[i] Hello mr. [name], Thank you for coming to our center of Bosangani e.V.. Thank you also for your promise to participate in the project of the Museum Hannover [Zeche Hannove[r] from Bochum. We ask you to introduce yourself so that the people who follow us know who they are dealing with. It’s their turn.

[r] As for my identity, my name is [name], […] I am Congolese of the Democratic Republic of Congo. I have lived in Germany for 28 years. I come from the city of Herten, where I continue to live until now.

[i] You are Congolese from the Democratic Republic of Congo, from Kinshasa, how did it come that you live in Herten? Were you born in Herten or in which country were you born?

[r] For this question, frankly, [the answe[r] is a long story. As any of you can understand, everyone has their reasons for being here in Germany. The cases are really different. As for me, I came to Germany in June 1990, me and my family. In the beginning I was alone, I experienced a deplorable situation in my country. One only has to remember the well-known massacre of students in Lubumbashi. Among them were some of our colleagues who were also victims. We were not saved in the same way. Everyone, in this sense, everyone tried to protect themselves in order to avoid persecution, which could lead to arrests, killing and imprisonment. Because at that time, you know, as in many African countries, the dictatorship was in full swing and it still is today.

[i] Thank you very much for the explanation. Let us return to the city where you live. Can we find out how you came to this city? In what matter and when exactly?

[r] My way was a bit complicated. Um […] if I have to fall back, then I have bad memories, but with a lot of clarity. […] I fled, like all people, because I was in a situation of persecution. There were detours that were made so that I could leave the country illegally. I left the country illegally through the border and by plane. Then I landed here in Germany. From there I had met a gentleman who had helped me to take his car to the town of Herten and to drop me off at the town hall in Herten. In short, that is what I can say.

[i] Thank you, what was your first impression, how did people receive you?

[r] Ah, honestly, it wasn’t easy, everyone had looked at me perplexed, insecure, I was shaken. But as a man I had only [?] this situation under control for me. Because at that time, I didn’t know which saints I could go to. So in a few words […] I had already entered some corners of the city, and once I had gone into the town hall, they had taken me to the office of the foreigners office and done everything there. That means the interviews, they were first routine interviews, because at the end I got a paper, on which I should state the reasons of my asylum. When I filled it in, I was supposed to return it. That was so.

[i] When we talk about your impression, can you express yourself, about positive or negative impressions you got at your first interview or at the first contact?

[r] At first I don’t know what to say. Because it was a condition I had not expected. But like I said, [since] I am a man, faced with a fait accompli, I had to do my best to get out of this situation. I had tried to describe everything explicitly, everything I had experienced when I left and what I had suffered as a result of the persecution. I can say that.

[i] How did you communicate with the authorities? We know that you speak French in Congo, but German is spoken here.

[r] The municipal authorities had prepared everything, they had provided an interpreter, that is, a person who speaks French and German. I could express myself there. Because personally I was new to Germany and didn’t know the German language. Well, the interpreter helped by translating the two [languages], French and German.

[i] How was the contact with people other than the authorities? Did you also have contact with people on the street or didn’t you have any contact at all?

It’s hard to get in touch. To get these contacts, […] it was hard, because […] […] I can give you an example. I take an indiscriminate example. For example, when I enter a supermarket and want to buy something, I have to express myself in English because I know a little English. You know that in Germany the English language is like the second language. After the German language. So sometimes I could get away with it.

[i] Let’s talk about food. You came to a foreign country, did you have the opportunity to get the food of your home country?

[r] The food of my country, that is, the food that we usually eat in our country, for example manioc flour, I couldn’t get that. But I could rather get semolina. However, I was new, I got information from some people. So these people, who had received some Africans, um […], who knew what I was looking for, they explained it to me. That was something like that.

[i] What obstacles did you have when you arrived in Germany and especially in Herten?

[r] In any case, there are many obstacles, because you have to be honest when you come to another country, and if you don’t know the language people speak there, […] it’s already a problem. It’s a problem because you don’t speak the language, you don’t understand everything people speak. You’re in the dark. You don’t know exactly what people want to say. But since I’m new, I tried to find my way around by speaking English. If you wanted to continue printing with the French language, then it was totally switched off.

[i] Let’s talk about emigration, what are the reasons in general – because you see a lot of Congolese here – that Congolese have to flee their country, Congo is a rich country, isn’t it?

[r] Anyway, that’s a long story. The asylum procedure of each individual led to many schemas [?]. Among other things the reasons are the dictatorship, the lack of a legal statute, the unfounded arrests. The real reasons that forced me to flee the country were the dictatorship, the killings that could come at some point. They [the people?] demanded their rights and [indeed] the same rights as the [people] who are not respected. And they risk all this. They also risked being arrested. So it was.

[i] You left your country more than 20 years ago. But now we also see young Congolese fleeing their country. Are the reasons today the same as they were then, or are they fleeing for other reasons?

[r] In general, what I can say is that the reasons that lead people to leave the country are the absence of the rule of law. Because if you demand your rights and your rights are not respected, then they are not recognised. This leads to revolutions, or even to a rebellion of mentality. So if you demonstrate peacefully, that’s it, but according to the law, because if they’re not heard […] then it can come to some scheme […]. Therefore, if you don’t have protection, you always have to look for it somewhere else.

[i] In which part of town did you live in Herten? […]

[r] I lived in Herten and Herten is a peace-loving part of town where there is no racism. Moreover, when you arrive at the town hall, you will see a sign saying “racism no chance”. That is, if you have the spirit of discrimination there and you show it openly and honestly, then you are in danger of being followed. Well, the city authorities were friendly. That led to a certain harmony. We told ourselves that we had found ourselves in a good condition. [?] All people would be respected in their size.

[i] I’m a little surprised because many people say […] that Germany is a racist country. […] What can you tell us about this remark of the people? […] What can you say?

[r] In any case, every person, every person has his opinion. You can say that Germany is a racist country, maybe if you talk about the past. But with time there is definitely a big step, it’s hard right now, it’s hard to detect racism. So I can say that we see football teams where foreigners play, blacks as well. In music groups you also find blacks. So at this point I can say that everyone has their own opinion. But as far as I’m concerned, I didn’t notice that openly. That could be at times, but hidden.

[i] Thank you very much for the answer. You mentioned one point: sport, football. We would also like to know what kind of conversations you have in Herten? How do you spend your time in Herten? Or since your arrival in Herten, what have you done to spend time?

[r] In any case for this page, for this point of view I can say that I can say, um […] about my distribution of entertainment and contacts, that I had liked to go to the library. Or, well, I went to friends who had spoken the French language, like me, or still the language Lingala, I have been with them to spend the time together. Because at that time we were not allowed access to the labour market just because we were asylum seekers. It was a long process, obviously not easy. So sometimes, I was together with other Africans on Wednesday and Sunday, we were picked up by a pastor, Michel, of the Neo Apostolic Church. He had taken us to Gelsenkirchen Hesse, where we took part in the divine service. It was like this for a moment.

[i] That’s when you came. Over time, how has the situation developed to this day? Has the situation improved, if so, how?

[r] Over time I got used to it. For example, I took the bus myself to go to neighboring cities like Gladbeck, or Dorstern, Marl, or Recklinghausen. That didn’t pose a problem, because I had been in the area for a long time. Sometimes I could take the bus so as not to get bored, and I went to the neighbouring towns. And later to other cities, like food, but I have to tell you the truth that everything has changed today. Because then it was shown on a city map and it was determined which cities it was not allowed to cross. With the risk of paying a fine. And this punishment could also bring a legal prosecution.

[i] Thank you very much for this explanation. Let’s continue our conversation. […] Do you have any contacts with German society? Now yes, now yes, because so it is, one must honestly say that the majority of my teachers of French are Germans or they were Germans. That led me to simply adapt to them. Right at the visits to the church services on Wednesday and Sunday, we had gathered with some Germans. In a cafetaria where we had had breakfast and ate, we already became familiar with each other. That is all.

[i] Were these contacts when you were new or now?

[r] These contacts, I can say, after my arrival I waited more than ten months, ten [?] or ten weeks, because one cannot live alone, one must have relationships, one must also have contacts. That’s what I can say.

[i] What are Herten in your town, your favourite places, do you have some favourite places apart from your home?

[r] In the beginning I loved nature very much, I visited some friends, I went to the swimming pool, I went to the cichl, in the city centre. I can say that. Also in the libraries.

[i] Can we see if you can also find the culture of your country in Herten? How do you cultivate this culture here? Do you feel it?

[r] In any case, I had fought for this point [?] to find harmony with the culture of my country. To be precise, with the music. Because there are some friends who had devices like a CD player. With it we listened to music, it brought mood, it took us away from worries and homesickness. And at the birthday party of some friends we had gathered, we ate, danced, sang music from our homeland, that brought more harmony and [a good] mood. Mr Massakidi, with the question […] What is the reason that forced me to be here in Germany? You know, today, as almost everywhere in the African countries, you can’t forget that the system of governance is not quite up to date. When I say that these systems do not work as they should, […] then I can give a concrete example: the politicians need many votes during the parliamentary term. So that they are elected. I can name one specific case. During the election campaigns they want to get votes from the people. But when they get there, they’ll see that they were mostly demogic speeches. There is often nothing going on. The population vegetates in misery. There is social injustice, there is dictatorship, annihilation of the population, imprisonment, gratuitous arrests. That is why we end up with a country that is characterised by bad political leadership. That is how it is. Because I believe that everyone is free to express themselves and to say how they see the situation. So if there is oppression and this freedom is taken from you in the process, then you find it better to leave society and look elsewhere for something better.

[i] Thank you very much for your answer. Let’s look at the population or the inhabitants of Herten. If you compare them with the inhabitants of the place where you grew up in Congo, what can you say?

[r] [Unintelligible]

[i] First you can tell us in which city you lived in the Congo and in which district you spent your childhood so that you can have an idea about the comparison?

[r] In Kinshasa I have lived in different places since my childhood. I lived in Barumbu commune, I grew up in Kinshasa commune, in Ndjili commune, and later I was in Kasa Vubu commune, which was before I could come here to Germany.

[i] If you are to make a comparison, what can you say?

[r] Um […].

[i] A comparison of Kinshasa, where you lived, in relation to the population of Herten, or of the region near Herten?

[r] Although it is often said that a comparison is not a justification [?] what I can say in Kinshasa from the side of mood, from the side of harmony, I can say that it was not bad. If it weren’t for the bad management of our authorities, but when it comes to the comparison with this city where I am, called Herten, I don’t know. Perhaps in terms of education or in terms of lifestyle, I can say that I am better off here in Herten. Because my rights are respected. My safety, uh […] my health are respected. I could say that in most cases the situation is very well harmonized [very harmonious]. Compared to Kinshasa.

[i] Thank you here in Herten, in your opinion, who are the people who helped you? Which people were very important to you?

[r] My family helped me a lot, in terms of harmony and in general. The mood in the family helped me a lot and it supported me morally. Apart from the family, there were friends [who] could balance each other out when we met. Friends with whom we could balance [?] when we met. We talked, we talked about everything and nothing, we lived. All this led to omission [exuberance] because we could forget our homesickness. I can name some friends: Dickens, Paulin, Aldo Moreau and many others I can’t name here. I can even say that some foreign colleagues, including German colleagues, also belonged to this mood.

[i] Why were you homesick? What were you missing? Did you regret being in Herten? Did you know to be in your country?

[r] From the side of homesickness, like all people, so […] Kinshasa or the Democratic Republic of Congo, this is a country, I can say, this is like my motherland. To have to leave my fatherland was very painful for me, very difficult. But I am a man who has to live in a society, I mucc learn to master all the situations that are before me.

[i] Do you have contacts with friends who grew up with you? Friends who stayed at home in the Congo? Do you also have contact with your family in Congo?

[r] Yes, I have contact, we are in constant contact. But I can say that most of my friends who had lived with me, so many of them have gone away. Many of them have received asylum in other countries. Many have also died. That is the truth.

[i] Where did you attend school, both primary and secondary, in which city, in which district?

[r] I attended primary school, a Catholic primary school. That was in Saint Paul, in the commune of Barumbu and in Sainte Therese in the commune of Ndjili. I [attended] secondary school in the Saint Theophile Institute in Lemba Municipality, I was in the École Professionel of Ndjili Municipality, in Athens in Linguala Municipality and in Athens Patrice Lumumba in Limete Municipality. Then I studied at the Institute d´ Enseignement Médical of Kasa Vubu Municipality.

[i] Did you learn a profession in your country?

[r] I graduated in pharmacy and as a qualification I am, and as a qualification I am a diploma assistant in pharmacy. So I belong to the field of medical and paramedical [?] studies.

[i] Had you worked in your country in this profession?

[r] Yes, I have worked in this field in my country for eight years in various laboratories and pharmacies.

[i] When you arrived in Herten, could you work in this area, and apply the experience you have collected?

[r] When we came to Herten, in 1990, almost everything was difficult. I can say that everything was heavy, almost everything was sealed. With the government of Chancellor Helmut Kohl, I can say that in any case almost everything was sealed. You had to wait another twelve years. With the arrival of the new Chancellor Gerard Schröder the taps [locks?] gradually opened.

[i] What does it mean when you say that everything was sealed?

[r] I said “sealed” in the sense that in order to be recognized and to be able to work, one must first have the position of the recognized asylum seeker. Well, we didn’t have that. We didn’t have that. I can say that.

[i] Can you make a direct comparison about this situation of work for migrants or for asylum seekers back when you came and for those coming now? Is there a significant difference, if so, which one?

[r] Yes, there is a very big difference. The big difference is simply this: logically, if they are not recognised as asylum seekers, then they are not allowed to work. But as soon as they get the recognition, the doors gradually open. Nevertheless, I would say that we should still be able to speak German. That will give you zungang to work colleagues and different people.

[i] Do you know the job situation of asylum seekers? Do you have any idea what the laws are like today?

[r] I don’t know exactly, but what I can say is that there is a great relief now, there is a great relief. I can say that I will take a concrete example. There was and still is an influx of migrants, for example many Syrians have come. These Syrians came, they are very well received. They were quickly given access to integration. Although in our time, when this integration was demanded of us, it was also done to some of our colleagues. Really, if you compare that with the time when we came, there is a very big difference. Well, I can say that about that. In addition, the new migrants are now easily offered further training.

[i] Let’s talk about the housing situation. When you came, how were you accommodated?

[r] Ah! I can say, thank God, my case was not the same as with the other colleagues. Because me and my family, we were housed in an apartment where everything was good, with electricity. So I can say that the condition was very good. For comparison with other friends who were in the asylum, where they were stacked in an apartment with maybe five or six people. That was not the case with me.

[i] When you talk about your case again, were you with your family?

[r] No, I am the head of the family, the father of the family I can say. With my wife we have five children, exactly four boys and one girl. At the moment the children are no longer with me because they are already of age. Everyone has their own occupation. So some work, others study, I can say.

[i] Let’s make a comparison of the life situation or the housing situation from here and from your country. How can you make a difference?

[r] In general, you know, Germany is a big country where there are basic structures that are well established. So, or maybe things are well and harmoniously distributed, where everyone depends on themselves, although sometimes, um […] people are supported by the social welfare office. That’s not the case with us. I can say that there are several advantages in Germany when I came.

[i] How are the social structures defined in your country when a person works or when a person does not work? How does he make a living? What does he do to live?

[r] In my country, social structures can also be mentioned, but there are only superficial structures. So the implementation or the way to harmonize things so that they are to the employee’s advantage. That’s what I can say. I would say that you will only find two tenths [two out of ten?] in society. Of what is applied. And the remaining eight tenths of them rot in their poverty.

[i] If someone doesn’t work, how does he live, how does he earn a living?

[r] So one question […] I will answer anyway. A person who doesn’t work in my country will rot into poverty. Because at first there is no health insurance. So life is really unbearable at this point. How can you live? Maybe when it’s rotten, maybe they can sometimes help it [rotting? rotting? rotting?]. Maybe they can help each other?] There are even some households where there is daily food. This has become a big project. It’s not easy.

[i] How is education organized in general?

[r] First of all we have two categories in education. There is the state education system, where the state has the upper hand. And we also have the private education system. With the two categories, in state education, all parents who have the means bring their child to school. But in comparison with the private education system, there the parents must surpass themselves. There are parents who must have enough money or who have enough money to pay for this education. Compared to those who use the state education system, because in the state schools, education is not taken so seriously. But in the private schools the education is often taken seriously, you show that you have enough financial means to support the education of the children. I can say that about that, I don’t know if I am really explicit [enough] at this point.

[i] Thank you for your answer. Can you also talk about your close neighbours here in Germany? Where you live now or where you used to live. How is the contact with them, either with the Germans or with the foreigners?

[r] As for the contacts, I can say that with my acquaintances, with my foreign friends or with my German friends, um […] I can say that the contacts were good, although sometimes, every now and then, we met on the street, we greeted each other: “Hello”, and I: “Hello” We didn’t have much to ask each other, because everyone took care of his own thing. Because one has to say that the German citizen is closed somewhere in himself. So that’s how it is.

[i] And the contacts with other foreigners?

[r] Yes, with other foreigners, they were always a bit better so as not to exaggerate.

[i] What was the environment like in your life when you arrived in Hertern?

[r] You want to talk about the environment?

[i] Yes, that is, the neighbours or other parts of society, like the African, German or [generally] foreign [community]?

[r] Well, I can say that the contacts or, um […] the surroundings and all the helpers or even with all the foreign friends, I can’t say that it was excellent, but I can say that the contacts were bearable. They ran smoothly, not to say excellent [?] or better. Because each person has their own attitude. There are people who are reserved. There were people with whom we only met on the street and nothing more. We didn’t visit each other at home.

[i] How did you spend your days, especially when you had just arrived?

[r] When I arrived in Herten, I had always spent my day with my family, that is early in the morning I accompanied the children to school and picked up the youngest one at noon. We walked the way home together. I also checked their homework. If necessary, I tried to help them if they had difficulties with the material. For example, in math, so it was.

[i] And today, how do you spend your time today? Has that changed?

[r] Currently, what I can say is that I am already retired. But as you know, in order not to get bored, I have a small job. I distribute newspapers. I do that twice a week. That allows me to stay active so that I stay on the move. Because staying at home is not healthy. I am satisfied with this job.

[i] Can we find out something about whether you had friends here in Germany, both Germans and foreigners?

[r] Surely yes! I have many friends in different cities. That is, friends from my home country or foreigners from other countries, Germans as well.

[i] And in your society, what role did the society of your country play in your life here in Germany, if we also consider the contacts?

[r] Surely, yes, sure I have had contacts with my group. That’s why it allowed us to establish a certain reciprocity at that time. Through this reciprocity we met once a month. Besides, we have, uh […] what to say, we have an association, an association of Congolese, which enables us to help some partners who are far away, who are at home. For example the street children. This association is recognized by the local court Recklinghausen and also by the tax office. So this activity is legal.

[i] What are the reasons for the reciprocity mentioned above?

[r] The reasons of our reciprocity, it is a self-help association. If a friend has grief, we will help him. This is the ddf meaning of the association. It may be that a friend’s child is baptized, then we will help him with it. We celebrate together. We are also looking for solutions to some of the couple’s problems. If there is a problem, then we are there to help. We sit down together to find solutions.

[i] And in your association, which you mentioned here, what are the reasons, can you also achieve these reasons [motives, goals]?

[r] In fact, yes, we achieve some goals and purposes, that is, if we help someone who has nothing, who is in need, and the person is satisfied [with our help], I can say that the goal is fulfilled.

[i] Could you describe the Congolese society in your region? What do you think of this society? Do you know enough people? Are there enough contacts?

[r] I can say at this point that my society, that is, we are friendly with each other, despite our arguments. If a family or a friend has difficulty, then help like them. We meet. For example, if a person, a friend loses a family member, far away in the home, then we organize ourselves, we come together to help the person and to comfort the person.

[i] Is your society well organized, does it have contacts with the city and are there associations among your society?

[r] So I don’t know much about that, because I’m not always together with this society. But I think it depends on the intention of the individual person, if he or she has problems to visit. I can say that […] I take a concrete example: You have received a letter from the authorities, um […] a letter written in German, and you cannot understand this letter well. You will be looking for someone who knows the German language better, who can explain the letter to you. To get you out of this situation.

[i] I have another question about working in Germany.

[r] About the association?

[i] About the work. First the German language, how did you find this language?

[r] So, umm […] I personally [_?] the German language, if I hadn’t attended a grammar school in the humanities, because umm […] we had a Latin course, which I simply equate with the German language, from the side of principle, from the side of grammar rules and, exactly, also in declination. When I say declination, I can name the following: nominative, accusative, dative and genetic. That is my observation, they have a certain similarity. This has helped me a lot with my understanding. Without the knowledge of Latin, I can say that the German language would have been a little more difficult for me. But it is probably also said that if you have the affection [inclination?] to hang yourself into something, then, um […] repetition is the mother of science. Then you have reached your goal. Nothing is impossible. Today I find the German language acceptable. Although I cannot express myself completely or express myself in every situation.

[i] Where did you learn this language?

[r] At first it was life here in Germany. Although in Kinshasa we had something called the Goethe-Institut, where some of my friends learned German.

[i] And here in Germany, in which city and under what circumstances did you learn this language?

[r] When you talk about the circumstance, I don’t know what I can answer. Something I can say is that you are in a foreign country, so if you meet people there who dance with one foot, then you have to accept rhythm as well. In other words, in order to integrate into a society, you have to adapt to the requirements of that society. So to the German language. It is imperative for those foreigners who live in Germany to learn the German language. So that they can adapt to this society and integrate themselves.

[i] When we talk about integration, what do you advise young, newly arrived migrants to do?

[r] The newly arrived?

[i] Yes, the newly arrived, about learning the German language?

[r] In my opinion, what I can advise my brothers who have just come to Germany is that they must in any case adapt to the norm of rhythm, to the good development of Germany. This means that they must first learn the German language. So that they do not extinguish themselves in this society [??].

[i] How did you live in your family, which language did you use at home?

[r] At home we simply press with the national language. The national language is called Lingala, but also French. Since we come from a country, a former Belgian colony, the French language from Wallonia is usually also used, not the Dutch language. And then, through the television, we are nervous to learn some words and some sentences that are often used in the German language.

[i] When you were looking for work in Germany, had you had difficulty or was it easy?

[r] I think it was a bit mixed, difficult and simple at the same time. It was difficult because we had not yet mastered the German language exactly at that time. Although the norm, umm […] for recognition as an asylum seeker was not there. Later that depended on the type of work. But nevertheless the Germans have remained open and adaptable to us in this long time.

[i] Many thanks for this abstracted word. Let’s look into your youth years. Can you tell us about your limited [close?] family?

[r] When you talk about the restricted [close?] family, you talk […]

[i] Where you grew up. I am not talking about the family in Germany, but about the family with your father, mother and siblings.

[r] Do you want to know whether I lived in harmony with them or what?

[i] Yes, how did you live with your family when you were young?

[r] Okay, that was a communal union, well-ordered, well-harmonized, a peace-loving situation and mood. Of course, there were also difficulties. When they made mistakes, the father complained, the mother also complained, she demanded some normemm, umm […] of good comfort […]. I can say that we lived well.

[i] Let’s get back to Germany. It is said that the Germans are tidy. If you are at the German authority to take a few steps, how do you find the German bureaucracy?

[r] At first I think that a German is very bureaucratic. This means that it is not only in the sense of respecting formalities. It also means that they are very strict, that is, if [in a form?] at the place of “a” “o” is marked, so this “o” does not become “a”, then that is wrong at the beginning. So the German bureaucrat is very knitted. You have to respect it exactly. According to the legality and also according to the legitimacy.

[i] Can you make a comparison with the bureaucracy in your country, in comparison with [the bureaucracy] of Germany?

[r] Compared to the bureaucracy of Germany is that of my country, so there are some blunders [mistakes?] with me. There are some deviations, I can even say that there is corruption. That can’t happen in Germany. Unless there is a misunderstanding. You have to be able to try to explain why this or that thing happens. You should be able to apologize for some thing. You have to be able to explain mistakes. So I think the German bureaucrats are categorical. Either yes or no.

[i] In your experience here, if you were in your country and you had the opportunity to talk to the authorities there, what would you advise when it comes to bureaucracy here in Germany and in your country?

[r] If I were to have this opportunity to talk to the leaders from the Congo or tell them something […] um […] so my people or my authorities from the Congo. So then I would teach you loyalty, honesty and sincerity. uh […] […] uh But what’s most important is sincerity. I think I have talked about it beautifully. um […] The truth, that is, not to lie and not to cheat. Going straight to one’s goal, what is true remains true. What is wrong continues to be characterized in this sense. But not that the bad becomes the truth. Um, justice should still be learned.

[i] If you have something to do in an office or in an authority, are you doing it yourself or are you looking for someone to help you with the language?

[r] It’s normal for me to want to be in conformity with the promotion of the German bureaucracy. If I have papers, I can say, for example, papers from the district court or tax office, um […] or from job center or social services. Then I can say that I try to read the letters myself and understand them as much as possible. And if I have difficulty, I will not hesitate to contact someone who speaks the language. Or someone who knows the judicial texts better. So that means the letters from the lawyer and also other letters. That’s how it is done.

[i] Thank you very much. Let’s still look at your life in the Congo. You are in Congo, you are still young, how did you spend your free time, what kind of entertainment did you have? When you were little or young.

[r] In any case, this refers to my favorite passion: I really liked to read. I really liked the sport. I used to go to watch football. I used to go to watch football, to watch a football game. Um […] I liked going to the movies back then, um […] I liked watching fan fights [?], um […] I went to music concerts. So I can say that. That’s how it is. I also took part in cultural events, uh […] educational events, political discussions. So that’s what I liked.

[i] Are you interested in religion? If so, what is your faith?

[r] Yes, I am interested in religion. I am interested in religion, as a Catholic believer. Although I’m not quite a practicing Christian, but I pray and I believe in God.

[i] Do you have contacts with the church here in Germany?

[r] Not at all with priests, but I am in contact with some pastors, um […] from the free evangelical church.

[i] We still see […]

[r] I still have contacts with a pastor of the New Apostolic Church called Michel.

[i] If you are now in Congo and you wanted to propose a change in your country, what should change? According to your life experience. You lived in the Congo, you worked there. You came to Germany, you also lived in Germany for a long time, Sia worked in Germany and you gained a lot of experience here. Now, if there had to be changes in the Congo, what changes would you suggest?

[r] The social level of the ordinary population. Um, the introduction of justice [equality?], a compulsory education, every child must have the opportunity and the means to attend primary and secondary school free of charge. Every child must have the means to learn. So, uh, the simplification of transportation, the problem of health insurance, building hospitals, building roads.

[i] Thank you very much.

[r] I can say that these are the priorities.

[i] There has been a political change in your country. Today is the tenth of February, there is a change of power in your country, there is a new president. If it had come today that you could meet the new president at a time when he is still at the beginning, what would you urgently suggest to him? If it were so, that you should advise him or that you should propose something to him. What can you propose to him urgently?

[r] Frankly, on the level where things were going, I wouldn’t say it was a change. Rather it’s a continuation of the old political leadership, because I don’t think even an opposition has won, but there’s an apparent opposition. One that has made a special arrangement with the old incumbent government. However, you demanded that I say something about the new political leadership that has an agreement with the old leadership. So I can say that the standard of living of the population must change, there must be an increase in the number of jobs, access to the labour market must be possible for us and all that without conditions. Corruption must also be eradicated. Uh, furthermore every child should have something to eat in the morning, at noon and in the evening, the child should be given the opportunity to go to school, traffic should be promoted, timetables should be organised and more means of transport should be created. The culture, since I can still say that the state and the population are favoured by the natural wealth of the country. Agriculture should be the priority. That is my opinion.

[i] Thank you. If we look at Germany here, we also have the opportunity to send a message to the German authorities through the video. They lived in Germany for a long time as asylum seekers. Then you got a residence permit. What you saw, how the asylum seekers lived in former times when you came and the development until today. If there was a message to the German authorities, as you said, that you had few rights at that time. Now there are more rights for asylum seekers. If you had the opportunity to send a message to the German authorities, what would you tell them?

[r] If there is a message to inform, for the asylum seekers who have now come here to Germany, then I can say that if the basis is accepted by the asylum seeker in his asylum procedure, then he must automatically come into a structure of the German social environment, with the same rights. Although the citizens of the country, that is to say the Germans, can be more and more favoured, but I believe that all people under the law must be equal. They should also give new asylum seekers the opportunity to find work in the labour market. They should promote the integration process for the new asylum seekers. Society should be balanced and there should be no discrimination. An asylum seeker or a newly arrived person should be able to feel like a German citizen.

[i] This is a message to the German authorities. If you had the opportunity to talk to German citizens, what can they advise about their behaviour towards Africans and foreigners in general? According to your experience during your stay in Germany?

[r] So what I can recommend to the authorities in Germany is […]

[i] The citizen!

[r] Um, the citizen?

[i] To the German citizen, we’ve already had the autarchies.

[r] To the German citizen! Ah yes, that means that the German citizen should take foreigners, like all fellow men, like his own brother and sister. There should be no hostility. And no racist attitudes towards outsiders. Because they must know that they also live in other countries. For example, in the USA, especially during the Second World War, there were many Germans who had fled there. So, the same was with Australia or still with America. That’s how it is. A German somewhere outside of Germany is also a foreigner. So there must be respect and general rights between us. So that we have harmony in society.

[i] What change do you want in Germany after five, six or ten years to compare with the lives of foreigners today?

[r] What would I wish foreigners had in Germany?

[i] Yes, what change?

[r] The changes? Um, what I can say is that all the good things in German society are all those that are […] that are all transparent [transparent, comprehensible?] in […] um […] this good functioning of German society should also be applied in those countries from which the foreigners came. That is, the health insurance, the labour market, umm […] the profit, the profit, the profit in the advantage for pensioners. So such things. Schools and education should also be changed.

[i] What would you like to see in life, in your relationships, in your friendship with Congolese people, what change would you like to see, considering the conflicts or misunderstandings that sometimes occur?

[r] I believe the Congolese must first learn to be patient, to have a peaceful mind, and to be able to claim their rights. All this in harmony, calm and with change. He must also learn patience, because happiness does not come for everyone at the same time. What else can I say, um, take what is good, what you find in German society and apply it in your home country. I think that’s what I wanted to say. What is important.

[i] Do you have a souvenir of your country? When you left your country, did you take an Objet as a souvenir?

[r] Do you ask me about the souvenir of my country? What, for example?

[i] An object, something you can touch, an object, that could be a clock, a piece of music, or a family photo.

[r] I can only name photos.

[i] What kind of photos? And if you look at that photo today, how do you feel?

[r] When I look at these photos I see […] um, these photos are mixed. I see the pleasant moments, the embarrassing moments that I have experienced with myself. They remind me of good and bad. With all honesty, photos and pictures are something that suggest etas. The same umm […] they sometimes let me live in the present, they remind me of how I was in that time, what happened, what happened. Which friends had I lived with? This is an interpretation of different stories that sometimes I can’t say. But, the only difference is that the photos are pictures that don’t move. But also pictures that embody something in everyone’s mind, something in their own way. For example, when I see photos of where I am with my children and my wife, I can remember the beginning of our love. To my child in this time, as it was then. A photo with my father, I can say if he would still be alive. A photo with my mother, I can say if she was still alive. A photo with my siblings, I can say if I would still be together with them.

[i] Thank you very much, do you have a final word? I’m done with the questions. If you have something we have talked about, about your country, about your childhood, you as an adult, about your life as an asylum seeker, about your life today, if you have something [more] to say, you can do it.

[r] In any case, I can say in my closing remarks that I thank the German authorities, despite the difficulties I have encountered in this society. But in the end they granted me the status of recognized refugee. Um […] that gave me the opportunity to live in peace with all my children. So I think that many changes are being made in the current society compared to the time when we were here. I wish that at the moment even better and several changes will be made. I also thank my interviewer who is you, I thank you for this day, I give everything to God. So that’s all. Continue your good work in exactly this continuity! Thank you very much!

[i] Thank you very much! I would like to remind you that you are Lord [name], you live in Herten and you lived in Germany as an asylum seeker, you have the status of an asylum seeker, you were born in Congo, you grew up in Congo, you completed your primary and secondary school in Congo, you completed your studies in Congo. Thank you for your availability and we will meet soon.

[r] Okay, I rather thank you.