[i] Hello Mrs. [name] .
[r] [name] .
My name is [name] . Today I’m doing an interview with [name] about our program at the Bochum Museum. She introduced herself here today to do an interview with us. We thank her very much for that. We are here in the center of the association Bosangani e.V., an African association from Bochum and here we will conduct the interview. Hello Mrs. [name], thank you very much for coming to take part in the interview. At first we don’t have much to say, we ask you to introduce yourself first, so that the people who follow you will know who you are and who they are following.
[r] Thank you, my name is [name] . Thank you for the opportunity to do an interview with you in this short time. I am ready. I am Congolese in the DRC [Democratic Republic of Congo] .
[i] Thank you very much. We are in the city of Bochum, you are [living?] also in the city of Bochum, can we ask you, how is it that you came to the city of Bochum? We already know that you are African, Congolese, but now you are in Bochum. How is it that you are now in Bochum?
Um, I came to the city of Bochum because I like the city. When I first came to Germany I lived in Stuttgart. I thank them, the Germans, because they welcomed me in this country. They are even nice, [abe
It’s not good to just see things positively. They have received us, given us shelter and food. But one small difficulty we had was that we weren’t allowed to go to other cities. We were like in prison. That was a bit difficult. Where we were not allowed to go was the place where oil was sold, which we liked. But we were forbidden to go there. Another difficulty was that we were not allowed to work. That was one of the difficulties. The money we had received to live was not enough. We really had difficulties. Another more serious difficulty was that we had been without papers for many years. So we were really like people in prison. But thank you for welcoming us in your country. We are very grateful for that. For example, I pray for them to be well. Their health should be good and the economy of the country should run well, because they welcomed us. Really, they are nice. I felt you were nice to us. But there was a time when this law was abolished. [?] You had given us work, we had worked. With the work, the accommodations you had given us in the beginning were not so good. [laughs] I apologize here, sorry, these houses weren’t good. But when we got work, we could look for better flats. We lived in a good apartment, we furnished it ourselves. We earned the money ourselves. We have paid the rent ourselves and we have freed ourselves from the social welfare office. We led a better life. After that we got papers. I had a child here, my child had success in school, the child went to a private school. The child grew up here. God bless her. Thank you for everything. The country should develop well. When we came, we saw […] that they should not believe that we had only experienced bad things. There were also good things. They [the Germans] are good, they are nice. I like Germany. I’ve experienced a lot of good things here. Germany should develop well, the widowhood should always rise. But when I lived in Stuttgart I didn’t always want to stay there. I wanted to go somewhere else. Then I changed my place of residence and came to Bochum. When I arrived in Bochum, I was very happy about the city of Bochum. I think it [the people] here are very relaxed. [Laughs] . They are beautiful. I didn’t stay long in Bochum and fortunately found a job. Even where I work people are very nice to me. We understand each other well, we are like a family, like relatives. If one day I should leave this country, I would not forget them in all cases. Everywhere I go, I will talk about them well. They are really in my head. Right now I am in Germany. My child also grew up [here?], it did design as an education [study? I have a child, the father no longer lives. My child also has a child, my grandchild. We live well. I have learned the language, I speak a little. My advantage, in life I didn’t know the language. [?] But since I live here, I could understand it. I also learned it a little bit. I can also write a little. At work I talk to my colleagues and we get along a bit. But every country has its laws. We had to obey the laws you had given us. We had to do that because that is how life is. Every country has its laws. But when you refused us the papers, I had difficulties because I have family members in France. I could not visit my relatives. I got the papers after nine years. After nine years, that was very difficult. I ask them, in the name of the love of Jesus Christ, I know that the German people are Christian. The people who come after us, they should not have the same difficulties as we had them. Because it adds ten years to a person’s life. That is a lot. I got my papers after nine years. I had no more hope, but in the end you felt sorry for me and they gave me the papers. Now I go to France to visit the family. It is very beautiful. God bless them, the country should continue to develop. I like them, the Germans. I liked the city of Bochum, they [the people] are relaxed. Here in Bochum, I like the city, it’s very beautiful.
[i] Thank you very much. They came to Bochum, they told me that they had lived in another place, including Stuttgart. Let’s say you come to Germany from the Congo, in which cities were you still? Sure, you were in Stuttgart, then you came to Bochum. So that people would get an idea of where you had been.
When I came to Stuttgart, in Stuttgart we […] we came to Stuttgart. We came to a town called Gebigen [?]. We arrived in Gebigen. In Gebigen we were the first asylum seekers. We were received in a former American camp. When we were there, that was the time when people were sent to the [former?] GDR. That was a very difficult moment. People went to the [former?] GDR. But we were lucky, we were lucky. I was also married. When we were in the Gepigen home, there was some work there. Because it was an American camp, we had helped with the work. While we had helped with the work, other people had not helped. We continued to help. Almost all the people who were there were assigned to the [former?] GDR, except me and my husband. We were then assigned to Waibligen. Only we had gone there. We stayed there. After seven years my husband got cancer. Then he died. When he died, the child was four years old. That was not easy. My husband died in 1999. The child was already five years old. When my husband was ill, the child was four years old and then when the child was five years old, my husband died. That was very difficult. God helped, I got work in the Burger King in Waibligen. The boss of Burger-King was Mr. Gorges. I can’t forget his name, he hired me. Through this work I was given a visa for two years. When I got a visa of two years, I left Burger-King. Then I got a job at Holtel Millenium. When I worked at the [Hotel] Millenium, I got a permanent residence permit. I lived in Stuttgart for a long time, then I decided to come close to other countries. Since I have family members in France and Belgium, I didn’t want to travel that far anymore. After two hours I am already in Belgium, after half an hour I am in Holland and four and a half hours, then I am in France. That’s why I came up [further north?], close to the countries where I have relatives. That’s why one day I decided to come here. Stuttgart is further south. There is Badenwüttemberg, now I have come to North Rhine-Westphalia. When I came here, I was very happy, much more than in Stuttgart. [Laughs] . But in Stuttgart, I was received there, I can’t forget that. They [the people?] too, I can’t forget them either, they’re all [how?] relatives. They are my relatives, I love them very much.
[i] Thank you very much. They talked about Bochum. What is your impression of the city of Bochum, be it positive or negative? What can you say?
[r] How I got to Bochum […]
[i] Your impression positive or negative?
My impression in Bochum, I haven’t seen anything negative yet, because […] when I came, I already had the residence permit. [Laughs] . When I came, I already had my papers. What I found was that in summer there are many festivals in the city. We are taken into account. I also got work there. When we were at the festivals, I noticed that we were being enchanted. I saw a German woman who came to me. She had liked me. She had asked me: “What is your name? I gave her my name. I said my name was [name]. My first name is [name]. She asked me if I wanted to work. I said yes. Then this woman hired me. So I came here and found [Work] [with] ease. I found the work from the street. I found a lot of ease here [encountered?]. Here they [the people] are really looser than where I came from. I was very happy about Bochum. I didn’t encounter any difficulties because I found a nice apartment here. I live in the city centre, in Viktoria Street, at the Bermuda Triangle. I’m okay, I haven’t gotten any difficulty here yet. I think the people here are very nice.
i] You just talked about your district, can you describe your district?
My neighborhood […] […] opposite my apartment there is a house where music is often played, across from my apartment. Music is often played there.
[i] It’s the music forum!
Yes, that’s the music forum, music is played there, I’m new at times and watch people play classical music. Opposite of me there is a discotheque. If I walk a bit there is a place where people spend their time, they drink juice, beer […] Really, I am very happy. I really live in the center, in the middle. Across from me is the music forum. I walk to the shops. Rewe [supermarket] is nearby. Tk-max [department store] is also nearby, Edeka and Lydl [supermarkets] are also crossed by me. Everything on foot. The main station is across from me, in any case, I’m okay. Everything is done on foot. Tk-max is there, the shops, everything […] everything is there. I haven’t taken the bus since I came. I do everything on foot. I only take the subway when I want to go to work. In any case, I’m good. Here in Bochum, really, everything is positive.
i] Apart from your district, the city centre, do you know another district of Bochum?
[r] Um, I know where I work, umm […] […] [break] My district, I take the subway […], umm, the 308, towards the protection bench […], umm protection bench. I get off at Nordbad, I know that.
[i] Thank you. Let’s talk a little about leisure time in the community of Bochum. Here, where do people go? We would like to know, if you have free time, where do you spend your time, what entertainment [entertainment] do you use here in Bochum? And what contacts do you have with the German community? Let’s first talk about leisure time.
I often meet my friends in the [association] Bosangani. Especially when I meet my friends from the [association] Bosangani […] we like each other. We like each other very much. There is understanding between us. We live well together. Every time we are there, we share news, we also talk about our homeland. We also talk about here, we now have two countries. Here, where we were received and the countries we left. We are talking about the countries we left and [the place] where we were received. We come to the Bosangani Association, I often go for walks in […]. When I get off there, there is a place where one can talk. Sometimes I sit there, I drink a juice there, I go to shops, that’s what I do.
[i] What is Bosangani please? Because not all people know what Bosangani is. Can you describe Bosangani?
[r] Bosangani is a place, an association. There we meet, there we bring [discuss?] our difficulties. If you have a problem, if you don’t have a lawyer, they will contact you with the lawyer. They can follow your case and that can change a negative decision into a positive decision. We also have our boss, Papa Massakidi, who is here. Papa Massakidi helps us. You can have a letter, which can be from the employment office or from the job center. It may be that you do not understand some words. Papa Massakidi can read it for you. There you understand the content better and if it is about something that is being followed up, he will do that as well. If you have a difficulty, he can accompany you. So we’re good with him. We get along well with our bosses who are here. They are nice to us. They are nice to us. They look after us in case of difficulties. Where they manage to do something, they do it. If they cannot do anything, they know how to proceed. We have it good with them. Sometimes they call us, we have regular contact. Like me, when I come back from work, I often come here [Bosangani meeting point] to know what’s new. What is there to report? We are together and we understand each other well.
[i] Thank you. Do you have contacts with the African community? So also [with de
[r] Congolese [community], appearance of the meeting at the Bosangani Center?
Since I am a newcomer here, I have not yet met many people from the country. In Bochum I am still a stranger. But it is acquaintances I have met with whom I have contacts. We are often together at Bosangani. I have contacts with them and I also have contacts with people from Guinea, from the Ivory Coast, from Cameroon, with many acquaintances who are here. We meet here. It is not so because our boss is Congolese. But we meet here with different Africans. There are also Congolese from Congo-Brazzavile. Because there are two Congos: the DRC [Democratic Republic of Congo] and the Republic of Congo. We are here with them, we meet here, with Ghanaians, Nigerians, we are here together. We have become like a family. We meet. We are not only Congolese but all Africans.
Do you also have contacts with the German community, here in Bochum or in Germany in general?
In the city of Bochum I have contact with the people from my work. I have contacts with my “relatives” from my work. Above all they like me because I am also very nice [to you]. I like them. When I’m there, […] even my boss, she loves me very much. My boss Michael [Michaela?] likes me very much. When I meet her, we often talk to each other, we hug each other. I meet the Mona there, the Peter […] We are there together. Contacts are mainly at work. We get along well with the people from work.
i] Can you please describe your work? What do you do, what is your job?
I work with old people. I work with old people. I clean with the old people. The old people are nice to me, too. In any case, I like this work. I like to work, even at the end of the work I don’t get tired. Because if you don’t like a job, if you don’t like your work, you won’t be satisfied with it. Even if you’re not liked at work, you won’t like it. But at work I am loved by the old people and I love them too. I do the household there very well. That goes well, the work is also done well, I also clean the work, there are no complaints, because I do all of them well. It is also a place where it is private. Above all, the salary there, I didn’t get that in Stuttgart. I had also done work there with the same time, but I did not earn so well. Here I got this income. In Stuttgart it was like that, I always worked full time. But sometimes you worked two additional hours elsewhere. I got 380 [Euro]. But I was surprised that you got 450 [euros] for two hours. In any case it’s the first time. That amazed me. That’s the first time.
[i] Thank you very much! They are satisfied with their work. Do you have the opportunity to speak German there? So that you can improve your language?
Yes, I only speak German there because, um, only German is spoken there. There I met an African. I found an African there, but we can’t speak in our language because it would make people uncomfortable. I speak in German, which is what I can speak. I speak at work. I work without pressure, when I come, I know what to do, what to do. I am sometimes told: “[name], if something is missing at work, please tell us, we will prepare it”. In any case, I take this work as my home. When I’m there, it’s very pleasant. There’s nobody there to bother me.
Do you want to take a break?
[i] Ma[_?] [Madame?] [name], let’s continue with our interview, we will ask you to compare your life in Kinshasa and the life here. You can say something about the district yourself. The life from there, do you also find it here? Can you make a comparison?
Life in Africa, one is often outside. There are people outside. We often meet outside, but that’s not the case here. Here life usually takes place at home. Sometimes we meet in church, in church we hear the songs we sang in our home country. But one difficulty we had before was when we came. There was no church in the sense of our homeland. We didn’t go to church, we didn’t hear the songs, and there was a great distance between the people. Your acquaintances can be assigned far away and then you have no possibility to go to them. That could also be that you are not allowed to go to this city. If you go there, you have to pay a fine. Or you will be arrested. It was hard. But today we did it a bit. Today you can visit your relatives. Especially with the food it was hard, but today there are African shops. We had not eaten to our taste. We had eaten what we were not used to yet. Because there was no African food here. But today it is better. There are African shops. We eat our local dishes, which we call “Pondu” [manioc leaves
We eat “fufu” [cassava].
[i] . Really, we’re fine today. But this is where life mostly takes place at home. In Africa we don’t stay at home, you only go into the house when you want to sleep. When you go out, you’re gone. [Laughs] But today it’s good. But in the beginning there was difficulty. Those who come today, those who come new, they don’t meet the difficulties we had. They’re a little better [at it?] . We have it better now, there are African shops, for example here we have an African shop from a Pakistani. There you can find Congolese food, we’re fine, we’re eating well. Palm oil is there. You can even get the body oil that we always use. If you find me beautiful through the camera now, it’s because of this oil. If you compare when we came and today, a lot has changed. We have changed. Now you can go to the store, you can buy a powder there that fits your skin. We used to shower and use their oils. That didn’t fit. But today it’s good. We really found each other [resigned?] . God bless you, you should develop. Thank you.
Apart from food, we take music, for example, Christian or simply ordinary, its culture, its customs, its African clothing. If you want to shop, […] what do you do? Are there shops that offer such things? Do you have to go far or do you get everything nearby?
For example, we wear a loincloth. You often get that in France and Belgium. You rarely find it here. But trousers, dresses, that’s what we get here. At H&M you can get clothes, trousers […] It’s often cold here. The loincloth is worn more often in summer. The loincloth is sold in France and Belgium. Belgium is also not far away. In two hours you are there and you can buy your loincloth. It is good for clothes in general. Above all, Tk-max has been set up here, oh no, we have found ourselves [resigned? set up?] . If you’re there, you can sometimes get a dress for ten euros. It’s going well. Here you can buy a shirt, shoes, trousers. That’s not a problem. We buy all these “African fabrics” in France and Belgium. They are worn in summer. Because of the climate we don’t wear the African fabrics here often. Here is often cold.
i] We know that Congolese often pray. In the Congo, even in Kinshasa, there are many churches. In Kinshasa everyone knows which church they can [go to]. Here in Bochum, do you have a church here where you can find the atmosphere from the Congo? Here in Bochum and also in Stuttgart? Or do you have to go far away to pray? Or do you have to stay at home because the church is far away? Talk a little about our church. Do you get the opportunity to pray like in Congo?
In any case. Above all, I found myself in Stuttgart, We had a church, I stayed there for many years. We prayed in Stuttgart. In Bochum there are also African churches. There are also churches. But [so far?] I haven’t visited these churches yet. I want to go because the church has a whole life. You don’t just go to church like that. Before you go to church you have to pray to God. God will show you the place where you will pray. Like me, I don’t just go to church. At the moment I am still at home. I pray at home, on the day when God will tell me where to go, I will go there. But in Stuttgart we had a permanent church. We stayed there for years. But I only stayed here for a year and a half. God has not yet shown me where to go. But I tried to go to a church in Düsseldorf. I went there three times, but I found it too far away. But I pray to God to show me a church nearby where I will go. I am a Christian, I like God, I like to pray, I can’t stay like this, I have to go to church. That is obligatory. You have to acknowledge God because he created us. Who created you, you must acknowledge him. It is good to pray alone at home. It is not quite good. Praying together with other people is better. Because you say: “A piece of wood cannot bring the food to a boil, you have to have several pieces of wood”.
i] Now that we are talking about the Church, I know that there are many churches in the Congo, the Protestant, the Catholic, Christians from Europe in general. Do you also go here to the church of Germans? Whether Protestant or Catholic, because I don’t know your faith from. [?] Have you already participated [in the mass?] in German churches?
I haven’t left yet, but when I see them, I will. I will try to go to see how they are made. But I haven’t seen them yet because I’m still a stranger here.
[i] And in Stuttgart?
In Stuttgart we have gathered together with Germans in a church. A pastor named Willi Maier [Meyer?] was with us. He knew me personally. When I was married, Pastor Willi Maier [Meyer?] blessed my marriage.
[i] Willi Maier, of the Protestant or Catholic Church?
It was the Protestant Church. […] the evangelical church.
Can you make a comparison between the Protestant Church here and the Congo? As you noticed? Can you please make a comparison? So that the people who don’t know, who haven’t been to Africa yet, so that they can know what the Church is like with us?
In any case. [Laughs] I beg your pardon. We once received Renard Bonke in Stuttgart, he is German. Renard Bonke, God sent him to Africa as a pastor. Renard Bonke is German, I don’t know […] he is German. This German had come to Stuttgart, he had made a campaign there. There were many people there, he had said to the Germans: “I am a pastor in Africa, in a country where English is spoken”. He said how Africans pray to God. “We white people will not reach this point.” He said that Africans understood who God was. They will not achieve that. Africans would have a diligence, Africans would suffer, but they would take God at one level. We here have money, our bank accounts are full. But we’re not far with God yet. If you go to the German church, even when we came together with the whites, we taught them something. We taught them fasting and prayer. They loved us very much. Our church there was built thanks to a pastor Sonny [?] . He came from the Congo. When he saw that we had rented the church buildings, he said that the German people were a rich people in the world. People are afraid [of?] them. The economy here is very high [developed]. How can they rent a church for God? The whites had collected money in a short time and a church was built. We showed the whites how to pray. Because the Africans, especially the Congolese, recognize God. When you pray with whites, you realize that they are not “hot” [passionate? enthusiastic?]. We wanted to transfer our warmth to them. The way of praying is different between us and the whites. We seek God in [en
[r] Source. We do not see our suffering, for us God is only God. The whites collected money and the church was built. We had helped, we had cleaned there. The church was built thanks to the word of Pastor Sonny. I had experienced that myself. We were there. Pastor Sonny is African, he comes from DR [Democratic Republic] Congo. The church was built thanks to him. We had gathered with white people, we had shown them fasting and prayer. But going to church with the white people is not bad, but hearing God’s word in your own language is very important. Because God’s words are life. The German language is a language with which we are not born. It can be that you preach and you don’t understand a word, it doesn’t work so well. That is why we Africans gather to understand the word of God in our language. When we gathered with them, we ended up with two services. We prayed in the afternoon and they prayed in the morning. We separated because of the language. So it was. But we were in the same building. It was also the case that one day we had worship service together. The German language is not easy. It is heavy.
Thank you, we are still comparing. Together we compared the church here and [the church] from Africa. In Africa the service lasts longer than here.
[r] Yes! The service here doesn’t last long if it were the same country, if French was spoken, because Congo is a French-speaking country. French is spoken in Congo. We have mastered French. If it were French, there wouldn’t be a problem. That [German?] is a language that we hadn’t heard since we were born. We only heard it as adults. It’s not that simple. That’s why we had to separate, because of the language. Besides, the white man’s worship doesn’t last long. Ours lasts longer. We can only worship [God?] for one hour. We only sing, but the Germans don’t do it that way.
[i] They just compared the church. They have lived in Germany for a long time. They had a child here. I suppose you know a bit about Germany. You were born in the Congo. You went to school there. That means you also know the Congo very well. Can you compare the two countries, Germany and the Congo? For example, the population, how they live.
You see, Africa has its own way of life. Africa has its way of life, Europe also has its way. I was born there . I came here. When I was here for a long time in Germany, I also [time?] returned to the Congo. I also made many trips to the Congo. But when I returned to the Congo, life in the Congo, as I have seen, people really don’t live. The difficulty is great. Just food […] Because here in Europe [with] food is easy, food is hard. The children have no school, there are no hospitals, everything is on the ground, everything is downstairs. Where it’s so hard, it disturbs people’s mentality. At the moment people don’t think anymore, people don’t think well [?] because of the difficulties. When I went there, I made a donation. To compare Africa and Europe, Europe is on the ground. Sorry, Africa is on the ground. When I went there, I had a member and I gave [donations?] there. When I have to travel to Africa, I even go to Diakonie. I buy a lot of things. I was already known in the Diakonie Stuttgart. When I went there, they sometimes even gave me 50 children’s clothes for 2.5 euros. I had really bought children’s clothes and packed them in boxes. I searched [collected?] then the money for the dispatch. I would give it there, because there the difficulties are great. You can find children on the street who only walk around with short trousers. Without a shirt. The difficulties are high. You can’t compare Europe with Africa because we eat here in Europe. In Europe we eat, we drink, the children go to school. If you are ill, you get good treatment. No, no, you cannot compare that. Europe is far away, Europe is highly [developed?] – Finally [in] Africa is suffering.
They come from Congo, they say Congo is a rich country. The Congo has a fertile soil. You can plant without end. Congo has natural resources that many countries need. It rains often, there is enough water, there are fish. But why do people there die of hunger?
People are dying of hunger, even in our country. Our country has natural resources that the whole world doesn’t have. Above all we really suffer because it is a country that many countries of the world want to have. Since the countries of the world are fighting over it, 95 % of the natural resources are taken from this country. We remain with 5%. What can we do with 5% there? The world is fighting over natural resources. They take our things, they have no pity for us. They even want the Congolese population to disappear. And then you would create a new world. Also our president, who was in our country, appeared two days ago, I believe. He was supposedly [from?] Rwanda. He was not Congolese. He sacrificed the country. He has no pity for the people. It will be good in the country if they have a good president. Because the president is the head of state. If he has a good heart, the population can live well. They can live a bit well. Firstly, we had a president who was a foreigner; secondly, he did not have a good heart. That was the reason for the suffering. I don’t know, since my birth, I have only seen suffering in the Congo. When I return there, I notice that suffering is getting more and more. The suffering is great. A country where people pray a lot, people suffer […] the country has good soil, if you plant vegetables, cassava or other things then it grows very well. But there is still suffering. There are no hospitals, many people die. There are no beds in the hospitals, sick people don’t have a bed to sleep in. Women bring children into the world and have no money to pay. The hospital will [seek] imprisonment for them. So […] It’s not our fault. It’s the fault of the world. They take our natural resources, even for free. If they would let us sell these natural resources I think there would be buildings that would be better from Europe. […which would be better than those in Europe?] So the world doesn’t want anything good from us either. The difficulty there is that other people are doing this, but we ourselves are not. The people there don’t think well because of the suffering. If the world would feel sorry for us and let us, and the presidents would organize the country, then the population could live better. But God is God, everything in his time.
As a mother, of the experience they gained in Germany, they were also in Africa, they saw there how the people live there. If you gave advice to the authorities or [if you] gave advice to the Congolese to change their life a little, what could you tell them? Things can also change when we advise people, relatives.
What I can say to our leaders: If you’re president of the country, then you’re like the father in the house. We Congolese are your children. What father can allow his children to starve? Father, have a good heart! Father, hear the suffering of the children! Also the world, I do not know if we Congolese, if we go to other countries, if we damage things. I do not know. We live here now, I have lived here for a long time, but I have never been in prison. I have not touched bad [done?] . I think if you would do my thing […] um, then I’m good, I didn’t do bad things here. I live quietly. That’s why the world should let us, the presidents from there should think well. They are the fathers of the states. Today we got President Tshisekedi. Our eyes are on him. Let us see whether he will behave just as badly. Or whether he will do better. But since we pray, we should pray for him, so that his heart remains good. He should drink cold water [?] so that he can look at the children that God has brought close to him. Because he is like a father and we are his children. Let him have compassion on us. Because suffering is too much. Where will we go with suffering? We were born with suffering, we grew up with it.
Thank you very much, we will stay in the city of Bochum. When you came to Bochum, news [?] or you came with your family. [?] What help did you get in Bochum? What people helped you in the city? Be it with the authorities or in normal life?
In any case, when I came to the city of Bochum, I found the association Bosangani. When I was walking in the city I had met an African. I saw my African relative. So he told me that […] […] I started asking him. I said, “How are you?” Then he answered me in my language. We come from the same country. He had told me that we had an association here that would also help. Then he took me to Bosangani. At Bosangani I met our father Massakidi. We were once in an event in the city, which I liked, because I saw that the mayor of this city is humble. We took photos together. [She laughs.] [She laughs] [She laughs] . I took photos with him, we took photos with the mayor of this city. That surprised me. That surprised me, we took photos, he’s humble, he talked. We took photos, I liked it, I liked it. We all came together. He came to us, he took his time, he also talked to us, then we took photos. That amazed me. We get along well in our club, we meet here, we talk well. They also help with authorities, that works well. That could be that he drops his case [?] . […] For example, one day Massakidi accompanied me to the doctor, he showed me the doctor, he took the time there. [She laughs] . I was treated, then we came back. [She laughs] . It’s good, definitely.
i] Thank you for confirming the city of Bochum
I was happy.
When we came from Africa, we often had prejudices. Prejudice means imagining things that are generally different. This can also happen to [yourself]. When you came to Bochum from Stuttgart, did your ideas correspond to reality?
In the city of Bochum I was also looking for the Diakonie. I know that Papa Massakidi will take me there [would?] . He would take me there. I want in the summer, when I will get vacation, because I [there] usually help and these children know me [?] . I’m also planning [to] set up an NGO there as a project. I know that Papa Massakidi will take me [there?]. That’s why I haven’t suggested showing the deaconries to [him] yet. […] I will also talk to the people from Diakonie so that they can lower the prices for me, just as it was in Stuttgart. I was known in Stuttgart. When I was there, they had given me the clothes cheaply. There are already worn clothes. People bring it there as a donation. I need donations.
[i] Which NGO would you like to found? Can you explain your idea? Do you want to found an NGO in Congo?
I want to start an NGO that helps the old people, the children without parents. These children should go to school, get dressed, get shoes. Since some children in the Congo walk barefoot.
i] She wants to take donations here and bring them there?
I want to collect donations here and take them there.
[i] Please explain your idea so that you can perhaps get help from the people who are here and will hear about it.
I need help with a lot of things, like notebooks for the children there, notebooks, pens, dresses, children’s shoes […] a lot of things.
[i] Congo is big, in which city, in which district do you want to set up the organization? In Kinshasa or in province, in Bas Congo?
I wanted to go to the province, in the province I will need machines. For example, sailboat engine [sailboat?] which I will need. If someone has that, he can also give it. I’ll even do that on land I need the engine from a ship.
Thank you for the help for the population, because NRO´s plays, even here in Germany, a big role in the country. They do small things that the city sometimes can’t do.
They also have to look for money, the NGOs.
i] We’ll talk about it later. Let’s talk about the housing situation. When you came to Bochum, did you have difficulties to get an apartment or did you have no difficulties with it?
That had surprised me. What I saw in Bochum, I easily got an apartment. Because we came from Stuttgart and there it is hard to get an apartment and they are expensive. All the time I lived in Stuttgart, the money, um, when I was working, I just worked for the apartment. I only worked for the apartment. But the apartment I got here, that’s how it was, my kid called, […] I came to town. I live on Viktoria Street. I live with my child, although the apartment is small for both of them. I still want to change. I am looking for another apartment. But we got this apartment easily. I even asked God: “God, what have you prepared for me in this city? Because I got the apartment effortlessly. And the apartment is in the city centre. Although the apartment is small, for me, the child and the grandson. The apartment is small, but we got it easily. We got them easily [immediately?], which surprised me. We didn’t pay bail for it. We were allowed to move in without bail. No, […] That was a surprise for me. I find a relief here in the city of Bochum. I easily found the apartment. You have to see where the apartment is, in the middle and not far from the train station. That compressed me [astonished?] .
i] What steps did you take? Had you only called?
My daughter called. She saw the apartment on the Internet. She saw it on the Internet, then she called. Then the landlord told us to come. When he came, he saw my daughter, showed the apartment and said if they wanted the apartment, they could move in. Very easy. Because where I came from, you can’t get the apartment that way. I found it very easy. I find the people from […] relaxed. I think they’re very nice, it can’t happen in Stuttgart. Although this apartment is small because I still have to change.
i] As we hear, it is difficult for foreigners to get an apartment here in Germany, especially for Africans. They have a hard time getting an apartment.
I had seen this difficulty in Stuttgart, but not in Bochum. Maybe it was just luck, that could only be luck. Maybe the second apartment will be difficult, but the first [apartment] was not. That was luck, God allowed it, that’s how it is. I don’t know. But I have to change, because she is small. The apartment has only two rooms. I am with the child, it is already big, it is 24 years old and still the grandchild, it is small. I would like to change. At the end of the month I will give the notice, then we will look for a somewhat larger apartment.
i] Now we have arrived [at the point] where we want to know how the residential area has developed here. If someone was new, like you were when you came, how were you accommodated? Or how were you accommodated in [de
You have a family? And how did your situation change until you were in a stable position today?
When we were new [laughs] they had put us in an apartment. We were a lot of people. The apartment I had lived in with my husband, definitely [it] was like a birdcage. That wasn’t easy. So [there were] bigger difficulties. When we were new, although [?] we were received, thank you for that, I said that at the beginning. But how you accommodate people isn’t that good. Try to change it. You mix people just like that. It really wasn’t that good. Besides, my husband had died in that difficulty [difficult situation?]. When I got work, when you gave the work permit, when a law came and allowed people to work, I found myself a bit [?] . I had rented an apartment afterwards and I lived with my child. Then, until I got some papers, I lived in a good apartment. Even the people who come now have these difficulties. They have these difficulties until today. That may be that someone gets a place to stay, but he [something] is missing where he can put his thing. Many people put their things in bags and put them in corners. You should improve that. Try to change that. This may be that many people want to go to work but don’t have permission to get work. How can you live? Try to change that. A person is a person. Give them permission to work. When we started to work here, we could not speak good German. But we had worked. We had worked. My social tax, because he found me very nice, he gave me a job. That was with the old people. I had difficulty with the language, but I had gone to work. We distributed food to the old people. The food was on tape and we were working. The social [office?] gave us the work. We were six African women, but the social tax was interested in me and another woman called Marie Jeanne. She gave us work. She didn’t like the other one very much. We did this work. But all these people have already left. But today we stayed here, we have papers, we are doing a bit better [better?] compared to those who come new. They have small difficulties. Another thing: What I find bad here in Germany is to bring the people to the Schufa. […] [that the Schufa will be caught up? an entry will be made?] One is brought to Schufa [= Schutzgemeinschaft zur allgemeinen Kreditsicherung] because one has only taken […] um […] telephone [telephone contract?], for example at D2. Sometimes mN pays regularly, but maybe if you are in trouble for a month, you will be sent to the Schufa. This Schufa is done in such a way that for this man many things will perish. [?] Like [for example] that you are registered with the credit union because of the telephone. Then [is it more difficult?] to get an apartment later. But why this relationship between Schufa and apartment? The landlord wanted to know if you have Schufa [a Schufa entry]. That will give difficulty. It shouldn’t be like that. Now you’re not supposed to get an apartment, you have to stay outside because you have Schufa [a Schufa record]. The man works and he can pay for his apartment, and what does that have to do with Schufa? They should settle that here, please. That’s not okay. Sometimes you go to the store to borrow something [to buy something on credit?] and then you can’t. This Schufa follows you to the shop. That’s not good, here it should be improved. This is like mistreatment [in the sense of discrimination?]. This should be regulated here. We are human beings. That’s not how you should do it. We are human beings. But we when you come to Africa, the Europeans who come to Africa, we don’t do what they do. Why are you doing this [with] us? We are all human beings, please let us do it that way. Forgive [forgive?], if someone comes, even if he doesn’t have any papers yet, he should get a good condition. We ask you, in the love of God, let it be so. We have all come from the same place. We are God’s child, we are from God’s family. I asked you in the name of God. Really, should we be good, put the people in a good position. That may be that the people who want to come new, that we help them. We who have lived here for a long time. We who already have papers and have a better situation compared to them. They try to show us their suffering. They think that we have more money than they do. But it is not so. When we [came here?] we had no money. Less what we have requires [?] that we pay for the apartment and buy the food. That’s all. [?] Even with clothes, we wait for the time of the special offer. Sometimes you buy clothes for 10 euros just to cover your body. Try to regulate the situation of new arrivals. They shouldn’t wait as long as we do. There are people who came at the age of 40. They are given papers after 10 years. There you have disturbed the life of this person. As soon as he turns 50 years old, then after 10 years he has the pension. So it is not good. When people come, they try to give you the papers a little earlier. You should feel sorry for them. Please open your heart. If you open your heart, God will add something great to your life.
Let’s talk about your neighbors. Do you have contact with your neighbors where you live?
Um, where I live, um, I have a neighbor, he is Syrian, we get along very well. But we have a wife, we live on the third floor. A woman lives on the second [floor]. Ssie is hired as a janitor [hired?] . she is a bit complicated. She tries to bother a bit, but I understand that because she’s already old. I don’t deal with her. But there’s nothing wrong with the neighbours. Nobody disturbs us here.
Do you talk to neighbours, help each other, or what is it like?
In any case, we have good contact with the Syrian. We also go to his apartment to drink coffee. We talk to each other. He tells us about his experiences in Syria. He was a tailor, he had workers. We often talk about our homeland. He made me laugh. He also made B1 and passed. [She laughs] . He is very nice. He regrets his country because of the mess. The disorder [Chaos?] reigns in the country. He tells us about the war in his country. His work [job?] is destroyed. He doesn’t work here. He says that he would look for work, but that it wouldn’t work. Because of the language. He doesn’t understand the language well. So he’s at home. I also tell him about my home. About the killing with us. In our country Congo the dictatorship rules. You can’t say anything, otherwise […] the president who was there was a criminal. He killed day and night. He killed 12 million people. All people are afraid. They refuse to speak, to express their opinion. We are full of fear. That’s why [many, some] of us are fleeing from there. When we come to their country, we also have stress. Here you will get a bad place to sleep. You won’t get any papers, the lawyers are asking for money all the time. We suffered especially in Stuttgart. We had a lawyer. The money we got for the food we shared with him. This lawyer, I don’t have to give his name, he tortured us. [?] He knew that we got 350 [euros]. We had to share that 350 [euro] with him. That was a very difficult time.
You said that there was a dictatorship in the Congo. We know that you had experienced the Mobutu regime. Mobuturegime we simply say. Vile people hear the name Mobutu, can you briefly talk about his regime? What was it like? When you were there.
Mobutu was a dictator. He destroyed the country. He did nothing for the country. The people who were good, who had money, were from [his] environment. His environment because they became his closer environment. His soldiers had protected him. He was a dictator. But today suffering has become more. In his time people suffered. When he had left the power that came after him had tried to improve the situation but that had not worked. He died afterwards. But the one who came after him made the situation worse. In Mobutu’s time it was also difficult. I have already said that since I was born, I have not seen any happiness, no good life in the Congo. There was no good income either. At the moment it’s even worse, because now in Congo [it’s like] the people who work don’t get any money. There is no money. There is food, but people have no money to buy [something]. Pain without end. The country’s got dirty, there’s garbage everywhere. Garbage causes diseases. You don’t get treatment, there are no medicines. There are no hospitals. The Mobuturegime was very heavy, he was a dictator. So what he said had to be done. There was no argument.
We have seen here that many people fled from the mobuturegime. That was in the 1990s, in the 1980s. Many people applied for asylum in [before?] the mobuture regime. They were students, they were Christians. What had he done, what had his people done? What had his people done when the students demonstrated? When churches demonstrate?
They killed. You weren’t allowed to demonstrate there. They killed. With us the head of state kills without end. Nobody can say anything against it. It’s not like here. There is justice here, you cannot just kill someone here. But there in Africa they kill. If you demonstrate, you will be killed. It is not easy.
Do you have contacts with your family in the Congo? Have you left your family there, do you have contacts with them? How do the contacts work?
Many family members have died, some have been killed. Some have died, some have been killed. When I go there, I have to hide. Sometimes you meet them. They complain, they always suffer, they complain every time. They are in trouble. Some are dead, some are alive.
Do you also feel homesick, think of your country because you have left it? You are far away from your country, what kind of homesickness do you have?
Think [r], can not be absent. [?] Your place is yours. Where you were born is your birthplace. Really, [so] I think. I think that’s why I want to start an NGO. This leads me to start an NGO so that I can help. I have to start an NGO so that I can help the children who are outside. [Child
[r] who have no parents. I have to do that for them. The children who are alone. Do something for them. They have to learn, have something in their heads. That’s the reason. I like my country, I have to return. We have seen in the Bible that Nehemie had returned. Nehemie had fled to Babylon. But when he heard that Israel was destroyed, he served someone with wine. He had, uh, the president of […] the king of Babylon, he had given him wine. When he heard that Israel had been destroyed. The king had heard this in the village. He said why my village had become sad. He said my land was destroyed. The king asked him what he wanted to do. He replied that he wanted to return. He said you can return. He had returned and put his country in order. That was nehemie in the Bible. Nehemie had returned.
i] Since you talk about your organization and about the return, can you explain your organization so that people get an idea of how you think exactly how this is going to work?
I want to make my organization this way: I will look for a plot, I will buy a plot. I will build, I will accommodate children there. There children will learn work, they will learn, they will get food and they will get clothes. In life one should help. It is important. God wants it that way. If God sent us to Europe today to come and see. God knows why. God does his thing with meaning. God does his thing for a reason.
i] When do you want to found this organization?
Soon, I want to start the organization now and it should start immediately. I want to be in contact, I want the authorities in Bochum to help me. I saw the mayor, he also saw me. I speak to the mayor first because he was the first mayor I saw. The mayor should help me because I saw her [him?]. When I do that, I will invite a German so he can see my work.
You spoke about the Congolese society in Bochum You spoke about the Bosangani Association. You also mentioned some German acquaintances. You also have contacts with the German society. Are you also involved in other organisations, be it a German or an African [organisation] ? Except the Congolese organization.
I had that in Stuttgart, since I left Stuttgart, I no longer have any contact. I would like to establish new contacts here.
Who were you in contact with in Stuttgart?
I was in contact with […] my pastor and other brothers and sisters first. But I will still look for a German church, so that I still have contact to Germans. Because it is necessary to have contact with locals. I will find a German church here [suhen?] to make contact with it. I will look for a Protestant church. I will look for some Germans and make contact with them.
Let’s talk now about the work, training and administration in the city of Bochum. First from the language side, have you had the opportunity to learn the language here in Bochum?
I have the opportunity to learn, I like the language very much.
Have you already learned the language or are you still learning?
Here I will continue to learn it.
i] In which language do you speak with your family, in German or in your mother tongue ?
r] The family that is in Germany?
[i] Yes! With the child […]
With the child, sometimes, we speak a little in German, sometimes in the mother tongue, in Lingala.
i] To look for work in Bochum, did you have difficulty or did you already look for work here? If so, tell us what that was like.
When I came here, I wasn’t looking for work, but someone contacted me. Someone came to me and asked me if I wanted to work. I haven’t looked for a job yet. But I wanted to work. I was lucky that someone came to me and made me the offer. Since I like the work, I accepted.
[i] What do you think about Zunkuft, what do you want to do in Bochum? What is your wish?
In Bochum I wish to get help for my organization. I need your help so that I can help the disadvantaged children. Whoever is willing to go with me can also accompany me. He can also take part in the construction.
[i] Mama [name], you are Congolese. We know that your country, the Congo, is a great country in Africa and in the world. The population is large. There is much natural wealth. Can you tell us about your country, maybe where you grew up, in which city you grew up, in which district? Do you have contacts with old friends? Do you have an old souvenir? You know yourself what you can tell about your country.
My country, Congo, is the heart of the world. Because all the natural wealth the world needs is in Congo. Like coltan, cobalt, copper, gold […] Everything is there. But what does it matter to my brothers and sisters that the richest country in the world is also the poorest population in the world? Where one finds the heavy suffering. Why that? If you make mobile phones with the resources of the country, cameras, computers, everything is made. That is why we ask ourselves, us and them, why now […] Congo is a country that should lack nothing? [?] But why do we lack it? That is the problem. The children don’t eat, they don’t wear anything, they don’t go to school. But the country has a lot of money. The heart of the country, the heart of the world, why? Like I said here. What I have said, I repeat: you should open your heart for us, please! What you do for this country, God will not be satisfied with you. […] I ask you for forgiveness in God’s love. Again, forgiveness in God’s love. Leave what you are doing there. Because we know exactly that in the year 2021 cars will no longer run on petrol. You will drive with things that are in our country, the Congo. That’s why you let the Congolese. If God created us, the Congolese, He knows why He created us Congolese. He is not such that you have to maltreat us. The suffering, what we have to suffer, what we have to fill, we know where it comes from. Besides, we are a people who like God, who pray to God. The Bible tells us that everything [comes] at its own time. Every evil action we do, we will pay here in this world. Look how we suffer. For example I, [name] , I lived in a town called […] in a commune called Ndjili. If you look at this commune, there are plots. We don’t have skyscrapers in the Congo. We don’t have skyscrapers with lots of apartments in them. We have plots. The plots are big enough. We have no possibility to arrange these plots, to build them, because we lack money. My friends who were born with me on the same day, who were born with me in the same year, if you will see them today what they look like, you will have pity. They have become different because of suffering. Some have grown old because of suffering. I travel to Congo, then I meet them, my childhood friends, they envy me. Brothers and sisters, let us, it is painful. We came here to Germany, you welcomed us, we are guests here. Congolese does not reject anyone. We have many foreigners in our country, we do not torture anyone there. Nobody rejects Congolese. There we also have many Europeans, they live well in our country. They live well in our country. I hope what you are doing here we are not doing in our country. Let us also enjoy the happiness of our country. You cannot take everything and make people suffer! That is not good. We ask them for forgiveness in the name of Jesus Christ. If you look at the country, it is very dirty. This dirt causes a disease called typhoid fever. Then there is malaria. There are many mosquitoes. They disturb this country. They steal things from there. But also improve the land! Improve the land! Improve the country!
Is Ndjili in Kinshasa?
[r] Ndjili is in Kinshasa, I was born in Kinshasa, Ndjili is in Kinshasa. Ndjili is a beautiful commune. But when you see it today, it has changed, that’s a pity. Everywhere there is rubbish, and rubbish. Water everywhere, no good toilets, there is no work. People don’t get paid […] really, anything. The man goes to work tomorrow morning and comes back in the evening. But at the end of the month he gets no money. The salary of workers is about 70 euros.
Can you compare the school from when you went to school and the school today?
When we went to school, in our time, we had tried to go to school, we had learned. For example, I [went] up to the fifth grade of pedagogy. I couldn’t go on with school because my father couldn’t afford to pay for it. I wanted to go on to school, but I didn’t have the means. Then we fled, we also fled because of difficulties and many other things. They wanted to kill my husband, so we fled. We fled in a bad way, it was sad. But God did miracles that we actually got here. We had to cross many countries until we came here. God has bhelped. When we went to school, the school sometimes donated booklets, but today there is no chance. Congo has now really sunk to the ground. Every year there will be more suffering. Try to leave the land so that the country can breathe a little. Because the country has many riches. I don’t know if God only brought this wealth to the Congo so that people would come from far away to get it. We ourselves do not understand that. If God gives wealth to a country, it is for that country. I do not agree that in Europe, as we are in Germany, if God gives something here to Germany, then I do not believe that we who come from Africa will be allowed to take these things. Whether you would allow that. Forgive me if I have just spoken badly. I have only asked this question. But the world comes to us from everywhere and they take things that are in our country. They cooperate with the president. And if you report about it, you will be killed. You get up tomorrow morning and stay until evening without having seen anything. When you get up you don’t know if you will drink water this day, if you will eat. You don’t know that. People die without end, where should we go on?
i] How do you find the life of foreigners in Germany in general?
In Germany, if you are a foreigner, you will only remain a foreigner. Here a foreigner always remains a foreigner. In Germany a foreigner always remains a foreigner. We foreigners here have our laws. We have our laws, which were made especially for us foreigners. As a foreigner you remain a foreigner. But I do not know, with us in Africa, we respect foreigners very strongly. If you are a foreigner, in any case, I don’t know how to explain that. You are very strongly respected. But here in Europe, if you are a foreigner, you remain a foreigner. There are things you are not allowed to do. You are limited. You are really limited. We live with limitations.
i] What changes do you want to see in Germany, for example in ten years’ time?
Even not in ten years, we can start now, ten years are far away. As I’ve already said, if you receive foreigners […] In the event that they reject them, it’s different. But if they accept them, try to put them in a good position. Maybe [we can
The pain we suffered here, maybe we could bear it then. Maybe those who come now [might] not be able to bear it. Letting someone wait ten years without papers […] When someone comes, they should acknowledge him, put him in a good relationship, give him work. Maybe he can change his situation with work, get an apartment, and so on. That’s the way it is. We here pray for the relatives who stayed in Africa to get something to eat. Sometimes they have spaghetti to eat, which we send from here. We buy spaghetti [noodles?] from Lidl [supermarket] for 40 cents We put them in boxes and we send them to their home so they can eat. We help in all needs. We send spaghetti [noodles?] and some […] um, what else […] oatmeal so they can eat. You may not have cassava, so you can eat spaghetti [noodles?]. It’s just hard. Even though we came here, our thoughts are only directed there. Sometimes you call a relative there and he tells you that he hasn’t eaten for two days. That’s the difficulty. But the country has money. We ask ourselves, what is it like, the country has money and why is the population suffering? That is the problem. The people who come there only steal. How long will they steal? When will they stop stealing? That is the problem. We ask ourselves such questions. You steal today, tomorrow and the day after tomorrow, have you no pity?
What message can you give to the new President of Congo, Tshisekedi, as a citizen of Congo? Even though you are far away, maybe he can hear you if it had happened today that you would meet him, what message could you give him if you got this opportunity?
Um, my brothers, [my brother?] Congo citizen, Tshisekedi, my message to Him: I think if [that] we suffered even more because there was a stranger there. This stranger was from Rwanda, but he was an African, like us. We thought he could administer but he didn’t do it. But you, a real citizen of the country, but Felix Tshisekedi, President Tshilombo, my message to them: please look back and remember the suffering the people have suffered. You know that. You know there is a lot of work to be done in this country. Primary schools, so that the children can learn. The children are the forces of the future. Take the Kuluna [gangs? young people on the streets?], give them work! Build apartments for them! Basic work [basic work?] because the Kuluna can work. They can repay the loan for their flat only with their wage [only?] , [only so?] they can repay their loan for the flat. So that they can leave the parents’ home. So that they can also start their own family. They have to start their family because the Kuluna, if they have become Kuluna today, kill people with Maheten, have no food. They don’t know how to get married or how to start a family. They have no work. Please help the Kuluna, the disadvantaged children. Please take care of the country, take care of the cleanliness of the country, please build hospitals! All things that Kabila didn’t do […] he didn’t do, because he doesn’t have a good heart because he had everything. He only came there because he wanted to serve his environment and his biological family. But he […] Tshilombo, since you are there now, consider the Congolese citizens as your biological family. Besides, the Congolese, as we are here, we should love each other. We have to be together. If we are suitable [united?], then we have a power. Tshilombo, look back and think! Look how the citizens have suffered. But as I see you, my father, as I look at you, you have a good heart, I notice that. I don’t know if I see with which eye [I], but I see you with a heart full of sorrow. I know that your people will eat and drink. They will get treatment and they will go to school. They will move in [into an apartment] and work. Thank you, that was my message.
Thank you, I have finished my questions, to En[_?] [end?] . You can finish so that we finish. If you have something to say, you can do it.
My final word is: My brothers and sisters, the Germans, Europe includes many countries. France is Europe, Belgium is Europe, and so on. Austria is Europe. But if I am in Germany today, [it is because] God allows it. I like you [them] very much because they received me here. They gave me papers. The papers you gave me [with them] I can travel all over Europe. Thanks to them. They wanted to give me papers. They opened their hearts for me. I feel well, I live in a good apartment, I live in good conditions. Although the relatives suffer, I first talk about what I have experienced here in Germany. God shall bless them, they shall remain healthy, the economy shall grow. That is my message, they are nice to me. I am also nice to them, they are good.
[i] Thank you, madam [name] .
My name is [name], I’m fine, they’re nice, if you weren’t nice I wouldn’t have stayed here all these years. They are nice, they are good, they should be blessed. God knows why he allowed me to stay here in Germany. They shall be blessed, God be with them!
i] Thank you very much for your availability. See you next time.