Laila Keeling & Anjali Zyla
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I come from Cameroon. I arrived in Germany in 2018. I can’t speak about my life in Cameroon because I am doing a therapy for my head to get my memories back. Because of my trauma, I can’t remember anything. My head doesn’t work. I’m doing therapy for that.

At first, I was in Eisenhüttenstadt for one or two months. I’m slowly forgetting everything. Then I was in Blankenfelde and, then later the same year in Jüterbog. I have been in this home since 2019. In Eisenhüttenstadt there was a small German course, on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for levels A and B. They also had a sports area and I was living there for two months. I was in the next home for two weeks, and there was also a small German course. Then I was in the next home for 9 months, but there was no course and no sports field, everything was bad. Here there is also nothing.

I want to take a German course but I cannot receive one. Everyone else is taking German classes, and I have to learn it on my cell phone. All these years I have been asking for a German school but they say there is none. At some point I went to Luckenwalde and they said there are no spots available, but they would call me when there is a spot. They never called me. I teach myself German on my cell phone.

There are no problems with the director of the home. I just stay in my room all the time. I don’t live. My head is not functioning and I am not living. I am just always with my son. My son is 10 months old now. He was born in Cologne, with his father. Every day the baby wakes up at 5:30am and wants to play, play, play. I have to oversee and pay attention when he plays. At 8am I give the baby a shower and give him his food and play with him. Our room has no door, so I always have to watch where the baby is. In the afternoon I go to the playground with the baby. I share my room with another woman, but she is doing an apprenticeship in Berlin. She also has a child, her child is one and a half years old. There are four of us living together in this room, and sometimes it’s hard when we’re all in one room, but what can I do?

I don’t have any friends in the home. I am the only black person here. The other Arabs have their group, but I don’t speak Arabic. I have my culture and they have theirs. When I see the others, we say hello, but that’s it. In Eisenhüttenstadt I shared a room with another woman and she was also a black woman, so that was very good. Now this woman lives in Berlin. We still have contact sometimes.

I often experience discrimination in Germany, but if anyone says anything to me, I say it back. If people say shit to me, I say shit back. If they hit me, then they have to watch out. On the 17th of this month I had to go to Berlin to meet with my lawyer. I was at the station to take the train into Berlin. My baby was running around on the floor playing. A woman yelled at me and told me to pick up my baby. But what can I do, it’s a child! It’s not a dog with a leash, it’s a child.

Then the woman said something about me being from Africa. Yes, and? Yes I am from Africa, I speak French, English, Spanish, a little German, and she? She doesn’t know anything. Without German, she speaks nothing and I have many languages in my head. She is in Germany, she is in her country, and her job is being a cleaning lady. Being a cleaner is meant for the people who didn’t go to school or don’t speak German. This woman was very shitty. She was angry because I am from Africa and I am not German. So I asked her, “But what about the Ukrainians, they come too and there’s no problem?” Then she said, “Yes, but Ukraine is Europe.” This woman probably didn’t go to school, so she probably doesn’t know that Cameroon was a colony of Germany. So I’m actually here in my country. Germany came into my country, and took our things from us, but now when I come here it’s a problem? Sure, ok.

When I had my baby, the doctor had to make an incision on my arm. It hurt and I told her to stop. Then she got mad, and told me not to tell her how to do her job. She said it didn’t hurt. But it hurt a lot. I screamed that I was in pain. Three days after the birth, I was at home, and it still hurt. For six months, I couldn’t move my hand properly. I had to have surgery. I told her it hurt, but the woman didn’t listen. She hurt it. I should have gone to the police, but I’m black, and we have no rights. I had to do everything with the other hand for a long time. I could only pick up my son with the other hand. Now, I still have a little pain, but I can use the hand.

Here in this place, I also have a problem. There are no more trains at 9pm, so I have to call a cab. I have done it 3 or 4 times now. But when the cab drivers hear that I am African, they don’t come. They know when I speak that I am not German. I am nice and say hello and ask if they can pick me up, but they say no, they can’t.

Yes, I have had problems with some German people, but others are good. My son’s father is German, so I can’t put all German people in one package and complain about all of them.

I am still in the asylum process. I don’t know what’s going on with the immigration office. I go there, bring my passport and my son’s passport with all my documents. Then they call me and I think that I will finally get asylum, but no, they only give me back my son’s passport. My son has a German passport because his father is German. At the immigration office it is always bad. I am meeting with my lawyer next week to ask what is happening. I don’t know why I haven’t gotten my documents. I was supposed to get them in January, but still nothing.

Yes, my biggest problem now is my documents. If I have my documents, then I can go to Berlin with these documents, and find a school. Now I always have to ask others to please find me a school and I don’t receive anything. Other people come to the home later than me, and they get a German school right away, but I don’t. I don’t know why. I can’t stay like this. I want to learn German, reach level B2, then I can get an apprenticeship and keep living. I don’t live now.

Right now, I teach myself German on my phone, on Youtube. Or sometimes I learn with my son’s father. On Tik Tok there is a woman who makes good German videos. If I don’t understand something, I call the father and he helps me. For example, the dative and accusative, those I don’t understand. My head hurts a lot when I try. The father of my son lives in Cologne, but he was here last week. Twice he has been here, otherwise we go to him.

I want to be a caregiver, but first I have to speak German. I don’t write it well, I don’t understand it well. In my country, I speak Spanish, French, and English. But not German, and German is very complicated. Now I am concentrating on German but sometimes I still have words from the other languages in my head.

I plan to stay in Germany, so I need the language. I don’t like Cologne, I want to stay in Berlin. If they give me my documents, I will find an apartment in Berlin, but I need help. I don’t know what to do, nobody helps me. The people in the home or in the social welfare office can’t help me with apartments in Berlin. But I don’t want to live in Teltow-Fläming, there is no work here. So I have to work in Berlin. If I live here but work in Berlin, I have to get up very early. As a caregiver, work starts at 5:30 or 6am, but there are no trains or buses here at that time. So that’s why everyone wants to go to Berlin. There is no other way.

My dreams are that I get a good job, and my children in Africa can join me. I have two children in Africa, in Cameroon. My head is broken, I don’t know how old they are now. The children live with my mother, but she is sick and can’t really take care of the children. Nobody takes care of them. I think they are 7 years old and 12 years old now. My mother is still in Cameroon, but my father is dead. He died in 2014.

My mother can’t take care of the children enough, and my country is not good. There is a lot of sexual aggression, even against children. One of my neighbors has a child, the child was 10 years old, and sexual aggression was done against the child. The child became pregnant. 10 years old, and she was pregnant. I am very afraid for my children. I want them to come here.

If I have a good job, I can ask for a family reunion. I can bring my children to me. So I need a German course and an apprenticeship. If I get an apprenticeship, then I know I can find a good job. I will work so much. Just work, work, work, I don’t care. I just need to earn some money.

Of course I want my baby to have a kindergarten spot, but now he’s too little. I will teach him German and French. I want to teach him all the languages, but German and French first. When he speaks all these languages, then he can do international work, for example, become a pilot. I live only for my son. Someday, he will be a pilot. My pilot.

Everything is life. Life has good things and bad things. You just have to push the crappy stuff down, and the good stuff up. That’s how you get ahead faster.








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