germany all over Europe and I know North Rhine-Westphalia and Bochum all over Germany. Here in Bochum, North Rhine-Westphalia, I’ve never seen [anyone] hurt anyone because they’re black. I see that the people here are being helped. Here it is like this: “If you want to go to school and are still a child, then you will be helped”. In that case, you can go to school and learn a profession. I don’t know what it looks like with the adults, but the minors are supported. When I came back then, I also experienced the support.

[i] Have you had any experience with prejudice? Prejudices related to your person?

[r] There are cases where many Germans, when they see you as a black person, immediately think that you are doing illegal things. And that’s not right. There are cases, with the train, you see someone you want to offer a place to because the person is a woman or older. Then they refuse to take the seat. Sometimes, when the inspectors come in, the blacks are the first to be checked. And that is not the reality, most of them have their tickets.

[i] We’ve already talked about a lot of things about your person and now you have the last word. Can you give us your final word? You can also make an appeal. What are your future plans and [can they] tell us where they see themselves in five or ten years, respectively? You could tell us something about your current plans and tell us where you see yourself in five or ten years? Where are they today?

[r] Yes, if things go on like this, in five or ten years I will be able to take on more responsibility because I will have acquired certain skills by then. I will have completed a profession [vocational training] by then. I will be able to do something, pay a contribution. In five [years] I will be able to take care of myself and others. I would have school by then and would have completed [vocational training]. I would then be in professional life. That would be my dream, I would like that.

[i] Thank you very much and I wish you every success.

[r] Okay, thank you very much.