The major and the final interview was
what every camper looked forward to. It
was the interview that determined
everything. Whether the authorities would
believe your story or not came from
what you said in the interview.
People usually prepared so much for
this interview. Since almost everybody
was going to lie during the interview, it
was good that one get properly
prepared. It was from the INTERVIEW
venue that people whose stories were
not believed goes from the asylum camp
to the deportation Camp next door.
Every hope of living in Germany was
hinged on the interview.
Thirty minutes to my interview, I walked
out of the female hostel where I had
slept the previous night. A new Massai
girl named Awiti, had arrived in the camp
the previous day. I had followed her to
her room after the dinner and slept
there until morning. That was the first
time I slept in the female hostel. I had
spent two weeks in the camp before
then. I walked down to my room and
freshened up and changed to another
I forced myself to say some prayers. To
my greatest surprise, I had forgotten
the simplest Catholic prayers such as ”
Our Lord’s prayer” and ” Hail mary”. I
didn’t know what to say, so I just
mumbled ”God help me” and went outside.
I saw Mike outside and told him I was
going for my interview. He wished me
good luck and I left.
Three minutes to 8am, I entered the
interview room and met my interviewer
and the interpreter seated already.
* these Germany were never late for
”Guten Morgen” (good morning) I
greeted them in German and smiled. The
interviewer was very impressed. He
nodded and smiled too.
*Almost everybody he had interviewed
previously had denied knowing any
German, even the simplest ones such as
Kommen/come. But in my own case,
according to him, I learnt fast. That must
have scored me a good mark*
”Nemen sie ein platz” (take a seat) he
I pretended not to have heard what he
said as I stood there and gazed at him
until he pointed towards the chair. Then I
*I actually heard what he said and I
understood it perfectly. The point was
that I didn’t want to overdo anything. The
good morning I had said in Germany was
enough for now. It was a game of
” Wie heiss du” (What is your name) he
That was an easy question and every
normal person who had lived in Germany
for atleast one week was expected to
know that. I wasn’t going to play dumb
again, so I told them my name. Game on.
After the normal Identification process,
the question moved to how I came to
I started my story; it goes thus.
I had been born in Bamenda in 1980.
(actually I gave them my real date of
birth. I didn’t want many complications
since subsequent events that would
require me to say the date offhead was
surely going to come up again).
My father was a native doctor while my
mother had joined the Church people who
had come from Portugal to Cameroun.
As a little boy, I joined the church too
with my younger sister. The name of our
Church was St Peters Catholic Church
The name of our Reverend Father was
(I had chosen the names from Luis Figo
and Nuno Gomez, two popular
Portuguese footballers at that time).
Paul Biya was the name of our
president. One night, the Police had
invaded our home and captured my
father. They said he was anti-Biya. They
took him away. We were in the Church
when the Police came, they didn’t see me
with my sister and mother.
When we heard what happened, we told
Rev Father Gomez, who sent us away to
Douala, another city in Cameroun. It was
from Douala that I boarded a ship.
(when I mentioned Douala, he halted me
and looked at the map of Africa on his
table. Then he nodded and I continued.
Since I said I boarded a ship in Douala,
he probably checked if Douala has a sea
port. I covered every details anyway).
My mother and sister were told that
there was no more space in the ship, so
they didn’t join me. I didn’t know their
whereabouts. We had no phone and
there was no way I could contact them.
My face had changed from smile to
anger and depression as I narrated my
cooked up story.
The ship I entered took me many days,
about two weeks to reach Lamburg.
(hamburg). I twisted some names to suit
my amatuer story about Germany and
When we got to Lamburg, a man in the
ship gave me an overall red coat and a
red cap. Something starting with V was
written on the cap and the coat. I couldn’t
remember what it was that was written
on them except the V.
They told me to wear the coat and cover
my face with the cap. I did what they said
and they told me to walk out.
When I came out, I was stopped by some
men, they showed me a card and said
they were polizei. Then they asked me
for my passport and I told them that I
They took me away and handed me over
to a man. They told the man to send me
to asylum Camp.
The man was going to a city called
Dussorf. (Dusseldorf). I followed him to
Dussorf where he showed me to a place
inside water and walked away. I entered
the place he showed me and they sent
me there (camp).
They had asked if I had gone to school
and I told them that I stopped at
elementary 3. It was in the school that I
had learnt to write and read. They were
surprised when I said I could read and
write. Every other African man had
denied ever going to school. I just
wanted a little deviated story, so I had
been drafting the ideas since I got the
*There was no kind of story they have
not heard from asylum seekers.
Some Africans said they had walked all
the way from Africa to Germany.
Some said they used horses to ride
from Africa to Germany.
Some said they jumped into the ocean to
avoid being killed and Swim all the way
from Africa to Germany.
One person even said that his father
who was a native doctor had given him
two eggs. When he broke one egg, he
found himself in Germany. He even
showed them the remaining egg and
asked them to hold his hand while he
break the remaining egg, they decried
Someone said he’d had flown like a bird
from Chad to Germany.*
My story was different and perfect with
no room for errors or so I believed.
When I finished my story, they asked me
to chose a country in Africa where I
would like to be sent. I named London.
They said London was not in Africa. I
pretended to be surprised.
”How could London not be in Africa” I had
asked them. I heard so many black
people live there I told them.
I also suggested that they sent me to
New York since London was not in Africa.
They laughed among themselves.
After writing down everything I had said,
he asked a few more questions I had
forgotten and told me to go. The
interview took over an hour.
When I walked out of the venue, My little
darling Awiti was waiting for me outside.
She had waited for an hour according to
her. She was afraid I was going to fail
the interview and got bundled into a
permanent waiting police van and
whisked away to the deportation Camp.
She hugged me in public and took my
” I bought Doner Kebap for you” she said.
Doner was a turkish mixture of dried
floor, tomatoes, onions etc. I followed her
to her room and ate the Kebap.
In the afternoon, we walked to the mall
and bought juice and cola. We sat under
a lonely tree and talked. She had
obviously fallen in love with me and she
was not afraid to show it public.
I felt at ease with her and told her that I
was a Nigerian and not Cameounian. I had
taken my interview and I was half safe
for now. We sat there and missed lunch.
I wasn’t hungry anyway.
John bighead had softened up on me
since he found out I had jilted Agnes.
There was no longer any danger going
to the forest park, so I put my hand
around Awiti’s neck and we walked to the
There were few white people playing with
their dogs in the park. We drifted down
to a lonely place and continued drinking
the pilsener beer I had bought. We were
playing Romeo and Juliet too; throwing
peanuts into each other’s mouth and
kissing in public like the white people
At about 6pm, it was time for dinner.
Awiti had not started cooking and it was
either we go back now or go to bed
A unanimous decision to go back to the
camp was reached.
As I got up and helped my sweetheart to
get up from the ground, I heard a voice
coming out of the bush behind us.
”Woman Wrapper, na this one dey
Guess who it was?
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