There And Back On Time

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PART ONE ( Download the complete ebook [ddownload id=”21093″])

Chapter One
The Temporal Camp
The refugee camp in Dusseldorf, Germany was inside an abandoned ship. The German authorities had converted the ship to a living quarter.
I had stopped at the Dusseldorf Central Train Station and walked all the way to the camp as I was told by Afam, a man I met few days back in the city Oberhausen.
There was a long stretch of bridge from the land to the ship. I walked on it until I got to the entrance door of the abandoned ship; it was locked.
A knock on the metal door produced an elderly woman who peeped from a spy hole on the gate
“Was ist los?” she asked in German.
I kept silent since I didn’t understand what she was saying.
She opened the gate and motioned for me to come in.
“Bist du neurer hier?” she asked again.
I remained silent again.
She turned around and called on a middle aged man to come.
The man spoke English language.
“Would you like to talk in English or French?” the man asked me. I nodded before saying ‘English’.
“Are you from Sierra Leone, Liberia or Nigeria?” he asked.
I became alert. Afam had told me a day before that I was the one to tell them where I came from and not them naming some countries for me to choose from.
I composed myself and answered “Cameroun”. He wrote down Kameroun with a ‘K’ and asked me for my name.
“Solomon Ebot,” I answered.
He wrote it down again and asked for my date of birth.
After writing down everything he needed from me, he called another man who led me to a room with number 27 written on the door. There were two double-decker beds in the room; the two lower beds had been occupied. I had nothing with me; therefore I just climbed on the top bunk and lay face-up staring at the wooden ceiling.
At about 12 pm, a bell rang and everyone started scrambling downstairs. I followed them to the base of the ship where the engine was supposed to have been. There were rows of seats and tables carefully arranged on the basement. At the head of the hall was a buffet setup of assorted food; rice, small breads, honey, butter and so on. It was time for lunch.
There was already a long line of other asylum seekers. I joined up from the rear. As I walked past the first table, I picked up two plates as I had seen the lady before me did. I got to the food table and got served some rice and chicken in one plate. Then I received bread, one sachet honey and butter in one plate. I took a pack of orange juice and looked for an empty place to sit.
When I got to a vacant seat, I sat near the Middle Eastern girl whom I was following.
“Are you new here?” I asked the girl.
She ignored me and continued eating.
Some Middle Eastern men were eating about six meters opposite me and they stared at me from time to time.
When we finished eating, I headed to room number 27. Before I got to the room, a young man of about twenty-eight years stopped me. He was African.
“Are you Nigerian?” he asked.
I kept quiet as if I had not heard him. I was told to deny being a Nigerian. It was unpatriotic for me but I had no other choice if I was to avoid being sent back to Nigeria.
He continued talking and asking some questions about Nigeria. From his intonation, I figured he was a Nigerian too, a fellow Igbo tribesman for that matter but I was a Camerounian on the Ship.
“I am from Cameroun,” I said to him.
He let out a devilish laugh and said his name was Ifeanyi; he was from Anambra in Eastern Nigeria.
Despite the temptations to spill it out, I maintained that I was a Camerounian. The man could have been a German spy.
He told me that he had come from France where he had lived for two years without taking asylum, his visa had expired and the police was closing in on him. He had decided to leave France and cross over to Germany to seek asylum. He warned me not to talk to the Middle Eastern girl I met during lunch. He said that her people could kill me if they saw me around her again. That was a very good warning from him. It was then that I figured out why the Middle Eastern men kept staring at me during the lunch.
After the conversation with Ifeanyi, I went back to room 27.
When it was time for dinner, we ate again and went to our beds.
The following morning after breakfast, some names including mine were called out during the breakfast. We followed a man to an office outside the ship but in the same city of Dusseldorf. We were registered appropriately and finger-printed. Then we were given train tickets to our various permanent refugee camps scattered all over the Republic of Germany.
I was posted to Eisenhuttenstadt, a town between Frankfurt-Oder and Cottbus in the German state of Brandenburg. The town was very close to the Polish border. I was given a travel plan which would help me to connect trains through different train stations. I was to enter a train in Dusseldorf Central Station to Dortmund, then stop there and enter a different train to Osnabruck. I would stop at Osnabruck and wait for half hour before boarding another train to Hannover. At Hannover, I would board another train to Braunschweig., and after, board another to Magdeburg. The train from Magdeburg would stop me at Berlin Zoologischer Garten Station where I would board another to Eisenhuttenstadt, my final destination.
It was a cheap ticket, therefore I had to use the inter-regional trains. It also meant that I stopped and changed trains in all of the above mentioned cities.
I, a twenty-two year old Camerounian, arrived at Eisenhuttenstadt by 6:15pm. It was a long journey but I loved traveling. I entered bus 31 from the train station to the Asylum Camp.
When I got to the gate, I gave them the clearance papers I was given in Dusseldorf and they admitted me.
I was taken to Room 22 upstairs in one of the five buildings inside the massive premises. The compound was fenced with barbed wires. The compound next to it was the deportation camp, the terror compound of our time in camp.
Unfortunately for me, the dinner time had passed that evening before I arrived at the camp; therefore I was given an orange juice and some hard bread to eat and wait until the next day. They also gave me a clean white bed sheet and two pillow cases.
I dropped off the items in the room and went downstairs. There were many people playing outside; football, tennis and so on. I strolled past a group of boys; about four of them. They were speaking Igbo, my native Nigerian Language. I pretended not to understand them and walked past them towards another group.
The new group was speaking a language I couldn’t figure out; therefore I walked past them again towards where some girls were playing volleyball.

Chapter Two
The Beginning
It all started when I left Nigeria on 31st July, 2002.
We had boarded Alitalia airline at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, Nigeria and landed in Accra Ghana on transit. We left Ghana the same night and got to Milan’s Malpenza airport the following morning. The whole night was like a dream.
Back at the airport in Lagos, I had walked down the aircraft isle looking up at the storage base for my seat number. My ticket had pointed to seat Number 20A. I had found my seat at the left side of the flight. A strange and suspicious looking girl was sitting on it. The lights were still on, so I took a good look at her face first. She was about nineteen or twenty.
“That’s my chair” I said confidently as if I had been traveling by flight all my life.
She looked scared and surprised.
“Check your ticket for your own seat number,” I continued.
She had opened a local handbag and brought out her ticket. I took a look at it and saw 20B.
What! I had thought 21 came after 20 in numerical order, what was 20A and B again.
I was a little confused, so I settled on the window seat, whether it was 20A or 20B.
My travel had been fun due to the fact that Amanda, my seatmate was also a first time air traveller. She was going to Napoli according to her, to live with her aunty who had lived there for twenty years and had a boutique.
When we landed at Malpenza airport in Milan, we proceeded to the transit hall. I left the craft before Amanda. The next time I saw her, she was being questioned by two uniformed women whom I suspected to be either Italian police or immigration. I quickly looked away from them and proceeded to the transit hall. Before I left Lagos, I was warned to mind how I interacted with people I didn’t know. They said it could lead to my deportation back to Nigeria.
I boarded a new, smaller aircraft from Milan to Dusseldorf Germany. We got to Dusseldorf an hour and some minutes after leaving Milan.
Two neatly dressed police officers stood on the way from the aircraft to the arrival hall. They stopped me and asked for my passport which I gave them. While they were flipping towards the visa page, my hand was stretched out in a do-quick-and-give-it–back manner. They gave the passport back to me after searching through it.
I could have been in a lot of trouble if they had asked me a question. The passport I travelled with didn’t belong to me. It belonged to a man who had lived for years in Germany.
Matthew, who owned the passport and who was supposed to welcome me at the Dusseldorf airport was there before I arrived.
I followed him down to the train station inside the airport where he bought two train tickets. We boarded a train from Dusseldorf to Oberhausen, a small city near Dortmund.
When we got to his apartment, the first thing that caught my attention was Nnenna, a Nigerian girl who was supposed to be Matthew’s girlfriend.
“Welcome, we have been waiting for you,” she said in Igbo, my native language.
She popped a bottled of champagne and shared it among the three glasses on the glass table.
“Welcome to Deutschland,” she cheerfully toasted as we drank from our glasses.
After the drinks, she pointed to the bathroom in case I wanted to shower but I told her I wanted some rest.
She went into the kitchen and brought out four fried chicken legs in a ceramic plate and kept it on the table opposite me, after which she announced that she was going to the mall to shop. She left with Matthew some minutes later.
Two hours later, Nnenna returned alone and when I asked after Matthew, she answered that he won’t be coming back until the next morning.
“You haven’t eaten your chicken legs, ” she observed.
Truth was that I didn’t know it was for me since she just kept it there and said nothing.
“I wasn’t hungry but I am now,” I lied, and instantly grabbed one of the chicken legs and shoved almost all of it into my mouth at once.
After the meal, I went into the bathroom to shower.
The bathroom was full of liquid soaps which were strange to me. I had come with a local soap from Nigeria; therefore I tied my towel and went to the room to get the soap from my bag.
Nnenna stared at me lustfully as I opened my bag to get my soap but I pretended not to notice. I went back into the bathroom and closed the door. The key latch on the door was damaged so the door could not be locked. When I turned on the shower, very hot burst through the funnel and water landed on my body.
I shouted in pain and quickly turned the steaming water off.
The bathroom door opened almost immediately and Nnenna was standing there staring at me from my head, to my face down, to my manhood hanging between my legs.
“The water is too hot,” I complained.
She knew what had happened without any explanation.
“Sorry, I didn’t show you how to mix the water,” she apologised as she stepped inside the bathroom. I was completely naked but the effect of the hot water on my body subdued every thought in my head.
She laughed as she lectured me on how to balance the water between hot and cold. When she finished, she looked directly at my manhood and smiled at it.
“You have a big dick,” she said coyly as she left.
The silly manhood had already started getting excited. I had just arrived in a strange country with strange weather and strange buildings and strange yellow people with yellow hair and flashy cars, but all my mind could think of was what was beneath Nnenna’s cloths. I had just found myself in that circumstance and I decided not to make any move on her whatsoever.
When I finished my bath, I changed to a pair of short jean pants and a polo shirt I had brought from Nigeria.
Did this girl say that Matthew will not come back until next morning??
That was almost twelve hours to stay alone with her. Something was definitely going to happen. All the girls that had seen my joystick from the past five years had also felt it inside them and Nnenna was not going to be an exception.
I sat in the sitting room watching a program being presented in a strange language but I didn’t care. It wasn’t interesting since I couldn’t understand what they were saying but I pretended to be enjoying it
What else was there to do?
The only option left was either to sleep or chat with the beautiful girl going from the kitchen to the bedroom.
A plate of hot, creamy food landed on the table in front of me and brought me out of my reverie.
“What part of Igboland are you from?” I asked Nnenna.
“Enugu State” she replied.
She was from my home state. Things were getting more interesting.
“I am from Enugu State too” I said.
We introduced our various towns, and chatted some more and surprisingly ate from the same plate while talking. According to her, she was a student.
When we finished eating, she went into the bathroom to have her bath.
“Solomon!” I heard her voice call out from the bathroom.
I moved to the bathroom door and knocked.
She asked that I come in.
I opened the door slowly and peeped into the bathroom, Nnenna was naked.
“I asked you to come in, not stand at the door” she said and started smiling,
“Are you afraid of a naked woman?” she continued.
I decided to take control of the situation from there.
“Tell me what it is, I can hear you from here” I responded.
“I need you to massage my back with this sponge” she said as she stretched her hand to give me a sponge.
“I… I… I… can’t do that, Matthew will be…” I stammered.
“Matthew will not find out unless you tell him” she interrupted me.
I staggered into the bathroom like a drunken sailor and took the sponge.
I was in a dilemma. If I refused to do her this favour, I could have managed to make an enemy under the same roof. If I did it, I could get in trouble with Matthew if he found out. I was already in the situation and there was no way out, therefore I started rubbing her back with the sponge. She eventually turned around and faced me with two beautifully crafted breasts staring at me.
King David would have sent Matthew to the war front to be killed just to take Nnenna from him if it was during his era.
I didn’t wait for the invitation to rub the breasts. It was part of her body. I had massaged and rubbed her back down to her buttocks and as far as I was concerned, the difference between the buttocks and the breasts wasn’t much.
I massaged the breasts with the sponge while she closed her eyes. Somehow I managed to drop the sponge and started the massaging with my bare hands. My manhood was already bulging from my jean pants and was so visible that there was no hiding place for it.
She threw water at me and pulled me close to her body, then she planted a kiss on my lips and I lost every sense of control and reasoning.
Later on after we finished what we started inside the bathroom, she explained to me that her visa was going to expire in one year. If she didn’t get pregnant, the Germans would send her back to Nigeria. She told me that Matthew was not her boyfriend.
After my encounter with Nnenna, we sat down to chat in the living room. She told me how she had come to Germany.
Her parents were some kind of rich people who lived in Nigeria. They had sent her to study engineering in Essen, a big city near Koln (Cologne). She lived alone in Essen which was 20 minutes train ride from Oberhausen where we were at that time.
She was also a beautiful girl and charcoal black in complexion.
During our chat, she had told me that she wanted a baby to make her get Mothershaft, a kind of resident permit to live in Germany.
I had thought about the proposal of getting her pregnant and had no decision on it yet.
I had just arrived in Germany and I had not even called back home to tell them that I had reached my destination safely. The thought woke me out of my silly fantasies.
I stood up and asked Nnenna to escort me outside to make some calls to Nigeria. She had excused herself and went inside the room to put on make-up.
I opened my bag, fished out a €100 bill from it and searched for my international passport. It was nowhere to be found. I recalled that Matthew had taken it from me to keep. Then I remembered that it actually belonged to him.
I told Nnenna that I couldn’t find my passport but she told me not to be afraid. She said I could always tell the police that I was from Liberia and that I had been missing for long and that I didn’t even know how I got to Germany. It was funny but it was better than nothing.
We went outside to the business district of the town and I called my elder brother who was already getting worried. I told him to spread the news to my parents that I was already in Germany.
After the phone calls, Nnenna took me to a bar where Igbo boys gathered every evening to joke and drink. I kept quiet and listened for a few minutes. It was getting dark when we left for home. We got home around 8 pm. Nnenna called Matthew and confirmed that he would be coming back the following morning. The phone was on loudspeaker. Matthew had asked about me and was told I was sleeping. He had laughed and asked Nnenna to wake me up and give me the phone. I changed the tone of my voice and spoke like I was just waking up. He asked how I was doing and if Nnenna had given me food. Finally, he said he would be back around 6 am and hung up.
I and Nnenna laughed but my laughter was cut short by a kiss from Nnenna’s red lips. I didn’t care about the lipstick as I licked everything on my way to her tongue.
We held each other and kissed and caressed and squeezed and massaged until my manhood reminded me that it was still part of the set up.
As we kissed each other, my mind drifted away into Heaven where I had a hard time entering through the pearly gates.
St Peter was there with the same sword he used in cutting out the ear of one of those Gentiles who wanted to crucify his master. I greeted him nonchalantly as he opened the Book of Life to check if my name was among those scheduled to go into Heaven.
“What did you say your name was again” he asked.
“Solomon Ebot” I stammered.
“Your names are not here” he shouted as he reached for that rusty sword.
I took to my heels and it was only when I hit my head on the wall that I returned to Matthew’s sitting room, back to Nnenna and back to the cold weather of Europe.
At about 12 am, we finished drinking our orange juice and she announced that she was going to sleep in the room. It was a one- room apartment so I had to sleep in the sitting room.
Grin, grin grin. It was the doorbell.
I woke up with a start.
Who could be ringing the doorbell as early as 2 am?
It was Matthew.
I pretended not to have heard the bell anyway as I heard the room door open and Nnenna opened the passage door for him.
He was pretty cold as he went straight to the kitchen to plug the electric kettle into the power socket to make coffee. They talked for a while and Nnenna went back to the room pretending to have been sleeping since 6 pm the previous day.
Matthew did not come into the sitting room as he feared he could wake me up, not knowing that I was awake.
Around 7am, I went to the toilet to urinate. Nnenna was already in the kitchen baking God-knows what. I ignored her and went back to the sitting room.
She joined me 10 minutes later and sat at a considerable distance away from me as if I was an enemy. We occasionally made eyes at each other but there was no talking.
The German ZDF TV was telling us how the weather was going to be that day across the entire Country.
I went into the kitchen and brought a can of beer.
“Why do you want to drink beer this morning?” Nnenna asked.
I ignored her and opened the beer, took a deep drink and put it on the table.
“My man, it looks like you like beer”? A voice said coming into the sitting room. It was Matthew.
“Good morning” I greeted.
He responded and said something about the beer again.
“I have been bored since yesterday doing nothing, so let me drink one beer first so that my head will clear today” I joked.
He laughed as he told me that he would have a one week leave in three days’ time and would take me out to meet people.
Another three days alone with Nnenna, she was surely going to get pregnant.
“No problem” I managed to say ignoring Nnenna.
“I want to go with you guys” Nnenna chipped in.
I kept quiet as Matthew told her that it was going to be boys alone but that we could attach her to our plan if she would make a special dish called Chapatti for him.
Laughing, she agreed to make the food, and after that we chatted until it was time for Matthew to leave the house again.
Matthew left for work after midday and it was I and Nnenna all alone in the same house again. The atmosphere was awkward initially but after a few cans of Becks beer, we got fired up and got talking.
Her plan was to ditch Matthew when she got pregnant. I didn’t see how that was my concern until she said I was going to stay with her when she had the baby.
I sat up, because I couldn’t see the differences between a married man and her proposal. I played to her tune and agreed to the devilish plan. I was new in town and didn’t know anywhere to go. I gave my elder brother in Nigeria, Nnenna’s phone number to reach me if he wanted to talk since I had no phone of my own.
Her phone had beeped and it was my brother. He asked after my wellbeing and other sundry questions. Then he gave me the phone number of Afam, a young man from my neighbouring village back in Nigeria who travelled to Germany in 1999.
I called Afam later and he agreed to come to Oberhausen where I was. He lived in Essen.
“Nnenna, what exactly do you think I am going to be doing in this country?” I asked Nnnena who was sitting beside me.
“You will first of all, go and take up asylum” she said. She explained that the Polizei will eventually catch me if I didn’t. She also explained how I was going to visit an asylum camp and declare myself, then they will send me to a bigger camp after clearance and I could spend anything from one to three months during the whole process depending on how lucky I was. It sounded scary and funny at the same time.
We were still talking about the asylum process when the doorbell rang.
The Police officers were three males and one female. They had come to search for what I couldn’t figure out. They had opened the door to the stairs and walked up to our door before ringing the bell. They were looking for Mr Matthew.
Our door bell had beeped two minutes earlier. Nnenna had asked who it was in German language and they had answered ‘Polizei’
They flashed four badges at once and asked for Matthew.
“He went to work,” Nnenna replied.
They flashed a search warrant as two of them moved into the room.
I sat quietly in the sitting room like a statue trying hard to breath. One of them asked Nnenna some questions while looking at me. She told them I was her fellow student at one University in Essen. I smiled for the picture as if I knew what they were talking about. Ten minutes later, they wrote some notes and left it on the table, and then they left.
It was when they left that I realized that I was nearly deported. All the Police officers needed to ask for was my passport. That would have been a one way ticket to Lagos Nigeria.
At about 6pm in the evening, we strolled back to the city centre. I had an appointment with Afam, the guy from my town who travelled to Germany since 1999.
When we met at the city centre in Oberhausen, we hugged and exchanged greetings. He was happy to see me. We told Nnenna to go back home alone while I followed Afam to Essen.
We visited a Nigerian bar where people were drinking. There was a football match between two Bundesliga clubs that night.
Later in the evening, Afam took me to a Camerounian lady who was to teach me what to say to the asylum officials at the camp. She taught me how to approach the camp, which was the most dangerous part. She said that the police usually laid ambush on the way to the camp and if they caught you before you get to the camp gates, you could be deported.
According to the female Camerounian tutor, I was to become a Camerounian in Germany. My family name was to become Ebot and I had come from Bansou in Bamenda, North-West province of Cameroun. It was a sweet story.
After the lecture, I gave her €100 and left.
Afam took me back to Oberhausen and to Nnenna who was waiting impatiently for me.
Afam left with the €2000 I brought from Nigeria. It was the money I came with as my BTA, or whatever they called it. I gave it to him to keep for me since I was going to the asylum camp the following morning.
When I returned, I didn’t tell Nnenna that I was leaving for asylum camp the next morning, I figured out she didn’t need to be told. However I eventually told her.
“Nnenna, I am going to camp tomorrow,” I announced.
She was startled. “But you don’t have a story yet,” she managed to say.
“I will manage what I heard in Essen this evening,” I responded. I made her understand that it was better than staying there and waiting for another police scare.
She was really in love with me because she cried like a baby and reminded me how she was going to miss me. I did the obvious next thing to do which was promising her that I will come and stay with her after the camp.
She slept in my arms. I had to wake her up around 1 am to go to the room since I figured out Matthew could return anytime from 2 am.
In the morning, Matthew was nowhere to be found. Nnenna had tried calling his cell phone number numerous times but it wasn’t connecting.
“His battery must have died” she kept saying.
At about 9 am, he had not returned yet. By then, I was ready to go to the asylum camp.
As I was instructed, I was to go without anything. No money, no second set of clothes, nothing that linked me to Africa except a Cameroun CFA note loosely hidden in my pocket.
I proceeded downstairs with Nnenna to board a bus which will take me to the train station. As we stepped out to the street, we saw a police bus coming down the street. It drove past us and stopped a few metres away in the only parking space available in the area. As we moved up the street, we saw three police officers come out of the police bus. With them was Matthew in handcuffs.
We needed no prophet to tell us that there was trouble. We continued walking and pretended not to have seen them. I expected the Police officers to stop us but I didn’t hear that. That was how I escaped the police net the second time in two days.
We went to the train station and boarded a train to Dusseldorf.
Nnenna stopped at Essen Hauptbanhof while I continued to the asylum camp in Dusseldorf.

Chapter Three
The Asylum Camp
I met Agnes Kaku in the asylum camp in Eisenhuttenstadt Germany. She was among a group of six girls playing volleyball the very first day I arrived at the camp.
I had walked up to them and greeted. They had pretended not to have seen me until the volleyball game was over. I had also walked up to Agnes and introduced myself.
After the introduction, she walked towards a smaller building while I walked a meter behind her; anyone who saw us must have known that I was just following the girl against her wish.
“I like Nigerians,” I heard her say.
“Really” I shouted behind her.
She turned and waited up for me. The introductions continued.
Her name was Agnes, she was from Uganda. She had been in the camp for one week before my arrival.
We talked a little more before we got in front of a small house. She said it was the female hostel and that boys were forbidden to enter inside the house after 7 pm.
I looked at my watch and it was 2 minutes to 7 pm.
“It’s 6:58pm” I said.
She laughed and asked what I wanted to do inside the female hostel.
“I have no friends here, I need one,” I said.
“Look at those guys up there” she said while pointing towards some boys under a tree.
“They are Nigerians, You can go and join them,” she said
As she opened the door to go inside, she looked back and saw that I was not moving. She stood there and looked at me as if I was a monster. I smiled at her, turned my back and started moving towards those boys under the tree. Two minutes later, I got to the tree. All of them fell silent as soon as I got there. I greeted them in Igbo language.
“Ndewo nu umunne m” I greeted.
They hesitated a bit before one of the spoke up. “Nwanne kedu ije?” he asked.
I responded in Igbo again and told them that I had just arrived camp. One of them named John was a little offensive.
“You just arrived at the camp and the first thing you did was going up to the girls,” John said.
I laughed since there was nothing to say. I told them that I heard the language they were speaking but I couldn’t join them for the fear of them being spies. We all laughed this time except John
We introduced each other;
I was Solomon, Then John; the others were Moses, Joshua and Peter.
Despite the fact that we were all from Igbo Nation in Eastern Nigeria, None of us had an Igbo name.
We were all Hebrew.
It was getting dark so we walked towards our hostel. It was a sprawling three, story building. The blacks lived on first floor, which had about 15 rooms and a long wide passage way. It was the same thing in the second and third floors which was occupied by the Arabs and others respectively. Others consisted of Chinese, Indians, Pakis, Uzbeks and all the Kistans in that region.
We all got to room 21 where Joshua and John stayed. They were both Sudanese in the camp according to them. The other two were Liberians. Surprisingly there was no Nigerian in the Camp despite all of us coming from Nigeria. We chatted and drank cheap beer. I later went to my room and slept alone until the next day. I was told to report to the administrative office that morning, therefore after breakfast, some people went back to their rooms, others went out into the small town of Eisenhuttenstadt to look around while some played games outside, and I, Solomon Ebot, went to the administrative blocks to get myself properly documented.
I got to the administrative office and sat down like a few others that I met there. We were a mixture of Africans, Asians and Arabs. When I was called, I got up and went to the lady who called my name. A female interpreter was seated beside me. When I agreed that I understood English, I repeated my name, my date of birth and my nationality. They asked me a few questions about Africa; whether I had ever been bitten by mosquitos, whether I had ever taken anti-malaria drugs, whether I had ever suffered a malaria break down. The questions were all malaria and mosquito.
After ten minutes, I was told to come back in an hour to collect my camp ID card. The ID card would enable me to go outside and into the town. I left the administrative blocks and searched for my new friends, I couldn’t see any of them. I strolled aimlessly towards the female hostel.
I found Agnes spreading cloths outside the hostel. She looked towards me and greeted.
“Did you have a goodnight?” I asked.
She looked at me and said nothing.
“I am just trying to be caring,” I continued.
She laughed and said: “Since when did you Nigerians become caring? It has always been about how to make money”
I laughed it off and told her that the money we struggled to make was to take care of our women. She agreed with me.
When she was done with spreading her cloths, she invited me inside the female hostel. Despite the fact that the camp fed us, Agnes had her own pots and cooked her own meals. She only visited the dining hall whenever she wanted.
She had cooked some rice that day. She dished out a plate for me. I wasn’t hungry but refusing the food could mean refusing every other thing, therefore I ate the rice with fresh fish.
She explained that she ate only fish and vegetables.
After eating the rice, she asked why I was interested in her. I wanted to deny that obvious truth but I decided to flow with the current wave.
“Who wouldn’t be interested in a beautiful girl like you? That person must be a Ghanaian, I heard they don’t have beautiful girls in their country,” I joked as she laughed out loud.
“You must be a funny guy,” she accused me as I continued from where I stopped.
I told her that she was the only interesting person in the whole camp as far as I was concerned.
Ten minutes into our sweet chat, we heard some footsteps towards her room and we kept quiet. When a knock came on her door, it was John, the big headed troublemaker.
John was as direct as one can ever be.
“You need to stay away from Agnes, she is my girl!” he bellowed with a tone that closely resembled that of the famous WWF wrestler, Hulk Hogan.
Being smart at avoiding small fights, I kept silent. I figured out that anything from my mouth could result in a fight. With that kind of head sitting on his shoulders, the dude could match Mike Tyson one on one.
“Stop being rude to my visitor,” Agnes said coming to my defence.
It was a lifeline worth exploring but I kept my mute. I was playing the victim and the innocent guy.
“This is your last warning!!” John yelled as he opened the door and stormed outside.
“Come back here!” Agnes shouted. But John was too angry to return.
“Don’t mind him,” Agnes apologised.
Don’t mind him huh, that guy was ready for war.
I nodded my head like a baby whose mother had promised to buy a toy when coming back from shopping.
There and then, Agnes declared her relationship with John over and handed the mantle of leadership to me. Her reasons ranged from John’s arrogance and carelessness, to anger, while the reasons for choosing me my calmness and matured way of understanding things.
Attaboy.
Women will always give you every good tag if they like you and vice versa.
The lunch bell took us outside. Agnes insisted on holding my hand while we strolled up to the dining hall. Every curious eye was on the two black lover birds. John and his three wise men were already in the hall when we arrived. We ignored them and took our place somewhere else.
We were served mash potatoes mash and chicken, then the round hard bread and juice. It seemed the Germans ate everything with bread.
After lunch, Agnes took me outside the camp to a mall called Superspa. We bought cheap beer and took them under a tree to enjoy the weather. A few minutes later, John and his squad showed up. One of them called me and asked that I excused myself while they talk to Agnes. I refused to go anywhere. Instead I stood up and faced John.
“Listen carefully John, I don’t know about you but I sponsored myself down to Europe. I also have enough money to do it all over again if I get deported. If you want us to fight over this girl, I am ready for you” I said in Igbo Language.
They stood there for a few moments and left us alone.
“What did you say to them”? Agnes asked as soon as they left.
“I told them that I was going to tell the authorities that we were all Nigerians and get us deported back to Nigeria,” I lied.
Agnes laughed hard.
We took some beer and walked back inside the compound. Despite my bold confrontation with John’s group, I was scared of them.
About 6pm, we went for dinner. After that Agnes invited me to the ladies hostel which I declined. I was afraid of John’s group. They could track me to the female hostel and report to the authorities. I wasn’t going to take chances from then on.
We sat outside under a tree and talked. She told me everything about herself. She was a Ugandan, fresh out of the University and wanted to explore the planet earth just like me. A politician boyfriend of hers had sent her to Germany with a promise to come later and marry her over there. Four months of waiting had seen her finish all the money she had and the money from home had stopped coming. The phone number of the politician had stopped going through and rumour had it that he had been thrown into the prison by President Yoweri Museveni. She had been advised by well-wishers to seek asylum in order not to be deported.
On my own part, I was the son of a powerful rebel chief in Nigeria. The government was after my dad, so we, the children had been sneaked into Europe through a diplomatic channel. My elder brother preferred London while I was brought to Germany.
It was getting dark and we had been sitting there for an hour and half. When it was time to go, Agnes kissed me. It was a sweet kiss, different from all other kisses I ever had. She had big soft lips which made the kisses feel so special.
She said she was falling in love with me and that she was so relaxed with me. I kissed her back and she placed her head on my shoulders. She was really falling in love.
Nobody could see us clearly from anywhere; therefore I slipped my hand inside her warm clothes. Her soft perky breasts welcomed me. I squeezed them slowly and prayed that the clock and time stand still but the damn time was running at the rate of 60 seconds per minute.
It was heading to mid-August and the weather had started getting cold. My squeezes and kisses had kept her warm.
John and his group were sitting outside when I returned.
“Women will kill you in this Europe” one of them said. It was a sound of defeat from them. I had won. Surprisingly, I joined up with them. Joshua was first to speak.
“What you did was not fair”’ he said.
“What did I do? It was a case of calling me aside and telling me that Agnes was his girlfriend, I could have forgotten about her” I said knowing it was a lie.
When I got to my room, it was empty as usual. I couldn’t sleep there alone. John and his gang could come strangle me in the night. I went to the entertainment hall where there was a single television for every member of the Camp. It was weekend and some sports programmes were showing. The Arabs had taken control of the remote control and all the other people just had to watch the program they chose.
There was a long chair at the back. I settled on it and slept amidst noises coming from the TV and its viewers. I woke up around 2 am and went to my room. I figured that John must have gotten tired of checking on me. I locked the door and slept again.
The following morning after breakfast, I went back to the admin blocks to get my interview date. It was two weeks away. That gave me ample time to perfect my lies
Around 9 am, I was bored. I went to the field to play football. The two soccer balls were taken over by the blacks and the Arabs respectively. Joining the Arabs was out of question since we still considered them a security threat after 9/11. The other ball was used by John and his squad. There was no need going to ask them if I could play, those guys may have been planning on how to harm me.
I left them and went to the ladies hostel. Agnes was cooking when I came. I joined her in the ladies kitchen and made jokes while she cooked. The other girls in the kitchen laughed at my jokes. There was one particular one who laughed harder than others. Her name was Melinda; she was South African, the most beautiful of the lot. She looked and behaved like a model, but the reality was that we were all in an asylum camp.
Melinda was interested in me; I could tell by the way she laughed even when I made bad jokes. At a time, Agnes left the kitchen to get something and by the time she was back, Melinda was standing beside me, telling me how Johannesburg was better than Germany and Lagos and so on.
As soon as Agnes finished her cooking, she dragged me out of the kitchen into her room. She warned me about Melinda and how rumour had it that she snatched boyfriends.
We ate food in Agnes’ room in silence.
“You are not speaking,” Agnes said.
“My parents warned me not to talk while eating,” I said, because I had nothing else to say.
She laughed and said she was told the same thing when she was a kid.
When we finished eating, she took the plates to the kitchen and washed them.
When it was time for lunch, I walked with Agnes to the hall.
After the lunch, Agnes took me outside again. We went to a small library at the centre of town and booted up a windows computer. It was my first time of touching that wonderful piece of technology. She registered an email address for me, even though I didn’t know what it was meant for. She tried to teach me some things. I couldn’t seem to comprehend at all.
Inside the library, we met Joan, a Kenyan single mother who was in camp as well. She was a lovely sweet girl, probably 20 or so. Her little boy was running around everywhere. I later picked the kid up and gave it to her mom. She thanked me and said she was going back to camp. We were going back too, therefore we all went outside.
On our way to the camp, I spotted a phone booth and excused myself. I asked them to return to camp and that I would meet them as soon as possible. I wanted to call Africa.
I put some money inside the phone booth and dialled Nigeria. As soon as my brother picked his phone, someone tugged on the collar of my pullover and pulled me out of the booth. It was John, my Enemy Number One.
John pulled me out of the phone booth and started pushing me around. I was no match for him, so I avoided doing anything that could warrant a punch from him.
Somehow, someone saw him pushing me and called the police. The green and white German police car had abruptly stopped near the booth and John somehow managed to fake a smile to show them that everything was alright. They shouted “Ausweiss bitte!”.
We produced the temporal ID cards from the camp. They made some calls to the camp and confirmed that our names existed in their database
The two Polizei officers wrote our names down from the ID cards we produced. They advised us; a Cameroonian and a Sudanese not to fight again. They reminded us that we came from the same Africa and that if we fought again, we would be thrown into jail.
After the police advice, I left John and walked alone to the camp. When I got to the gate, the little man at the gate swiped my ID card for authentication as usual and asked why I was fighting outside. He had not seen us; therefore I wondered how he knew. I told him that we were only practicing African martial arts; whatever that meant.
He allowed me inside.
I went to Joshua and asked him to warn John. I threatened to report him to the authorities if he ever came within 10-metre radius of me again. I also reported to his two other friends.
A football game was coming up between the Africans and Arabs. The winner would play South Americans, and the winner would play a selected local team from Eisenhuttenstadt, our host city, so there was practice that afternoon; therefore we went to the field after lunch.
John the Bighead was our captain. I decided to concede that position to him anyway, just to balance things up a little bit. I was the goalkeeper which meant that all the ladies were standing behind me. There were other girls I had not seen or noticed in camp. They watched us as we practiced all afternoon. The only goal I conceded was scored while looking at the long slim legs of Melinda, the South African model; it wasn’t a competition anyway, just a practice.
In the evening, I was minding myself under one tree when Melinda the model walked majestically to my spot.
“Hey goalkeeper, what’s up?” she greeted.
I answered her and got down to business immediately.
“Do you know that you are the most beautiful girl in this place?”? I ventured.
“I know,” she answered and laughed.
“Since I was the best, why are you sleeping with Agnes?” she asked.
The question startled me. In situations like that, I usually kept silent for a few seconds in order to manufacture a fitting answer. I bent down and smiled for ten seconds before asking: “how did you know that?” I wanted to find out what she knew before deciding whether to deny or agree.
“She told me herself,” Melinda said.
Damn, the truth was from Agnes herself, the stream had gotten dirty from the source.
“You see” I began. “It wasn’t my intention, only that I made a bet with some guy. He boasted that I couldn’t get Agnes.” I said.
“A bet, you mean with Johnny” she said.
“Yea” I agreed without a second thought. Who else could it be?
She had taken the bait and it was a one way story from then.
My story assured Melinda that it was her that had caught my eyes from day one. I told her how it was difficult to approach her for the fear of her refusing my proposition.
She stayed with me under the tree for over an hour until the dinner time.
After dinner, Melinda showed up again in front of the male hostel, she was looking for me. A Camerounian boy had come to call me. When I got down from my room, she asked me to stroll outside with her. All the black pairs of eyes were on us as we went behind the dining hall and sat in a concrete bench fixed on the ground.
She started a story about how she was a top model in one school in Durban and how she had come to Europe with a South African contingent for a pageant. She had bolted from their hotel and sneaked into Germany in the night. She had figured she had a better chance of success in Europe. Her stories were good but I was only interested in one thing; the pleasure park between her legs.
Darkness met us at the scene and it was a perfect venue for what I had in mind. She was telling me about her boyfriend in South Africa when my hand accidentally brushed past her breasts. It was a deliberate action, therefore I didn’t apologize. I waited for her to complain but none came so I took it as an approval. My hand found the breasts again and this time, it wasn’t in a haste to leave them.

**********
The football match ended 4:0 in favour of the Africans against the Arabs. The hero of the game was none other than the goalkeeper who had somehow pulled extra ordinary saves; even saved a penalty. The goalkeeper was a Camerounian named Solomon Ebot who until that very day had been associating with only the Nigerians. This was a puzzle to unravel for the real Camerounians but one thing was for sure; the very goalkeeper who had saved a penalty was supposed to be a real Camerounian and not a Nigerian.
The tussle and debate of where I came from was going on between the two countries while I had chosen to celebrate the small fame with the ladies. The boys can fight to death for all I care. Agnes was busy telling her friends how she had discovered my talent and advised me to become the goalkeeper while Melinda who wasn’t so interested in football was busy telling people how she was going to convert me from a goalkeeper to a male model.
The previous night had produced a topic for rumour mongers. According to the rumour, someone had seen me kissing Melinda at the back of the dining hall in such a compromising position. I was sure my stalker, Mr John was responsible but I have always believed that there is nothing like a negative publicity. I played along.
Agnes had probably heard the rumour too since she was avoiding me like a plague.
Before the football match, we were all busy during the morning hours. Every Monday was the pay day for all campers. We all lined up at the financial office to receive our weekly allowances. Everyone was unknown to me was there except Agnes Kaku and the Model Melinda.
The big headed snitch called John, was smiling all through like he had won a lottery. I had a feeling he had done something terrible but it was left for me to find out. We were all paid €11. That was the weekly allowance for every non processed asylum seeker in Germany between 2001 and 2003. After the pay collection, I headed straight to the ladies hostel. I wanted to find out why my two girls had not come to collect their allowances. Agnes had locked herself inside the room and refused to open the door for me. After a few knocks, I drifted down to Melinda’s room. Melinda on the other hand, opened her own doors and welcomed me. She welcomed me with a bottle of Cola. After the drink, she declared my relationship with Agnes over. According to her, she was the hottest in the camp and should be allowed to choose whoever she desired; I was the chosen one. We laughed at the small joke.
The previous night was extra ordinary. The place, despite being dark, was in an open place. We couldn’t risk being caught. When our organs got too excited, I had suggested that we do it in her room the next day being Monday. She had agreed.
And there we were, right inside her room but the problem was that a football match was an hour away. I was supposed to play as a goalkeeper. That simply meant that I wouldn’t require much energy like the outfield players.
When she planted a kiss on my mouth, I had no objection. The football match was important. According to rumours, there were going to be prizes but there was a prize already in my position; Melinda Mokibo.
She had just finished her bath when I came in; her towel was still tied around her chest down to her thighs when she opened the door for me. It was a short towel and it had exposed her smooth legs. I kept stealing some glances and I made her know what I was doing.
She came to sit beside me on the bed when she finished applying some red paints all over her face. She had turned her back towards me and removed the towel. I had watched her slip into a short gown and asked me to zip her back. I wanted to protest and tell her that there was no need to wear cloths since I was going to remove them sooner or later but since I didn’t know what was going on in her mind, I played along.
After the zipping, she sat beside me on the only bed in the room and crossed her right hand around my neck.
One thing was very clear to me, I didn’t see her wear any underwear and that gave me hope. The kisses were smooth and nice but not like that of Agnes. Agnes had bigger lips. I wasted no time as I slipped my hand inside the loose gown. Her breasts welcomed me since there was no bra holding them. I pushed her down on the bed and as I bent down to bury my head between her legs, the lunch bell rang.
Those damn chefs! Couldn’t they cook late for once?
I continued what I was doing and raised her gown to her belly level and spread her legs apart.
We ignored the lunch and continued our adventure into the honeyland. Missing one meal was not going to kill us and she didn’t even seem like the type that ate at all.
When we finished, she went into the bathroom and cleaned up. We chatted for a few more minutes before the bell rang. The football match was about to begin and no one had any idea where I was. John the Bighead had suggested that they looked for me in Agnes’ room but when they couldn’t locate me there, they selected another guy to be in goal for us. The starting whistle was about to be blown when I showed up with Melinda to the utmost surprise of all black eyes in the camp. Agnes was there too and was looking at me. The new goalkeeper was told to go out while I replaced him.
When the game was over and we had won, I became the toast of the rest of the black girls in camp. I had saved a penalty. Melinda came to hug and greet me after the game while Agnes left with Joan and one other lady. I had prepared a lie to tell Agnes. It started and ended with the fact that John Bighead was threatening to kill me if I didn’t stay away from her. It was a good excuse.
Let’s blame John not me or Melinda.
Someone has always been the better culprit, not you or me, someone else.
During dinner, I saw Agnes and Joan seated at the back end of the hall. Melinda did not come; therefore I walked up to them and sat down.
“I am so disappointed in you Solomon” Agnes said with anger. At least she had said something, which was a good start.
“Why?” I asked. I had learnt the tricks of using single words when I am not certain of the outcome of anything.
“Melinda has been walking around, telling everybody you are her boyfriend now” she said.
Deny! Deny!! Deny!!!
“What are you talking about” I asked. “Look Agnes” I continued. “I don’t know what you heard or where you heard it from but the last time I checked, we were not married. Secondly Melinda is not my girlfriend, I am just trying to divert John’s attention from me” I lied.
“John’s attention? What do you mean by that?” She asked.
The ball has just entered my court.
“John has been threatening to kill me if I don’t stay away from you. He had punched me two days ago and it was the intervention of the police that separated us” I continued. “Right now, I am afraid to go out of the camp alone because I fell in love with you”
She looked very surprised when I mentioned the police and punch.
I had managed to arouse her pity and it was all me against John from then on. She said she was going to warn John and report to the authorities if he ever stalk or touch me again. I told her that it was her that I had wanted but since my safety was at stake, it was probably better to stay away from her.
She agreed. I also tried to let her understand why I needed to be hanging out with Melinda so that the psycho called John would think that I was with Melinda. She didn’t buy into that silly excuse but she said nothing. I refused to escort them back to the ladies hostel since we could run into Melinda and complicate things for me.
Days went by uneventfully in the camp except, that new people came into the camp, more Nigerians and Camerounians, Ghanaians and Malians, Guineans and Senegalese. The older campers were being sent out too.
The following day was my interview. It was the interview that determined where I would be posted from the camp and how many months I would be getting in my Ausweiss. It was the interview that determined whether the Germans bought into my lies about why and how I came to Germany, and it was the same interview that would decide whether i would be deported or not.
Most Africans spent a day to the interview praying while the other races spent it rehearsing what they would answer. It was a strange world where Africans depended on God while others depended on intelligence: science and facts. I spent that very day running after a Kenyan teenager who had just arrived to the Camp.
I had gone to the train station to escort Melinda who was posted out of the camp to her permanent base which was Rathenow, a town an hour away from Berlin, the German capital city. Melinda had just boarded her train to Berlin where she would connect another train to Rathenow when I turned to go and found a girl loitering around the station. Her name was Awiti, which she told me meant ‘someone born after great misfortune’. According to her, the parents had searched for a child for over twenty years before they gave birth to her. After introducing herself to me, she said she had been posted to the asylum camp and didn’t know which way to follow after getting down from the train. I told her that I was going there. She thanked God and followed me. When we got down from the bus in front of the Camp, I took her to the gate and waited for her to be properly cleared. I took her to the administrative blocks afterwards where she got her room number, sheets and other things such as soaps and tissues. I took her to the female hostel and showed her the room. I helped her clean the place and spread the sheets. She was not more than 18. She told me how she had come to Germany.
She had boarded a ship in Mombasa and had spent over three weeks inside the ocean until they got to Brussels. Then someone had suggested that she go to Germany since the refugees got better packages over there. It was a nice story but I only listened because she had no other friend yet. I had heard enough of the same lies before her arrival. According to her, she was told that she will meet many Nigerians in the camp. She had asked if I was Nigerian and I had denied. I was a Cameroonian and I wished to remain that until I got out of the Camp.
The ladies rooms had bathrooms inside. I had waited for her in the room while she took her bath and changed clothes.
Unlike men, women usually came to camp with some clothes. When she came out of the bathroom, I offered to show her around.
I took Awiti around, showing her everywhere that mattered. We went for lunch and dinner together. She kept thanking me every now and then and I told her not to worry, that I also had no friends in camp except her. After the dinner, I saw John Bighead and his squad going out of camp, their interview had been conducted the day before and they were just waiting for their dispatch notice to know where they had been posted.
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 at 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 go 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. I had followed Awiti 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. I had 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 8 am, I entered the interview room and met my interviewer and the interpreter seated already.
Those Germans were never late for appointment.
“Guten Morgen” 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 said.
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 sat down.
I actually knew 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 German was already enough. It was a game of intelligence.
“Wie heiss du?” (What is your name?) He asked me.
That was an easy question and every normal person who had lived in Germany for at least one week was expected to know that. I wasn’t going to play dumb again; therefore I told them my names.
Game on.
After the normal identification process, the question moved to how I came to Germany. I started my story; it goes thus;
I had been born in Bamenda, North West Cameroun in 1980.
I actually gave them my real date of birth. I didn’t want many complications since subsequent events that would require me to say the date offhand 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 Bamenda. The name of our Reverend Father was Luis Gomez.
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 detail 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 expression had changed from smiles 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 amateur story about Germany and its cities.
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 of the ship. 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 had none. 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 ship inside water and walked away. I entered the place he showed me and they sent me there (camp).
The interviewer asked if I had gone to school and I told him 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 interview date. 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 swam 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 broke the remaining egg, they decried of course. Someone said he 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 that I choose a country in Africa where I would like to be sent. I mentioned London. They said London was not in Africa. I pretended to be surprised.
“How could London not be in Africa? I heard so many black people live there.” I told them. I also suggested that they send 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, and then he told me to go.
The interview took over an hour. When I walked out of the venue, 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 hand.
“I bought Doner Kebap for you” she said. Doner is a Turkish dish.
I followed her to her room and ate the Kebab.
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 in public. I felt at ease with her and told her that I was a Nigerian and not Camerounian. I had taken my interview and I was half safe.
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 park. There were few white people playing with their dogs in the park. We drifted down to a lonely place and continued drinking 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 were doing.
At about 6pm, it was time for dinner. Awiti had not started cooking and it was either we go back or go to bed without food. A unanimous decision to go back to the camp was reached. As I got up and helped her to get up from the ground, I heard a voice coming out of the bush behind us.
‘”Women will destroy you in this country,”
I turned around and saw John Bighead emerging from the bush. Awiti, who had not seen or known who John was, just stood there and stared at the guy coming out from the bush while I thought how best to handle the situation.
“I think you have a mental problem” I said to him in Igbo language.
The idea was to drag the issue away from Awiti as much I could. I was beginning to like her so much. But the mischief maker insisted on speaking English.
“It is your father that has mental problem” he said while maintaining a considerable distance between us.
I took Awiti’s hand and started walking out of the park. It was a ten minute-walk to the camp. John followed us behind, talking about what he would have done to me if the environment was different.
People were being posted out of camp on a daily basis while new campers were being admitted. Some of the people I knew had been posted out. I would go to the notice board every morning to check on my name but I knew that it would take at least logically two weeks after my interview. Awiti’s interview came up a week before my departure. We had rehearsed her story over and over again.
According to her story, she was a Somali in camp since there was no political crisis in Kenya.
“Tell me your story as if I am your interviewer” I had said to her a day before her interview.
She began,
“My name is Awiti Mulonga, I was born in Mogadishu, Somalia on July 20, 1985. I had been kidnapped by some group of men who kept me until some soldiers rescued me through a gun battle. The soldiers took me to a hospital managed by the Red Cross Society. It was the Red Cross that brought me to Europe. We were five in numbers that followed the Red Cross to France. Then two of us ran away in the night. We found a man in France who promised to help us. He took us to his house and gave us food. Then one evening, he came into our room and molested me while the other girl went out”
“This is where you start crying” I reminded her
She continued “He threatened to throw me out of the house if I said a word of the molestation to anybody. When the other girl returned, she found out what had happened. Then she suggested that we ran away”
“This is where you stop crying if the Germans don’t pet you to stop,” I interrupted again.
She continued. “When the ticket conductors met us in the train, they found out that we had no ticket. They took us and handed us to the police who later took us to a place where we were documented. I was sent here while the other girl was sent to a place I don’t know” she finished.
After her narration, I conducted the Q&A session.
ME: What about your parents?
Awiti: I never met my mother. They said she died when I was a kid. I grew up in a motherless baby’s home. My father was a soldier, I have not heard from him in years.
ME: Which other country in Africa would you like us to send you?
Awiti: California
ME: Would you recognize the Red Cross people who brought you if you see them?
Awiti: Yes.
ME: Would you like to be sent back to Somalia?
Awiti: No (starts crying again).
The story was alright. She did very well. I told her to remember everything. The Germans had a way of derailing your planned story.
When I got back to the Men’s hostel, John Bighead was going out with his small bag. I turned around and congratulated him. Then I wished him good luck in his future endeavours. I told him that it was all a game and fun while it lasted. I also told him that life was all about winning and losing some things.

***********
Blast from the Past
Efuah was my ex-girlfriend. I had met her in Ghana during one of my business trips while I was still in Africa. We dated for some time before I left Africa for Germany.
I had gone outside the Eisenhuttenstadt camp that day and called her to say hello.
“How have you been Efuah?”
“I think I am pregnant,” she answered over the phone.
“What…t…t did you ju…j, just say?” I stammered.
“I think I am pregnant. I have been vomiting and my mum said I could be pregnant,” she said and started crying.
“Don’t cry Efuah, it’s good news. The only problem here is that I am far away now but I will come back soon,” I said out of the need to say something.
What was Efuah talking about? I was going to be a father?? Wow. The excitement was there but then I was thousands of miles away from Africa.
“What do you intend to do now that I am not there?” I asked.
“My mother said that I should abort it but I want to keep it,” she replied.
We spoke on the phone for several minutes. I told her that I would be out of the camp in a week’s time and get my own phone. I promised to take care of the baby but she said she can do that. She just wanted me to know what was happening. She hung up and I called my elder brother in Nigeria. He advised me to concentrate on what I was doing in Germany.

***************
Adaeze Okoronkwo, native of Ngodo Isuochi in Abia state Nigeria arrived at the Camp. Some people had gathered near the Camp gate, and when I approached them, I was told that there was a fight. Two young Nigerian men had been fighting over who would become Adaeze’s boyfriend. The two men had previously quarrelled over something a few days ago. The Adaeze saga was just another one. Since I was a Camerounian in camp and I was already waiting for my posting, I didn’t want to involve myself in the fight. I asked who the Adaeze was and someone pointed me in her direction. I left the war zone and strolled towards the new catch. She was a beautiful tall slim girl. As I approached her, Awiti came out of nowhere and held my hand.
“Where have you been?” she asked.
I gave her a silly excuse about how I went to the park to concentrate and pray to my God. “There was a lot of noise in the camp and my God didn’t really like noise”. I said
She laughed hard.
I took Awiti to a hidden corner where Adaeze could not see us. I was still going to approach Adaeze, just not then. Awiti and I talked about how we were going to unite if we were posted to different cities. She had already made a good plan, a plan that favoured her alone. According to her, we were going to relocate to Munich and find a cheap apartment. We will find work through the help of her aunt who had lived in Munich for many years. We will work for a year or two, save enough money and get married. Then live happily ever after. It was such a sweet plan; the only problem on it was that,
i. There was nowhere in the plan where I was to fulfil my dream of driving a BMW.
ii. The plan did not cover Efuah and her pregnancy. It did not cover my family back home in Nigeria.
iii. I didn’t see where the plan covered my ambition of traveling all over the world when I got my papers and above all, I didn’t see how the plan covered how I was going to get a permanent resident permit.
I agreed on her plan anyway and smiled on it too. It was getting dark, so I advised her to go to her hostel while I prepared for the evening prayers.
When she left, I went back into the open place to look for Adaeze but couldn’t find her.
During the evening prayers, I saw Adaeze .There were also two Camerounian ladies who hardly joined when we sang in Igbo language, a Kenyan girl, Agnes the Ugandan and one other lady I didn’t know where she came from.
Adaeze had somehow made it to the prayer venue. I didn’t know who invited her but she was there before I came.
“I will enter his gate with thanksgiving in my heart” I started that song as soon as I entered the hall and saw Adaeze. I had known that young African girls admire a God-fearing man, so I switched to holy mode. After the song, I switched to Igbo songs.
“I di nma idi Ukwu oh Chineke, Onye kelu Uwa Idi nma, Nma girl Zuru Oke” I sang in Igbo. The Camerounians and other people who didn’t understand Igbo had to take things as they saw it, there was a price at stake; Adaeze Okoronkwo. People had different reasons for coming to the prayer venue to pray and sing. Some were to ask God to help them avoid deportation. Some were to ask for help for their health, the imminent interview, general well-being and so on. I, Solomon the great, was singing those Igbo songs just to, first of all, make Adaeze know that I was an Igboman; Her dear brother from Biafra Republic who was the only person she could run to for help. My second reason was not clear for now.
After the prayers, I hugged my Bible with my left hand on my chest like a pastor and waved goodnight to everybody with my right. I acted the evangelist. Even Awiti was curious but it would take her many days to unravel the mysteries behind the act.
The following day, a new list of names had been posted on the notice board; names of people that had been transferred to their permanent bases in Germany. My name was at the top. I had been posted to Brandenburg an der Havel; the city that gave the state of Brandenburg its name. Rumour had it that the city was the best around the whole East Germany. As I scrolled down the list to check the other names posted to the same city, on number nine was Agnes Kaku, the first girl that fell in love with me in camp. A small smile formed on my face as soon as I saw her name but I didn’t let it show. She was standing right next to me and as soon as she saw her name, she looked at me and smiled.

*************
Goodbye Eisenhuttenstadt.
As soon as you got posted out of camp, you were expected to leave camp that day or the following morning. They normally gave out train tickets to wherever they posted you. The newly posted people were scrambling for tickets at the office that morning but I was not in haste. I had spent a month and ten days in the camp, there was no reason to be in haste. I intended to travel the following morning. I left the notice board and headed to the female hostel. I needed to tell my little girl, Awiti that I had been posted. I was wearing blue jean trousers. The same jean I had been wearing for three days. She was lying on the bed when I knocked and went inside. She got up as soon as she saw me and closed the Gideon bible she was reading.
“Baby did you know that Jesus fed five thousand people with two loaves of bread?” she said as if it happened a week ago.
“Yes, I know, If you read a little bit down the book, you will also see where he starved for forty days and forty nights.”
Awiti was a Muslim; she had come to our prayer ground because of me.
“Baby, but how can someone live for forty days without eating?” she asked
“The same way someone could feed five thousand people with two loaves of bread,” I answered.
“They have posted me out,” I said, interrupting her next Jesus question.
She said nothing. She just stared at me as if I had said something that didn’t matter.
“Baby it means that I am leaving the camp today or tomorrow” I said again.
The today or tomorrow seemed to have jolted her. Her face redddened and it took less than a minute for it to dissolve into tears. I watched her cry for about three minutes before I began to console her. I made promises upon promises on how I was going to return to camp as soon as I got myself registered at the auslander behoder or Amt. (foreign office).
She didn’t say anything as I continued my promises. I reminded her about our plans to live together after camp, how we were going to get married and have beautiful kids that will resemble me.
“No, our kids will resemble me” she said with a smile amidst tears still running down her face.
I dipped my hand into my pocket and brought out my handkerchief to clean her tears and a used condom fell out of my pocket unto the ground.
We both looked at it together and looked at each other, and then back to the condom lying on the floor.
“What is this” she said.
‘It is a condom” I said.
“I know what it is Solomon but what are you doing with this” she said. Her face had started changing again. The tears that had gone back to her head were scrambling to come out again.
I bent my head in a shamed manner and kept quiet. She was asking me a million questions and reminding me about all the promises I made to her.
“I slept with a German lady yesterday evening,” I confessed as I raised my head up.
She started crying again and asked me to leave her room. I tried to plead with her but she pushed me out of the room and locked herself inside. I stood at her door for several minutes begging her to open the door but she refused.
I left the female hostel and headed to the administrative office to get my ticket and posting letter. When I collected them, I went to my room and packed my remaining one jean and two shirts into a small paper bag. I was tempted to leave camp immediately but on a second thought, I decided to try Awiti again. I loved her really but I never considered marrying her for one day, not in the condition we found each other. When I got to her room, she had opened the door but was not inside. I went in and waited for her. Some minutes later, she came in from the kitchen and saw me sitting quietly.
“I told you to leave me alone1”, she shouted as soon as she came in.
I stood up calmly, looked her in the face and said, “Listen carefully Awiti, we met in this camp and If we end our relationship in this camp, it will just be another closed chapter in my life. I will get hurt for losing you, I will cry over it, but the truth remains that I will not kill myself over it, I will heal with time” I continued. “I am going to step out of this door and as soon as I get outside, there is no turning back” I said.
“I don’t care, you can go to hell,” she retorted.
I turned the door handle and opened it. I stepped outside and went straight to my room. My paper bag was on the bed the same way I left it. I grabbed it and came downstairs. As I stepped on the single concrete road leading to the main camp gate, I saw Awiti coming up towards me from the female hostel. About five meters behind her was my former beauty queen Agnes with her bags. Awiti came up to me first and stood opposite me. I looked beyond her and looked at Agnes.
“Are you traveling to Brandenburg today” I asked Agnes as she approached us. She hesitated a bit before answering, “yes.”
“Good, because I am traveling right now as well” I said. Awiti just stood there looking from Agnes to me and back to Agnes again. She had nothing to say as I grabbed the bigger of Agnes’ two bags and lead the way towards the camp gate.
As I approached the gate, I looked back and saw Awiti standing like a statue about hundred meters away. Agnes was right beside me.
“She doesn’t look too happy” Agnes said.
“Yes” I replied her.
“I just told her that I had never loved her and that it was you that my heart had always been with” I lied.
She looked at me, turned and looked at Awiti then at me again.
“Poor little girl” she said and held my hand as we stepped out of the gate into the cold vast land of Germany.

Chapter Four
Brandenburg an der Havel
We got to Brandenburg an der Havel at exactly 4 pm on a cold October evening. There was no direct train from Eisenhuttenstadt to Brandenburg. We had changed at Berlin Ostbanhof Station; One of the three largest stations in Berlin and the entire East Germany. My stay with Agnes in the train was awkward. There was no tangible topic to discuss, so we just kept quiet and concentrated on ourselves. When we got down at Berlin Ostbanhof, we sat down inside the station and ate peanuts. Our next train was 30 minutes away.
“Did you really tell that little girl what you said to me?” Agnes asked me.
“No, I did not,” I answered.
She looked at me for more explanations.
“She found a used condom on me and freaked out,” I said further.
Agnes looked at me and said nothing.
“I had sex with a fat German woman yesterday at her place and forgot to throw the damn thing away, I begged her to forget what happened but she refused, so here we are” I explained. “I believe in destiny, Agnes and whatever that will be will surely be,” I finished.
She just kept quiet and listened. I told her that when I first came into the camp, it was her that stole my heart and attention, and then Melinda surfaced and passed through. I also told her that Awiti was just part of my history which I would write someday. I told her that destiny was more interested in keeping me and her together and it was left for us to work on making it count. She said nothing as I led her through wise sayings and divine jargon. I was the prophet, Solomon the Wise.

When our train arrived, we boarded it to Brandenburg an der Havel. When we got out at the Brandenburg train station, a bus was standing outside. We asked the driver if he was going to Heim. (Heim was a permanent base where the asylum seekers were accommodated until the Germans certified you good enough to live among the population. We were in Eastern Germany where racism was still rampant, so keeping us together was for our own security).
The bus driver nodded and we entered the bus. The ticket we collected from camp did not cover the bus, so we bought new tickets. Ten minutes later, we arrived in front of the Brandenburg Heim. A fat middle aged woman (We later gave her a nickname; Iyi) opened the house door as we pressed the bell. We presented our papers to her. She directed us to the office inside the house where we were cleared properly.
There were two buildings inside the compound. One was a two storey building with many rooms while the smaller one at the back was a one storey building with self- contain rooms. The big one belonged to the males while the one at the back was the female house. It was different from camp but not much different. I was given room 22 which I was supposed to share with a Cameroonian man. Agnes was taken to the female house and given a self-contained one room apartment.
The monthly allowances for each of us were €199.40 euros. We were given a fraction of that amount since we came in the middle of October. There were some other Igbo men at the Heim when we arrived; Johnson from Abiriba, Jordan from Nnewi, Tony from Ekwulobia, Chibuzor from Ozubulu and Filas from Nanka.
Then there were also two Esan girls. Jordan was dating one while the other one hardly stayed in the Heim.
When I dropped my paper bag and received my money, I went to the shopping mall called Eurospar which was 200 meters away. On my way to the mall, I saw Johnson and Jordan with some other Guinean men loitering along the road but didn’t know what they were doing.
At the mall, I bought a big coca cola bottle and sweet bread and headed back to the Heim. I went to my room and ate, and then I slept for an hour or so. I woke up and headed to the female house, it was in the same place and it took me a minute to enter inside. Agnes had told me her room number when we were collecting our money. I knocked on room 15 and entered. The female rooms were very neat and bigger. It had its own bathroom unlike those in the male house. I offered her some of the bread I bought but she declined. We chatted for an hour before I went back to my room. There was no restriction whatsoever in the Heim. A man can go to the woman’s house at any time.
We were finally free, or so I thought.

**********
The Drug Experience
First thing the following morning, I went into the old city of Brandenburg. It was as they said, a historic city which hosted Adolf Hitler and his first ever concentration camp. I trekked to the city centre and looked around. Everything was neat and organized. People were busy doing their businesses. There were many Turkish people selling small items along the roads. I entered a shop and bought a small Siemens mobile phone and a sim card; it cost me about €40..
The same people I saw the day before loitering on the road between the Heim and Eurospar shopping mall were there again. I greeted and passed them on my way back into the Heim. I brought a carefully hidden piece of paper where I had written down some phone numbers. I first of all dialled my brother in Nigeria and told him I had been posted out of camp. He suggested that I went back to Afam in Essen and join him in whatever he was doing there. I then called Efuah in Ghana and told her that I had left camp and that the phone number she saw on the screen of her phone was mine. She was very excited. We talked about life in general, about our future and what was going to happen with her pregnancy. She promised to take care of herself pending the time I would be ready to return to Africa.
After terminating the call, I called some of my old friends and shared my phone number with them. I called Matthew in Oberhausen, the guy who had welcomed me, but his number was switched off. I called Afam in Essen and told him that I had been posted out of camp. I told him where I was and he asked me to join him in Essen if there was nothing for me to do in Brandenburg. Then I called Nnenna, the first girl I slept with in Germany. She was very happy to hear my voice. She invited me to Essen immediately and I told her that I would come as soon as possible.
After the calls, I stood by the window and watched as white people passed in front of the Heim, then passed again after a few minutes. I wondered what was going on but couldn’t figure it out.
In the afternoon, I went to the Eurospar and bought a full chicken, tomato paste, a 2kg sack of rice, flavours and pepper. I went back and made stew. There were pots and spoons, plates and cups in each room. There were also a fridge, a wardrobe, a bed, a cupboard and a single reading chair and table. The cooking gas was in the kitchen which was used by all of us living on the second floor. The kitchen contained six electric gas stoves. It was a big kitchen, the size of two standard rooms.
I was already bored and there was nothing to do, so I headed to the female house again.
“Nna, ibu onye Igbo?” (Are you an Igbo man?) A voice asked as I passed the first floor on my way down. It was Johnson. He was from Abiriba in Abia state Nigeria. I answered in the affirmative, and he took me to his room on the first floor. He brought out some beers. We drank as we chatted about life in the Heim.
I asked him what they did to make money in the camp and he promised to let me in the next day. He advised me to rest for the day. He asked me about the lady who came with me the previous day. I told him she was from the same camp as me. I denied having anything going between me and her. I had seen that he was interested in Agnes and I wasn’t going to drag woman matters with someone who was going to show me some business the next day. I believed he decided to let me in because of the girl but I decided to play dumb. Time will come when we will see who the master was. When Johnson went out again, I went to Agnes. I told her that I made rice, she refused to follow me. She said I should go and bring some for her. I did. I later took her to buy a cell phone too. We came back in the evening and separated again.
My fellow Igbo guys were chatting and joking when we came in. I greeted and joined them but kept quiet in a corner. Police had somehow come to where they were doing whatever they did and they had returned back to the Heim.
I listened since I had no clue what they were saying. We drank and ate chicken meat before everybody went to his room.
The following morning, I went to the train station and headed to Essen Westphalia.
I arrived at the Essen Central station at about 4:30 pm. I had changed trains in Magdeburg – Hannover – Braunschweig and Dortmund. The train timetable was printed and given to me when I bought the ticket at the Brandenburg station.
I called Afam when I got to Essen. He directed me to their Heim in Essen West. Theirs was far better than ours. Their state Westphalia was the richest state out of the sixteen states that made up Germany. The Westphalia state boasted of (Koln) Cologne, Dusseldorf, Essen, Aachen, Monchenglabach, Bielefeld, Duisburg, Dortmund, Mulheim and even Gelscheinkirchen; the city of Schalke 04 football club.
Other cities such as Oberhausen, Fulda and many large cities were also situated in Westphalia. It was obviously the largest state too in terms of population concentration.
When I got to Afam’s Heim, he took me outside and bought some beer and chicken. I cooked the stew in their kitchen while he moulded and smoked marijuana. There was one other man who shared his room with him. His name was Emeka, a dreadlocks sporting body builder.
When we finished eating, we went back to Oberhausen to get my bag from Matthew. I had called him again but his phone was still switched off. When we got to Oberhausen, we entered an Afro shop where a Yoruba man sold African food items. We asked him if he had seen Matthew recently. We wanted to ask around before going to ring his bell. The news we got from the man shocked us. Matthew had been arrested over one month ago, precisely in August, on charges of suspected of drug dealing. The police had monitored him for many nights before he was arrested. My mind flashed back to the day I and Nnenna saw Matthew being dragged out of the car and into his apartment. That was the day I left for the Camp. I was nearly caught in the net too. If I had been in the house when they brought Matthew, nothing would have stopped them from arresting me too.
We left Oberhausen and went back to Essen, Matthew could have my bag. I called Nnenna and asked after Matthew, she said he was arrested in August but she didn’t want to tell me yet. She also said that all those nights when Matthew claimed to have gone to work were actually drug deals. Her tone made it look like she didn’t care. Matthew was a guy who kept her in the house and gave her his keys. Matthew was also planning to take me out before he was arrested. I felt for him but I also knew instantly that such fate may be awaiting me too.
I told Nnenna that I was in Essen, she asked where I was and I told her. She promised to come in the night and pick me up. About 9 pm, Afam said he was going out to Dortmund. He told me plainly that he was going to “Ogboo” {the venue where they sold cocaine to Germans).
He asked me to stay in Essen. His reasons were that I needed to first of all, learn how to keep the drugs inside my mouth and how to swallow them if I suspected police presence. It was a little scary story, so I agreed to stay back in Essen for the time being. Twenty minutes after Afam left, Nnenna called and said she was downstairs. I walked down and met her. She was with a white guy inside a car. She asked how I had been and what I intended to do from then on. We chatted for a few minutes before we all got back into the car and drove to her hostel.
She lived in a general students’ hostel. Although it was a big hostel, she had her own room which was well decorated. The white guy had dropped us and left. She made salad for me while we talked.
She told me she might be pregnant but not for me. I didn’t really care since my clear objective at that time was how to make money. I didn’t want anything whatsoever to tie me down. When I finished chewing the salad like a hungry goat, she sat beside me and lay on my shoulder. Her mouth had found mine and we continued where we stopped two months earlier.

***********
First Taste of Hardship
Nnenna insisted that we made love that night. She had missed me so much, according to her. The white guy was a course mate at the University. I had wanted to know, out of silly jealousy before I touched her. She was not really sure if she was pregnant but she had missed her period and the date had passed by one week; it had never happened to her before, according to her.
At about 3 am, she called a taxi for me since I insisted on going back to Afam’s Heim. Afam could return anytime and it would be bad to keep him outside in the cold.
At about 7 am, there was a knock on the door. I thought it was Afam but when I opened the door, I saw two young German police officers.
”Guten Morgen,” They greeted and asked for my Ausweiss.
I left the door open and got my Identity card from my trouser pocket. I put on my clothes as they examined my Ausweiss and said I wasn’t supposed to be in Essen. They told me that my permit allowed me to stay only in The State of Brandenburg.
Please note that Brandenburg is a state in East Germany. Brandenburg an der Havel is a City Inside the State. Brandenburg an der Havel was the capital city of Brandenburg State but after the World war 2, 70% of the city was destroyed due to the concentration camp located there. As a result, the neighbouring city called Potsdam had taken over as the capital city.
The police officers wrote something on a piece of paper and gave me. They took my Ausweiss and said they would send it back to Brandenburg. They asked me to leave Essen instantly and threatened to handcuff me and send me back if they saw me there again when they return. They asked the Heim keeper not to allow me inside again too.
I suspected Emeka, Afam’s roommate had called them but I had no evidence. I asked the police officers to give me transport money since I had none, they turned away and left. I stood there like someone who had lost his phone and thought about the next thing to do.
Going back to Nnenna wasn’t an option, not with her quest and concentration on pregnancy; nobody was going to tie me down in one place.
I called Afam and told him what had happened. He called one of his friends Ugoo, and told him to accommodate me until he returned. I met Ugoo at the Essen Delving train station and we went to another Heim. Ugoo was living in the same room with a Benin young man. I forget his name. In the afternoon, Ugoo left to hustle outside. He didn’t tell the Benin guy that I was going to hang in there until evening. When the Benin guy wanted to go out, he asked me to go outside. I tried to explain to him that I was Afam’s cousin but he insisted on me staying out in the cold. I called Afam again and told him what had happened. He was furious on the phone. He called Ugoo and told him. Ugoo called one young lady from Zambia or Zimbabwe who lived in the same Heim with them. She came and took me out from the cold and we went back inside her own room. She was very upset at how they handled me. She made hot coffee and gave me. We got talking about things in general. I told her how it had been so far. She then advised that I go back to my Heim and find out what was happening there first.
Towards the evening, she made some Zimbabwean food and we ate. It was a little cold inside, she didn’t put the electric heater on; she said she didn’t like it much. She noticed that I was feeling cold and asked me to lie on the bed and cover myself, I did.
Twenty minutes later, she got tired of sitting and wanted to lie down too, so she crept into the bed and lay beside me. I covered her with the same blanket and some moments under the blanket, our lips magically found each other.

**********
No Place like Home
When I left the lady’s room and went back to Ugoo, Afam was there drinking beer; I joined him. We finished the beer and I told Afam that I would be going back to Brandenburg in the morning. He agreed it was a good idea and that I should find out what other people were doing in that area.
I slept in Ugoo’s room and in the morning, I called Afam and told him that I needed money for transport fare. He said he had no money with him and asked that I wait until the evening.
Instead of doing nothing the whole day, I decided to follow Moses, a guy I met in my Heim, down to a place where they worked. It was a warehouse where business men from Nigeria loaded their goods for export to Nigeria. We got a job to load a 40feet container with used fridges and freezers. Moses asked his colleagues that I joined them. We loaded the container and I got €50 as my share. It was enough for my transport back to Brandenburg since it was weekend.
There was one other businessman who had bought radiators and A/C fans. I helped him arrange them and he gave me another €20. When I got back in the evening, Afam had not come to Ugoo’s Heim like he said. I waited for him. When he got back, he gave me €30 and asked me to use the evening ticket. We went together to the Essen Central Station where I boarded the Inter City Express train (ICE, the fastest of all trains in Europe).
We used a different route to Berlin through Wolfsburg and Spandau. I stopped at Berlin Zoo Garten station and entered a smaller train down to Brandenburg an der Havel.

************
The Drug World
I had returned to Brandenburg in the early hours of Saturday. I collected my key from Iyi, the lady receptionist and went up to my room. I had kept my key with her because I shared the room with a Camerounian man named Sandis. When I settled down, I called Agnes to inform her that I was back in the Heim. She said she had left the Heim too. She had traveled to Berlin to stay with her cousin since there was no business for ladies in the Heim. She said she would return at the end of the month for her allowances.
I slept afterwards and when I woke up, I went to Johnson’s room to ask him what they did to make money in the Camp. There was no need to ask because as soon as he opened the door for me to enter, I saw a heap of marijuana. He was putting them in small sachets of one gram each. He explained that they packed them in 1g and sold them to the Germans outside. He said each one of them cost €8 or 2 sachets for €15. He said I could sell 1 sachet for €7.50 if the buyer had the change. I sat down and joined him to pack the weeds inside the small sachets. Since we were not measuring the marijuana to make sure it was actually more or less than 1g, he explained that I had to make sure that it was less instead of more. We finished tying 100g of marijuana and we got 110 sachets instead of 100 sachets. It was fun as I learnt the ropes.
That afternoon, Johnson gave me fifteen sachets and asked me to follow him. We went outside the Heim and buried our goods on the ground along the road, and then we started loitering along the roads like I had seen when I first came. There were other people too. Most of the customers already had their phone numbers. They usually called before coming. Whenever I saw a customer coming, I would rush to him or her only to be told that he or she had called Johnson or Jordan or Tony or one of the Fulani people from Guinea. They would laugh at me. They all even knew each other’s customers because when Jordan’s customer showed up without call, every other person would allow Jordan to sell. Those terrorists sold all their goods while my 15 pieces remained buried in the ground. I nearly wept.
An hour into the business, most of them went upstairs inside the Heim, I remained outside. I was determined to make a sale. Two minutes after they left, a young girl, about 18 years old strolled up to me and said, “Has du grass?” (Do you have grass?).
I didn’t understand German but what else could she be asking me?
I nodded and stretched my hand for money first.
Attaboy, pay before service. The perfect businessman had arrived in Brandenburg
.She looked at me curiously. She had not seen my face before and didn’t know if I sold good weeds or not. There were different types of weeds sold there; skunk, white widow, Thai weed, Super skunk and so on.
“Wo ist Tony?” (Where is Tony) she asked.
Why was this girl asking for Tony while I was here?
I looked back and saw Tony coming. The girl had called him on the phone. Tony gave her two sachets and went back upstairs.
What kind of wickedness is this? I thought.
How could he come down to grab €15Euros that nearly entered my hand? That was it, I had had enough.
I dug up my goods and went upstairs. They were all in the kitchen when I came up. They asked how much I sold and when they found out I had sold nothing, they joked and laughed at me.
In the evening of the same day, I followed them down again. Although I was discouraged to follow them but there was nothing else to do. I buried my goods again inside the same spot and went far ahead of them to look for customers. Sure, they had to be new customers who didn’t have their numbers. Luckily for me, I got one man. The problem was the language. Those skin heads didn’t understand, ‘give me money’ in any other language except German. I stopped the man and asked for money in English, he didn’t bulge. I asked for it in Igbo, no way. Finally I stretched my hand. He understood that one and gave me a €50 bill.
“Sieben, ich mochte sieben,” he said while sticking out seven fingers. I counted the fingers and there were seven of them. There and then, I learnt that seven was sieben in German. The problem was that Johnson didn’t cover the area of selling 7 sachets for €50. It was his goods and I didn’t have money to replace the balance. I refused and counted out six fingers. He asked for his money back; money that had touched my palms, no way.
I motioned him to follow me down to my shop (the ground where I buried the goods).
As I dug to get my goods, it was no longer there. Someone had taken it, someone who knew where I hid it. One of my people had taken my goods.
I stood like a tree deciding whether to give the man his money back or run away with it. Johnson had seen me, digging the ground while looking for the goods. He came down and asked what happened, I told him. He had taken it. He brought out the goods and handed them over to me. After selling to the German man, I followed Johnson up for more lessons. I had hidden the goods in a less than six inch hole but when I was searching for it, I had dug over 15 inches.
We sat down in his room as he began his lessons on Drug.
Lesson 1: Never waste too much time with a customer. Seal the sale as fast as possible.
Lesson 2: Don’t ever let your goods out of sight unless a trusted person was watching over it or unless you were absolutely sure nobody saw where you kept it.
Lesson 3:*****
After the lecture, I took more goods downstairs and into the cold weather of Eastern Germany.

***************
The Game
The first day at the Ogboo went well. I succeeded in making more sales. Johnson was nice to me. He was my master. At a stage, I started selling for others too. I had no money to start my own and the little I was making from the sales went into food and calls. Time to be paid our monthly allowances was a few days away. I had hoped to use the money I would receive to buy 50grams and tie them in sachets. I would go down when nobody was there even in the night to sell them.
I had started making my own customers too, giving out my numbers and telling them my name. They liked me a lot because I was the only person who would attend to them in the night, even after midnights. Sometimes customers would call Johnson or Jordan or anyone, if they were not around, they would call me to attend to the customers.
My outfield name was Milla. No one dared used his real name there. In less than a week, my popularity had soared from an amateur to an all-time-available Milla. I would go down anytime of the night to attend to customers who had called my number. Sometimes the customers who didn’t have our phone numbers would whistle with his or her mouth. We would hear them from the Heim and go down to attend to them.
The lazy Camerounian who shared the room with me had seen the improvements. Unfortunately for him, the older Camerounians in our Heim had no courage to deal on drugs like their Nigerian counterparts. All they did each day was to drink cheap beers. Fortunately for them, Germans were the highest producers of beer, so it made the products very cheap in the country. A can of beer was two times cheaper than its water equivalent. Water was the real deal. Rumour had it that the German rivers and lakes were poisoned during the WW2. I didn’t care anyway; the tap water was so clean. I figured that since we can swim and cook with the water, it wasn’t that dangerous. I started drinking it. I believed that no matter how dangerous natural water could be, it will never be as dangerous as whisky irrespective of what anybody thinks.
There was no way Germans with their science and technology must not have found a solution to what happened in 1943-1945. The business continued as usual. I eventually started saving some small money. Sometimes I would calculate my money and mentally change them into naira. Euro was hovering between 180 and 185 naira. €200 amounted to almost 40,000 Nigerian Naira. That was serious money to a poor Nigerian.
The day of our allowances came. The day was like a party day. All the people who had been posted to our Heim returned to collect their money. More than half of our Heim occupants usually left to the big cities. Some went to Berlin, Munich, Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Hamburg and so on. Just like the way I had left to Essen.
A night before the payment, the Heim was full. Music was blasting, the kitchen was busy. The Camerounians were drinking while the Pakistani and Indians were baking their flour food. The Biafrans were busy with their business. The major reason for the mass return was to let the authorities know that you were still living in Germany. It was said that if one missed the monthly allowance twice, the authorities will cancel out his or her name and arrest him/her whenever they returned.
The following morning, we all assembled in front of the Heim and names were called. When I heard my name, I went into the office with my Ausweiss. I had collected my Ausweiss a day after I returned to Heim from Essen. The German police had seized it in Essen and sent it back to the Heim. I was warned not to venture outside the state again or I would pay €40 each time they caught me. I received my own payment. It was a Schein, A kind of food stamp. We were required to use it in the local markets. It was a plan devised by the authorities to prevent people from leaving the Heim. The bad news was that we couldn’t use the Schein outside the city. The good news was that the local traders from Turkey and elsewhere would buy the Schein from us at a cut prize. A 200 euro Schein sold at 180 Euros. I sold my own Schein too. These payments happened at the end of every month. January payment would be given to us between December 28 and 30th. That was when the Germans who lived on social security got paid too. So much money circulated around during that period. The Germans who used to buy €20 worth of weeds increased to €50 and so on. I had no goods of my own, so I helped Johnson sell his. When we got back in the evening, Johnson said he was going to Berlin to buy goods the next day. He offered to take me along. He asked me how much money I had saved, I told him I had €300. He took it from me and added it to the one we were going to travel with the next day. I went back to my room and enjoyed some beer.
Agnes, my first love in camp had also returned for her own allowance. After the payment, we went to the mall together and bought food items. She wanted to sleep over before going back to Berlin. I gave her some money to buy recharge cards. She was pleased but the atmosphere between us was still awkward. I had no desire to tell her about love. I wanted things to be as casual as it were at that time. She called me when she finished cooking. It was some kind of sauce with white rice.
She was caring. She asked how life was going on with me. According to her, she had somehow run into John the bighead, my number one enemy back then in asylum camp. They had exchanged numbers and they were dating each other. I was a little jealous, not because Agnes was dating someone but because it was the Bighead of all people. I didn’t give it much thought though. I was a man on a mission, Mission to make money and move around the world freely like a bird. The last thing I wanted was a woman to hold me down; Not Agnes, Not Awiti, Not Nnenna and definitely not Melinda. I had only one person in mind. Efuah, she was with my child.

***********
Major Test
The day after our allowance was paid; I followed Johnson to Berlin to buy weed. We stopped at Alexander Platz train station and boarded the S-Bahn (A smaller train that circled Berlin).
We got to another smaller train station and went underground. I was almost scared when we were going underground. I saw people coming out of the ground like rabbits. It was when we got to about 40 feet underground that I discovered it was a train line. It was called the U-bahn.
Berlin had nine U-bahn lines that went to every angle of the city. The U-bahn was the fastest way to get to your destination in Berlin. Some U-bahn lines were up to an hour and half line. Berlin was a very large city. It was the capital divided into two during the troubles between East and West Germany.- the Berlin Wall. was demolished in 1989 when they unified.
Johnson and I followed the U-bahn for about ten minutes before we stopped at a place called Wedding (pronounced Vedding). We walked for another one minute from the U-bahn station and got into a big building. After pressing the bell, a Guinean man opened the doors for us. He greeted us and offered us beer, then went inside and brought out a half kilogram of weed. Johnson examined it and certified it good enough. Then the man brought out a different kind of drug called ‘hashes’. Hashes were not as strong as weed. People who felt that weeds were too strong for them smoked hashes.
We paid two thousand euros for the weed and nine hundred for the hashes, and then we finished our beers and left the man’s house. The drugs were stuffed inside a backpack kind of bag which Johnson gave me to carry. I was so scared but I couldn’t show it. That was when I felt the biggest fear of my life. I had heard about people who went to five or more years imprisonment because of drugs. I carried the bag and fixed it on my back. I was so scared that I could hardly breathe but since I was already carrying the bag, there was nothing I could do.
We came out of the man’s house and walked back to the Wedding U-bahn station. When we stopped at the Alexander Platz train station where we were supposed to board the train back to our Heim, Johnson said he was going somewhere. He told me to take the bag back to Brandenburg and wait for him. Berlin to Brandenburg was a thirty minutes journey. I waited for the train while Johnson went to God knows where.
Right inside the train, my mind was not at rest. I thought about every possible thing that could happen to me if I got caught by the police. I thought about my family in Nigeria, about Efuah in Ghana with her pregnancy, about Agnes and Awiti. I thought about how long I would spend in prison if they caught me. It was only when the train announced that we had reached Brandenburg that my mind was able to rest. I got down from the train and entered the already waiting bus that took us to the Heim. I took the bag to Johnson’s room and locked it up. He had given me his keys. As soon as I closed Johnson’s doors, I ran down and went to the mall to buy something to cook. I felt like a warrior who had won a war against the German police.
When Johnson returned some twenty minutes after I had returned, we went into his room and opened our bags. He said I had passed the first test and that since I was not scared, I was destined for greater things. Only if he knew that I nearly threw the bag away when I saw a police car in the television that was inside the train.
When we opened the bag, he measured fifty grams of weed and gave me. He also gave me the sachets to tie them. I took my weed to my room and kept it inside my cupboard, and then I went back to the Eurospar to buy a can of air freshener. We used the air freshener to clear up the air while tying the weeds.
When I returned, I took my key from the reception and went upstairs to my room. To my greatest surprise, my door was open but nobody was inside. Instantly I suspected that something had happened inside the room. I fearfully passed my door and looked inside to check if the police were inside since we heard that they had master keys to every door in Germany. There was nobody inside. I walked in and found my cupboard open. Somebody had opened it and took the weed. I checked if the door lock was broken but it was not. Then I knew who had done it. It was my Camerounian roommate.
That coward from Cameroun had taken my weed. The weed I had saved all my money to buy. The weed where all my hopes had been hinged had been stolen. One bad thing about drugs was that you can’t report that you lost it to the authorities. It was an illegal business and you couldn’t even make noise about it.
What was the next thing to do? My heart was beating faster than normal, my blood had gone hot. I left my door open and went down to the first floor where Johnson lived. As soon as he saw my eyes, he knew that something had happened. He asked what it was and I told him. He asked me to sit down and calm down first. He brought out a can of Becks beer and gave me. He told me not to make noise about it.
After the beer, we closed his door and we went outside to look for the thief. I had seen him rushing outside on my way back from where I went to buy the air freshener. We searched everywhere but couldn’t find him. On our way back to Johnson’s room, we heard the Camerounians drinking beer inside one room. We knocked and opened the door, the thief was among them. As soon as he saw us, he looked away. They all stopped talking and looked at us. I called him outside and asked where he had kept my weed. He denied stealing it. I told him that the receptionist said he had taken our key when I went outside, but he maintained that he didn’t take it. Johnson dragged me away from him because I was beginning to shout.
We got back to Johnson’s room and I helped him package his own goods. When we finished, he gave me another fifty grams and asked me to pay him up when I had enough money. That was the only thing that calmed me down because I was not ready to sell for them again and wait for another one month to get my allowance.
In the night, I went up to my room and found the useless thief on his bed. As soon as he saw me, he got up and sat down. I didn’t say anything; I just opened my cupboard to bring out my knife to cut chicken that I had bought the day before. As soon as he saw the long stainless blade, he jumped out of the room like Ben Johnson. It was funny but I didn’t laugh. I had just found the opportunity to chase him out and own the room all alone. I came out to the passage and as soon as he saw me, he quickened his pace and vanished. I went inside the house and laughed. Later that night, a Camerounian called Guy knocked on my door. When I opened it, he said he had come to carry his friend’s bag. I allowed him to take the bag and some other things that belonged to the thief.
That was how I got the room all to myself.
From then on, I stopped keeping my key at the reception. The room belonged to me alone and there was no need to keep the key there. The thief had moved in with Guy. Each time we met on the road, he would be on alert as if I was going to stab him to death. He eventually left the Heim and relocated to where, I never found out. He only returned to take his allowances at the end of every month.
I made almost €450 from the weed Johnson gave me. I gave him all the money and he gave me more. Within one week, I returned his credit to him and from the profit I had made, I started my own business. The room was mine alone, so I didn’t fear losing my goods anymore.
Life became sweeter from then on. Sometimes I would call Agnes and ask her how she was doing. I didn’t know the whereabouts of Awiti and Melinda; else I would have been calling them too. I called Africa almost every day as well. I talked to Efuah all the time. Sometimes, I would offer to send her money but she always declined telling me that she had enough. She just wanted me to be alright. Her pregnancy had reached four months and her stomach was getting bigger every day. She would take pictures and send to my email address.
By the ending of November 2002, I had saved up over €8000 of my own. I would sometimes mentally change my money to Naira and smile. Life on the street remained the same. We would go out in the morning and return at noon. Then we would rest and go back in the evening. By November, the winter had come. Everywhere was very cold. The authorities had given us winter allowances of €100. I used mine to but winter jackets and winter boots. I hated cold, so I would wear three pullovers beneath my jacket. I would also wear tight trousers before putting on my regular trousers. I had fitted in perfectly into the system and there was no stopping me. I was the youngest Nigerian in the Heim at twenty-two, so the older ones such as Jordan who was 35 back then and Tony who was 40 would encourage me to save money. They said that if I continued the way I was hustling for three consecutive years, I would have enough money to live a free life.
They were right.
By December 2002, the snow had fallen everywhere. The whole city was covered with ice. We wore boots with snow soles because the flat soles were slippery. On December 29, 2002, the day of our monthly allowance, Agnes returned to the Heim to collect her money. Her stomach was somehow big. I approached her and we got talking. She said she heard that I was doing fine in the Heim. She said she missed me and that life was not easy for her. I wanted to ask her to return to the Heim so that I could cover her. I could have been paying her more than the authorities were paying us. I was making over €1500 every month. The problem was that she had taken in. My Agnes was pregnant and the worst of it all was that it was for John the Bighead. That bastard had won Agnes while I was busy looking for money. I cried over a woman the first time.
By the end of 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 requested that we meet in Frankfurt where his flight would land before returning to Nigeria. That very morning, I travelled to Frankfurt for the first time. My Ausweiss was not supposed to reach there but since we didn’t buy train tickets with our IDs, I travelled 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. Those items included hot drinks, many used phones, wrist watches and nice shirts. 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 leaving the following morning.
I got to the hotel and waited for him. I sat at the hotel bar drinking whisky and smoking Marlboro Menthol. The hotel was mostly patronized by travellers on transit in Frankfurt international airport. Many travellers were there; Americans, Asians, Africans and so on. I mixed up and became just another traveller. Unknown to people at the hotel, 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 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. I also gave him €7000 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 but 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 €500,000. The man took my €200 and promised to give it back to me with interest when next we meet. I left Frankfurt and travelled back to Berlin where I connected another train down to Brandenburg an der Havel, my golden city.

Chapter Five
Life Goes On
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 called me just like others before they came 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 heroin. Fortunately for us, we didn’t deal in such drugs. The German government was 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 if our opinions counted. We voted against legalizing it because it would mean that people would be able to 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 when 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 didn’t drive such flashy cars. Everybody evaporated upstairs as usual except Johnson and me. We had come downstairs with a soccer ball. Our goods were buried in 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 Zinedine Zidane had surfaced in Brandenburg. It was 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 back in our continent. 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 our drugs.
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 gave me a go-to-hell glare 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 part 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 residential areas. One or two elderly people who loved peeping from their windows must have been seeing me. 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 beard every day and calm manner of approach. A drug addict hardly used gentle and calm approach to do 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 too. She came to Heim for her February allowances. I invited her into my room and asked after her wellbeing. She told me that John had not found work and that she was still staying with her aunt in Berlin. John the Bighead also lived 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.
Of course 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 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 centre and bought her two nice dresses. I also bought her an electric hand hair drier and a new phone. Then I saw her off to the train station where I bought her ticket back to Berlin and gave her another €200.
She cried.
*********
A new girl arrived in the Heim some days before our payday. I didn’t know where she came from but everyone in the Heim had girlfriends except me. Johnson was dating Marie, a white German girl whose father was a German Soldier. Her parents had kicked against the relationship but they respected their daughter’s wish too. The girl loved Johnson so much and she was interfering in his business. That meant that I had to take over the supply from Johnson. I was the one who now goes to Berlin to buy weeds in large quantities. I had met a man called Tony in Berlin where I had gone to buy goods, we had exchanged numbers and he told me that he imported weeds and hashes from Amsterdam, the European capital of drugs.
On one of my trips to buy goods in Berlin, I called Tony and we met. He supplied me the goods I wanted and gave me another one kilo of weed on credit. I got to the Heim and supplied every dealer a hundred gram and asked them to pay me what they paid where they usually got theirs in Hamburg. Some of them had no contact in Berlin which was thirty minutes away. They go as far as Hamburg to buy 100 grams of weeds which was risky since Hamburg was over three hours away from Brandenburg. I supplied them 100 grams of weed at the same price they bought it in Hamburg, thereby eliminating their transport cost and above all, the risks involved. They were happy and had no reasons to travel to Hamburg again. On the other hand, I supplied them on credit sometimes but since we lived in the same Heim, getting my money wasn’t that difficult. Within one month of dealing with Tony, I had become the biggest dealer in the whole of the city. Money was flowing from every angle. I would buy a kilo from Tony at €3800 and distribute at €5 per one gram. I would make €1200 from supplying one kilo and still make more gains from supplying my customers from Germany.
I supplied one kilo every week which meant that I made up to €1200 a week from supplies and another €1000 or more from retails. I started saving up to €7000 every month. The allowances from Germany government, which people scrambled for, meant nothing to me anymore but I still collected mine. I was getting rich and getting it fast for that matter. The new girl who had come was living in the Heim. She had no boyfriend. Every other guy had a girlfriend except me. The new girl had done everything to grab me but I was on a mission and I needed no interference from anybody. I was leaving a lot of money carelessly in my room and wouldn’t want anybody to be in the room in my absence except Johnson of course who I suspected had much more money than I had.
The new girl tried everything she could to encroach on me and she succeeded.
Her name was Fatimah, I wasn’t interested in where she came from but I believed it was Guinea or Burkina Faso. She spoke French but understood enough English to know when she was told to remove her clothes. I didn’t like her, she was not my type. I was still in love with my Agnes but it seemed destiny had taken Agnes away from me.
One afternoon, after supplying goods to my fellow dealers in the Heim, I decided not to go to the field to hustle. Instead I opened a bottle of Johnny Walker and soaked myself in it. When I went out to take my bath, I saw Fatimah on the corridor standing in front of one Guinean man’s door. I smiled at her and told her to come in. We chatted a little since there was language problem. I told her to wait in my room while I took my bath. When I finished, I came into the room and saw her sprawled on my bed with her upper thighs exposed deliberately. I ignored her and creamed my body. Somehow, my dick had started rising. It was going to happen finally, I thought.
I was still standing when she got out of bed and pulled down my towel. I was now stark naked. That little girl had no fear of the fearless drug lord. Whoever told her to go after me must have told her to take chances. I was torn between shouting at her and playing it cool; because after all, she was a woman and I believed every woman had the same thing. I turned around and held her around the waist. I carried her back to the bed and laid her on her back, then I unzipped her short sexy skirt and found out she wore no underwear. She came prepared.
Since I didn’t love her or even like her, I didn’t bother sucking her breasts or playing any kind of foreplay game. I just climbed on top of her after putting on my durex condom and pumped away.
When we climaxed, she was smiling because she thought she had captured the drug kingpin. I had other plans.

************
I’m A Rich Boy
By March 2003, I had saved up a lot of money. I also became afraid that something could happen to it, so I went to Berlin with Johnson to buy vehicles and ship to Nigeria. I purchased 2 Mercedes 190, A Honda civic, a V-boot Mercedes and one Mitsubishi L300 bus. I removed the headlamps and other items that could be stolen, put them inside the bus and loaded it up with some other items such as engines and used TVs. We drove them to a shipping yard that belonged to a man called Jude Owa, a man from somewhere in Delta state of Nigeria. We paid up for the shipment and went into the Berlin city centre.
There was a Nigerian restaurant in Flughafen Strasse. A man from Onitsha was the owner of the joint, his name was Akunne. There were many Nigerians drinking and eating when we came to eat. Somehow, news that an unknown Nigerian guy had come into Berlin and purchased 5 vehicles had reached the Akunne joint ahead of us. People were heard talking about the guy who purchased the vehicles. Some said they knew him, some said he was their friend and that they had gone to night clubs with him. Unknown to them, the guy who bought the vehicles was sitting right there with them eating Semo and Egusi soup.
When we finished eating, Johnson, being a more reserved person said it was time to go back to Brandenburg. A part of me wanted to stay back in Berlin and drink more and even buy drinks for the Nigerian guys there. The way some of them were begging for food told me that they were hungry and poor. I told Johnson to go back alone. We were supposed to buy some weed before going back. I told him I would buy them when returning in the evening.
When Johnson left, I bought a bottle of Jack Daniel whisky which cost about €30 back then and sat in one corner. I placed the whiskey in front of me and drank alone. About twenty minutes later, Jude Owa, the owner of the shipping yard came there to eat. As soon as he saw me, he walked straight to me and shook my hand. He said I was the first customer who bought vehicles and paid for the shipment instantly. We talked some more and he said the vehicles would be in Cotonou before three weeks. People started picking interest and before I knew it, every Nigerian at the joint was shaking my hands. They were surprised, especially Akunne that a guy my age could pull such a feat. Some of them got glasses and joined me to drink whisky. We finished it up and I bought more. Some didn’t drink strong spirits, so they took beers. Some said they had not eaten since morning, so they took food. By the time I spent two hours at the joint, I had also spent over €400. One of them had given me a name; “Ozoigbondu 1”. The name I was to be remembered for the rest of my days in Berlin and Germany.
I became the toast of the joint. The ambitious ones wasted no time in asking me what I did for a living. Some wanted to know where I came from or where I lived. Some asked for my phone number and so on. It was a Thursday, so I promised them that I would be in town again on Saturday afternoon so that we would go to a night club. I took my bag from Akunne and exited the joint through the back door. I went to Tony, my supplier and bought a kilo of weed and two kilos of hashes and went back to Brandenburg. I usually hid my goods inside the forest near the Silokanal of Brandenburg. Silokanal was a man-made river behind our Heim.
Howecer, that night, I had taken too much alcohol in Berlin. I wasn’t in a good state of mind to hide the goods that night. I just divided the goods and gave Johnson his, and then I took mine to my room and hid it inside my sofa. I had used knife to cut open the sofa through its hand and made a hole in it. I used to hide small goods, especially the ones I couldn’t sell for the day in it but that night; I had just bought large quantity. I put the drugs inside the hole in the sofa and left it there. One other reason why I decided not to go to the bush while I was drunk was that I couldn’t be careful enough. If anybody saw me hiding the goods, the person would steal it. Some German weed heads usually patrol along the area at night looking for drugs to steal.
There was another Yoruba guy, Bola who had been posted to our Heim in December. He was a thief and had followed some people into the bush in the night to know where they hid their goods. Then he would steal them when the owners left. I couldn’t risk Bola following me into the bush that night, so I decided to hide them in my room. Unfortunately for me, around 4 am the following morning, the German Police invaded Brandenburg Heim. The drugs were discovered.

*********
Thief and Victim
I didn’t hear the sound of their vehicles when they arrived. It was very early in the morning. The whisky I drank in Berlin woke me up around 3 am. I used that opportunity to prepare the goods I would sell the following day. When I finished tying the goods, I wrapped one joint and smoked; I had started smoking, a bad move.
One of the lessons of drug was never to get high on the stuff you deal.
After 4 am, I thought I heard some kind of noise outside. We were all in the habit of looking out of our windows if we heard any vehicle sound. Most of the time, it would turn out to be taxis or private cars but that very morning when I looked through the window, tens of green and white police cars had surrounded the Heim. Hundreds of police officers had covered every angle of the Heim. My heart skipped a beat and I went into thinking mode. My mind jumped from one thing to another without getting hold of anything. I wanted to gather my drugs and throw them out of the window. I knew they would pick it and bring it back to me, so I decided to take my chances.
My brother in Nigeria had called days earlier and said he bought lands for me. I had bought some cars and took them to the shipping yard. I also had some small money that I left in Nigeria before traveling. I had sent one million naira to my mother to save for me. Therefore, those German police can take me to prison even if I spent 4 years there, I would still be richer than many Nigerians who had lived in Germany years before I came. I went to my door and opened it to look along the passage; two police officers were already standing in front of my door. I didn’t hear their footsteps. They both kitted up like they had come to arrest Osama Bin Laden.
“Guten Morgen herr Ebot” one of them said.
Those skinheads even knew my name. Apparently they had come for me. They must have heard how drugs were being distributed in the Heim.
I answered their greeting and asked what was happening. I already knew but I enjoyed pretending to be a fool whenever I was with the police.
One of them just asked me to go back inside and sit down. I moved backwards and sat on the sofa where I had hidden the drugs. I obeyed them, not that I had many options.
A few minutes later, they entered my room and started searching. The search was going on in the other rooms at the same time except unoccupied ones. Several minutes into the search, they found nothing. They turned everything upside down except the chair I was sitting on. I was deliberately sitting there because that was where I hid the drugs. It was about one kilogram of weeds and two kilograms of hashes worth €5500 Euros in cost price.
The search went on for several more minutes and when they couldn’t find anything, they asked where I had hidden my drugs, I denied having anything. They didn’t believe it. The search continued. I had opened my windows when I saw the police cars outside, the cold weather of Germany had surged into my room and within minutes, the smell of the joint I smoked had evaporated. We were in the winter. They had almost concluded their search when one of them asked me to stand up and move to the bed. At that moment, I knew they would find the drugs.
He turned the chair upside down and something made some noise under it; it was the water-proof bag I had used to cover it. He put his hand in his pocket and brought out a sharp dagger. It was almost funny. These people had prepared for war should in case they met resistance. They must have thought that we dealt on hard drugs. But then they were some Arabs living in the Heim and dealing on drugs as well. Maybe they had guns. The police man tore the base of the chair with the dagger and brought out the drugs. He put them together with my measurement scale on the table and used his police phone to call their leader. The head of the Kripo (Kriminal Polizei) came up to my room and saw the drugs on the table. He then called the media lady to come with her video camera
They took pictures of the drugs and pictures of me. Then they asked me to stand near the drugs for a picture. I asked them why. One of them said it was to show that they found the drugs with me. I asked them what was inside the bags on the table; they just looked at me as if I was silly.
I asked them to tell me what it was; one of them said it was drugs. I faked a surprise and asked them what they wanted to do with it. I told them that the bag didn’t belong to them and that they should leave it for the owner. The Kripo leader explained to me that they were police officers that had come to search for drugs and they found the drugs in my room. He said the drugs were illegal. As soon as they mentioned that the drugs were illegal, I looked up at the leader and said, “Das ist nicht meine” (that is not mine).
I braced my cheeks for a surprise slap from one of them but none came. They were different from the Nigerian police who had slapped me more than once in Nigeria. They asked me who owned them, I said I didn’t know. I told them that the room didn’t belong to me alone. There was another man who shared the room with me, I told them. They asked for his name and I mentioned Sandis, the Camerounian who had stolen my weed in October of the previous year. They looked on the list of names and rooms they had with them and confirmed that the room belonged to me and one Sandis from Cameroun. The authorities had not assigned him a new room officially because he never approached them for it. He only came to the Heim during the month ends. We had been paid allowances two days earlier and Sandis returned for his money. He had left a day before the invasion. The Kripo leader asked where Sandis was, I told them that I saw him last night but I didn’t know where he was. I told them that he slept in the room sometimes but not all the time. They took notes and after proper procedures, asked me to sign under my name. I told them that I wasn’t going to sign anything without knowing what it was. They explained that written on the paper, was the things found inside my room and what I said. I signed it and they left with the drugs. They didn’t take me along. Sandis was the culprit; He was going to pay for stealing my weeds.
Several people were arrested but due to the fact that we hardly leave drugs in our rooms, only small amounts of weeds were found in their rooms. Not enough to send them to prison. They were taken to the police station and finger-printed. Jordan was among them. I and Johnson were the only Nigerians in Heim that were not finger-printed. Johnson had gone to his white girlfriend’s house to sleep. The thief, Bola whom I had nicknamed Derico was whisked away to the station too. Some missing items from the Eurospar mall near us had been found in his room. Chibuzo the tall slim guy from Anambra state was taken to the station as well.
When they returned from the police station, they said that I used voodoo to confuse Police. Yes, I used tactical juju.
I have always believed there is a solution to every given problem; one just needed to exploit every possible thing.
After the invasion, everybody was scared to continue business. They were afraid that if they got caught again, they would be sent to prison. Since I was not finger printed, I had no reason to fear. The smokers had been calling their suppliers who didn’t pick their calls. They had piled up around the Heim, blowing whistle to alert us that they needed weed. Somehow, I got motivated and took drugs from Johnson and went outside, back to the street, back to my customers and back to making money. I was the only one outside for over one week and within that one week, I made triple of what I used to make. I recovered my lost €5500 worth of lost drugs.

************
New Arrival
After the invasion, I went to Berlin and found an apartment. It was a one room apartment. Akunne Onitsha had used his Passport to rent it for me. I also started keeping my money with Akunne in Berlin. I would travel to Berlin every week to buy drugs in large quantities, and then I would keep them in the new apartment and travel back to Brandenburg with little stuff. Most of the dealers were on break. I was the only person who didn’t care much about being arrested. I believed that if I was captured by the police, they would pardon me after finger printing. That was the rule and we all knew it. As a result, the others started hating me. They became envious to the point that they couldn’t even hide it. My security was in danger, and that was the reason behind the new apartment in Berlin. The new little boy had taken over Brandenburg.
I would go to Berlin every Friday and sleep there until Sunday night, and then I would take the last train back to Brandenburg.
I once decided to attend the Nigerian church in Berlin. I found Agnes and John Bighead there. That was the church they attended. I am not a church person. I just went there because the pressure from Heim was getting too much. I tried as much as possible to stay away from the Heim. The Bighead had somehow heard that I had money. Agnes must have told him or he might have heard it in one of the Nigerian joints. He approached me after the Church with a devilish smile which translated into, “I have Agnes now, what can you do”?
We exchanged numbers anyway and I gave him €150 after the Church. It was such big money for him judging by the way he thanked me. He almost knelt down.
I also gave Agnes €100 Euros. It was Agnes I intended to give all the money. I just shared it among them to eliminate suspicion from Bighead. He knew Agnes was posted to the same place with me and he knew that I liked her.
April was approaching, it was the summer again. The period when every angle would be filled with sexy ladies in short skirts; white thighs flashing everywhere. I had saved up enough money again and I didn’t want to buy more cars so I got a new plan.
Ken, my cousin who lived with us in Nigeria had been clamouring to come to Europe. He was a good footballer, so I decided to take my chances on him. I travelled to Essen and got him a business invitation letter from a shipping company there. He applied for visa in the German Embassy with it and was granted. I sent him more money for ticket and BTA. He boarded air France enroute Berlin but he was stopped in Charles De Gaule airport, Paris and taken to the Deportation Camp. I went to the Tegel airport Berlin to welcome him. I spent the whole day at the airport drinking coffee and gin. By 5 pm, I knew something had happened, so I left the airport and went back to Brandenburg.
The following morning, he called me from the deportation camp in Paris. He said he had left his invitation letter in Nigeria. He didn’t know it was that important. The immigration police had asked for it at the airport but he couldn’t provide it. His visa was genuine but he was taken there to be deported alongside others.
I called the company that gave him invitation letter in Essen and told them what happened. They said they could not reach the immigration police in Paris. Immediately after talking to Marcel, the guy who sent the letter, Ken called me from a pay phone. I asked him the other people there, he said that the Red Cross society were the people feeding them. I asked him to ask for their phone number and call me back. Ten minutes later, he called me back and gave me the office number of the Red Cross in Paris, the airport wing. I called them and told them what happened. They asked me to forward a copy of the invitation letter to them through fax. I called Essen again and after much haggling, they agreed to send the copy if I sent them €400. Ken had said that there were going to court the following day. It was at the court that they stamped your deportation ticket if you fail to provide enough evidence.
I boarded ICE fast train and travelled to Essen. I gave them the money before they sent the copy of the letter to the Paris Red Cross. I asked the Red Cross to give a copy to Ken to hold.
The next day in Court, the Red Cross took the letter to court and the Judge set Ken free.
The next problem was that he had missed his original flight to Berlin. I told him to ask people where he could get a bus to Berlin. He did and found the big Gare Du Nord station in Paris. Then he travelled overnight from Paris to Berlin. I went to the bus station to welcome him. My third investment had arrived safely to Germany.

************
Guns and Roses
Anja was a local Brandenburg girl. Like most of her peers, she smoked weed. She had come to buy weed one evening but somehow misplaced her money. I gave her a credit of €8 and she took my phone number. The following day, she called and said she would come in an hour. When she arrived, I asked her to follow me upstairs to my room. She hesitated a little but eventually followed me. When we got into the room, I wrapped two joints and we smoked. Afterwards, I cooked white yam and we ate it with tomato sauce.
When she was ready, she announced that she was leaving but I asked her to sleep over. Agreeing, she called her parents and told them she wouldn’t return that night. It was a Friday, so I left her in the room and went to hustle outside. I needed quick money because I wanted us to go to a night club. About 9 pm, we went to the local night club behind the central train station. I was the only black guy there. The racist Nazis initially refused to open the door for me. It was when Marko, one of the people I supplied weeds came and told them to either open up for me or there would be scarcity of drugs in town, that they opened up for me and Anja.
We sat at a corner and drank Smirnoff Ice, a mixture of Vodka and soft drinks. Half of the people at the club were the people I knew very well. Some of them greeted me very well. Others asked if I had come with drugs. They didn’t sell weeds inside the club; they sold a different kind of drugs. These were tablets. The name was Ecstasy. I had not heard about it prior to that night. I bought three pieces for €15 and pocketed it. I was determined to find out all about Ecstasy. I danced with Anja and we left the club around 3 am. We took the ever waiting taxi and went back to the Heim. As soon as we got home, Anja slept.
When we woke up around 8am, some customers had called my number and since my Nokia 3310 was in a silent mode, I didn’t hear them. On our way outside in the morning, we ran into that Fatimah girl who had been claiming that she owned me. She was angry but there was nothing she could do. I never really liked her and she was beginning to notice.

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Other Things
I was very good at geography during my secondary school days, in fact, I loved maps more than anything else. The first thing I did when I arrived in Brandenburg was to locate the library. I had gone there and found the city map. The way the map was drawn made it very easy for me to locate all the neighbouring towns. Brandenburg an der Havel was surrounded by Rathenow in the North, Ziesar in the South-West, Kade in the West, Wenzlow in the South, Lennin in South East and then Potsdam and Berlin in the East. The shortest and normal route to Brandenburg from Berlin was through Potsdam. Each time I had a feeling that I was being followed, I would enter a train from Berlin and head towards Rathenow in the North of Brandenburg. From Rathenow, I would head to Kade which was about 25km from Brandenburg. Then I would use a train from Kade to a small town between Kade and Brandenburg. Stopping at the town, I’d take a taxi to anywhere close to the Heim.
Sometimes, I would take a taxi from Berlin and stop across the Silokanal, and then trek to the Heim. I enjoyed taking the police and other German authorities on a ride. I knew every small town near Brandenburg. The whole district was my turf. It was a big advantage over other dealers, but one thing was strange throughout that period; I had become immune to fear. Nothing seemed to jolt me at all. I was out of the world. I had become a beast, something I didn’t know I had in me. I had started smoking marijuana daily. I would wrap four or five sticks of skunk weed and smoke them while playing my PS 2 alone.
I had also started growing dreadlocks by then. I had broken another rule of a drug dealer; “Don’t ever wear anything special for a long time”. Money was coming in. I had gone to Berlin and bought more cars. I bought a new E36 BMW 325i. More people had come from Nigeria to me. I didn’t sponsor any other person after another cousin of mine came from Brazil. He had lived in my apartment in Berlin before I sent him to camp.
John a.k.a. Awada or Abada had come from Onitsha Nigeria too. I kept him for two weeks and sent him to camp. Others I didn’t know before also came through me.
During the following summer, Agnes gave birth to a baby boy. No doubt, he resembled John the Bighead. She called the boy Victor. They returned to the Heim and lived there again. Agnes was a sensible girl, since she knew John had no money and that I liked her, she knew that I wouldn’t allow her to suffer the child upbringing alone. She thought it would be difficult to penetrate me but when she tried, I welcomed her and Victor into my life. I minimized the rate of my hustling just to stay with them. After breakfast every morning, she would carry Victor and come to my room. They would stay there until the night again when I would take them back to their room and stay with them until it was time to sleep, then I would return to my room.
Some group of new people had been posted to the Heim again. Among them were Nnamdi Ndifor from Nnewi. He was from Nnewi, just like Jordan, yet Jordan could not teach him what was happening in the Heim. He was referred to me by everybody he talked to but there was only one problem: he had graduated from ESUT University in Nigeria.
We were talking someday and I told him that I didn’t go to the University before I came to Europe. He immediately started that arrogance associated with some of Anambra people. He felt I was inferior to him.
How can a Wawa guy from Enugu State be the boss in the Heim? He is not even educated. No it can’t be. I was the guy who went to ESUT. He is even dating Agnes, the most beautiful girl in Heim.
These sentiments were written all over Ndifor’s face. In order to show me that he was better than me since he was educated, he went and asked Agnes out. That was his biggest mistake in years.

**********
Obey the Laws
The first law of power was the 6th law of a drug dealer.
It says “Never try to outshine your master.” That was what Nnamdi Ndifor had done. I could have easily ignored his ranting about education but going to Agnes to tell her that I was not educated, just to get between her pants, was unpardonable. He had to pay.
As a drug dealer, the 7th rule was never to stir up trouble. Problems had a way of coming on its terms, not how we wanted it. Confronting Ndifor face to face would be bad for my reputation. Besides I had not told Agnes anything about dating. She had told me that she was separated from John. I didn’t care. Even if she separated, Victor was just eight or nine months old. I couldn’t date her yet. I just played the father role to Victor and left things that way. But Ndifor going to Agnes to bad-mouth me because of ESUT, it was out of line. He was going to pay for the insolence although he was older than me.
Two months had passed since he came out of camp, but he had not started anything. Jordan had eventually taught him how to tie the drugs and how much they were sold.
The problem was the supply. Jordan had tried to supply him from the ones he got from me. I had noticed when Jordan, who had been requiring 50grams at a time from me, started demanding for 100grams. I cut the supply to Jordan as a punishment. He was angry with me. He travelled to Hamburg to buy 150 grams. He paid transport fare which was over €60, and then he took the risk. He gave Ndifor 50 grams out of the 150grams. For two days, I refused to supply weed to the Heim. The 150 he got from Hamburg finished in within those two days, and then the Heim was in need of weed again. Then, I released goods in the Heim but not to Jordan and his ally Ndifor. After three days, Jordan made a wise decision. He came to beg. He was no longer interested in carrying Ndifor’s cross. He reminded me how we were closer before the Ndifor showed up. I placed him back on 50grams a week. I knew it wasn’t enough for him but it was far better than going to Hamburg.
Agnes had somehow noticed that there was trouble. I no longer cared much about Victor. I stopped opening my doors for them even when I was inside. She caught me while closing my door one evening, I allowed her to enter. She had come to ask what she did wrong. Apparently she did nothing wrong but she was caught up in a jealousy game and in the game of war; you cannot supply food or weapons to your enemy.
Agnes cried in my room that day. I only took one look on Victor and forgave her; even though she did nothing. Jordan and Agnes had returned, it meant that I was reclaiming my kingdom. It remained Ndifor, the educated Engineer who had seen every other person in the Heim as inferior because he wasted a few years in a system that hardly produced food for its people. Germany was paying him the equivalent of 40,000 Naira a month for doing nothing while in the city that hosted ESUT graduates; some educated people In Nigeria earned 10,000 naira a month then.
We would meet on the road or stairway and just pass each other without much talk. I was the boss and I followed the hierarchy ladder, not academic route. Johnson, Tony, Jordan etc had stopped school after elementary six. I still respected the rules; I never tried to make them know that I had gone further than them.
At a stage, Ndifor left Heim to hustle elsewhere. I didn’t know where it was but he returned after two weeks. He clearly started staying miles away from Agnes. I didn’t know what he heard but somehow, he ran away from Agnes and Victor. Victor on the other hand had started walking. I would take him to the city alone while Agnes rested. I would buy him toys and foods and so on. He started calling me daddy. He became my son and as a result, I took care of them. Agnes started saving money for her mother back home in Uganda. She said she wanted to send some money to her mum and the younger sister Winnie who both lived in Kampala, Uganda. She said her mother required €300 to start a mini poultry back home. I sent the money to her mother in Uganda. The woman wanted to thank me on the phone but I refused to talk with anybody. I lied to Agnes that I didn’t want my voice to travel to any other country in Africa except Cameroun. I also told her that I had stopped calling my country as well. I didn’t want to get too involved with them. Getting involved would only mean sending more money to them and not the other way round. I eventually got involved with her sister Winnie, but that was just on the phone. She once said on the phone that she wanted to come to Europe too.
I added her phone number to the reject list on my phone and she stopped calling after that.

*************
The day I waited for arrived one afternoon. Nnamdi Michael Ndifor knocked on my door. I opened up asked what it was. He knelt down instantly and begged me not to continue the punishment. He said he was wrong. He apologised for what he said to Agnes, he apologised for his bad ego and he apologised for looking down on me. I gave him a further one week suspension before I opened my wings to him. A month after I opened my empire to him, he bought a Mercedes E220.
Sometime in 2004, Agnes had totally cut off John or the other way round. John had visited our Heim to see his son sometime in early 2004. I hosted his visit. I took him around town and bought him drinks and food, and then together with Agnes, I saw him off, to the train station where he boarded a train back to whatever German hole he lived in. However, after that visit, he had stopped coming and Agnes never said anything about him again. I once asked but she ignored the question but when I persisted, she cried and I never asked again. It was me she wanted and she succeeded. Yes, she finally captured the Boss of Brandenburg and her life changed.

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Stop and Search
It was on a Sunday evening. I had returned from Berlin where I went to buy African foodstuffs and Nigerian movies for Agnes and Victor. I had stopped at the Brandenburg Train Station when I was immediately circled by some Kriminal Polizei on mufti. Their leader who wore ear ring on the left ear blocked me from moving as soon as I alighted from the train. Another quickly grabbed my bag and they had released their dogs to go after me if I attempted to run. They searched through my bag and found yam, pepper, red oil, crayfish and ‘My Destiny’ a Nigerian movie that starred the popular Nigerian comedian, Nkem Owoh.
From the look on their faces, I could tell that they were massively disappointed. They had finally tracked the little drug boss down and all they could find was pepper. I pretended that I didn’t know what was happening. I pleaded to them not to steal my food items because I bought them with my last money. I was almost in tears. They told me not to worry because they would give the bag back to me. When the leader finally introduced himself as a police man, I told him that I thought they were people who had come to take my food away. I told him that the police had uniforms and asked why they were not in uniforms. He ignored my silly question and they entered their car.
I asked them to drop me at the Heim if they were truly the police but they drove off. Though I knew they would never carry me but I needed to play my fool’s card. It had worked for me many times.
A certain Sandis from Cameroun was in the Heim when I returned. The Camerounians had gathered to celebrate his return from prison. A kilo of weeds and Hashes had been found in a room he shared with me in his absence long time ago. Police had searched for him for weeks before they tracked him down in Stuttgart. He was thrown into prison and charged with two offenses.
1- He was captured outside his landkreis. (Landkreis meant where your papers allowed you to be)
2- A certain amount of drugs had been found in his official room a day after he left Heim.
Since I was in the Heim, they went for Sandis. He had spent over one year in Prison because of drugs that belonged to me.
The Cameroonians had gathered to plot a way to avenge what I did. They knew the drugs were mine. I had sent their brother to prison for nothing. He had stolen my drugs first and denied it, so he had to pay for his sins. It was the law of nature, it was my law.
Since the return of Sandis, a lot of secret gatherings had been going on by the Camerounians, they had teamed up with the Guineans since they all spoke French. My fellow Nigerians maintained a distance from me too. They were afraid to remain very close to me since it was obvious there was going to be an attack on me by the Coalition of French ex-Colonies.
According to Jordan, I was a ticking bomb that could explode any moment. Johnson, my mentor who would have backed me a 100% had travelled to Sweden to marry his white girlfriend, and when they returned, they found a small apartment in the city centre, and as such he no longer came often to Heim. I felt lonely and when I figured I was going to be attacked, I called Marko, my German friend and told him that I needed a gun. He said he could get one for me at €400. I gave him the money.
I stopped sleeping in my room alone. I would go down to Agnes’ and sleep in her room until morning. On one of the nights that I went to sleep in Agnes’ room, one thing led to another and she asked that I sleep on the bed with her. I had bought children’s bed for Victor so he didn’t share the bed with her. When she asked me, I agreed and went to sleep on the bed with her.
She started some sentimental crap about how she would have suffered without me, how she didn’t know how to pay me back, how I was her god and all that. Then she finished, she kissed me. No resistance! She tried again and left her mouth on mine for several seconds. On her third trial, I responded and that was it. That was the moment Agnes had been waiting for, for several months. She was hungry for me. She kissed every part of my body down to my joystick. She removed my clothes herself and mounted me. She fucked me with fury and force. She didn’t bother about condoms. She wanted to get pregnant for me and tie me down permanently. She wanted me to take her to Nigeria whenever I decided to go home. She knew I had money in Nigeria. She knew I was the king in the city of Brandenburg. She wanted a permanent protection from the Boss. She wanted to be part of that drug estate.
I started frequenting Berlin because I didn’t want to sleep with Agnes all the time. We had somehow started fucking every night. She would remove my condom half way through sex; when I would be helpless to protest. She had seen an opportunity and she took it.
I was eating at a restaurant one afternoon when Solomon Okoronkwo, the Nigerian footballer entered. He was fresh from Under 20 World Cup hosted in Holland where Nigeria had finished second behind Messi’s Argentina. This was in 2005. He had heard me speak Igbo on the phone and approached. He was new in town and knew nobody. He had just signed a contract with Hertha BSC Berlin, a German division one club.
After eating, I paid for our food and we left together to the area where Igbo people frequented. I was already a Hertha Berlin fan before they signed him. I used to go to the Berlin Olympic Stadium, the venue of the 2006 world Cup final, to watch Hertha play. After meeting Okoronkwo, I started frequenting Berlin more. We would go to their training ground together and drive to his place afterwards. Sometimes we would go to my own place in Berlin.
One afternoon, Marko called me that my gun would be ready in a few days. When he had it, I went to his house and collected it. It was a Smith & Wesson Police Special .45 calibre. When I got it, I called some friends in the Heim and pretended that I wanted to buy drinks, something I do often anyway. I brought out the gun while we were drinking and everybody was jolted.

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The Gun
When I brought out my silver gun, everybody was ready to run but I told them not to worry. The target was the prisoner who got out after serving my prison term for me. I leaked the gun information so that they would send a message to Sandis the ex-convict. He needed to know that I was ready for war and that I had graduated from an ordinary dealer to an armed drug dealer.
After showing off the gun, I took it to Johnson’s place outside the Heim and left it inside my traveling bag which I had kept in his house. He didn’t know a gun was in it. I didn’t know what his reactions would be if he found out I had a gun and that I kept it with him, so I decided not to tell him. As expected, the news of a gun in the Heim had circulated.
A certain black man had brought a gun into the Heim. The Arabs were the most fearful group. They had been fighting with the Africans for the control of the drug flow in the Heim. They didn’t know it had gotten to the extent of getting a gun. Jimmy, a Moroccan had somehow made friends with me. He had turned loyal. Fadi, the Lebanese boy had also come to pay his loyalty to me. They had stopped buying drugs from Berlin and joined my retail outlets. They had their own contacts too but between February 2005 and October 2005, they bought from me.
Amidst that entire situation, I was scared too. I was not a killer. After the police search at the train station in which they found only foodstuffs, I had stopped bringing in drugs by myself. My supplier in Berlin had a C class Mercedes car. He would drive down to Brandenburg where we would meet at night, and then I would carry the goods and hide them in the bush. I would only take the ones I would supply that night.
Somehow, some kind of fear had started enveloping me. The money I was making was putting some fear inside me. I had saved up another €20,000 and left it with Johnson in his new apartment where he lived with his white wife. Since he was looking for his papers through the girl, he had stopped selling drugs especially in the street. He had maintained a few big boys that he still supplied. It was safer for him. Life went on. Since I got my gun, I had started sleeping in the Heim again. The cowards from Cameroun had all vanished from the Heim less than two days after the gun revelation show. Sandis the thief who stole my drugs and paid with prison term was rumoured to have run to France. His friend Guy was thought to be in Belgium. The only one remaining was Christie, a lady of about forty from Cameroun; she would greet me at every slightest opportunity. She had heard that I had a gun. They all thought I carried it around, a thought that protected the Ozoigbondu 1.

*************
Goodbye Germany
On August 2005, I had another encounter with the police. They had been monitoring my movements. There was a man that sold pizza in the city. At exactly 12 pm, every day between Monday and Friday, he would call me to supply him with €50 worth of weeds. He was my most consistent customer and because of his consistency, I had decided to keep him. I didn’t know that the police had been following me each time I went to supply the man along the canal. That fateful day, he had called me but I had only 1 gram of weed which I had kept for myself. I had supplied everything to the retailers. I told him I had only one and he begged that I sell it to him. He was already at our meeting point when I arrived. Unknown to us, the police had surrounded the area with dogs. There were about 10 of them, fully kitted as if they were going to arrest Pablo Escobar of Colombia.
I had learnt not to run whenever they caught me, so I remained where I was when I heard “Herr Ebot, stay in one place and don’t move!”.
I stood there until they came and searched me. I had only one gram of weed with me. They took it, took the name of the customer and told him to go. He was going to be a witness in court on the case of State Brandenburg Versus Ebot Solomon. They took me to my room in full glare of everybody. The Heim was in panic, the Boss had been captured. They searched my room and found nothing. They were disappointed again. I had beaten them once more. The one gram they found wasn’t enough to lock me up. They just took me to the police station and finger-printed me. It was my first drug related finger printing. I spent about an hour while they processed me. I told them that I was not going to say anything until I see my lawyer. They called my lawyer in Potsdam and he asked them not to question me.
They fixed a court for my hearing on November 29, 2005, and released me to go. When I got back to the Heim after just an hour with the Police, everybody couldn’t believe their eyes. They thought I was going to be locked away for eternity. They thought I had been captured with a lot of drugs. After the incident, I closed down my business entirely. Obinna, a guy from Udi, Enugu state had come two months earlier. I had taken him under my wings and tutored him. I handed my business empire to him and spent most of my time with Agnes and Victor. I also frequented Berlin to stay with Okoronkwo. I told my supplier that I needed a break. He had bought two bags of weeds and had wanted to supply them to me before the last police incident. He begged me to take and supply them before we began the break. Somehow he had managed to convince me. The day he brought the drugs to Brandenburg, I divided them and supplied to the small dealers in the Heim. I hid the rest in my room and went to sleep in Agnes’ room.
At about 4 am, the Police invaded the Brandenburg Heim again. They had searched my room and found nothing but when it was time for them to leave, Fadi, the Lebanese snitch had told them that I had a gun. They had gone back to search for it and found the drugs I had hidden inside the wall. I had opened a hole in the wall and hid the drugs there, and then I placed a Hertha Berlin football poster over it. I had also hidden €5000 on the fluorescent holder on the concrete ceiling. They found the drugs but didn’t find the money. Fadi told them where I was and they came to Agnes’ room with dogs. I was on a boxer when they came. They brought me outside and made a video of me and the drugs they found.
They also took many pictures. I had bought a Motorola razor phone a day before the last invasion. I left it in Agnes’ room. I told her my brother’s name in the phone and told her to call him and tell him that the police had taken me. When we got to the station, they called my lawyer. He came from Potsdam and after some paper works, they agreed that the lawyer would bring me to court on November 29, the same day I was to appear in court for the previous crime. Surprisingly, they left me to go. That was it. That was the one chance I thought I would never have again. My cup was full; it was time to leave Germany. It was the beginning of the Life on the Run. It was time to try my luck elsewhere and it was time to start traveling around Europe.
Thank you Germany,
Thank you Brandenburg an der Havel,
Thank you Agnes,
Thank you Victor for teaching me how to be a father,
Thank you everybody who crossed my life in one way or the other while in Germany.
The following morning, I called Johnson and gave him my key. I had gone back to my room and saw the €5000 I had hidden in the fluorescent holder. I took the money and went to Berlin. The local Brandenburg newspaper had me and the drugs on the cover page the following morning. They bragged that they had finally caught me, that the evidence was there for everyone to see. They had asked every kid who knew me as a drug dealer to come to court on the 29th of November.
I hired a resident permit card of my friend Emeka and bought a one-way ticket to Lisbon Portugal. Around midday on October 28, 2005, a month to my court appearance, I flew out of Schonefeld airport Berlin to Palma de Mallorca with Air Berlin. Then I boarded another flight and flew to Lisbon.
It was goodbye Germany.

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One Response

  1. good and nice adventure

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