Hello Mr. [name] , here we are in the office of the association Bosangani e.V., we have the project of the museum [colliery] Hannover in Bochum.  Today we received our friend [name] .  He lives in Velbert and he wants to talk to us about his experience in this region, about his life in Germany and also about the country Congo.  So I ask Mr. [name] to introduce himself for the people who will follow him through this video.

Good day [name] , that you have received me in your office here, and strictly speaking in the association Bosangani. I am here so that we can talk, as agreed.

Thank you. I will ask you how it happened that you ended up in the city of Velbert. When you came, where were you? Can you first tell us where you came from? How did you get to Velbert, and why Velbert?

In any case, I am Congolese. The circumstances of the country [are] as they are. There is no change, one tried to achieve something, but it doesn’t work. Today the Congolese are scattered everywhere, almost all over the world. You’ll find Congolese in every country. Since the country is not evolving. We were born with suffering, we grew up with suffering. We are used to this suffering because we have no choice, but later we are killed, we are tortured, whether you have done something or not. We become slaves. So that is why when you see that there is a possibility, you have to flee. So that you can try to leave the country. Because in our country we are regarded as foreigners. If you want to do something, you will be arrested. If you want to do something, you will be killed. If you want to do something, you will be beaten. If you want to do something, it is always wrong. There is no work. Only difficulties. People die day and night, in the morning, so […] hunger comes along. So, on one occasion, the Congolese will leave the country. So that they can try to make progress. Because it is very difficult in our country, Congo. As we have heard since we were born, Congo is the richest country, but I don’t know. I myself do not believe that this country is rich. Because the wealth of the country should be useful for the people [telephone rang] . But with us the wealth of the land will always be of use only to its owners. But it is not possible.

You said that there were difficulties in your country. When you were in Congo, what city did you live in? And in which commune?

So I was in the capital, in the city of Kinshasa, I was also born in Kinshasa. I was in the capital, I was in the municipality of Ndjili. Then I was in Ngiri Ngiri commune, where I had rented an apartment. So, it is really so, I come from the inside of Kinshasa.

In your childhood you must have had friends who grew up with you. Do you still have contacts with them, until today? Do you still have any souvenirs from your childhood until today, when you grew up? Do you still have contacts with friends from back then?

But, the problem is that every person who was with me in school, in 1st grade up to 6th grade primary school, I can’t forget until today. Any acquaintance, woman or man, anyone who was with me in school, from first grade to university, where I had dropped out of university, none I can forget. There are also some good deeds that we did to each other in childhood, there are also friends with whom we argued, there was [then?] no good understanding. There were also friends with whom we had a very good understanding. There were friends whose family I went to. That was so. If someone says that he forgot friends he grew up with, it means he’s not from this country. He himself knows where he comes from and where he left his friends. But if you are [from] the people of this country, no matter where you come from, then you must know your friends or relatives who grew up with you.

[i] Let’s talk about Germany. When you arrived in Germany, in which city did you land before you came to Velbert?

When I came to Germany, I landed inside [in the middle of?] Germany. I landed inside Germany in an airport. Then I went to Unna, where I introduced myself. I was received in Unna, I stayed in Unna for about two months. I left the city of Unna, then I was assigned to the city of Willich. The city is near the border of Belgium. I stayed there for three months. When I left the town, I came to the town of Vebert. I have been in Velbert for about two years.

What impression do you have of the city of Velbert, the people who are there, did you like them, did they receive you well?

So, every country you go to, you have to dance with the leg that people dance with there. [Congo proverb: You have to adapt] . It’s not like people there dance with their left leg and you dance with your right leg. And when people dance with their right leg and you dance with your left leg. That’s not the case. For you to get used to something, for you to like it, you have to learn how others do it. You’ll get used to it over time. I think the city where I live is good. There’s no disturbance, I’ve never been offended since I’ve been in this country. If you show people respect, people will also show respect for you. I have never discussed with anyone before. Here it is also usually the case that everyone is at home, when you come back from your occupation, you stay at home. It is not usual to go to other people’s homes more often. Unless they have an appointment with a colleague. There they can meet and do their thing, otherwise not. For example, in our city, he is rarely a problem to have with someone. There are also people who have problems when you provoke people. If you are interested in the lives of others. But I, really, when I come home from work, I immediately go home. If I have an appointment, I have to take it. Sometimes I go to the Bosangani meeting [in Bochum] , then I go back home. I don’t see anything that disturbs me in this city. It’s a very good city. It’s very quiet.

Except in your city, how do you find the population of the other cities in your region, like Dortmund, Bochum, Essen […] [How?] do you see this population? How was their reception [?] ? What difference do you notice in comparison with the population of Velbert and also with the population of Kinshasa?

So, in any case, you see, here we are in Europe. There are people who say that Europeans are real [real?] children of God. Because the Europeans have organised everything here. I can give you an example: Today in Africa, as in Congo, where there are many difficulties, you can go [out] to visit people, or to visit people [double?] . But the people there don’t have a chance to buy you a drink. If they offer you a drink, it means that they had borrowed the money from someone, or had been preparing for your visit for a long time, and they had already reserved this drink for you. But this is not the case here. What is disturbing in the Congo is that there is no social life. If there is no good school, if there are no good hospitals, then there is no work. So what will the social life be like? But here the European has organised everything, the Europeans have organised everything. Today you can go to an apartment, the man does not work, but he has food at home. He has water at home, he has drinks, he has wine, sweet drinks. When someone comes, he immediately offers the drinks instead of going shopping. Re[?] [Who?] already has them at home, why? Because the European has already organised everything. Social life is already guaranteed. That’s why many Africans flee their countries. Because it’s very difficult. Today the same Europeans are destroying the continent of Africa. When the same Europeans see that Africans disturb their countries, so they can […] Europeans are those who destroy Africa. It would be best if you would organise Africa. You should set good conditions [relations?] with the presidents you [rule?] there because today the people will elect their president. You, Europeans, don’t want this president, you set who you want. That disturbs our countries. If the people refuse, they will be shot, they will be beaten. They are imprisoned even though they are innocent. If they see that they no longer want the Africans here, then they should organise Africa. If the people elect a president, they should leave the president elected by the people. In Africa we always hear about democracy, but there is no democracy. Why? Here, when a president’s mandate is over, he calmly leaves. But with us, when the mandate comes to an end, the same Europeans are behind him. They give him weapons, they make him stubborn, they force him to continue governing. Why are you, a European, bringing a president to power today? Apart from this president, if he leaves the power [position?] after his mandate of five years, then they can’t work with a new president? There must only be him in power for thirty to forty years. Does the country belong to him? That’s why I say again that the European has organized everything here, that’s why […] never. Even South Africa will not be the same as Europe. It is only difficult. Because the European has organised everything. There is social life, there are hospitals. When you get sick, you are followed [cared for?] . You don’t need a member of your family to take care of them. You are given medication. The city has paid for everything. But we in Congo, if you only have fever, if you don’t have aspirin, then you die. It is very difficult.

Thank you very much, I would like to know when you arrived in Germany, what difficulties did you have? We know that when someone comes to Germany he has problems with the language, problems with the contacts, problems with the information, […] What can you say about it?

Ah, in any case it’s very difficult because they see it’s good to know the language spoken in the country where he tried. But when I came to this country, the difficulties I had encountered were not hunger, but [difficulties with] understanding. You could say to me, “Go to this room,” to have investigations carried out. But everything is said in German, and you don’t understand. Everyone who was there didn’t understand because we were all new. Who could help you? Often we got help from security people. There were Moroccans who worked as security guards, they sometimes helped us. Some of them spoke French. They lived in Germany for a long time and they spoke to us in French. Then we understood and we could understand what was asked of us. But if nobody was there to interpret, then we really had great difficulties. The problem with language is […] [?] But if you have hope for something, you will know that. But what made it difficult was the language. Even though we hit it [?] , but the one who can master this language from beginning to end doesn’t exist either. Because if you’re a foreigner and you’re already an adult, it’s hard to learn. It’s hard to know everything. The main thing is to express yourself so that people understand you. That’s the way it is.

[i] What did you do so that you could talk to people? Did you express yourself in French? Apart from French, what other language did you use or what means did you use to get the information you needed?

Ah! Anyway, in such situations God gives other wisdom. If you want to do something or go somewhere and you can’t express yourself, [then you] are like a mute. Because you don’t know where to start with language and where to stop. You don’t find the person who can help you by translating into French. So there were really big difficulties. So in any case there was difficulty. Fortunately, since the European organized everything […] In the time when I was new, when we had left this place, we went straight to […] To […] the camp where we were assigned. There were lessons. There were classes, everyone had to attend, but there were also [those] who didn’t want to go to class. If you have the will to do the thing, you have to accept that. In the beginning we learned, but the language of this country is very difficult. You can even be in the course for eight months without understanding anything. By the time you hear [them] every day, you’ll have mastered the language later. It was like that. When I try to understand and speak today, it’s because of the teaching. The lessons are only in German, he doesn’t speak French. From the beginning to the end he speaks only in German, to understand it is difficult. So you have to be creative, if you are not creative, you have difficulties. But if you have the will, then you will know the language. I know that many people have left this country because of the language. They surrendered [?] until they realized that they couldn’t master the language, then they fled. But if you have the will, it will be something. How we stayed. We didn’t make it in the beginning, but today I can hear [understand?] and answer questions. This is the will of God.

[i] Thank you very much! Can you describe your part of Velbert where you live? Surely you know the city of Velbert, can you describe it?

The city of Velbert […] I can say that the larger city near us, that is the city of Essen. Because today I can say that I was in Ndjili, and exactly in the district one. But for a strange person “quarter one” will bring a difficulty. But if they tell her that I was on the boulevard leading to the airport, the person will understand better. It’s the same with us about the city of Velbert. Because the country is big. The city of Velbert […] Because in the Congo, when you talk about the city, you mean the center of Kinshasa, where you also find the main market square and the city hall. But here the city is like a commune. Where we live is a city. But our big city is food. There are people when you talk to them and when he asks you where you live. If you answer Velbert, then he doesn’t know where Velbert is. If, on the other hand, you say that I live near Essen, he will understand immediately. If you tell someone that our next bigger city is Essen, he will understand immediately. Then he will ask about the bus. Then you can explain to him where to take the bus and that the bus will drive thirty minutes to us. This is the reference. Our big city is food. Our cities are like […] , like […] So the totality of the small cities in which our city is also located, the city of Essen is the big city nearby. It is so.

Thank you very much. You came from the Congo, from the Ndjili commune, in fact, after that you were in the Makala commune. You grew up there. Do you have a souvenir that you took with you when you left your country? Do you have a souvenir that you took with you? That could be a photo, something. Something that reminds you of your country.

[r] Souvenirs! Like a photo […]

It could also be music, or something when you were running away. Something you took with you.

For me, as a souvenir, it is only the protection of God with whom I could come here. If I said that I took a photo or money as a souvenir, it simply wasn’t possible. Many wanted to come here. They had money but they could not come. Many were looking for money to come here. But they didn’t get any money. Many have had different difficulties, in some cases, they demand that he has to leave the country, if he always stays in the country, then he will be killed by the government. But he does not know where to go. In the end these people will be arrested and killed. For me, the best souvenir I can name here is what I brought with me, that is God. I came with God. Because he is the one who protected me from the problems I had in my homeland to come here.

[i] If we have to make a comparison between the food and the custom of here opposite that of your homeland when you came here, did you also find the food of your homeland here? Or the customs from there, did you also find them here? Or are you missing the food and the customs or the culture of your homeland?

So Europeans are flexible, Europeans know the needs of people. If Europeans often eat spaghetti, they won’t be forced to eat it. There are different supermarkets here, if you want to eat food from the Europeans you can go to the supermarkets and buy food from Europe. If you want to eat our food from the Congo, then there are also shops where African food is sold. You can eat according to your taste. If you want to eat “Mfumbua” or Pils [mushrooms?] or “Wangila” or […] anything. Everything gbit it, that depends only on you. Because the European cannot force you to eat what only he eats. He has allowed the import of food, food from Africa is imported. What you want to eat, what you ate in the Congo, you can find here. The prices, if you compare it, are more expensive in the Congo than here. Here, on the other hand, the goods are cheaper. That amazed me.

[i] Where do you buy food from the Congo? Do you have to go far or do you only buy it in your city? Can you name places where you buy food? Can you also explain how you get these foods?

I often shop in Wuppertal because Wuppertal is near Velbert. I also shop in Essen. Essen is the big city near us. I can also shop in Bochum, where I am right now. I can also shop in Dortmund. That depends on the situation. If I have to do something in Dortmund, I can use the opportunity to do some shopping there as well. If I have an appointment in Bochum, I will shop in Bochum. If it has to be in Essen, I will shop in Essen. That depends on the situation. But if I only want to shop without having another appointment, then I prefer to shop in Essen or in Wuppertal. But more often in Essen, because [there] are many more African shops in Essen than in Wuppertal. But there is everything, even Kolanuss you can buy here. So there is everything. Also some roots, I’m amazed. If someone says that he can’t find food from the Congo in Europe, that’s not right. Here you can find almost everything.

We can say that you are not homesick from this side. Or the homesickness is there because you are far away from your country?

Homesick in what sense?

[i] To think of your country, to think of the other things that you could eat but that are missing, or the way of cooking that is missing?

In any case, when I have to think, I think of the relatives who stayed, the children who stayed, the parents who stayed, the friends who stayed, the pastors who preached mi4. They stayed. I think a lot about that. We often ask God to give us so that we can help the people who stayed there. To help pastors, to support God’s work as we were used to. Many friends call me and ask for help. When we have something, we send it. I think of them. God should give us the strength, He should give us the possibilities, so that we can support the people who stayed there, as the Bible says, the strong support the weak. It is so.

[i] We are always swaying between Germany and the Congo. Let’s talk about your homeland again. Do you think of the relatives who stayed there? The family I mean, the closer family with dad, mum and you children? Are they still there or not? If there are still some relatives there, how are the contacts or how do you maintain the contacts? Do you have contacts with them?

It might have been harder in the past. But today the European has made everything easy. It may be that the relatives are not in the social network [in the sense of social media?] , but you have contacts with family members through friends. You can send a friend to family members and talk to family members through him or her. When you hear them, the stress will be gone.

Do you speak through the telephone?

We speak through the telephone.

[i] We return to Germany. If you want to spend your free time somehow or we just ask: How is your day going? When you get up, how do you spend your day, your normal day?

Here are Monday to Friday for work or school.

[i] And how do you spend your day, go to school or where?

At this moment, the problem in this country is that you can look for work and you can also find work, the work is there, you don’t have to look for much, but the problem is that at the work we know since I’m a driver and a car mechanic [_?] . I drive trucks, I can drive forklifts, elevators. So our work requires the mastery of the language. That’s why I can say that I can work, it’s not a problem. But as the people from the town hall advised me, I have to deal with the language first. I should not hurry to start working because our work requires a good knowledge of the language. I can work as a driver, as a car mechanic, as a forklift driver. All this requires a good knowledge of the language. So for me I have seen that it is necessary to start with the language first. I can already start with any work, but it is better that I work in my learned profession. This is much better. That’s why I decided to learn the language first. When I get up tomorrow morning I go to school, I leave the apartment at six o’clock. School starts at eight o’clock. I go to school by bus. I need an hour and a half to reach the school. I am at school exactly at eight o’clock five. If you miss the bus, you’ll be late for school. If you’re late at school, you have to give an explanation. You have to say why you came later. If you were also absent from school, you also have to give an explanation. That is why you have to have a real explanation. On Monday I leave the house at 6:30 a.m. and then I come in the evening at 6:30 p.m.. From Monday to Friday. On Saturday, when I have an appointment. Like today, you invited me. If I don’t have an appointment, then I spend my day at home. Almost the whole day I stay at home. Because it’s Monday to Friday from 06:30 to 18:30 […] Therefore on Saturday, you have to sleep long until 12 o’clock, then stay at home. On Sunday you can also stay at home. Unless you have a visitor. Sometimes I can make a visit. Someone can call me and invite me, I can go there. But only for a short time so that I can have the time to return home and rest.

Do you have contacts with other Congolese people in Velbert, where you live?

When I came to this city, I stayed a year, I hadn’t seen anyone speaking Lingala. This city, [he laughs] Well, I didn’t see any Congolese. But one surprise, I met a friend who was with me in the same neighborhood I worked with in the same car mechanics workshop in Victoire [street and neighborhood] at Vieux Sancho [name of person] and Grand Frère Lusala [name of person] in Victoire [street and neighborhood] . Some people can recognize these people by the name. It is in the Avenu Shabe [street name] on the corner. Vieux Sacho (person name) and Grand Frère Vieux Lusala [person name] . How did I meet my friend? Where we lived, our apartment was small. They had to give me a big apartment. They then gave me an apartment in a place where I had met my friend who had worked with me in the same workshop. He has lived here for 28 years. I was amazed. When he came here, he had let us into the workshop. Besides him […] we are in the same street. Besides him […] Have I met someone else, his name is Philippe, who lived in the Ngiri Ngiri commune. I got to know him through my friend, through this friend I got to know the old mummy. He lives in our city, but a little further away from us. There were about four Congolese living in our town, so the whole town. You can only have four Congolese with [is out?] the whole Kasa Vubu [Kinshasa commune] commune or the Ngiri Ngiri commune or the whole Lemba commune. There are no other Congolese when you talk about another Congolese, it’s not true. Because when a Congolese comes to town, you have to know [that] .

Thank you, you worked with your friend in a workshop. What commune was that workshop in, and when did you work there? What souvenir do you have of that workshop?

So the workshop was in Victoire, on the corner of Shaba, the workshop belonged to Maitre Sacho and Vieux Lusala. We had called him Grand Frère, but his name was Lusala.

What memory do you have of that time when you worked in that workshop, when you were a child?

My souvenir is my work, I have a job, I have a souvenir, I have a good souvenir in my head. I learned my profession in this workshop, I learned how to drive there. When I drive trucks today, [that] I hadn’t learned in the workshop, but I learned car mechanics in that workshop. I learned how to drive a car in this workshop and with my own initiative I had learned how to drive a truck. I can drive trucks with 20 to 30 tons. I also taught people how to drive trucks. Today some trucks became drivers. Many of them were driver’s assistants and then became truck drivers. Many are still in Africa. This is the best souvenir for me, this workshop in Victoire.

[i] You said that you are now attending a language course, how do you find the German language if you compare it with the French language? What is this language like? Many people talk about this language, you have the luck to face this language, to take a German language course so that you learn this language, you have heard the Germans and their language in school and on the street. How do you find them?

[r] Ah, […] [he laughs] it’s hard, you see, you can’t compare it to French at all, there’s no smell [not a bit?] of the French language in the German language. French has many similarities with the Portuguese language. The Portuguese language is called the badly spoken French language. But the German language, the German language, in any case it is a bit similar to English. Therefore Nigerians have a greater ease to learn this language. Because the German language is spoken similarly to the English language. So the one who comes from an English speaking country will have it easy to learn the language from here. But the one who comes from a French speaking country will only master the language from here if he has the will to do so, because it is very difficult. So the French language and the German language are far away from each other. But English with the German language, in any case, they go well together.

[i] How many years have you lived in Germany?

I live in Germany for almost two and a half years. I’ve been here for two and a half years, but it works. It’s going very well, thanks God.

Can you express yourself a little in German so that people can hear you? Can you speak anything in the language you learn?

Yes, no problem. I am [name] , I come from the Congo. Democratic, Congo, Democratic[e Republic] . I am married. I have two daughters. We live together.

[i] It’s good, thank you very much. You said that you come from the Congo. You are married, you have two children here in Germany. Where is your wife and the rest of your family?

My wife is in Africa, she is in Congo, in Kinshasa.

Here you are with two children, as you said. Do you still have children in Kinshasa?

Yes, in Kinshasa I still have children, in Kinshasa I have Jottan, Jovani and Ruth. They stayed in Kinshasa.

[i] Altogether, how many are you in the family?

First from our parents we were eight, a big sister had died, then we stayed seven. I have five children, two I have here, three are in Africa. We pray to God to express his power so that we can live together.

[i] I noticed that you were interrupting your voice when you were talking about the family. […] Do you think a lot about them? Can you express your feelings, like the separation with the family, with the woman, with the extended family [father, mother and brothers and sisters] as well as with the closer, own family, [you, your [wife and children] , what feeling do you have because of the distance there is between you and them? How do you feel?

So, how can we say? In Africa you have the opportunity to visit friends, people […] . You have the possibility to go to different places. But it’s not like that here, everyone is often at home. So now when you’re with your family, wife and kids, it’s better. Right now I’m with the two daughters, they’re always together. I am with them only when there is a problem. If there is no problem, they are in their corner, I am in my corner as well. I’m in my corner and they’re in their corner. Such behavior often gives stress. Therefore, in these countries, for example in Europe, it’s better […] In the Congo it can be completely indifferent, in Kinshasa you often meet your acquaintances. But it’s different here. Here you are often alone. That’s a lot of stress. That’s why here, you see, it’s better to have a wife for a man, just as it is better to have a husband for a woman. They are together, you don’t have much to think about. You can also think of your father or your mother, or your relatives, but if you are with your little family, in your household, then it is different. Those who stayed know that God will help. You can also support them. If everyone is far away from you, there will be a lot of stress.

This is an important point. […] What can you say to the authorities by […] [with them?] It takes a long time for someone to flee his country, he has come here, he has left his family far away, they give many conditions to give someone permission to travel. This leads to staying alone for a long time. What can you say to the authorities in Europe about such cases? When you see […] it’s about their consciousness, they already know. Because today, when we grew up, when the parents raised us, until we had to feed the parents in the end. You feel that you have a good life, that you are with your family. But the reason why Africans leave their country is the bad politics of the Europeans. When I say what I can advise them to do, it is really hard to say anything about it. Because their consciousness [_?] works. It is best not to talk about the whole of Africa, because I cannot look at the whole of Africa, but only at Congo. A rich country in the world, there is everything in Congo. You start making electric cars. All this with natural products from the Congo. To the countries that the Congolese will go to when he has left his country because of war or hunger, or because of massacres, or something, there he will be received. Because we do not profit from the wealth of our countries. I am not talking about the whole of Africa, because each African country has its own problem. I am talking about our case. The population is badly seen [?] , the population is hungry, they are sick, they are dying, there is no school, there is no work. Little girls of 10, 15 years of age do prostitution. The father can’t forbid them, the father doesn’t work. The mother is not allowed to forbid them, because she has no job. The woman tries to sell manioc flour on the corner, then she is arrested by policemen. They throw their food on the floor even though the sellers pay their tax. They pay tax every day that the city charges at the point of sale. But the policemen forbid her to sell at this place, they throw the food of the sellers on the ground. They shit all of their [their?] business. [?] The food will be damaged, no one will be compensated for the goods, then the woman will stay at home and do nothing. With the sale of manioc she fed the children and the husband. It’s very hard. In this case, especially for me, Congolese should be well received in all countries. Because there are many difficulties with them where we come from. We have many difficulties in our country. Every country in Africa has its own problem. I do not speak for all countries in Africa, but for the Congo. Because I came from the Congo, especially the whole of the Congo. So we were born in Congo just to accompany the others [?] , or we were born to benefit from the wealth of the country. Every Congolese thinks of this truth. That hurts. […] At the moment you see, in the case that someone has escaped from his country and he applies for asylum in these countries, if he is received, in any case they should have a good heart, special to us Congolese. I am talking about the problems of the Congolese. No European forgets the problem of Congo, everyone knows what is happening in Congo. The population has a bad life, a seriously bad life. The food is hard to get. If the food is hard to get, how can the children go to school, it is not possible. Besides, someone would be a leader who sacrifices himself for the children, [then] it is often the father. Dad isn’t there, the children have stayed alone, the children can’t go to school where Dad is, he has to find himself, he has to learn the language. The language isn’t easy either, mastery [learning] takes a long time. You can’t start working today. This requires [?] the authority of our city to help us. If you’ve received someone and given them an accommodation, […] like me, it’s been two years and I haven’t received an answer yet. I still have preliminary documents, which makes things difficult. That’s why many people in these countries get sick, we often hear that someone in a city has got psyschic problems. He has been taken to hospital, he is being treated. It is because of the stress. With all the stress you get crazy. If you see that you have left your family, your wife and children, here you have no job, you have no answer from your asylum application, it is not a good life. This situation often happens with Africans, many Africans have these cases. The authorities of the countries where we came from should know these cases. If someone has fled because of the problems they know, they should satisfy them. They should also be able to follow the concerns that remained there, their family members. The city should take responsibility from them so that they can come here. If you say that I will let them come here, even if I get a job, the number of children who stayed there and the wife […] Only the passport from Congo costs 300 US dollars. What is your salary so that you can apply for the passports? After the passports you have to apply for the visa, you do not have a visa. The authorities have the right, if someone brings a case that they know, then they should support the rest of the family, wife and children, so that they can follow their father. The most expensive passport in the world is the Congo passport. It costs 300 [US dollars] . If you have left 10 children and the wife, that’s eleven. Or did you leave 10 person, the wife and nine children. For only these passports you have to spend three thousand dollars. Three thousand dollars, when will you get that? If you bring the passport, the passport will be taken to give the visa. It’s hard to get a visa. So it is better that the authorities take care of the visa themselves. […] So that the person who received them and the family who stayed can live together. That’s what the authorities should do.

[i] You have given me your daily routine, when you go to school, when you are off, […] Or on holiday, […] What do you do to somehow spend your time? Since you are alone here. But what do you do to spend the day on weekends or holidays?

So, in any case, if you have a place to go, if you have an appointment, you don’t just go out here. It’s not like Kinshasa where you just go to a friend. If I said to a friend that I’d come to him and he answered that he won’t be at home, then you stay at home. I also don’t go out very often because of my behaviour, I’m at home on weekends. There are also places where you can go to listen to music and have a drink, but I don’t drink alcohol. I don’t go to pubs either. Since I don’t go to pubs, […] I find that a waste of time. You go to pubs, you drink alcohol and then it can take you to other things, so I avoid that. I often stay at home. These things are very hard, it’s really hard. They are hospitable. But what is missing, what they could do, is, if they have received someone for a certain case, they should answer him. If they have answered him, they can give him the opportunity to get work. This will clearly encourage the person who follows the courses for the future. There are people who have stayed here five, seven years without getting an answer. I know someone who is in this situation. To this day he has only a preliminary document, it is difficult. So anyone who is a foreigner in a country, in order to be sure that he can stay, must have a document. If he has no document, he has one foot inside and one foot outside. So such a thing is very difficult. It is difficult because we have many acquaintances who are in such situations. I am not saying that it will be the same for me. I know that God, who brought me here, will realize everything for me. But the problem is that they should know how to deal with it. […that they should treat these things?] How we live here, there is respect among each other, there is no hunger either. They pay for me the apartment, the electricity, the water. I get money for the food at the end of each month. There is no problem. The problem is that […] especially with the Congolese, they should give a good answer, because where we came from, hell reigns.

[i] You [a telephone ringing] insisted [referred] on the situation of the Congolese, the authorities should process Congolese applications positively. Now, when we […] you have talked a lot about the politics of Congo Kinshasa. As we hear, Congo Kinshasa is a rich country, the people say that God had left there a lot of wealth. But we always hear that many people have fled from Congo Kinshasa since the 1980s, because of the dictatorship of Mobutu. After that, Mobutu remained in power for thirty years. Furthermore, many people had fled. If we look closely, many people had applied for asylum in Europe because of the persecution of Mobutu’s dictatorship. You were born and grew up there, please tell us about the Congo, about the politics of the old dictatorship and also about today’s politics, so that people can get an idea why you are fighting for the reception of refugees from the Congo.

What I can explain about that is the problem of Congo [formerly: Zaire] [where it is] always difficult. That’s why I said here who they’ll vote for, if the people vote for their leader, then Europeans won’t want him, they’ll place their leader. That’s why it doesn’t work in this country. (Because it was in the time of Kasa Vubu [former president of the Congo, 1960-1965), although I was not yet born, but we have heard that Kasa Vubu is said to have worked well. He would have been a good president. He would have worked very well, he would have been a good president. But since his statement, since he liked his people […] , since Lumumba [former prime minister of the Congo, 1960-1961] had defended his people, [therefore] they had judged it badly. So they decided to put their husband there. The Europeans want to use puppets. If they have used a puppet they will dictate to him. You may be used by Europeans to be their puppet, you must know that the people are behind you. Without a people, you cannot lead an empty country. Without a people, you cannot lead an empty country. You see, even in Mobutu’s time the situation of this country was still bad, it is very difficult. Mobutu was there, he had done what he wanted, he thought he was God, but he was only human. Where is Mobutu today? Even the country where he had ruled […] He was buried in Morocco. (Laurent Desire Kabila [3rd president, 1997-2001) came because he was behind the people, [?] They had seen that he will suffocate us, they had liked him [to appea[r] . I think he stayed from 1997 to 2001. He stayed in power, I think, only three years. Until 2001, that is about three years. What he had done in power, he was murdered. After that another president was appointed, we hear that he was his son. I don’t know whether he was his son or a relative. His name is Joseph Kabila [2001-2018 in powe[r] . As his son. President Kabila, since he came to power, was liked by the whole population of the Congo, because Mobutu did not have a good heart, he did not like the population. But President Kabila, being young, we accepted him. But Kabila came, he had not paid the Congolese people well. What is the problem of the Congolese today? The Congolese need work, medical treatment, schools, […] In this country, children can learn from first grade to the end of school, even to university without a contribution. The city can pay for everything, the country has enough natural wealth. Today the people insult Kabila, Kabila did that and so on. But President Kabila Joseph, if he had had good advisors, he could not be where he is today. He could not be where he is today. Why? You have the country, the country that has a lot of money. I do not know which treaty they will sign with the Europeans. Perhaps the content demands that the people be mistreated so that we can support you. I do not know. Because if it were not, it would not be what it is. With the age at which Kabila came to power, I don’t think he was, I think, 27 or 37 years old. As the people had worshipped him, President Joesph Kabila, if today he would realize the promise of the people he likes […] First is the food that disturbs our country. The food is not good, there are no hospitals, there are no schools. If he had improved these points, nobody could say anything against Kabila today. The population would have stood up for him to get a new mandate. She could have said that he was better than Mobutu [2nd President, 1965-1997] . But how can you explain that you are coming to power today? Today [_?] one would say that President Kabila Joseph would occupy many companies outside the country, but the Congolese suffer, there is no work. That’s what’s causing the difficulties. At the time when President Kabila was in power he was still young. To this day he is still young. If I would work with them today and you would lie to me, then I have to know that you lie to me. If [_?] [I?] were to fill my pocket or not and their [the pockets?] of my relatives and the population would starve to death, but [he?] this population would turn against itself. Today, President Kabila, if he would work with caution, if he would try to sort out his environment of bad people to use good people, then today we would say or do something against him. Because Kabila, since he took power in the Congo, his record is zero. He has not finished the five construction sites, hospitals, promises of highways are not relised, free schools he has not realized, […] There is no medical treatment, [there is] bad nutrition, there is no more work. In the Congo, almost only 15 % of the companies have remained. […] 85 % have perished. There are no more companies. Today someone can want to sell clothes on the market, that can be used clothes, but you are arrested by police officers and your goods are seized. The country keeps going down. The relationship in the country is not good. Many did not want more of Kabila, then they put him aside. They made an attitude [resumption] with Felix. Then people say again that Felix didn’t win the election. Some people don’t want him. Only the Europeans know that. Because the Congolese people have seen a lot, suffered a lot. Now they are just watching. The Europeans, since they had founded Congo […] it is said that Congo was founded by Europeans. It’s as if the Congo was an empty field and the Europeans had built houses and we Congolese, we [had] gone there to live there. They [treat] us like their slaves. It has to stay that way. The Europeans lie to the African presidents. Here in Europe, you see today in France, Francois […] who else […] Macron has swindled when he travels to Africa, as he was in Nairobi, he laughed. But he has no peace in his own country. Why? In his country the population has demands, he must fulfil them because it is the right of the population. But why does Macron not kill this population? But they make weapons and give them to the African presidents. They make weapons, they have factories to make weapons and they always sell them to the president so that they can kill the people who elected him. There is no such thing. So that is the difficulty. Today Felix [current president] is in power, but the people are not satisfied. Everyone is telling something bad about him. Some say that he didn’t win the election and then traded with the former president. And he nominated him. You should let him work instead of accusing him of different things. These things bother many Congolese people. If God could really change the world, he should change the soil in the Congo, just as you dig the earth in the garden. You should dig up this earth and create a new Congo. Because we know that there […] […] which generation will be satisfied with this land? We were born in Mobutu’s time, […] to this day children will be born. It has been 18 years since Kabila was in power. If you say that the children born in Kabila’s time can speak or write French, then it’s not true. Unless the father is rich. Never with children of poor families. They are thugs, they cannot read or write. They have nothing in their heads, they have no education because they were not in school. Since Kabila took power, in 2001 until 2018, […] [since then?] the children have not gone to school, they have no education. The children grow up without prospects, the children have become thieves, some engage in prostitution. It is very difficult.

Thank you very much, you said when we talked that you were here with two children. What do your children do? What school do they attend?

The kids go to school, they’re in ninth grade. They go to school. They learn, they work hard. Since the city supports everything here, everything is financed by the city. The contributions and other things are taken over by the city. You don’t have to look for anything yourself, be it money for pens or money for the contribution. That is the problem in the Congo, in the Congo account you also do so. [?] […could you do it that way?] I heard President Felix say that the children no longer have to pay school fees, that will be very good. If he does that, it will be very good, because the states in Europe do that, here in Europe they have no natural wealth. But they have made people’s lives simple so that they can live a stable life. They have no natural wealth, all [natural resources] come from Africa. Why don’t they go to Africa, where the natural riches come from, to use these things, free schools. Why not? That’s bad.

Do the children also have contacts with German society? What do they do on weekends and in their free time?

They have girlfriends, some friends come home, sometimes they go to their girlfriends. They have relationships with their white friends.

[i] You worked in the Congo, […] in the field of car mechanics. You said that you went to school here. If you haven’t been to school, you’ll be asked why. We hear that the Germans are very disciplined after all. What can you say between the discipline of the Germans and the people in the Congo when you worked there? You worked in the Congo. […] And here you saw how the discipline is, how you see it in school.

[r] Well, in any case, the European was born with his discipline. In Congo I don’t know anything about discipline. In the Congo it can be written on a wall that it is forbidden to pee here, but people will continue to pee here. This mentality, I don’t know how to change the mentality of the Congolese. In order to understand life, to understand the world, you have to try to leave the country where you suffer. So that you can see the reality of some things. Because in the countries where we live now, you may have been rude or undisciplined in the Congo, but if you come here, no one will bear with you, you will get discipline yourself. It may be that you have a ballpoint pen, you notice that it no longer writes, you have to throw it away. In the Congo you can throw it away somewhere and go on. But here it is incumbent upon you to throw it where the garbage is put. You cannot throw something away somewhere, even if you are alone, there is nobody near you. That will be terrible for you to just throw it like that. What discipline do you mean between Congo and here? There is discipline here, you don’t need to be corrected here, you will correct yourself. Here, whether it’s raining or snowing, you have to go to school. If you haven’t gone, you’ll be asked why. If you have had an appointment, you must ask for a certificate and show it there. If you went to the hospital, you have to get a certificate from there. […] [if you] have any problem, you have to prove it with a certificate. They also call there to ask if you were there. They ask about the time you were there, when you left. If the school ends at 1 pm and you have finished your appointment at 10 am, you have to go to school obligatorily. You have to go to school and stay until 1 pm. You cannot say that it is already 10 o’clock, then I go back home. I didn’t see anything like it in the Congo. There, when you give something to the teacher as corruption, it’s left that way. Corruption is strong. But [here] there is no corruption. Here’s corruption as if a woman were caught red-handed. There’s the problem.

What help did you get here in Germany, be it from private individuals or associations or from the city?

[r] […] Since I’ve been in Germany, I’ve been getting help from the city to this day. […] […] Since I came, everywhere I was, I got help. The shelter, the food and where I live now I have help from the city. I got a big flat, a very big flat. The state supports me with the apartment, it pays for the apartment, electricity and water. He gives us the money monthly for the food. Since he knows that he is currently […] paying the contribution for my school, he pays four thousand [?] That’s the help, the school where I am, he pays four thousand euros a month, that’s the help. For the acquaintances I met, what kind of help I got from them: Except here at Verei Bosangani [in Bochum] , the association where we are now. This is an African association. It is not only for Congolese, but for Africans. When I come here I meet people from Guinea, from Nigeria, from Ghana, from the Congo, from […] the Lebanese are, I don’t know from which country they come. We all meet here. We are many. We will be about ten different nationalities in this association. The help I get here is, if I have a problem, I come here, for example to President Massakidi, he helps me, he explains me some documents, some official steps. That is the help I get from acquaintances. This is what I get here at the Bosangani Association, where we are now. All Africans who will follow this video should come here, there is help here. Help cannot be from money, we have come to a foreign country, we always need help, because there are many problems for which you will need help. You can have letters you can’t read, you can bring them here and find people who will read the letter for you. The people of the association can accompany you. They can accompany you to the place you don’t know. It is better if you enter here, because the Bosangani Association will help you well. That’s why the government […] should be especially the mayor of the city of Bochum, who should definitely help this association [Bosangan[i] . It can only be with the payment of the rent. […] Because they help many migrants. The German course is also offered here. It is free of charge. It is really a help. If we don’t come to the course here, because we live far away, we attend the course, because [he?] with us, where we live. […]

[i] You said that you and your children have an apartment, a big apartment for which the city pays the rent. When they were new before they came to today’s situation, where were they and how were they housed? How was it in the beginning?

Even when we were new, the accommodation was also good. Where we first got there, the accommodation was good. We got an apartment. As I said, the European organizes his thing in his own way without asking anyone. It’s not like you got money to build apartments for people who will come. You see that the money is ten, you take five and you use five for work. Then the work will not be finished as we experience it in the Congo. That is corruption. But here, already at the beginning, we came from the place where we were, we had been sent to the border to Belgium, to Willich, we were always [in] hostels. We came here and we were also always [in] hostels. But since our problem was being pursued, the apartment where we were accommodated was not enough. But that was a normal apartment. In the Congo, it would be seen as a good, beautiful apartment. I could live there with my wife and children, but here, if the family consists of father, mother, son and daughter, they have to get an apartment with three rooms. Because the boys should get their room, the girls should also have their room and the parents their room, that is how it is here. Therefore we had to leave the last apartment and they gave us a bigger one. There has been help with the apartment since we came. We had not suffered with regard to the apartment or the food. Everything is fine. […]

Where you are now, do you have contacts with the neighbors? It could be a neighbor from the same apartment, or from the same neighborhood.

In any case, so I don’t know, this is not Africa. There is no Africa here. It can be that you have the front doors next to each other with the neighbour. As with us, our apartment is on the eighth floor, you can’t know the people on the first floor. You don’t even know your neighbours on the same floor. Everybody goes away in his time and everybody comes back in his time. They can rarely meet in the hallway and greet each other with “hello” or with “good morning”, “morning”. Then it’s over. When you see him where he enters, then you know where he lives. But to approach them and to talk with them, it is difficult. In the case that he is an African, it is different. There can be some conversations, but if he is not African, what should you talk to him about? This Raze [race?] is very complicated. That’s the problem. But where I am, I’ve been there for a year. I don’t know my neighbours. They don’t know me either. It’s really like that. Apart from the well-known Congolese who live on the same street as me, we know each other well. Apart from them, I have no other contacts in my city.

[i] What do you do to practice your language when you go to the Shule? You learn the language there, when you return home, you don’t speak that language. You speak another language with the children. How can you improve your language? With which language do you speak to the children?

With the children we speak in Lingala and in French. Sometimes I try it in German with the children to know if they know the language. I sometimes try what I learned at school to talk to the children. When the child reacts, I know that over time the child has mastered the language. Sometimes I speak to my children in Lingala and they answer in German and then there is the case where I also answer in German. The children judge me and they say that I also know the language. So it goes on. But to be able to speak the language better when I come back or on Saturday and Sunday I am in the room. There I switch on my computer, I follow programmes in German, I often follow the German theatre [TV?] , I listen to German music. I understand some words and some I don’t understand. What I don’t understand I will translate and then I understand that. I translate that with my phone and I understand the meaning of the sentence. What helps to master the language is what I have just explained. If you just stay at home, you won’t learn much. If you don’t have a computer, you can use the phone to translate words from German to French if needed. You can write vocabulary on paper to learn it. Over time you will be able to speak German. With this you can learn the German language quickly.

You said that you often speak to the children in Lingala and French. Do the children have contacts with other people with whom they talk in German?

They [r] are [have] many [contacts] . There are many. The children talk regularly with their friends, they also sometimes come home. They also call each other. They often have telephone conversations and the children talk to their colleagues only in German for a long time. During the conversation, the children often speak only German from start to finish. Sometimes, when we have an appointment in the town hall, we go together. And there you can have restrictions in the language, but the child can speak from beginning to end without problems. You only have to explain to them what to say. Then she will have a long conversation with the official without any problems. They quickly master the language because they have a clearer head. They have nothing to think [to ponder?] . But I have too many burdens because I have to think about many things. That’s why [not?] I’ve gotten further with the language, but they already speak.

Do you also help the family, wife, and children who stayed in Kinshasa, does she also get your help? […] That can be moral or financial support. How do they live there? We always hear that there is unrest in the Congo, there is no work. Can you give us an idea when you were there, how did they live and now you’re missing there, what can they miss?

The problem of Congo is very difficult, the money we get for the food is not enough to send it to them in order to survive. The money that is given to us is for our food. Because in order even […] you can buy [_?] […] it is only for the food. It’s like we pay at home the money from the Internet, we have to eat, the African food that we often eat, it costs more than the food from here. Therefore, from the beginning to the end of the month the money is calculated. If you would send the money there, it would not be enough. But the condition of life there is only to help God. The conditions there are very difficult. They are very difficult conditions. The money that is given here for the food, that is only for it. The city also knows that the money is only enough for one month. If you take something off, it can happen that the food for the month is missing.

When you lived there with them, how did you live together, did you work, how did you take care of them? […] Or had your wife worked? Or was she a housewife and you worked alone? Can you explain how your life was in the family?

I have worked, in Kinshasa it is rare for a woman to work. I’ve heard that for a long time, many companies have perished, even men no longer have a job, so where can the woman work? It’s a matter of luck. There are also women who work, you have to have relationships. If you have an acquaintance who works in a company where someone is wanted, he can take you there to get hired. But at the moment, as I just said, out of 100%, only 15% work in Congo. 85% are unemployed. When I was there, I had to fight my way through as a man. As a man I somehow cheated my way through. I have repaired cars, I have earned something with it. Or I worked as a driver and we lived with the Ged. At the moment, what they experience there, they know that themselves, because it is difficult, because the difficulties are strong. That’s where suffering reigns.

[i] When we talk about Germany now. Here are some societies [communities?] , you surely live here with the Congolese and the African society. Do you have any contacts, […] other than with Congolese, […] other Africans, such as Guinea, Ethiopia?

Since I met the association Bosangani, this is the first association I met here in Germany, this is it. Since I am here [headquarters of the association in Bochum] I don’t need to look for another association, because this one is already ours. What they do for me is already a big help. They don’t help me with the money, but with many things. This help is a lot for me. How can I leave here [the association] and go somewhere else? Since they don’t charge money for the help. No matter which case you have, they will try to help you. If you need a lawyer, they will get you one. They will accompany you and translate for you, the lawyer speaks in German and they will speak in Lingala. There is help here. That’s why the people from Guinea, from Nigeria that we met here, are always here until today. Why should they go elsewhere? And I Congolese, why should I go somewhere else? I do not think so. We often hear that there is a lot of discussion between us in Europe, but there is no controversy here. Here we come to the meeting, when there is food then we eat and we drink something. We also have parties here. If you have a contribution, then you can give. If you can’t do that, give something next time. That’s why I’ve always said that the state of […] Bochum should help this association to get ahead. Because it helps many people.

[i] We hear that it is difficult to get a job in Germany. At first language is a big obstacle. Besides the Germans are very bureaucratic, there are always a lot of papers, there is always a lot to sign. Have you already come across the German bureaucracy? How did you find that? […] How will you be received in the office? Good, bad?

In any case, many people arrived, it was difficult in the beginning. But today, if someone has come and he speaks the language of his country, which they don’t know, then they are looking for someone in their office who knows the language of this man. For example, they will ask: “Excuse me”, this man comes from the Congo, he speaks Lingala, who can Lingala here, “so that he can translate for us in German? There are not missing people. When someone answers, he is called. There is always help. There is no neglect. […] If there is really no person to interpret, translations are made with the help of computers. You will write sentences in German and the computer will speak that in French, as well as the French answer, which is done in German by the computer. But in the offices there is no neglect. Their problem is that they let people work. Because I know that there are many people who have already attended the course for a year or eight months, they have already done a lot of theory. So that they can practice the language, they should work, there at work they will apply the learned materials. If you say that to me, that means that. [?] You’ll quickly get used to the language. You can talk to your work colleagues there. Talking together and doing something together will make the knowledge of the language easier. You always have to go to school, and you still don’t understand [yet] . To understand, it’s better if you’ve been to school for a year, then you should free him for work. At work he will learn a lot.

[i] What does “free someone for work” mean to you?

Yes, allow him to work. Permission to work. For example, someone who’s been to school, someone who’s been to school for a year, he can hear the language a little, he can even speak, [that?] he needs to know. But to get used to it, you have to give him a work permit.

[i] What is missing for you to get a work permit? You can explain, if you apply for asylum here, when you can work? So that people can understand the difficulties there.

What can I say? Because I, they have tested them, not yet for work. [?] I asked if I could go to driving school. Because here, whether you are a pilot or not, they won’t feel safe with you because you are a foreigner. You have to do the pilot [driver?] course again. They have to teach you themselves and teach you that well. They answered me that for the work that I want to do, that I know before they give me permission to do a course, I have to do the language before that. Then they can give me permission. They can’t allow me to do that if I understand some things and not some things. Otherwise I will get many difficulties at work. Because this work is not like a cleaning job, on the other hand you will get goods to deliver somewhere. They will explain to you where you have to deliver the goods. In the warehouse you will be told where to put the goods with the forklift. These pallets have to be brought to the truck. All these instructions you have to hear [understand] , if not, it’s hard. In my case it’s normal, I noticed myself that I still have to improve the language. If I improve the language, this work is advantageous for me in this country. But for other people it is unfortunate and very difficult. We Africans come to these countries to search. What we want to do first is to master the language. If you already know something, even just something, then it is better to get permission to work. At work you will continue to learn, we Africans learn faster. But if you leave the person like that without being able to do anything, it is as if they had handcuffed the person. Just leaving a person in one place for two or three years, he just has to learn the language, has left the family. He has left his wife and children. Or a woman who has left her husband and children. Now he is not working, the money you get for food is limited. You cannot help the relatives who stayed there with that. So you should free the people for work. See the politics of France, they have a different politics. Your policy is a model. If someone comes, he can work with the help of his relatives, but here, there is no such thing. That’s the problem.

[i] Until how many years can an asylum seeker work? What is the condition, do you have an idea?

As far as I know it depends on the cities. Because I know a lot of people, a lot of friends with whom we used to be together, we were assigned to different places. We only hear that in the city to which we were sent, [?] If we had come to change the address, the old address should have been changed to the new address, we would have been given permission to work immediately. So I know many. That depends on the cities. For example, in our city I see a lot of boys, there are a lot of boys, they just go to school. When you finish one school, you start the next. But it’s not like that in other cities. Even with women I know with whom we have been in the same place. Many people say that I only went to change the address, then they would have given me the work permit. Every city has its own way. You see, we can’t talk about the years. That depends on the cities. They say before you work in this one company, you have to know the language. I know a lot of people, I know about four people who even came after me. They only say: “Good morning”. Sometimes when you greet him with “Good morning”, he starts to laugh. He laughs because he doesn’t know what to answer. But he works. Some work does not need the knowledge of the language. If you have to cultivate, you don’t need the language. That depends on the cities. Some cities are closed.

[i] Have you already asked for a work permit? What answer did you get?

At that time I had attended school. I tried to get permission to work. The colleague who lives near me tried [to help?] and talked to his boss about me. I was to be hired by their company so that I could work in the workshop. He had taken me to the company, where it was said that there was no problem. I was supposed to come back with my documents. I had also brought my documents with me afterwards. They had seen the documents and noticed that I did not have a work permit. I then went to the job centre and asked for the work permit. There I was told that I had to go to the company, the company had to give me the salary I was going to get, it had to say exactly what work I was going to do, it had to tell me the time of my work. The company said that if you fill in the form, it takes a long time to get an answer at the job center. They need an employee in two weeks. If they fill in the papers and send them to the job center, it will take a month or even a month and a half and the job will be filled. That’s why they didn’t want to sign the form. The company also says that the job centre should issue the work permit. The salary and the work to be done. If they would give a permit, we would hire you and the documents you need could take you to the job center. So that was a misunderstanding between the company and the job center. But I think the company is right. If someone asks for a permit, the Persom comes to the company and the company signs all the documents, they also give the work and the working time and the salary. The documents are given to the Jobceuter. But it does not decide in one or two weeks, but it stays with the documents for over a month, or a month and a half. But during this waiting period the company wants you to work for it. During this waiting period the company needs [someone to] fill the position, then the company will hire someone else. That’s why the company refused to sign the documents. She said that the salary I would get, the work I would do there, and the working time, they would be on the records. Because it is usual that when you are hired, you have to bring the documents to the job center. The company said the job center must give permission and Jobcenter said the company must sign first. They did it twice with me, then I didn’t feel like it anymore. I didn’t feel like it anymore, it’s a complication. If the company would sign, it would hand in the salary, and the time, and then the documents would be handed in at the job center, the job center would decide directly. If the job center keeps the documents for a long time, even though the company needs the person for the job. The job center should allow the person to work within a maximum of two weeks. To wait a month or two, the company has to hire someone else. This causes problems with the companies. Some people don’t want to sign the documents anymore. The company says, although you [only] know a little German, there are people here who speak French, you can work with them. Over time, they will help you get used to the language. The company was open with me. The people from the job center were complicated, otherwise I could have worked in the workshop today.

[i] What is your wish to the German authorities? […] So that in the future these problems will no longer occur with migrants or political asylum seekers? If someone gets work, he must have the documents signed. What advice can you give or what suggestion do you have?

There are things we found here that already exist. This is the regulation of their country, but they should try to control these things, [follow] them. Since I had already asked for the work permit twice, since I had found two jobs. Since they had said that the company had to do that and the company that the job center had to do that. The whole thing just ended without a result. I don’t have anyone where I can complain or where I can give an explanation. If they had a follow-up on these things, they would know how things work. If they receive migrants in the country and they work, the economy of the country will develop. Between the contribution of four thousand euros per month what they pay, they want the person to go to school for another six months and the person who already wants to hire the company confirms the company that despite the lack of language, I could work with it. They had made paper so that I could go to the job center. The job center should sign, the job center should give permission. The Jobcenter was causing complications. Between the contribution they pay and the person who can work in the country, who will pay the tax so that the country’s economy can grow. They want to continue to pay the contribution without letting the person work. The economy of the country develops when people work and pay the tax. In our city Velbert there are few migrants working. All people complain. Everyone complains. They should be allowed to. When a migrant comes into the country, he wants to work. It is not the case that the migrant wants to work for the stay. The migrant has to work. Where we come from, we have left people there. We have left children, family and parents. We have to work, the little we get. We will pay the tax, some will live with it and still others will support the relatives who stayed. It is so.

Thank you for your suggestion. What does Congo, your country, present in your life? […] [What does Congo mean in your life?]

What does Congo represent in my life? [?] Congo is my country, I was born there.

If you compare Congo and the country where you are, Germany, how do you feel [yourself] here? What is the difference, your life here and in the Congo? Do you feel homesick, what do you feel in your city? Since you are far away from the Congo?

I no longer have that feeling for this country. If I had stayed in this country, I would have died underground. I don’t have the feeling of this country anymore. I have feelings for the land where I am. How I am sheltered. How they received me, how I was sheltered. I have a lot of feeling. But to have a feeling, I have to have my wife and children with me. There I will have a good feeling. But I have already forgotten the feeling of the country where I came from. Because that is not a country, but the way to death. That is not a country, that is not a state, but the way to death. If you do something, you will be killed, arrested or tortured. We have nothing to say there, there are no human rights. My feeling says to stay here in this country. Nevertheless, I will have a good feeling as soon as my wife and children come, when I work, when I earn [money] , when I pay the taxes of this country. I do everything I have to do and I support the relatives who stayed there.

Now you are still busy with the language, what do you actually want to do in Germany, if you get lucky that the state gives you a normal stay, what do you really want to do?

What should I do, since I am a craftsman? I am a craftsman, I will do my work. It may be that I am not a craftsman [will be?] . Every person who comes from the Congo left the relatives there with difficulties. If he goes to a country, what future will you have? Only work is your future. So that you can get something, so that you can help yourself. And so that you can help those who have stayed. Because I don’t know who they come to Europe and they think only of food and drink. [?] They forget where they came from, the origin. That’s not good. It’s very bad. If you watch the Congo closely, the majority, especially in Kinshasa, because I don’t know the whole of the Congo, in Kinshasa the majority, 100% poverty is 90%. Poverty is 90%. That is the problem. Because every person who leaves the country is Joseph [?] in his family to help his family. My future is work. Even if I wasn’t a craftsman, I could have done all the work to earn something for myself. And so that I could help other people, parents, relatives and family. It really is so.

[i] You said that you are a craftsman, can you explain your profession, what you learned, what you learned, say?

The majority of the Congolese [_?] , just because our leaders are bad, it’s a country if the leaders would help the people, the Congolese people are very intelligent. There are also stupid people, but there are also clever people. Like me, if I know a little bricklaying today, it’s because my father was a bricklayer. On Saturday and Sunday I had accompanied him to work, I had carried his tool bag, in which was a folding rule, the trowels. I could learn the bricklaying. I know that a little bit. I also know the work of painting. But my main profession is driver and car mechanic. I count that more. I worked as a driver for a long time. I worked as a driver for a long time. I also worked as a machanist for a long time because I worked for [_?] […] . I had learned mechanics at [_?] […] , at Skoda in Limete [Kinshasa Municipality] . So that’s where I had learned to be a mechanic. We made our industrial mechanic. We also made car mechanics [learned?] . So I really have experience in this work. I’m really counting on it. Under this work I had the children and I raised them with it.

Do you have the opportunity to work in this area, [auto] mechanics, here too?

Yes, I am able to do that. […] I was told by the authorities that it would be easy for me to do an apprenticeship with my work. Because here, if they give you a truck to drive, you can drive, but people here don’t trust you, they have to send you back to school. They will teach you themselves, then they will be satisfied. Then they can trust you. What they told me was that I should learn the language well, but the training costs are expensive, that is 15 thousand euros. Now that I am in school, the school fee costs four thousand euros. But they told me that I should learn the language until they see that their plan is fulfilled. Then they know […] They will pay fifteen [thousand?] euros so that I can do the practice of the truck [truck] . I will drive a big car and buses. They have already promised me that. I’m sure the Europeans won’t lie.

[i] We know that Germany is a car country. A country where many cars are produced. People are wanted here in this area. Do you already have an idea where you will work, are there perspectives in this area? What do you think?

There is nothing to be found here, all work here is not to be found. [?] There is work here. There really is work here. There is work here, it depends only on you where you will apply. Where it will work, there you will work. If I want to work in a company today, if my thing will be okay, I will work in a company where I want. It is: “Man thinks, God directs”. You can say that I only want to work here, but it depends on God. God fulfils people’s projects, but what God has chosen for you, you will be sent there. It is so. There are many who said that they would go to France, but they stayed here. There are also some who wanted to come to Germany and landed in France. Some wanted to go to Belgium and are in Sweden. One goes where God has prepared it.

What can you say to the authorities, for example from the Congo, [a telephone rings] [a telephone rings] Because many people have learned. They finished school in the Congo. But they didn’t get a job there. But here in Europe, where these people didn’t learn, they are hired in the profession they did in their countries. What message can you give to our authorities because of the people who went to school there, who finished school there but didn’t get a job?

For every thing there is only the will. For every thing there is only the will. Congo today has many intelligent people. There are many who have finished university, some have done their doctoral theses, many have completed their education. They have done a lot and everything, but there is no work. Everything depends on the authorities of the country. They have to help the people. The Congolese people, if President Joseph Kabila has today made the attitude and resumption with Felix, then one should leave Felix so that he can work in peace. Because he knows the difficulties, because he has lived in Europe for a very long time. He knows the difficulties of Europe. He knows the condition of Europe and also the social life. He is the one who will know how to support the Congolese people. He knows life in Europe. And he knows social life in Europe, medical treatment, education […] Let us give him the chance to work. Let’s see […] But with this chance he should have advisors, since he has lived in Europe, he knows what social life is like. He knows everything. So he won’t disappoint the Congolese. So that’s the way it is. Because it is very difficult.

[i] You live in Germany for some time, there are some changes in the lives of migrants in Germany today, maybe you have heard how the lives of migrants in Germany used to be and what changes have been made. Today there are also some changes, but there are still some things that have been changed. [Things where] we migrants want a change. What change can you propose to the German authorities and for the future of political asylum seekers or migrants?

The only problem is that the migrants who come to this country and who go to all the countries in which they go should be well received. Besides, migrants, I don’t know, since I was born in the Congo, I didn’t expect to leave my country one day. I didn’t expect it, the world was a bit better then. I managed then. Although I didn’t earn much. But I had had something to eat. I could also send the children to school. I did not expect to leave the country. But when I leave the country today, it is because of the living conditions. You can’t say anything there, if you do that you will be arrested or killed or anything. If you do something, you will be arrested without trial. And in such a case you have no one to help you. Some die. So if you have the chance to leave the country […] How we left the country, so […] Especially we Congolese, everywhere we go, in any case, everywhere we go, we should be welcome at the host country. Because the conditions that prevail there have been made by Europeans. Europeans bring disorder to our countries. They do not have to complain about the many migrants who are now coming. I have recently noticed on trains and buses that diasporas are trying to explain why people come here. They destroy Africa, but they are good in their countries. What can I tell the authorities from here? The authorities should take good care of refugees and migrants. Because a woman does not leave the marriage without a reason, if the woman is well fed, well dressed, the husband fulfils her needs, the woman will not leave the marriage. If you see the woman leaving the marriage, you have to ask her. If today she also refuses to tell the reason, but tomorrow she will, they will give her the right. It is so. It is not because the man has beaten the woman once. The man beats her more often, to the point that he wanted to kill her. That is why the woman fled. That is the reason why we flee. So where we go, we should be welcome by the people who receive us. They should help us, especially the Congolese people. I speak for us Congolese people. We are scattered in the world because of the condition of the country. But if you look at all the countries of Africa, even the world, there is no country that has more natural wealth than Congo. There is no such thing, Congo is number one. But then why is the Congolese people scattered?

In order for us to deal with these difficulties, in our countries, for example in Congo, what can Europeans do to end these difficulties?

They have the human right in their country. Europeans have human rights in their countries. Why doesn’t it work with human rights in Africa? Here in Europe, when the president’s mandate comes to an end, he will leave power without discussion. Why is it not so in Congo? Only they, when the people elect a leader, do not want him, they appoint their own leader. He takes an oath. He takes an oath. At the end of the client he does not want to leave. Even Europeans will give him weapons, which they will make to kill the people. That is the problem. They must know what they are doing. The African is a human being. The African is not an animal. The difference between whites and blacks is only the skin colour, but the blood is the same. Every human being is a human being. They do not have to think that the whites are special. Or that they are Jesus Christ, they are not Jesus Christ. We are all human beings. So they […] I don’t know whether it hurts them when they hear that there have been massacres again and again in the Congo or not. Maybe this is a pact that they, the Europeans and African leaders, have made with the demons, I don’t know. Otherwise you have to be sad. With them here, if only one person had died a policeman in an ambush, then there would be a national grief. But the many people who die in Congo, when will there be a national [grief] ? People are dying every day, day after day, morning, noon and evening. They can’t find a solution because they force [it on] the presidents in these countries. They need to know what they are doing. The world is spinning. That could be that God will start a new world tomorrow, where the white will be black and the black will be white. Then the blacks will rule.

[i] We hear that people in the Congo are killed, some flee, some cannot flee. Those who can flee, what difficulties do they get along the way? We sometimes see people coming from African countries, some have to cross the sea, some have to flood [drown] . If you have to explain […] to the people who will follow you, what sufferings do the people who flee to come to Europe have? A lot of people only follow that on TV, but since you also fled, what difficulty do these people experience before they come to Europe?

The first problem is the people getting into canoes [pirogue, wooden ship] . They get into canoes so that they can reach Morocco or Spain. And then they try to cross the Merr and then go on to Europe. But when they receive them, they ask themselves. After your questions you will get answers, after that, through these answers you will have to find solutions. They have to analyse why they fled, what explanations they give, then find a solution. They have to question their leader. Why is the population fleeing? If they do not question the leaders, then they are an accomplice. They are accomplices. It is regrettable, it is very difficult. The conditions of migrants’ travels […] many die, some will reach Europe. Unfortunately, they will be arrested and sent back. However, they have fled the risk. Having crossed the sea, they risked their lives. A European cannot take such a risk. With the canoes they reach Morocco and Spain so that everyone has the opportunity to go to another country wherever they want. If they come here, they will be interrogated, they will answer all the questions. What solution do the Europeans find, they are the ones who the presidents appoint in their countries. There is no solution, that is why they have to suffer. The Africans do not flee for fun, when he [the African] comes here he must be treated well. If he is not well received because they force leaders in their countries, they must alert their presidents. They must do what the people want. How can the President fulfil the will of the people? Since they have given him conditions, he cannot fulfil this will, because they have forced many things upon him. He cannot arrange the problem of the people. What they told him, he suffocated. Even if he wants to do something good for the people, he is not able to do it because they gave him a condition. So they know that. So all migrants in this country should be welcomed.

I’m still asking in this area, the risk that Africans accept so that they can come to Europe, they take it because of dictatorship in their countries. Don’t you see that people are willing to cross the sea, which means that the situation is worse in the countries they leave. Some people say that it would be better to sink in the water than to stay in my country. That is why we should make Europeans aware of human rights in Africa. You talked about human rights before, you can talk about human rights in Africa or the Congo, as they are not respected in Africa and the Congo. If people have to flee and are even willing to sink in the sea, what can you say?

There are no human rights. In Africa there are no human rights, they don’t exist. Last time I saw it on the Internet, I think it was on Friday or Thursday. In Mbinza [district of Kinshas[r] there was a driver of a taxi bus [minibus for transporting people] with his customers in a traffic jam. There came the general. […] The general wanted to turn the jeep into an airplane. Since it is not possible to convert the jeep into an airplane, the general wanted the bus driver to clear the way so that the geneal could continue. Since there was no place for the driver to go to clear the way for the General, the General’s bodyguard got out and shot the driver. The driver was inside his car with the customers. The driver died on the spot. What kind of country is this ? That can only be the Congo. Why? Because he’s a general! Alleged general, can the country be led like this? The country can’t run well that way. Felix has come with the rule of law, so he should not be hindered. He should bring this constitutional state to an end. Anyone who has done something must be arrested. We do not know whether he will achieve that. We only hear that he allegedly signed treaties with his husband [Kabil[r] . They know for themselves. This country is destroyed, there is not a single human right. Arrests and killings are the order of the day. A country cannot reach this level.

Mr [name], when you were in Congo, did you also see scenes where human rights were violated? Were you also victims of worse experiences? [Mr laughs] Could you perhaps tell us about what was done to you, something that hit you where human rights were violated?

The Congolese people are always victims. The Congolese people are always victims of everyone. I gave the example of the driver who was killed working with customers in a car just because of a traffic jam. The traffic jam was not caused by him either. The general was supposed to go on, but there was no way, the driver was supposed to carry his car and put it aside so the general could go on. Since he couldn’t do that, he was shot in the car. The Congolese people are victims of many things. All Congolese are only victims. One has no right to speak, only for a small statement one is arrested. So the human right in the Congo is not respected. All people in the Congo, even in Kinshasa, are victims of it. When I say all people, it means that I am also a victim of these things. All people are victims, you can’t express your opinion. You must affirm everything that is said. If you say something against it, you will either be killed or arrested or beaten.

[i] What message can you give to Congo politicians so that one day a change can come in Congo? What message can you give them to bring about change in Congo and in the future? I can’t find a politician in Congo, there is no politician in Congo. It is better to give everyone who has finished school or university, who has already finished it, and those who have finished it now, the opportunity to enter politics and work there. They should form a new political class. It will be better. For me in the Congo, there is no politician. There is no politician. The politicians speak in the name of the people and the same politicians will stand against the same people. If you look at it closely, you won’t find any politicians. They are many, those who are not politicians to me. Many have insulted Kabila more often, but today they are behind him and they are against the people. So there are no politicians. I have no advice to give. Only all those who have completed the universities, who have completed the law, all these people, should be given the opportunity to form a new political class. It will be better, I don’t see a politician in the old class about whom I can say something good.

And for the Europeans, we migrants, we want a change in our lives here. There should also be a change in our countries, because people don’t leave without a reason, when someone moves, it means they are looking for something. He may be threatened where he is, he may not like it. He wants to go somewhere else. He must flee. What message can you give to the Europeans for the general change in the lives of migrants here in Europe?

I had already talked about this matter. I said, especially the migrants from the Congo, if they show up somewhere then you have to welcome them well. Because no country in Europe forgets what is happening in Congo. You know that. They also know what is being done in the background. So migrants from Congo must be welcome everywhere. He must be well received. I don’t know all Africa, I’m just talking about Congo. Because the problems are different. But we are a rich country. The people did not see the wealth, the people do not know it. People talk about cobalt, uranium, copper and so on. But the people of the Congo do not know this natural wealth, yet they die because of it. They do not know that, they do not demand the money from it either. But it dies because of it. What witchcraft. Is that the complicity of Europeans? But the Europeans know these things, so what should we say, what advice should I give, they already know what it is all about. They follow what is happening in Congo in the morning, at noon and in the evening. The country has the human right [doesn’t?] , you can’t speak, you can’t do this and you can’t do that. They kill people with thugs, with hunger, in cells, with poison, and so on. For the people of Congo I don’t know what the world is like […] If an African says something against his president, I can tell him it’s worse in Congo. In our country it is exaggerated. There are more difficulties there than in other countries because I have seen many countries. It is an inconsolable country. [Mr. coughs]

[i] To conclude, with your life in Velbert and also in the surroundings of Velbert, in the cities of Bochum, Essen. How you are received here, are you satisfied with the German authorities about their reception?

I am satisfied, I am very well, I am very well. Only one concern I can have is the work permit. People should get permission to work. Although every country has its policy. But in France people already work after a month’s stay. But today, receiving a migrant in the country is already a big contribution. Because when he works, he raises the economy of the country further. I can only say that the work permit should be given. In other cities people are detained, they don’t want to give a work permit. They should give the work permit. If this city has 200 migrants, if the 200 or 150 migrants work, then the city will get a good leap [advantage?] . Migrants are people who work. Migrants don’t stay at home, they work. He [the migrant?] likes the work. Now is the time for people to work. If you have to stay long without [work?] and after 10, 20 years you get a permit to work for how long? Now is the time. You have to give permission. Migrants work, migrants […] Africans know many professions. […] What you give him will be done by him. All they have to do is give permission. There are cities when you come, you just want to change your identity card, the address should be changed, then you will immediately get the residence permit [_?] [get?] . There are some cities where you just have to stay, you just have to go to school. They should let us work.

[i] Can you imagine you and your whole family living together in this region? When they will get the residence permit? I asked this question because some people change cities when they get the residence permit. If you get the papers today, can you and your family imagine only staying where you [now] live? And that the children go to school there? And you continue your work?

Yes, where I am, it’s really […] it’s a city I really like. It’s a quiet city. It’s a city where there’s no mess. It is also a suitable city to educate the children. Verlbert is a very good city. Also to educate children it is good. The city is quiet, there is no mess, I like this city. I expect to stay there. I have no intention of moving out of there, I like this town, it’s quiet. It’s not like other cities where you find violence. It’s quiet there. This peace is good for us who don’t go to pubs, who don’t drink alcohol. It’s good for me. It could be bad for a person who often goes to pubs. There he will feel as if he is in prison. But for me it is a good city.

[i] Thank you for your availability to participate in our project, especially the interview. We wish you much success in Velbert and in the surrounding region, for all your projects. Your wishes shall be fulfilled, and also that your family will come to you one day.

Thank you [name] .