Latest posts by Hans Blokland (see all)
- Anthropologist Genevieve Soucek new intern at SSW - May 23, 2023
- Resisting democratic decline: deliberation and some lessons from Germany and beyond - May 11, 2023
- The Social Science Works Podcast launched - May 7, 2023
At 13, I came to Germany with my mother and two sisters due to circumstances. I have been in Germany for seven years now, and all but two weeks in this Übergangsheim (transitional refugee camp). Although I am a Chechen, I was born and raised in Russia, in Rostov. Where my father is, I don’t know. Somewhere in Russia, I think.
After I arrived in Germany, I went to school and stayed there until the tenth grade. Abitur was not feasible because I don’t speak English well. In Russia they don’t teach English. Then I took a year of training in IT, but there I had the same problem. Now I am doing an apprenticeship as a dental assistant, just like my oldest sister, who also gave me the idea. My mother is a caregiver, my youngest sister is still in school.
At school, people always helped me. People were very friendly and supportive. On the street it is regularly different. Strange old ladies suddenly address me as “Scheissausländer” (fucking foreigner) and tell me to go to my own country. Groups of Nazis have been waiting for me to beat me up. However, I try to avoid all these idiots. There are good and bad people everywhere, including Germany.
I have an Aufenthaltsgestattung (Temporary residence permit) because I am doing an apprenticeship. Every 6 months this has to be renewed. Actually, I think this should be three years, but I leave it as it is.
People have to have something to do, otherwise they get sick in the head. Eighty percent of the people here in the shelter want to work or study, twenty percent just hang around and slowly go crazy. You have to do something with your life to avoid the latter.
I don’t feel like a Chechen, Russian or German, but a human being trying to be human. I have no interest in nationalities. A good person is content with who they are, accepts others as they are, is courteous and kind, and always tries to help others, no matter where they come from.
I was raised Muslim. I simply feel good when I pray or fast. Faith ensures that I am not alone or feel alone. In the main, I am a social person who likes to talk to others. At school and at the sports club, I always had plenty of friends. Currently, however, I have less need for contacts. I like to be alone. I also have no contacts with relatives in Chechnya, Russia or Germany.
In ten years, I want to have my own home. I want to leave here, together with my sisters and mother. I am responsible for them. Many people here in the camp make shit. They drink, hang out, don’t clean, don’t take care of themselves. I want to get my family out of here. My mother has done a lot for us and I want to do something in return. I am also saving money for her so she can go to Mecca. She doesn’t know that yet, so she shouldn’t read this.