By December 2002, my elder brother in Nigeria had started going to China to import used spare parts. He was doing very well in Nigeria. He had acquired B transit visa which allowed him to venture out of the airport in Germany because he used Lufthansa, the German flag carrier to travel to China.
On one of his business trips to China, he had requested that we meet in Frankfurt where his flight would land before returning to Nigeria.
That very morning, I traveled to Frankfurt for the first time. My Ausweiss was not supposed or allowed to reach there but since we didn’t buy train tickets with our IDs, I traveled to Frankfurt anyway.
I took with me, some items I had collected from my customers when they didn’t have cash to pay for weeds. The items included hot drinks, many used phones, wrist watches and nice shirts.
Frankfurt was an 8 hour journey from Berlin. I got to Frankfurt that evening and went to a hotel near the airport. He had booked the hotel from China because his connecting flight would be the following morning.
I got to the hotel and waited for him. I sat at the hotel bar drinking whiskey and smoking Marlboro Menthol. The hotel was mostly patronized by travelers on transit in Frankfurt international airport. Many travelers were there; Americans, Asians, Africans etc. I mixed up and became just another traveler.
*unknown to people at the hotel was that I had no traveling papers. I was just an asylum seeker but I exhibited enough confidence amongst them*
I spent over two hours before he arrived from Ghuanzuo China with his friend. We went up to the room he had booked and I unpacked my bag. I gave him the hot drinks and watches. I told him how to distribute the watches to my friends in Nigeria. I gave him pictures and used phones. Above all, I gave him 7000 Euro to buy two plots of land for me at Awada Onitsha where we lived. That was my first investment.
He was more than happy.
I smoked Marlboro in his presence and he said nothing. I never smoked in his presence before although he knew I did smoked.
We spent almost the whole night chatting with his friend until we got tired. It was almost 5:30am when I announced that I was going back to my HEIM. I gave 200 euro to his friend who was a businessman. He laughed and took it. When I asked why he laughed, my brother said it was because he was worth over 100 million Naira. The man took my 200 and promised to give it back to me with interest when next we meet.
I left Frankfurt and traveled back to Berlin where I connected another train down to Brandenburg an der Havel, my golden city..
BY January 2003, I had become popular among weed smokers in the whole of the Brandenburg city. Many smokers had collected my phone number. They now call me just like others before they come to the HEIM. Sometimes, I would go to their houses to sell to them. It was dangerous initially but when you get to know them, you relax. Some of them were small dealers who sold to their friends. They would buy large quantities from me and sell to their friends in schools and night clubs. The supplies I made to them gave me much more money and less risk.
Due to the small competition among the dealers, our operations had started to attract the police. We believe the police knew what we were doing but since it was contained right there in our HEIM, they didn’t have much reason to invade us. It was just marijuana. They were much more interested in class ‘A’ drugs such as Cocaine and heroine. Fortunately for us, we didn’t deal on such drugs.
The German government were debating whether to legalize marijuana like Holland had done. The opposing side had been winning the debates. Our dear business was on the line.
We discussed it in the HEIM as well. We voted against legalizing it because it would mean that they can buy the stuff in every corner of every street. It was better for us the way it was. Not that our vote mattered or counted anyway.
One afternoon, we were outside selling our stuff as usual. The Police showed up.
They came from Potsdam, the capital city of Brandenburg. We saw their car, though not an official police car but we knew that weed smokers usually doesn’t drive such flashy cars.
Everybody evaporated to upstairs as usual except Johnson and me. We had came down stairs with a Soccer ball. Our goods were buried on the ground as usual and covered with dry leaves.
As soon as they alighted from their vehicle and came to us, Johnson and I continued tossing our ball as if we had not seen them.
*Another Jay Jay Okocha had surfaced in Brandenburg. Only a matter of time before Bayern Munich come calling*
One of them, the female cop came to us and asked if we knew the people who sold drugs there. We denied ever having the Knowledge of drugs in the first place.
*How could we know, we were just two innocent Africans, who had suffered hunger and war*
They went into the nearby bush and searched for our drugs but couldn’t find anything. We both joined them to search for drugs. We concentrated our search directly opposite the Area we buried our weeds.
*Johnson and i, the good people of the HEIM were interested in helping the police find the drugs, Ironical. Dont be fooled*
When they were going back to their car, I stopped one of them and asked for his phone number. I told him that I would call him first if I ever see or hear anybody talking about drugs. He cast a go-to-hell eyes on me and left without saying anything.
Johnson and I continued selling our goods while others remained upstairs. They had seen when the cops questioned us. But we were saved by the soccer ball. Africans will survive.
Somehow, we had a feeling that the cops would come again sooner or later. We became more careful on our routine deals.
I on my side had started diverting most of my customers to different venues. I started a zigzag kind of business. I would sell at point A, then direct the next caller to point B. Point C hosts me and the next caller. Then I would try point B again. It was fun but more dangerous than selling at our original spot. The danger in it was that sometimes, I had to sell it close to the local residence areas, one or two elderly people who loved peeping from their windows must have been seeing me.
*It landed me in police net one day but we will get to that in due time*
Sometimes, new faces would come to buy weeds from us. We hardly sell to them unless you were ready to take the risk.
We identified the Police by the universal style of shaving their beards everyday and calm way of approach. A drug addict hardly used gentle and calm approach to anything. We couldn’t generalize though but we were right most of the times. Drug business was and still is a game of risk and luck.
By February 2003, Efuah was seven months pregnant. The pictures she sent to me showed her stomach. The doctors had told her she was going to deliver a baby girl. We talked all the time on the phone. She was ready and looking forward to delivery.
Agnes’ stomach had bulged out. She came to HEIM for her february allowances. I invited her in her room and asked how she was doing. She told me that John had not found work and that she was still staying with her aunt in Berlin. John the Bighead lived also in Berlin but was squatting with a friend, so she couldn’t move in with him. Her situation was pathetic or maybe she made it look so, ofcourse I knew the only thing I could offer her was financial protection.
I asked her what I could do to help. She said she only needed some money. According to her, the 200 euro the Germans were paying us wasn’t enough to maintain her and the pregnancy. John Bighead in the other hand wasn’t helping out. He had no money and no job and wouldn’t join drug business.
I took her to the city center and bought her two nice cloths. I also bought her electric hand hair drier and a new phone. Then I see her off to the train station. I bought her ticket back to Berlin and gave her another 200 euro. She cried.