[i] Good evening, welcome to our project. “Specially Unknown” – that is, as much as “especially unknown.”

[i] We are very interested in your life story. We have invited a total of 10 people from Guinea It gives me great pleasure to welcome you today. Please introduce yourself briefly. I am also very happy to be here, my name is [name], I live in Bochum and am married. I have been in Germany for 11 years now, I studied here and I’m working here now.

[i] What are you doing at the moment?

[r] At the moment I am taking part in a further education course. so that I can improve my programming skills. especially in the direction of e-planning, electrics, AutoCAD and project management. i] Today we are talking about your story, you simply tell us what you tell us. and we’re already very curious. Let’s start with your childhood. I come from Guinea, I was born there in Conakry. I belong to to a family of seven: father, mother and 5 children.

I have a twin brother, who is now a doctor in Paris is. I also have 4 beautiful little sisters.

[i] Hello, my name is [name], I am from the project “Specially Unknown”, i.e. so much like “especially unknown.” I am very pleased to welcome you here today. We are very curious about your life story. I don’t want to spend long around, let’s start right away. Can you please introduce yourself?

[r] I am happy to be here, too. My name is [name], I come from Guinea, live with my wife in Herne. I studied and worked in Germany.

[r] I am currently taking part in a further training course so that I can improve my knowledge of especially in the direction of e-planning, AutoCAD and project management. I was born in Guinea and belong to an eight-person family with a father, Mother and six children. I have a twin brother who is a doctor in Paris. I have 4 beautiful sisters, I was born in Conakry myself. and when I was 2 years old, we moved to Kindia. My father worked for the government and we moved to Kindia. I lived in Mamou for another year. Both are cities in the interior of the country. Afterwards we went back to Bambeto, so to the Near Conakry. That’s where I grew up.

I had the chance to get a good education as a and attended one of the best schools in Conakry. After school I went to college in Sainte-Marie.

[i] You mean primary school? Exactly, primary school up to grade 6. From the 7th grade to the Abitur in the I went to grammar school in Sainte-Marie – which at that time was best Catholic school there in Conakry.

This corresponds to a secondary school?

[r] This is another form of school founded by Catholics. and there I was from seventh grade to high school.

I was a boy who liked and liked football played. In Guinea, however, our parents don’t like to let soccer play – probably because there was a lack of perspective. Every time we played football there was trouble for my brother and me. when we got home. Nevertheless, I had a beautiful childhood. Both parents worked & made sure that we had a good time at home. After school I was able to go to the University of Conakry and studied civil engineering at the Polytechnique Institute from 2002 to 2006 Studying in Guinea is more theoretical, Practical things are hardly or not at all done. Therefore the common decision came with my Father, to look for a better university for me. r] After researching on the Internet I’m referring to a friend of my father’s who had already studied and lived in Germany. He told me that there are very good universities in Germany. However, I had no contact with the German language until then. After this conversation, he helped me to universities in Germany and also in France. The University of Aachen was the first to respond with an admission. I was aware that the language was a big challenge. In Guinea there is the French system, which is different from here in Germany. In 2007 (I think) there was unrest in Guinea. The government had problems with the soldiers attempting a coup. There was chaos & therefore no prospects in Guinea at that time. So I decided to fly to Germany to study. i] That sounds a lot like a fairy tale book! It makes me and all of us very happy that everything worked out so well. Can you give us more insights into your childhood and youth? Z. B. about your neighbours, how you spent your free time, etc.

[r] In Guinea I am in a Muslim I grew up in a family, after the “normal” At school, I should still be the Koranic school to learn to pray. So I was in school from 8 to 15 o’clock, from 16 Clock then in the Koran school for again approx. one hour. After that I went to play football. From time to time we also had tutor (from the 1st to the 6th class) for Lessons in math or French. That also helped us a lot. In Guinea we have a society, where you can see your neighbors very well. knows. Not like in Germany, where you often don’t see them for weeks.

[r] In Guinea, you play with your neighbor’s children, eat and sleep. there (even without permission). Like a big family in one place. So a big family in Africa? Exactly, you just feel like you’re at home with others. It was a very beautiful environment.

[i] You say “I”, but you also mention the twin brother. Was there a separation? The first separation was when I was supposed to fly to Germany. That was one of the most difficult things in my life. We shared a room, shared clothes and shoes. We did everything together, just like normal twins. He’s my best friend, I wasn’t anywhere without him – that’s exactly how it was with him.

[r] When we arrived at the airport at that time all the friends from the village were there. I really cried, I really missed my brother. After I got in, I just wanted to go back, I thought: I’m flying somewhere where nobody knows me and I don’t know the language. My other half” is not there, it was very difficult. My first years here were very difficult, I was really homesick. But I still had to attend university. Since my parents had given everything so that I could make this journey, I wanted I’ll pay you back with a report card so you can be proud of me. That’s why I gave everything I had to achieve my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees.

[i] I find childhood interesting, since it’s also where the foundations are laid. You talked about the neighborhood and the different places, right?

[r] Yes, exactly. Where did you spend your holidays? Where are your parents from? My father comes from Labé, a city with many ethnic groups. Most of the Fulani come from Labé. There are 4 major regions, one of which is is Labé. My mother comes from Pita. Unfortunately, I do not have my father’s mother. she died when I was very young. My father then took my grandfather to It’s the custom in Guinea. So that the children can take care of their parents again. We couldn’t be in Labé for our holidays, Grandpa was already at home. The maternal grandparents also lived in a quarter of Conakry. We often went there on holiday. My grandfather on my mother’s side was a soldier & served in Angola in the fight for freedom.

[i] Do you mean independence struggle?

[r] Yes exactly.

[i] Who, your father? My maternal grandfather from Pita. But he lived in Conakry, so unfortunately I couldn’t find any other Get to know Guinea’s regions better. I had almost everything in Conakry. I once went to Côte d’Ivoire with my brother to see an uncle. That was during the 10th grade during the holidays.

[i] So on this final trip to finish 10th grade?

[r] Yes exactly, we drove there for 1 month.

[i] Was that a reward?

[r] You could say so. The uncle then wanted to take us to his place. r] The 10th grade in Guinea will be divided according to region for example. we were in the region of Conakry very good compared to others. That’s why this trip was made possible for us.

[i] “Memorabilia”: What was there, what did you bring? where you say, “I’ll remember that when I see that”?

[r] What do you mean exactly? Pieces? Places?

[i] Do you have anything ready? Unfortunately not.

[i] Was there a childhood dream? When I was still at school, my biggest dream was to be an astronaut. Like I said, I had a good school education. Unfortunately, the quality of the universities in Guinea was a big disappointment. I already understood in the 10th grade, I can never be an astronaut in Guinea. Unfortunately the dream was gone. At that time I hadn’t thought to leave the country to study. After that I really wanted a good education as an engineer. so that’s why this trip came to Germany.

[i] Engineer. No interest in crafts? What was your role model in the direction of an engineer? My will was actually to be a mechanical engineer. But I wasn’t good at technical drawing. When I looked at the program for it, there was technical Drawing in it and I knew that I would have a hard time doing it. I decided on electrical engineering, a similar direction to mechanical engineering. The University of Aachen became the “elite university” in these two fields. I thought that was a good challenge for me. i] Let’s go back to Guinea and your childhood and youth. Are there any places you associate beautiful or bad memories with? There was a small river near Conakry, the place was called Cachimbo. That’s where we often went for a swim. There were also a lot of fruit nearby such as mangos. That was like a place where we were in the I’ve felt free in a world of childhood. There were no adults who said do this or that. Simply without rules, that was really our world. That was pure fun. The other one was football. Unfortunately in Guinea it’s not like where kids have places to go and play. In Guinea we had football or, as I said, swimming. From time to time we also went to the sea around Conakry.

[r] We often have crabs there too. captured. We have then together cooked and eaten as a group. That was also a nice memory. And the whole thing, without adults nearby.

[i] OK.

[i] They also talked about their parents and upbringing. How would You want to see this retrospectively today? How did you feel about that?

[r] I grew up in a neighborhood where there were many I’ve had some crimes. Many youths had simply the possibility of taking drugs and Crime was very high in this neighborhood. If my father hadn’t been so strict, I don’t think that I would be sitting here today or even have an education. As a child you don’t know what is good or bad for you. You do a lot of things simply because friends do it too. I would say that my father was really very strict. As in the Army, it was like a military education from his side. Our mother was very kind. She was gentle, always did everything with love. With the father, you had to bring results at school, I want you to be correct, but I’m very proud of it today. Without this being strict we wouldn’t be today. here, my brother and I. That helped us a lot.

[i] You also have children at your age with you. played. Were there people who were really sick? Unfortunately, there were a lot of people in this neighborhood who were very poor. Many had eaten only once a day and then only barely at all. That was really sad, but there was always the opportunity when we had enough at home to share – even at school. This was also very popular among friends, just to hear “I want you to eat with me!” They also said that there was a lot of crime in the area. Was there also Setbacks or people you’ve lost? Have you noticed anything? I remember two incidents in 1998. and 2000: There were these clans in Conakry. And there were too many clans within a quarter. Teenagers have fighting each other with machete knives. My own cousin lives, we say… 40 m away from my home. One has him with a Machete on the forearm and beaten on the hand. There was the danger of a permanent paralysis, so he had to be almost take your hand off. Thank God he is well again. There were many, many more who were unfortunately involved in such things. I knew two people who died as a result. These two were killed by other young people with machetes. or knives and unfortunately died of it. Did something like this happen during the day, in the evening or early in the morning?

[r] Could happen at any time. When young people from somewhere else want to make trouble, they’re just gonna meet up somewhere. teenagers from other neighborhoods and beat each other up. They also just randomly go somewhere. No matter who who then meet, they’ll definitely get in trouble.

[r] I.e. the person should hide either or flee. These were the only possibilities.

[i] They spoke of religion. What value did this religion have in your upbringing? Religion had top priority, I would say. My father is very religious, he is now even an Imam.

[i] So prayer leader?

[r] Yes exactly.

[r] I.e. we grew up with it and we should do the prayer five times a day. We shouldn’t lie, we shouldn’t steal it. Everything that this religion forbids, that was are also forbidden here. For example, we were not allowed to with girls because that was forbidden. Was this also followed 1:1 by the young people? i] Did they take note of it?

[r] Yes, exactly, especially in front of the parents. One lives one’s religion according to one’s own understanding. I’d say. Religion was very present in my life, in my childhood.

[i] OK – Conakry, Guinea – this is often associated with restlessness. What did you hear?

[r] So, the riots back then… Either the army was not or the pupils and students were unable to get the information they needed in time start with school or university because there’s a teacher shortage or they did not get their money in time. Other problems related to political matters, and you’ve noticed that. There was always peace between the people there. There was no ethnic or religious conflicts. There is no such thing in Guinea. But still there is this ethnic division in Guinea. I hear a lot about it, you say it doesn’t exist? I wouldn’t say there wasn’t. But since 2010 every politician has his ethnicity to come to power. The current president has this like a magical work used to totally divide the population. If you want to have a good boss in Guinea, then you must you have at least one name that belongs to his ethnic group. Or also, in the context of oppositions, have so far been more than 100 killed teenagers without was investigated against a perpetrator.

[r] That is unfortunately so. You can see that all these young people names belonging to the ethnic group of the opposition. So at the moment there is already a huge schism, but Unfortunately, it was only brought to light by politicians.

[i] You said that with the education were not satisfied. Did you compare yourself with others or how did you get there? You are born there, get assignments they didn’t know, and then they find out. Or did your contacts abroad entitle you to a different job? When I was at the university from 2002 to 2006 the Internet in Guinea wasn’t yet as good as it was today. That wasn’t really a tool. You had it actually only to open e-mails.

[r] I had a lot of friends who, after graduating from high school. and immediately flew abroad, and so you could to keep in touch. They have always said which Education you can get in these countries…

[r] …and how the chances are there to develop. Our professors always came from Russia, they could barely speak French.

[r] They tried hard, but it was possible to speak they don’t understand properly #NAAM?

[r] And they always came too late, i.e. the government was not in the right place to do so. Situation to pay these people a trip to Guinea in time. We therefore usually only had between 6 and 8 I’ve been studying for a few months a year. That was actually for me very little compared to what friends tell me. who had gone abroad before. i] That to education. Now to the role man/woman. How did you see it? In our country it was like this: The father was the boss. in the family, what he said was law. The mother was number 2 in the family. In Guinea we are the Convinced that the man bears more responsibility than the woman. The upbringing was also such that one was able to told my sisters, “If you’re married. you’ll have to support your husband. follow him, never scold him loudly, or never…

[r]… so, this justice or equality you see in Guinea not really. The man is always the boss – that’s how we were raised.

[i] What was it like in everyday life? Do you have more time? with her mother or her father? My father works from 7 to about 18 or 19 o’clock. Depending on how quickly he got home. My mother had only worked until 14 o’clock, i.e. whenever I came back from school I found my mother and could do more Spend time with her than with my father. r] The time I spent with my father, was always on weekends. That was just like that. During the week he was working all day, and every time he came home, he would ask. how it was in school, whether we were in Koranic school. whether we were good to our mom, etc. i] I.e. your mother coordinated or accompanied all this and you Father just asked what it was like? Yes, that’s exactly how it was.

[i] And on the weekend? There he was at home and we have welcomed many families. Or if z. B. family celebrations were, we have this together with him and also with our mother. i] About the rituals in Guinea: There is something, where they say it’s part of our culture?

[r] Rituals. An example from the youth: When the man has reached a certain age, you get circumcised. Then there was a celebration, where the big family found together. They cooked together and the boy became as a man, because he is now through the circumcision has become a man. One then got money from the family’s parents. I found this a beautiful tradition, which unfortunately is no longer to be seen today.

[r] There is another nightly celebration, the like Halloween is here in Germany. Then you go to the neighbours and sing a song You get money or something when you’re a kid. to eat. That was also something beautiful, that gives but I’m afraid it doesn’t these days either.

[i] Again about this circumcision: Was there something else as well? what in terms of value has been conveyed? What is the point of all this? There were values that you really conveyed, you should, for example, start with to behave like a man at this point, and always thank you for what you have. One should not be jealous when others give more to their children. to the world as a gift. Or values such as loyalty to the family were important. One should be good with older people, they never scold you. One should always be respectful with others. These were, for example, such values that were conveyed on that day. Or that you always support your family. no matter what it takes. Such values. i] Yes, friendship and love? I had really many friends, because I had my Abi at 13th grade. Class give tutorials to lower class people to prepare for his high school diploma. This enabled you to make many contacts, I was also at some schools where I taught. My father also had a big school, I taught mathematics there. In addition one had also many friends from the and from the place where you grew up. The subject of girlfriends is taboo in Guinea. But there were things you didn’t show openly. At the time, there was simply an education that had forbidden the whole thing.

[r] It was said that she was a friend from school, even though she was the real one. I was my girlfriend. It was the only way to let it all go, otherwise it was difficult.

[i] Everyday life topic: morning, evening, what were Things you did every day? That was different when I was, for example, in the I went there in the morning with my brother.

[i] Monday to Friday? Yes exactly, from Monday to Friday in the “normal” school.

[i] From? Until?

[r] School was always from 8 o’clock to 15:30 o’clock. i] Continuously?

[r] We had 1 hour break, and two small breaks in between.

[r] We always had classes until 12 noon, then from 12 to One o’clock break and then we started again at one o’clock. After school there was the Koranic school. It was also our duty to go there. After that there was a small time window for playing, we have there the played football most of the time. My brother and I were really good. After the game we went home, took a shower. There were of course to do homework, too. At 21 o’clock at the latest we went to bed. i] Perhaps another reminder: In Germany you read children did you have anything like that? I don’t remember that. But like I said, my parents helped, to learn to read books. But not at Going to sleep reading a story, no. i] Just many Fula tell that they I’ve been told fabulous stories by my parents. This kind of stories we have more from the Grandparents told, grandparents are at us like friends – real friends. They have us about our forefathers. It was told about a place in Labé, and how the Fulani actually came to Guinea. Who our forefathers were and so on. There was always a programme, I think Friday night, where you can tell little stories that’s fairy tale.

[i] Fairy tales? Yes, exactly, about a famous man in our story.

[r] Of course, these stories always had a parenting assignment. One can also I’d say fables to that. So it was with me, at the the next day we went back to school. When I came to university, things changed, of course. So you didn’t believe in Santa Claus anymore? Here in Guinea there are more Muslims than Christians.

[i] No, I just mean the analogy, that was different at the university?

[i] Excuse me for interrupting you. I would also be interested to know how conflicts were resolved in your country. You mean in the family now, don’t you?

[i] Yes, how did you perceive that? When you’re a child, you don’t get much from conflicts within the family. But the Education in Guinea is so that no matter what in the The father is always right. The family then always got together. and told her mother to be patient. and take everything with a big heart and do everything to avoid conflicts.

[i] The Pastor? Yes, that was always the case. i] Socially: Was there something, what was right or wrong in your eyes? The people among themselves or on the part of the government? Society is a very healthy society. One has even though you weren’t from the same place.

[r] As I said, everything didn’t go well. Although that was only political I’m not sure I’m concerned about anything. Everything between the people was actually perfect. Like Jesus, one has always helped one’s neighbors as far as one and also accepted help if you needed it. That was a healthy society. i] The neighbors in Guinea were for you? My neighbors were like brothers to me. I say. They belonged to the family – that’s how it is in Guinea. The son of the neighbors is automatically your brother, that’s the way it goes. He is just as directly your uncle, even though your father and he doesn’t belong to the same family. i] Looking back: Was there perhaps to this History other motives? Because you also have your I didn’t think the chances in Guinea were so positive. Who has Help you? Also in planning and implementation?

[r] As I said, the motivation was to work after a good School education also allows you to attend a good university. And when we then realize at university that you can do everything you want to do there learns, already knows, something is wrong or lazy.

[r] An anecdote: I went to exams and always got good grades. I myself I told myself this wasn’t the right thing to do. I’ve wished for. My father and mother were of the same age. view, so we have sat down together and figure out how my brother and I could get a good education. I would like to clarify one more thing: In Guinea there are no all facilities bad. The Medical University will be for example also from foreign students from Cameroon, Ghana or Côte d’Ivoire to study medicine. So the medical university is good, but in engineering, it wasn’t good. Is it good or was it good? I’m talking about the time I was there. My brother went to medical school, and he studied with he was fine. With me in engineering I really didn’t do well at university. There was a cooperation with French universities. About my father’s boyfriend, who had studied in Bremen, we have – also with initiative of my father – applications to Léon in France, Aachen and Bremen. There was Saint-Étienne in France. Aachen was the first to answer and when it was said 7000 € must be transferred to ensure the first year, everyone in my family gave what they could. That was a great help to me. When I came here, I was able to I’ll start the first year without difficulty with the language. i] Did you fly alone or with other students?

[r] I am with someone else Students flying to Bremen should, first of all with Brussels Airlines flown to Brussels. i] Direct flight?

[r] Yes Direct flight. From Brussels, my uncle, the younger brother of my Mother, picked her up. The studied & works there and has also his family there. We are at about 6 or 7 o’clock. landed in Brussels and have with him I had breakfast. About 11 o’clock he got us two tickets for Thalys.

[i] The French train?

[r] Yes exactly. The Thalys to Aachen, where friends were already waiting for us.

[i] I want to go back a bit: So, now what thoughts came into your head?

[i] So in the beginning, when all bureaucratic hurdles had been overcome. When the local authorities had approved my visa, which was not certain in the beginning, since 2007 in Guinea was very there was a lot of unrest, it was difficult to get away from Landes, as there has always been unrest on the streets. My visa came, but I did it. only a month after that because I don’t know any had the opportunity to go to the embassy, since there was unrest on the streets. Then I got a call from the German Embassy with the message that my visa and I can now study in Germany. I told my father that. The journey became for me only by the visa properly tangible, it wasn’t until then that I remembered that now. I’m leaving my parents and my environment. I will get to know something new, something new I had no idea about before.

[r] I will go somewhere where I want to experience the culture I don’t know people, I don’t know people. There you get is kind of scared, but he’s also kind of proud, to leave the country for further training.

[r] I told myself my parents did it for me …and we’ve done it. Not everyone has this opportunity. i] You are talking about the pull & push factors?

[r] Yes exactly.

[i] How was that now?

[r] I was afraid to get real afraid.

[i] Afraid of what?

[r] The thing I was most afraid of I was afraid to go somewhere, where I have neither the culture nor the I don’t know anybody or life. I didn’t know the language either. That was real fear for me. You can don’t speak German, are there any people who can speak French? Until two days before my trip I still knew no one who’s ever been to Germany. About contacts, I met someone who was in Aachen and is now working in Wuppertal.

[r] He told me he’s been working for a year in Aachen and I wouldn’t have to worry I’ll do it. It’s something you can survive. That calmed me down a bit.

[i] To the pull factors: What attracted you? Hope? On the one hand there was fear, on the other hand there was hope? The hope for me was that I would I’ll be thinking about it during the application period. had informed us that Germany had been in contact with England. has the best universities in Europe. And then I also saw that Aachen is an elite university and that I there could always have the very good education I dreamed of. That was always a dream for me. I had also seen that here in Germany one can see the has the opportunity to study astronomy. Whereby that was out of the question for me. The knowledge that I can be well educated here, that has me and let them see through that fear. i] Have you ever flown an airplane before? Yes, I have – to Côte d’Ivoire. But that was a rather short flight with about 45 minutes flight time. i] How was this trip to Europe? Which Does that make you feel? Are you afraid of flying?

[r] I watch too many documentaries and have I’m actually just afraid of the start.

[r] I already knew that the biggest dangers were during take-off and landing. When starting, I always have the feeling that an attraction that draws blood down. i] Was that in the evening or during the day? r] At that time, there were only two companies that were going to Europe. have flown. Those were Brussell’s Airlines and Air France. They both took off at 18:45, i.e. one landed here in the morning in the morning.

[i] And then? I imagine Conakry to be very warm.

[r] I arrived here in April. and I was wearing a suit without a jacket. I had never worn a sweater in Guinea before. You can hear I know it’s colder in Europe, but I didn’t know that.

[r] I had no idea either, I knew people with jackets. just from the TV. But I didn’t know what they were feeling.

[r] After the customs check, I wanted I’ve been thinking directly outside. I came close to the door, so I wasn’t out there at all. I was welcoming such cold air that I ran away again. After that, I immediately called my uncle and asked him to come back with me. of a super-thick jacket, otherwise I wouldn’t be going out. In the time when I took the train to Aachen, I also found friends in T-shirts and shorts.

[i] Was that summer time?

[r] I think it was April 17th.

[r] I was wearing my thick jacket and was wondering how you could without a jacket. But you get used to it over the years. i] What happened, after this experience with the weather, which was first impression you made in Germany? The first impression was order and cleanliness. That was my first impression, it was clean everywhere. Two weeks after I arrived I rented an apartment. It was the cleanliness of the streets, or even that you can only get green traffic lights I can just cross over. That one can I can’t drop you on the street. Something like that really impressed me. Even in France you could see that the people there were different. For example, they threw things on the street. When I was in Belgium on my first day and did a little round with my Uncle left, I didn’t have that impression I had in Germany either.

[r] We went to one place that day Matongé, that was just like Guinea.

[i] Little Africa?

[r] Yes, exactly, they call it that in Brussels.

[i] And your experience with the language?

[r] Two weeks after I came here. I should start with the language. I started with A1, there were at that time something called a Studienkolleg. But it still exists.

[r] OK, because it was already abolished in Aachen. That was one year of training in preparation for university. You should first take a test to get permission to attend this school. You should be able to speak a little German beforehand. I have then three months German course at the University of Applied Sciences in Aachen. These three months would not have been enough for me to pass this test. We were several young men from Guinea who had taken this test. I was the only one to pass this test with exactly 60 points. had passed. 60 out of 100 points was also the absolute minimum. A man had done me good before. I helped you, that was a big brother. from me, who also comes from Guinea and was a student in Aachen at that time. When I arrived here, he put me under his protection. and helped me a lot during this time. He spoke to me only in German and gave me tasks to help me to prepare for the test. That really helped me. That was the way to this Studienkolleg. There I went to I learned math, physics, chemistry and German in one year. Except I already knew everything in German from school and from the University, I should just learn the words in German. What was the experience with the people here like? Was there a way to get there? r] In Aachen there is a Protestant congregation, ESG, the run a student hostel where I lived. They helped me a lot in my first years. Financially and also in general concerning the life here.

[r] There was a Mrs. Pfeffer who told me really took her protection. I also had the opportunity, to get to know many German students. There were more than 50 rooms there, and we always at the beginning of the semester. Every Thursday there was a celebration in our own club, we did something together. and there was the possibility, for example, to have a Football World Cup or the African Cup. In this house you should also do gardening, i.e. you could do meet people again and cook and eat together after gardening. There were always Halloween and so on. Chocolate in front of every door, from ESG of course, that was really a place where you could find good friendships. Now we have learned something about the housing situation and integration. Now maybe something about their expectations. Topic: Reality of expectation. When you’re in Guinea, you have different views. about Europe. You think if you end up here, you’ll be on the street, or every third person you meet, give me 100 € – life is simple. After one year I will be able to buy a house or a Porsche. This is the view we had in Guinea when I was there. When you end up here, you realize that life is totally different. You have to fight for every penny yourself, nobody gives you money voluntarily. For every thing, you have to work for yourself. In Guinea most children get a lot of stuff from and you’re not used to working. Here you have to work even in winter. That was already a challenge.

[i] And as you said about contacts with the family? Back then the Internet wasn’t as usable as it is today. It there was no Facebook, WhatsApp, etc. #NAAM? Until 2011 the contact was not really pronounced. On the weekend or from and at times in the evenings there were in Aachen a shop that operated a call center. I always went there and called my parents. We talked for about 10 to 20 minutes. Later I also had a SIM card I had to load to communicate with my parents.

[i] What about everyday life? You already have the one from Guinea, how was your everyday life in Germany?

[r] Yes, my everyday life. In the first year at the university, they’ve been looking for the Lectures held in the Bibiothek and stayed there till evening. The university is open until 0 o’clock. Every now and then you have football, too. I did the right thing and I got paid for it. My parents told me that I should focus on the and that’s what I did. In the ESG dormitory, we had a lot of activities that were we did or had to do together. So everyday life consisted of studying and having fun with friends, especially in the environment I had lived in. During the weekend I sometimes came to Cologne or to Düsseldorf, depending on whether I still have something to do in the evening or not. Otherwise, of course, there was work to do, too, because I was supposed to to pay for my own things. So I had a part-time job. In the beginning, I worked during the holidays. I had a month off and took a full-time job there. During my studies I was able to spend two years at the university I had a HiWi job as a student assistant. You learned a lot there and also got money for it.

[i] Your experience with bureaucracy?

[r] Yes, that was always one thing, and it still is until now – when you go, for example, to extend your visa. In the beginning sometimes was afraid, because for the extension of the visa e.g. some had to be passed and one had to had to have enough money in his account. That was always Pi times thumb. Every now and then you have difficulties to get so much money into your account. to get at least one year or two years visa. Own experience: I had no trouble with the bureaucracy I would say. My uncle has also helped me financially a lot and a commitment so that I do not have each time over 2000 € on his account had to get an extension. That was difficult for many.

[r] As I said, because foreign students have to work to finance their studies. i] But not only the foreign ones, but also the German ones. Yes, but they have, for example, access to BAFÖG etc., facilities that we don’t have. i] Now to the city: culture, leisure, people? I participated in many STUBE, there was also a Cameroonian community, which has done a lot with the city of Aachen. I also took part. I haven’t done my own projects with the city yet. But there are still things that I need to talk about.

[i] And with the Germans? Contacts? As I said, I had contacts at the university and from the dormitory. These contacts still stayed. We write each other from time to time, meet each other. But it’s not like it was before because many in others cities to work in. You don’t meet so often. You told me that you met people from Guinea. How is the community from Guinea here? How important is this community to you? It’s very important to me. There have been a lot of Young people who came here, who really needed help. For example, I have a friend in Cologne. We had the initiative to helping kids, giving directives on what they can do best here. What I think is a pity is that our community is not so well organized. like the Cameroonian. Many things are much easier, they simply have more structure.

[i] Is that what you’re missing here?

[r] Yes, exactly. There are no structures here that welcome you here or help you.

[i] Would that be very important?

[r] Yes very much, I have read, that the majority of asylum seekers I’m a teenager from Guinea. This would be very helpful for them. Or simply directives that the newcomers should not I have to make the same mistakes as someone like me.

[i] What do you think needs to be done to make progress? r] One should sit down together, talk about education and education. About seminars, how to live here together, so that the newbies at least get general information about it. The biggest problem is arriving here and not getting any information. to get a copy. Neither from the city, nor from its people. Most people are very afraid to go to the city to ask questions. When there is no structured and familiar help, it becomes difficult. i] What about general challenges? in everyday life? From the age of 18 you can conclude contracts, you want to undo something, for example. Have you already experienced something like this? Yes, e.g. with telephone contracts – that’s how it is. one thing. Or many go to the Internet, click something and sign a contract where they’ll later We’re having trouble getting him to resign.

[r] I have met many people, who have given me such difficulties where they reported, for example, a treaty not have understood at all because they do not really German understand. And in the end they have to pay a lot of money. i] People tell a lot, especially in NRW, where people are very friendly are. What experience have you had with these people from NRW?

[r] I will be honest: In NRW I have – at least in my case – not yet experienced a case of racism.

[r] I only know that there is courage in most of here and they don’t dare much. Many have in the head, if someone’s white, he’s got to have than someone with a different skin color. Many people will experience these or similar things here, but I personally haven’t experienced it yet.

[r] I was once in Berlin with a friend in the Restaurant at dinner. An old woman came up and insulted us, that we are foreigners would come here and take their money. I ignored that because I know that I would have to pay for it. I worked the money. They didn’t give it to me. I studied for it. There are always idiots who remind someone they’re not from around here.

[i] Now to the city of Bochum: What kind of bond exists and what experience have you had here?

[r] Unfortunately, I haven’t been here that long. in Bochum/Herne – only since March 2018.

[r] I work in Cologne, leave in the morning at 6 a.m. and I’ll be home at 9:00. I.e. everything what I’ve experienced here may have been Christmas markets, I’ve already found them.

[r] Every now and then on weekends I go swimming in Herne am Lago. But otherwise I had made more experience in Aachen.

[i] They have been living for several years in Germany, what are your plans for the future?

[r] As I said, I have studied here and hope that I will be able to find an I can find a good job, where I can then also develop myself. What I prefer – I mean, I come from a country where up to not much has been done now in terms of development prospects. It would be my wish, if I could ever establish a connection between my country and Germany can be in the direction of engineering. Where, for example, we set up many projects in Guinea can operate know-how transfer to Guinea, etc. i] You are now here in Germany. Where is home? What is home for you? r] For me, home is where you live and where you can feels good. Feeling good means where you work, where you pay your taxes, where you don’t cheat. and live a fair life. Where one can work and integrate, of course, the culture and the mentality and can simply accept life here and also takes himself. I see a lot of people and find it a pity to see that, that they don’t even try to learn German.

[i] And again the question, where is your home? Germany or Guinea?

[r] I would say, for me is – that is a difficult question because I’ve lived here for 11 years. This is my home, actually. My friends, that I had in Guinea, and the friends that I had I see you every day, that’s the thing. People who participate in my everyday life every day. Then the home is here for me. I have the following in my head: In Africa, in Guinea, there live a majority of many Black. Then when you come here, it’s exactly vice versa. We perceived it that way? I only had this impression on my first day at university. We were about 300 students who registered at RWTH Aachen University. and I sat there and looked left and right, looking and we were only three black guys there. That was quite impressive, because it was simply was unfamiliar. Meanwhile I don’t care, it’s playing and I think it’s normal for me to be under to find many whites again. Quite normal everyday life.

[i] They have now told us so much, but in time everything’s still within bounds. Your last word:

[r] I put so much emphasis on this know-how transfer.

[r] I wish that the people who work here come here, have the chance someday, what they’ve learned here back again. to their countries or to forward it to them. This would also be an opportunity for Germany to better market in these developing countries. That would be my wish. Thank you very much!

[r] I thank you!

[i] I hope you have felt at home with us. In this sense: Thank you again!

[r] Thank you very much!