post Hope & Destiny

October 7th, 2009

Filed under: Immigration Stories — Admassu @ 22:30

Frankfurt is said to be a city with the largest Ethiopian community in Germany. Few years ago, I was living in Hamburg: the second biggest city of the country. Hamburg is huge but the Ethiopians living there are very few in number which made us quite exotic figures in a certain way.

Frankfurt is different. Ethiopians are so many here that they even don’t greet each other when their ways cross. That was too strange for me as I was new here because in Hamburg I was used to greeting all dark-skinned people from all over the world. Now, after almost five years in Frankfurt, I am unfortunately adapting myself to this attitude.

The state of communication here is usually indescribable. There are people you know somewhere in the town and you meet them occasionally to have a drink together or to go to a club. Then each disappears again in his or her daily life routine till the next boredom lingers from all over forcing him or her to look again for someone to spent time together in order to hide from the approaching loneliness.

But sometimes, it could be too late….

…. I phoned Selamawit(name changed) today to know how she was doing. We correspond usually in three to four days rhythm….

Selamawit is an ex-athlete who used to compete professionally in 3000, 5000 and 10000 meters for her country. She remained in Germany seeking asylum after taking part in a competition as one of Ethiopian athletes some where in Europe. Her asylum case was denied in the beginning and she lived with a tolerated status for over eight years. Eight years with the unstable atmosphere of life was unbearably too long and too frustrating which led her to neglect her life as an athlete. I was one of those individuals following up her asylum case last year as she was facing deportation after a court denied to grant her a permanent living status in Germany. For about six months, while she was waiting for the revision of her case, she was getting only two weeks residence permission at a time. She wasn’t allowed to work or to travel. Quite a demoralizing situation for someone who was once a known athlete and who spent eight years of her life for nothing.

Now, that time is over. Selamawit was lucky because her case has aroused many humanitarian questions in the court and her case was gradually accepted. She could now stay and work in Germany though she has lost the love and motivation for her athletic life.

…. but this story is not about her. I just couldn’t go forward without mentioning her condition… This story is about the life after having the long-sought acceptance to stay. With the license to stay begins actually the real challenge of survival and social life to deal with…

Back to our phone conversation: Selamawit asked me if I knew a young Ethiopian, his name, Getachew. No, I said asking her if I should know him. Yes, she said and told me that he also used to come to the Arat Kilo kiosk; a small shop in down-town where I go frequently. But I couldn’t recognize Getachew from her description and I asked her why she was mentioning him.

And she continued; “He is dead…. they found him dead in his apartment. You know, I met him at the church on Sunday during Meskel Damera celebration. On that Sunday, Getachew told me as usual how he missed his mother. He told me that he has at last bought his flight ticket to Ethiopia. He was about to meet his mother for the first time after ten asylum years. His mother knew already about his arriving day and was very happy and prepared.  It must be this same Sunday that that happened. You know, they only found him on Tuesday because a friend of him, who had an appointment with him on Tuesday, went to his apartment after trying to reach him several time through his mobile. The door was closed so the friend dialled the number still standing at the door. And the ringing sound was coming from inside. Then the police was alarmed. They broke the door and they found him lying dead on his bed. If it wasn’t for this friend, who knows how long it might have taken to find him….”

As she was telling me the story, Selamawit was at her girlfriends place. She has already stayed there for the last few days afraid to go back to her own one room apartment.

Getachew’s body has been flown to Ethiopia last Sunday, two weeks prior to his scheduled flight to see his mother after ten years.

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