[i] Yes, hello! Welcome, Mrs. [name]. We are here today as part of our project “Specially Unknown” It’s about 10 people. What makes me a fieldworker… My task is to interview people or listen to them, what they have to tell about themselves, and to learn something about their life story. A journey about your past to the present and about the perspectives for the future. We will start with the presentation. Who are you? Hello! welcome.

My name is [name], I come from Guinea, I am 30 years old. I have been living in Germany for 2 years. I am taking my integration course at the IFAK in Bochum. I live in Haltern am See, I am single, and today I tell you about my children’s skiischte. And I wanted to tell my story in German, but I’m not so good at German. I have to continue on Fula.

Okay, if I understood you correctly, it’s that it’s easier for you to tell the story in Fula than in German.

[r] Yes.

[i] That’s understandable and that’s what we do. Let’s do everything in Fula now.

[r] Hmm hm.

i] It’s about the life stories of people in this project. They are among the 10 people from Guinea who have been selected. I’m a fieldworker I’m what you call a fieldworker. I will ask understandable questions,

[r] Hmm hm.

That it’s about your life story and that’s also the reason for our session.

i] Now the question is, where do we start? I understood that you were going to school here? You can decide where to start. We can start with childhood. With your life story, we can start.

Okay, I will tell you my life story now. How I grew up, my schooling, from the beginning, in school, how it went until I came here. My name is [name], my father is [name] and my mother is [name]. After my birth, my mother and father don’t get together very often. I grew up with my mother, but there was no obstacle to seeing my father. He came to us once and I also visited him. I lived with my mother and my father was in the capital or in Banankoro (inland). We were everywhere where he was.

i] Was that job-related or something else?

It was because of his job, because my father was a gendarme. He was transferred everywhere. Our mothers couldn’t stay there permanently. They stayed with him for a while and then went back. My mother lived in Kindia at that time. I was born there. And I grew up. My mother worked in the retail trade. She sold everything. She dyed and sold fabrics. When I grew up, I started school. I started school in 1995. We lived in the district called “Kassya” and there she also dyed fabrics. She mainly dyed from the fabrics she had dyed. She dyed and sold the fabrics. I was used to her and I started school there. I attended the primary school in “Ecole Primaire Sounounou”. There I started from the 1st Kllassen. There I went to school my mother was busy with fabric verbung. After school I went to her and she did her work. When my mother is finished with the fabric we washed her in the river. We bring them back home and let them dry and then they are ironed. My mother sells them and goes back to school. And later I come home again. So it went on for years until I finished my primary school 1-2-3 class. In school (Sounounounou). There I also made the 4th grade. When we reached the 4th class, my mother had finished building the house. She financed it with her business. She built the house in Kenende. I was supposed to change schools. But I could not change in the current school year. I insisted on staying at school because I already have very good friends there. But it was still too far for me. At the end of the year an application for a change of school was made and approved. I then changed to the primary school “Ecole Primaire Banllieu. I continued to attend school there and mine is your profession. In the beginning it was difficult for me, because I came there new. I now had new teachers and classmates and friends. With time I got used to the new school in the 5th and 6th grade and made new friends. In the course of time I forgot my old friends and was rarely with my old friends. That’s how we stayed. I experienced a lot in primary school. In primary school, one is small and what one experiences there, one only experiences there. What you experience in the primary school is different from what you experience in the Weierführende Schule. That you have to work for the teachers, carry water for their garden. The teachers have a vegetable garden where they grow salad, cucumber, tomatoes, okra, white Obergin, hot peppers. Such work for teachers only exists in primary school. In college and Lycée there is something where not. That one is beaten because of delay is then also past. That one dresses in “demi season” and is sent home in school, there is only in the primary school. “Demi season” means that the boys wear shorts and a short shirt in kaki uniform. The girls wear a skirt and a short shirt.

[i] in what colour?

r] For the girls there are blue and red with check stripes. The fabric is in check stripes and there are blue and red. The boys have only one uniform in persimmon. A short pair of trousers and a short shirt. In college the boys wear long trousers and a short shirt. For the girls there is a dress in kaki uniform. Or a skirt with a shirt in kaki uniform. In the primary school we like to wear “Demi-Saison”. The boys put on a khaki shirt and jeans pants or cloth pants. There are teachers or directors who don’t like “Demi season” and when they see you, If the director sees you like this, he will ask you to leave the school grounds. If you manage to get into the classroom and the teacher can deny you participation. The girls, if they wear and loincloth, then the loincloth will be confectioned. They say that we wore “demi season”. This only happens in primary school. That you are forced to share something you have bought for yourself, or that you are intimidated, you only experience that in primary school. You don’t dare to do anything else or to bring some money e.g. 50 or 100 or 200 FGN to buy something All these things you only experience in primary school. That’s why you feel so liberated, I recently talked to a friend about it. You have a kind of addiction to seeing from that time. I found mine on the Internet and we talked about our experiences. We talked about the time when we didn’t dare to buy something. She asked for the name of our class representative and classmate. We talked about the punishment we got. If you have passed the exam for primary school graduation and have passed, then you are no longer dealing with “demi season”, then you have reached the level that is called “Guinean-Ziment” (the secondary school). The uniform has the color that looks similar to cement (kaki). In college we are called as newcomers. After primary school I came to “Kindia 4” (College). “Kindia 4” is a college a little further away. Since there was no college nearby and Lycee was nearby, we had to go to “Kindia 4”. There we had to rebuild everything. With time comes familiarity. You pay more attention to your appearance, otherwise you are laughed at. In December it is fresh, you watch, your feet are clean and you creme yourself. The ones from the 8th class make fun of us 7th class and call us the “newcomers”. On the 8th grade When we have reached the 8th grade, we play the game ourselves, with the 7th grade. In Kindia 4″ I was only up to 8th grade, afterwards I was on “Gl. Lansana Conte”, there you could attend college and Lycee. There the 9th and 10th class attended. The headmaster is called Mr. Toure, he is no longer alive “God have him blessed”. He had the habit to visit all classes personally. He originally comes from Moria and he always wore special suits. He was often very well dressed and went to the classrooms. When you tell him that he is dressed smartly, he answers promptly that he is a child of Moria. And added that “the children of Moria are the whites of the Soussou” and he is the white of “Moria”. We gave him the nickname “Moria Fote” (the white man from Moria) So we spent the time and after my graduation, I moved to the capital. New place, new friends and the grammar school I made in “Lyce Yimbayah”. There I got used to life in the capital. You have to get used to it. It is often the case that those who live in the capital are more enlightened than those from the interior. One is sterotyped as those from the interior of the country. After 3 years this label disappears. Going to school by bus or taxi is difficult. But with time get used to it. Our school principal of the grammar school “Lycee Yimbayah” who was strict and in the schoolyard, everyone knows what to do. They call him “Koto Barry”. If you go out during class, he calls you “Hey” and that’s why everybody knows that you can’t do that. Everyone walks in their classroom and you can’t find anyone in the pavilions. I experienced that in school. That was my experience at school. Regarding my families, how I grew up with you,

i] Let and stay with the school, you have talked about the primary school and the secondary school (college). What came after secondary school?

[r] Gymnasium.

i] How did it go in grammar school?

As I said, I moved from Kindia to Conakry in the capital I did my primary school in Kindia, inland. In the grammar school everything was new again. There was also a new one there from the interior, there is always a kind of arrogance, they think they are something better. Even in the classroom, when you answer a question, there are remarks. In addition, the classrooms are very full. Per class you can see up to 200, no 100 people. That takes getting used to for someone from the interior of the country. You can have your problem with it. The way to school from Dabompa to Yimbayah by bus also takes getting used to. The fear that I would not find my way home was also there. So I have there the school up to the Abitur.

i] After you passed your Abitur, what happened next?

I didn’t pass the exam for the Abitur and then I went to a vocational school (Ecole Professionelle). When I finished it, I was lucky, my mother and uncle gave me a lot of information… for Acra (Ghana). I stayed in Acra (Ghana) for 4 years. In Acra it was a bit difficult for me. This has to do with my journey and time of getting used to it. When the time came and we were about to buy a ticket, I had never been outside Guinea. I only know Conakry – Kindia. And now I should go outside Guinea. My mother worried a lot about that. She called acquaintances. One day she told me that people were saying, “People are being killed there” I explained to her that I had not heard of it. She adds that there are cannibals there. She also tells me whether I am aware that women prostitute themselves there. There are shops where women take off their clothes, dance and sell themselves. I told her that I would not do such a thing. My mother reminds me that we have no relatives there. My uncle explained that the embassy is in the suburbs, the relatives. After a long speech a ticket was bought. An uncle of mine has a colleague who has his family there. The family was contacted and asked if I could stay with you temporarily until I found a flatmate. The families agreed to take me in. I got the address and the number and they called the woman from Ghana. When I landed in Accra, Mrs Doris picked me up at the airport. Then I lived with her. It was difficult for me. I couldn’t even say good morning in English. A week later, she enrolled me in a language school. I attended the language school for 1 year. And I lived with her for 4 months and we could communicate in the meantime and I also lived with the local food. But in the beginning it was so hard for me that I called my mother and said that I wanted to go back. My mother said no, that’s not possible and added that I should stay there. I got myself together. The situation was such that I could not communicate and I had to communicate with hands and feet. I used sign language when needed. 4 months later I could communicate gradually. I saw a student campus, there was a student room available and I informed Doris about it. I have moved and have continued to finish the language school. After 1 year I got used to it. Over time I had new friends from Ghana and Guinea and so the difficulties were over. I got used to it.

[i] Well, you attended the language school…

Yes, I learned the language for 1 year and then and after that I did a commercial apprenticeship and I finished it.

[i] Accounting?

I did bookkeeping and finished successfully. I stayed there and in “Accra-mal!”, I found an internship for 7 months. “Accra-mal! is a large shopping center. There is a shop there called “Shoppoint”, So I stayed there and wanted to find a job there, My mother said that she is looking for me and I should come back again because I am done studying. Then I went back.

Yes, you then came back to Guinea and what happened next? Could you work in the area where you trained in Accra?

Yes, when I came back to Guinea, after some time, I applied for several jobs including Firstbank. I got feedback from Firstbank where I did an internship for 6 months. I finished my internship and I still had documents in Ghana that I picked up. After some time I applied again at the Firstbank, the bank contacted me and I went there and stayed there for 6 months again, took a little break. And after that I had the chance to leave the country, and I did.

Ok, let’s go back to the family now. I don’t know if they might want to try it in German… If you brought a memento, I have to say something in German for a moment, The question is whether Mrs. [name] brought us something as a memento?

[r] Hmm hm.

[i] Do you have anything?

[r] Yes.

[i] You could also say that in German hmm!

[r] In German, I have a bit of a problem talking to you. I’d rather continue speaking in Fula.

[i] Okay, what did you bring us? I have here 2 photos with me. The first photo is of my mother’s family.

[i] Yes, a little closer. Okay, okay

The photo shows my mother’s family.

[i] Hmm hm.

Here it is,

[i] Let’s see it, right, now you can see it. Yes, okay

[r] A… Picture here The picture is very very old.

[i] The image is very

Yes, very very old. Old

[i] Okay,

[r] The picture shows the Family of my Mother

[i] Hmm hm. Here is my mother. Behind my mother is my mother’s sister. And here is also a sister of my mother. Here also and here is my grandmother.

[i] Put it up!

My grandmother yes.

[i] Hmm hm.

Here’s my grandma and here’s my uncle.

[i] Uncle.

Yes, here’s my uncle and here’s a sister of mine.

[i] Hmm hm. A sister or cousin? A cousin or a sister, because she…

[i] Who is her mother?

Here is my mother.

Yes, but from the sister and cousin, who is her mother?

Here is my mother/grandmother.

[i] Let’s focus on the little one,

The girl’s my cousin.

[i] The cousin okay, hmm hm.

[r] Yeah.

In the picture I also see the picture of the First President of Guinea at Grandma’s house.

At my grandmother’s, there is a picture of my old president Sekou Toure. Yes, he was the first president in Guinee.

[i] President okay, President in Guinea. And that’s a picture of him, isn’t it?

[r] Yes.

[i] Ok, yes, that’s the first picture, the second […]

[r] In the second picture is my grandmother, no, my mother,

[i] Hmm hm.

She is my mother’s sister and he is my mother’s brother.

[i] So your uncle.

[r] Yes, my uncle.

[i] So your mother first, hmm hm.

Here the first one is my mother, my aunt and my uncle.

[i] Okay. How old are the pictures now, I guess?

My mother told me that the pictures are… Many years old.

[i] Yes, okay, these are pictures of your mother,


[i] Okay, you have a story about your parents. Anything you want to tell us. Maybe on Fula, too, if it makes it easier. Could we just keep doing it on Fula.

[r] Yes, I would like to go to Fula

[i] Yes, you just showed us photos,

On the picture you can see my mother, her younger sister and her brother and on this one is My mother, your older sisters, A younger brother, the child of her older sister and her mother. This is old photos that are at least 40 years old. Or 45 years old. Here sits my mother. This is your sister. Her name is [name]. Her name here is [name], her name is [name], This is my grandmother, the mother of my mother. Her name is [name]. He is my uncle, his name is Uncle [name]. But I never saw him. He and my grandmother had died before I was born. She is a daughter of my mother’s older sister, Sister [name]. All these “God have them all blessed” are not with us today. Mama [name] died, Mama [name] died, my grandmother died and uncle [name] also died. Of those still living, my mother, my aunt [name], and sister [name], who lives in France and was married to a Frenchman who lived in France. He lived in Nice and brought her there a long time ago. I got the photo from my mother and explained the background. She said that it was done during the time they were all visiting her. She explains to me what her mother is wearing on her head, the headscarf with Sekou Toure photo, not everyone got. Since she was visiting me, I bought it for her. At that time these clothes were very much in demand. Any clothing with the picture of Sekou Toure was very coveted and everybody can’t afford it. Hmm hm. My mother wears “Kerdeli dress” and the cut of the dress is called “Temoure”. If I have a yearning for my mother, I look at the photo for a long time soo long. Although I didn’t get to know my grandmother and the other one either. But the 3 there, I know them. I know my sister here. She lives in Paris and sometimes we call each other on the phone. Hmm hm. The photo here is my mother, my gas station and my uncle. They took it in a famous “coffee shop” in Mamou. The photo is at least 30 or 35 years old. My mother and my aunt wore their headscarves in the style “Mon mari es capable”. Both wear earrings that look the same. They all live here and when I look at the picture, my addiction to seeing is satisfied. Hmm hm.

i] You have shown us things here that connect a lot with the past and mean a lot to you.

[r] Yes, things I took with me,

[i] Okay, now we’re focusing on your mother. What can you tell us about your mother? According to my mother’s story, what it is that her first husband is called [name]. He was a treasurer. She then left your village and followed her husband in the big city. She stayed with her husband for a long time and did not have a child. Have organized prayer for it and has treated herself and got twins. During that time you were living in Kundara and are now expecting your twins. That was in 1973 or 1973.

[i] Hmm hm.

She got the twins [name] and [name] by caesarean section. She stayed together with her husband and the children and later her husband died. Her husband was the treasurer in Koundara and the treasurer in Kindia. After a while in Koundara, Mr. Barry was transferred to Kindia. In Kindia they were with my older sister and older brother. Her husband, Mr. Barry died then, after that she stayed in Kindia. She stayed there with my siblings and raised them. 10 years later, my father married her and later I was born. I was with my older sister and older brother. When I was 2 or 3 years old, my sister [name] passed away. She became ill and everything was tried, brought to a hospital in Fria, where many white doctors have worked. All this my mother told me. I was a baby at the time. My mother was with her in Fria, in the hospital. Everything was tried, but she did not get well, my mother returned and after that my sister died. I then stayed with my sister. My father was once in Banankoro or in Conakry. My mother commuted then. Sometimes she is in Banankoro, sometimes in Conakry. But since she had already got used to Kindia more, and there she was more successful with her actions. And as I had already said, she was busy with dyeing and selling. Kindia is a famous city for the production of such goods. That’s why she stayed there. It was like she went to my father once or my father to us. So we stayed and I got bigger with my mother. I stayed with my mother as I told my school. My father was lying with us when we have holidays and my father is in Banankoro, I drove there. And when he is in Conakry, I went to Conakry. My mother liked the city and bought a piece of land there. And how it went on, I told ready with my change of school. After she had finished building her house, we moved out. We had lived for rent and then we moved into the property apartment. My father came there occasionally and stayed there with us for some time. Since my father was married to 4 women, one is in Conakry, another in Banankor and my mother in Kindia. He was everywhere. That’s how I grew up. He came to us and we also visited him until he became ill in 2000, in Banankoro, he came to Conakry, was brought to the hospital in the lung department in Ignace Deen Hospital in 2000. After 3 weeks or 4 weeks stay, he said that he was better. Then his health deteriorated. An attempt was made to bring him to Dakar. While my half-sisters and brothers were trying to clarify this, my father died. So it happened, my mother came to Conakry and we were all together, my mothers were widowed according to our culture and after that they have now returned to where he was. My mother has returned to Kindia. So it went and I have a good relationship between my half-sister and brothers. We visit each other and we stay there together. My father had 4th wives. 1 is [name],

[i] What’s her name?

[r] Mama [name]. His first wife is Aunt [name]. I also see his cousin. Here you can marry your cousin. He married his uncle’s daughter. At 13 she was promised to him and she is the first woman. She had 6 children. After that he has Mama [name], who had 3 children. Then he married my mother, she had 1 child. Then he married Mama [name], she had 4 children. So seen, we are a big family. Therefore, when he had mutated to Banankoro, we were also there. There he married the Malinke woman. We were there at the time of the Ferein. He had many cows. He brought us to his farm and there we could see the cows. They showed us how to milk the cows, how milk fermentation works. We got milk and oil. There are workers who take care of the cows. We went to the farm with our stepmothers. The farm is 12 kilometres from Banankoro Centre. We walked the distance. In Banankoro we stayed 2 to 3 months. So we spent the time together until he died. The main apartment is in Conakry or Aviation. When I was away from Kindia, I was in the main flat. I lived with my stepmother and half siblings. So far it was like God wanted me to be.

i] As they say in Africa, one belongs not only to one’s mother, but also to the whole family. You stayed with your mother, [name], for a long time elsewhere in the family?

Yes, I also lived with my uncle. I lived with my uncle [name] for about 3 years. I lived there with his wife and children. That was the time when I came from inland or from Kindia. I lived with him when I was in grammar school because there was closer to school. Later I went to my father’s main residence in Aviation.

[i] Okay, is there anything else you want to tell us about your parents, family, village?

[r] Hmm hm. My grandfather’s family was a “Chef de Canton” My grandfather’s name is [name], he was “Chef de Canton” of his village in “Gongore” and Kourou belongs to the community of Gongore. I once heard that he was very strict and had 28 wives. One day I asked my mother if that was true. She confirmed that my grandfather had 28 wives. I asked why he had 28 wives. My mother explained that he was the boss of the village. And it is only for this reason that you can or may marry 28 women. I asked how many children he had. He had 62 children. The number is based on the count of her and her half-brothers. I was amazed and my mother explained that my grandfather could afford it because he was a “Chef de Canton”. I always made fun with my mother that her father had had so many children. My mother replied that her father was a strong and strict man. He always had the last word and had “sofas” and I asked what “sofas” meant. “Sofas” were the people who worked for him. He was rich and had horses. He often travelled with his horses. When asked she answered that he didn’t have a car at that time, because there had hardly been any at that time. There was only one car in Mamou, it was called “Gabar”. I asked what it was like when he had to be very far away. He was carried answered my mother. There was something, but I don’t know what that means anymore, it’s called “flaw”, it was used to transport him.

Is that what you grab the horses for?

[r] No, it was a kind of carrying strap. But there were also the horses that were used to get him from A to B. I was amazed and asked if it was the case with the horses. She said yes.

[i] We talked about the grandparents. Could you tell us how your parents met?

You know, in Guinea it’s not often that people talk about how they met their husbands. That’s a taboo, and it’s not like now, when a lot is revealed on the Internet. You don’t talk about such things, so you don’t notice anything.

When we look back at their childhood and neighborhood, were there any events that influenced them? What did the neighbors mean to you?

The role of the neighbours! My mother was involved in the textile trade and had to travel. When my mother was away, the neighbours told her everything I did. Like when I was secretly dancing, when I was swimming or when I wasn’t at school. They told my mother and she beat me up. At the same time they were protecting me. If I am sick, they took me to the hospital, if there is nobody who cooks for us, they also made food for us. The parents informed each other, as soon as the parents were back, they reported everything. They squealed. Especially it was with an older woman, the lady has a hut with a thatched roof with us in the quarter. The grandmother simply reported everything she saw in the neighbourhood. I ran past her when I wanted to swim. My mother didn’t want me to go to the river to swim. It is said that the river is dangerous and eats people. I want to go swimming and when I walked by on the way back, Grandma said, “So you went swimming, I’ll tell your mother about it”. I just said “okay”. When my mother comes back, she reminds me that she found out from Grandma that I was swimming. I denied everything un. I got beaten for it. Then I went to the grandmother and told her: “You are a liar”. I said to Grandma: “You can’t stop telling or”. She answers with: “I liked it” I got another beating from my mother. That something almost daily. I just couldn’t stop going swimming. Even if my mother is at home. My mother hit me again on the grounds that I was warned and did it preliminarily. Or when I went to buy coal, there were guys who blocked my way, and every time I went to buy coal, they took some of it. Arriving home, my mother asked if the amount was 200GNF. I affirmed and asked to come along. She assumed that the coal seller had not given me enough. But in fact, the guys who took the money from me were the ones. When we went to the seller, she showed me how much I got from her. Then I told her who took the coal. Childhood is not always easy.

We’re talking about memories, there are places like Kindia for example, the memories you associate with them. Were there things, places that you create with good or bad memories?

[r] Hmm hm. When I reach Kindia, the place where the cemetery is, my older brother, the twins also died. If I am at the cemetery and reach the place where he is buried, it is near the river, there is also the way to my mother’s house. I always have to cry when I reach the place because I know that it is there. I used to walk there with him many times and he always tried to scare me at the place. And then we ran away. That’s why I don’t want to pass by there. At the cemetery, near the river. When I reach the place, I think of him and tears run down my eyes. I have this place. When I am in Kindia on the market place, I am filled with joy when I am on the Mark shed (hangars). When I am there, I think of many things, of my childhood, I am happy then.

What did you do from morning till evening? (In French you say “Activités journalières”) How was your everyday life?

[r] There?

Yes, in Guinea, what did you do regularly from morning till evening?

[r] Hmm hm.

[i] Let’s catch the time when you were a child.

When I was a child, in the morning when I got up, we were woken at 6 o’clock to learn to read the Koran.

[i] The Koranic School! [ Yes, my Koran teacher, who no longer lives, lived nearby. I learned the Koran there from 6 am to 7:30 am. Then I am allowed to go home again. I have breakfast, put on my school uniform and go to school. I learn there until 12:30 pm, lunch is taken at home and then you have to wash the dishes completely. I rinse the dishes completely. After that I have to go to the Koranic school around 13 o’clock. At 14 o’clock one can go home again and at 15:30 o’clock I have to go back to school. Arrived at home you have to change again and take the school bag with you and go to school. We have lessons until 17:00 and after that we are allowed to go home. Back home, I have to clean the entrance area. The fountains are opened in the evening because it is not easy to get water. We make ourselves on the way water to fetch. Everyone needs water and fights to get water into a bucket. We arrive home later and it gets dark. We have kerosene lamps, there is no electricity and we buy kerosene for the lamps. The glass from the lamp has to be cleaned. We prepare everything and after the evening prayer we go to the Koran teacher. There we learn until 20:30 o’clock and then we go home again. Then we go to bed. That was my routine.

[i] What did you do on the weekend? On weekends Saturday and Sunday we have to wash. On Sunday morning everyone goes to the river and does their laundry. On that day we wash school uniforms and other laundry. Along the river, it’s crowded everywhere, you can hardly get a seat. Sometimes you have to wait until a place becomes free, because it is so crowded at the WE, Saturdays. You wait until a place becomes free and then go in. It also happens that the water gets so dirty. That’s why my mother sends us out very early. At 6 a.m. she wakes us up and reminds us that we have Sunday today. And remembers that many will go today. We start early and around 9 o’clock we are already on our way back. The laundry is hung up and we go shopping, cooking, cleaning. The interiors are really cleaned because we do it on weekends. We have a kind of competition to see who cleaned the apartment the best. There were no tiles, no teppisch. It was just the floor cement. But it was cleaned splendidly. One washes the apartment, cooks and afterwards was eaten. And on Monday it goes on as usual. That was my everyday life. Life in the interior and life in Conakry are not the same. What I experienced when I was little in Kindia, I experienced in Conakry or in Ghana. My rhythm of life in Kindia was unique and I haven’t experienced anything like it since. Sometimes I sit down alone and think about how I felt then and my childhood memories come back. Especially, with old colleagues with whom I grew up and went to school, we find ourselves talking for a very long time. It is special when I talk to colleagues from inland or Kindia. We talk about it and have a kind of addiction to seeing past times. But you can’t undo the time.

i] If you think about the kind of education you have received, what we call education, how do you see it?

I would say that they educated us well. The reason is that when you see how you are today because I have a mother who has been stricter with me. She was stricter than the men. I didn’t live with my father, she showed me everything and she was very strict. She raised me and made sure that I could learn the school and the Koran. She had not allowed certain things. She did not allow me to put on long trousers during that time. She didn’t allow me to put on a skirt. I shouldn’t wear short skirts. She didn’t buy it for me and no one else could buy it for me. If you don’t follow your rules, there have been consequences. If you do your hair differently than what she said, or have your hair cut differently than agreed, when you come back, there has been punishment. So, the way she raised us, in time we resented her. We perceived her as an evil woman. But now we realize that the way she raised us helped us especially with our community.

[i] Okay, how did you perceive the society, the people there? You can make a comparison. A comparison between what they’ve seen here and what they’ve compared to home. How they both deal with a problem of this one. How do you see that? In my opinion, it is difficult to compare both societies. The comparison between there (home) and here does not head there. The people there, how they grew up, what they learned, and what they know and the people who are here, considering how they live here, is not comparable. But both have their good sides. That is the fact that it will be good and that is what it is about. There they help each other, the family is big. Here they also support each other. But if you come alone here without a family, you will not understand it so quickly. That is how it is.

That was your experience in Guinea so far. Now you are here, what did you find here, what did you perceive, what did you do? What did you do until you reached the place where you are today? When I arrived here, everything was upside down for me. When you come to a country and you can’t speak the language. Then everything is blurred for you and it seems as if you have lost everything. In the beginning, when I hear people talking, you hear the locals talking, you think that you would never understand the language. Or you think that this language is the most difficult language in the world. When I arrived and applied for asylum and answered all my questions, I was taken to an accommodation, I had Arabs, blacks. All nationalities were there. We got there food, clothes, ah there was a clothes room. There was Caritas, a security guard who was there with us. E.g. Maltesa were there in the camp where I was. An asylum. We were supervised there. If you want to go out, you have to sign that you go away and say where you want to go. We got food there until I was transferred somewhere else. I came then to Recklinghausen, and/or in Haltern at the lake. I was then at the job center, everything became clearer with time. But we were there together, we were always explained how it works. There were people who supported us as “guides”. They are people who are not in a hurry. Everything takes its course with time. They are not in a hurry, but if you cannot communicate with them, you get the impression that they are not nice. Or one thinks that they consciously undertake all against you. But it’s not like that. They just do their job. Everything is written down or expressed on paper. People talk to each other and they are not in a hurry. That’s how it is. They supported me a lot, because I go to school, in case of illness, one is treated. I go to school and slowly speak the language. Outside it is no longer like at the beginning, than where I did not understand. In the beginning, when I hear people speak, I didn’t understand anything. But I can say, thank God, I go to school and do an integration course, have completed A1 and A2. And I’m just finishing B1. There are many advantages here. But there are also disadvantages when you can’t communicate. You will only see the disadvantages. But that’s not so, the important thing is that you can communicate with them and learn the language.

Here in Germany a lot is done to make it easier for you to get there, so that you can get used to it. So that they can integrate better here. There are also many communities that are well organized. Some are not, but many are well organized. Some are just less organized, what advantage do you see with organization or associations of people from Guinea? Especially in the place where you are. Where they live or where you go to school. What is your opinion?

At the moment I go to school at IFAK there are mostly Syrians, one from Nigeria and I from Guinea. They give everything so that we can learn, understand and speak. They teach us learning methods, show us how we can learn more easily. We always get homework. The lessons will be in speaking, listening and writing. You have… that’s all. We do everything that is all so that we can read and speak. Every community tries to speak the language. To communicate and to be helped. It is not like at the beginning. You try to have a daily occupation until you finish what you started.

i] If I understood you correctly, you didn’t get into much trouble. Do you have people from your country with whom you support each other? Or maybe you’ve met others who were less fortunate than you. Some have it hard, some have it easier.

Yes, I meet people who are doing well and have it easier. They are integrated, speak the (German) language well, and work occasionally. I also meet some people who still don’t have access to the language. Don’t have a stay and don’t go to school. Some are sick and can’t talk (in German). Everything is difficult for you, and you always need someone to accompany you to understand what it is all about. This group of people also exists.

i] In your opinion, what could you do, what can you do to support people who have difficulties? Associations have to organize themselves, form working groups, which get in contact with the structures here, found associations, e.g. the Guinee-Coop organization from Bochum are well organized, and have the possibility, people who come here new, and can not communicate with the people here, have difficulties, who can not go to school, are sick, you do not know what they should say, where they should go and also do not know what they should refrain from. The Guinee-Coop association based in Bochum could cooperate with the authorities and existing structures in Bochum so that people in need of help would be better supported. To be able to provide an orientation aid and an educational work.

i] Okay, we are still in Bochum, I understood that you go to school here in Bochum and here you spend most of your time. How do you see the contact with the locals? By that I mean the people from Bochum and you on the one hand and between the “people with a migration background” on the other hand.

[i] In my opinion, it would be better to speak the language if you spoke to the locals. In this way one could better understand the norms, learn what is allowed and what is forbidden. For example, I go to school here in Bochum. I have what you do “Living in Germany”, I do the orientation course. I learn something about the laws of the country. I am currently learning how to elect the board of directors, I am slowly beginning to understand it. Here in Bochum, NRW… I have learned something about the place of election, the term of office. How the mayor is elected… I am learning all these things at the moment. I am learning what is going on.

i] There is the word discrimination, to be excluded, have you experienced it? Or do you know someone who has been discriminated against? How do you see it?

It didn’t happen to me, but even here in Bochum or at IFAK, where I go to school, a woman from Syria told me something like this happened to her. She had been in the supermarket with her son, while shopping, the boy took a candy when she was at the checkout and she forgot that her son had already eaten a candy, she paid for everything except what the boy had eaten. The seller says they stole something. The salesman explained that what she did was part of the theft. Since they are Arabs, they are known for claiming the cashier. “The woman was not a role model”, It escalated, she was discriminated against. She cried and had his lawyer, who in turn informed the police. There was a group discussion. The woman was sentenced and the salesman and confronted with his testimony and was then released. I personally, that did not happen to me.

Are there any places in Bochum that you like?

Yes, there are places in Bochum that I like. Not just one place but several. There are places in Bochum that I like. E.g. here in the center. When I’m there, when I’m in the planetarium, it gives me joy. When I am in Kemnader See, I am also happy. There are beautiful places here.

i] You spoke about the IFAK, were there excursions or something similar that you felt was beautiful or not beautiful?

Yes, we went on a trip with IFAK that we liked a lot. We were in the Mining Museum, German Mining Museum here in Bochum. We were in substructure and they showed us the machine that was used for the work in substructure. We were shown how coal was mined. How the trains drove, you showed us everything what is down there.

i] Were they also in another museum?

Yes, we were also at the event in ( LWL-Industriemuseum Zeche Hannover). In Hannover colliery. That’s where we saw the machines. We were shown the names of people who worked there. The manufacturers, drivers and workers. They showed us everything. We looked at everything.

There was something that impressed them. With what they said Woww?

Yes, the big machine they started that day. That was very impressive. They showed us how to start it and they started it in front of our eyes. I’m still thinking about that.

i] The engine, something else maybe?

Yes, we were also shown a steam engine too. A steam engine with coal. Hmm hm.

[i] Ah okay, there’s always what you call education. The education, what we call education.

[r] Hmm hm.

Could you make a comparison between the education here and that in Guinea? E.g. in school as you have already said.

[r] Hmm hm. In school e.g. punishment,

[r] Hmm hmm…. In childhood… Is there a difference in the approach? Or is it similar?

[r] With here?

[i] Yes, between here and with us. Try a comparison.

i] I can’t do one because I haven’t understood the system well yet. I don’t know how it works here. But I know of some parents here who say they have trouble with their children. They are often invited to school. There are things where one person in school frightens the others. I have memories of what I experienced in school. The time when I was a child. I suppose it’s the same here. The difference here is that you get an invitation from the school to the parents. With us it was like that that one clarified it alone and the parents are not invited in the school.

i] There is what mine calls home. If you are asked what is home and where is your home? Germany or here where they are and where they come from. What role does home play for you?

It will always remain where I come from. What I experienced there, and the way I like it, has a place with me. Here where I am, the longer I stay here and make more friends, and the fact that I live here also has another place for me. No matter where I go, I will always think of here. I have experienced a lot here.

[i] Um, let’s talk about bureaucracy. About what you’re asked to do and the waiting time that comes with it. Do you have experience with that?

Yes, it’s different here from Guinea. Here in Guinea, if you have an appointment, you can be the first to come, and another comes after you who has better contacts, and although you’ve waited all day, he’s preferred. Here, on the other hand, no matter where you go, you have to adjust. No one is put in front of you to go in an office. Unless there’s an emergency, you let him go in. Or you let him go But that you just walk past people because you have a relationship, or because you have a certain position, I didn’t see that here. In Guinea, on the other hand, there is such a thing.

[i] Ok, that’s what you look at old culture.

[r] Hmm hm.

i] How do you see the possibility of living out your culture here? Is there any difficulty that prevents you from doing that? To practice it the way you want it to be? Or how do they see it? When it comes to living out your culture here.

Hmm hmm, The Culture, If it were up to me, I would live out my culture, but since the countries aren’t the same, they’ll change here, they’ll adapt, if they have the financial means. Finding a middle way. It will not be like at home I try hard. If you have children, or if you are alone, how you live now, but you will imitate a little.

Are there things that they use themselves and give you a home feeling? For example, music, what is it?

Yes, I use a lot of things here. For example, when I watch television here and listen to the music. I think about Guinea. Or when I’ve cooked certain soses, I feel like I’m in Guinea. That what.

[i] Voilà,

Or if I’m wearing clothes. When I put on certain clothes, I feel like I’m at home.

i] Let’s talk about the language, the German language. How did it sound? What did you have in mind? What was her first impression?

I wondered if I would ever speak that language. I didn’t understand anything and I wondered what I wanted? But with time and with the people here, and if you have it with school and contact with locals, you will learn to read and write. And you will also be able to speak the language. But in the beginning it will be upside down and you will feel dizzy. First you think that they speak Chinese or something else with you.

i] What about the food, what was it like?

[r] Hmm hm. The food when I came wasn’t as hard as the language. With the food I could eat it. When you’re outside, you can buy food. You have the opportunity to cook something yourself. If you are invited to eat, you also have to eat. That was not so difficult for me.

Uhm Why, when many people come here, what the Germans call punctuality is the problem. It’s that, how did you feel about it?

Appointments here have to be taken. You have to do it exactly like they said. Many people have problems with that. Sometimes you arrive early at the appointment or too late. It’s better to come earlier to the appointment. But mostly many come too late. I also had my problems with that. But with time you get used to it. I got used to it now.

i] For example, if you have an appointment, what measures did you take to prevent the delay? Or what can you advise the people who have come new?

You should be careful when you have an appointment. Write down the appointment and check it every day. If the date and time are determined, e.g. at 09 o’clock or 10 o’clock, then you should leave at 07 o’clock to arrive on time. However, I know that many who come from Guinea have problems with this. It’s because you’re not used to it. But with the time it goes.

You’ve done a lot since you’ve been here and my question is, how do you see your future here?

[r] What?

[i] Your future. Where do they see themselves in 5 years, 10 years. What is your vision?

The future, right now I am going to school and with time and see what has become easy and what is still difficult for me. I want to finish school first. Looking for work and hopefully finding work and profiting from it. Finding a good job in Germany and profiting from it myself. And to let people to whom I am committed profit from it.

[i] Hmm hm. What do you associate with Germany? When Germany says, what are you thinking of? I mean the time before arriving in Germany.

In the past, when I heard Germany, I thought that was the paradise. So far it went. But when you are here you will see, understand what is going on here. Over time you’ll understand that it’s the same everywhere in Europe. When you are there, you have to make an effort.

i] What is the rhythm of the people here? And maybe compare it to your home country.

The people here are always in a hurry, everyone does something, there are hardly any people who do nothing, like here in Africa. Here in Africa, you meet, you tell each other all kinds of things. Here, on the other hand, when you meet, you talk about important things, and everyone keeps running. It is different from Africa. The conversation is focused. You ask questions and get answers.

i] Contacts with people, like neighbours or outside, where is it easier and where is it more difficult?

I can’t say that it’s difficult to get people to know each other. I would even say that it’s easier to get to know people here. For example, if I go to the hospital where I was, we can go now. The same in school. In Guinea it is similar. If you are uncomplicated, it becomes easier to get to know each other here it is similar. There are nice and bad people just like in Guinea. There are good and less good people. It depends on the people you meet.

i] There is something you wish for in the future as a child. A childhood dream. In French you say “Rêves d’enfance”.

[r] Hmm hm.

[i] What was it for you?

My childhood dream,

[i] What did you want to be?

I wanted to be a stewardess or work at the bank. See the money every day. I’ve always told you about that. Or see the world on the plane every day.

How realistic is that for you?

Yes, now that I’ve finished school, it could become possible. I have to understand and speak German very well to become a stewardess. I have to understand German very well. After all, I speak English, French and German. Now I have to concentrate on the language.

i] There is also what you call role models. There are people who are admired. “Personnes de reférence” is said in French

[r] Hmm hm.

[i] Who is / are they? The people I see here in Germany and think I want to be like them would be Angela Merkel for me.

[i] Okay, why Angela Merkel?

[r] She is one of those people I see and feel impressed by. How she is and everything she does.

So, Angela Merkel is a politician, does that have anything to do with the outcome of her politics?

Yes, she helps people and knows what she wants. She knows what she’s doing, she’s popular. As far as I understand it.

[i] Okay, they told us a lot about themselves,

[r] Hmm hm. If there is anything else to add, you can do it and you have the last word.

[r] I was happy to do this interview. I hope that I could answer the questions, I wish the best for everyone and wish that God blesses us all. I wish that we have work, good education and good work. And a lot of money.

[i] Okay, thank you very much