I woke up as early as 5am, and knocked on the door of the girls. They answered and came out with squeezed faces indicating that they still needed more time to sleep.
“Get yourselves ready in 30 Minutes, we are going to the camp” I said and walked to the bathroom for a quick hot shower.
Ten minutes later, i came out of the bathroom and went to wear my clothes in the room.
While the girls prepared, i boiled hot water with the electric Kettle and made coffee for myself.
Rose who was lying on the sofa in the sitting room had woken up and was kneeling down either Thanking or begging God or doing both. That was one problem with sleeping in the sitting room or a similar place; anybody can wake you up anytime. Sleep was a beautiful thing that needed no interruption.
“We are ready” Peace said. She had come out of their room and met me in the sitting room.
“Where are you going with the bag?” I asked her.
She looked at me and to her bag and to me again.
“How do you expect them to pity you with a bag full of sexy dresses and high heel shoes?” I said.
She kept quiet and looked at me.
“Peace you will leave your bag here. Don’t worry, nothing will happen to it” I said.
“Am i leaving my own bag here too?” the voice said from behind the door, it was Sharon.
“Yes Caroline, your bag stays here. Find a small nylon bag in the kitchen and pick only one dress each. If you require clothes up there, i will send them to you but the objective is to convince the authorities that you are running from crisis not to impress them with short skirts” I said.
They picked one dress each and stuffed them into a black nylon bag and declared that they were ready.
I stood up from the chair and went into my room.
“Baby i am leaving now. Please take care of the house and remember to call Adesuwa by 8:09 am. Don’t call her at exactly 8am, it would look like a pre meditated and planned call. You can never underestimate the intelligence of others” I said.
She crawled out of bed and hugged me.
“Take care of yourself and return here as fast as you can. I really need you to be around to help me answer the questions Aunty Adesuwa is going to be asking” She said.
“I will be back here as fast as i can” I said and walked out to the sitting room where the girls were already standing near the exit door.
We got to the Stockholm Central station and bought three tickets to Lulea. From the price of each ticket, I knew that we were going to a very far place.
Lulea was over 700 km from Stockholm. It was in the North near the Finnish Border. It took us over 8hours to get there. There was a direct train from Stockholm to Lulea. It was such a beautiful small city at the banks of the Gulf of Bothnia, the body of water that separated Sweden and Finland in the North.
We got to Lulea at half past 3pm on the afternoon and walked into a coffee bar. The way all eyes were on us, told us that we may not be welcomed around there. As a result, we bought our coffee and took it outside to a taxi stand near the train station. It was then that it even occurred to me that i was traveling with two undocumented girls.
“Excuse me Sir, do you speak English?” I asked the taxi driver who was sitting behind the steering wheel of a Volvo S40 saloon car.
“No, English” He replied and kept quiet. Apparently he has spoken the much he knew and there was no need asking him more questions.
I walked to another taxi driver who agreed that he understood a little English.
“Camp, asylum camp. We camp go. Do you know where it is?” I asked as I pointed to my chest.
He said he knew the camp.
We all got into his cab and drove out of the Station area where we managed not to see even one African or Arab person.
“I may not get down from this taxi when we get there. As soon as i confirm that it is the camp, we will drive past it and stop you. Don’t wave at me or greet me; just get down, close the car doors and walk into the place. I know it sounds scary but it is actually a very easy thing to do” I said to the girls.
They greeted me and kept quiet.
Ten minutes after boarding the taxi, the taxi driver stopped stopped along the road.
“My friend, why you stop here” I said trying to make him understand the simplest English I could speak.
“Police my back” I looked back and saw a police vehicle pulled up behind our car and opened their four doors at once.
“Here is where you start your story. Tell them that you met me at the train station and asked for my help to locate the asylum camp. Give me a call when you finish with them” I said to the girls.
The Policemen walked up to our car and started asking the driver some questions while looking into the car. They asked the driver some questions in a strange language that didn’t even resemble Swedish. He answered them and when they furnished, they asked him to open his boot. Sharon was confidently chewing her gum while Peace was relatively calm. I on my part had opened my car door and walked to the boot where they were searching the car.
“Excuse me Officer, do you speak English” i asked the youngest among them.
“Yes, what can i do for you?” she returned.
“Nothing, i just want to know what the problem is” I said boldly.
“Go back into the car immediately” He said.
My green international Passport was already in my hand. I wanted them to see it and know that i had that wonderful document called passport. I figured that as long as they knew that I had the passport, they would believe that the other passengers had too.
Knowing how the European police worked, i figured that it was better that i approached them first. They were going to ask for our documents when they finished with the driver but since i approached them first, we were going to be talking about different things first. They could then only ask for our documents if they had specifically come for us.
International passports were the first and last line of defense in any foreign country. Some Police officers in Europe didn’t even know much about resident permits and visas, the passport usually had all the information they needed from a stranger. It contained the names, age and Country of origin; those were the three things they needed to know. What you were doing and how you came into their place was immigration work; not police.
I walked to the front passenger door of the car and stood there. When they finished with the driver, they turned to me and said…. (to be cntd)