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Added: Aug 07
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The Series Of My Life - Season 1 - Episode 26
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Source: olaxali
Asylum camp in Dusseldorf was inside an abandoned ship. The Germans had somehow converted the ship to living quarter. I had stopped at the Dusseldorf central station and walked all the way to the camp as I was directed. There was a long stretch of bridge from the land to the ship so I walked until I got to the entrance; it was locked.


I knocked on the metal door and an elderly woman peeped from a hole on the gate. 'was ist los' she said. ( 'was ist los' means what is it or what is the problem) I looked at her as if I didn't understood what she said. She opened the gate and motioned me to come in. 'biss du neurer' (are you new) she asked. I kept quiet since I didn't understand German. She called on a middle aged man and he came. The man spoke English, french, German and god knows what other languages. ' would you like to talk in English or french' he asked me. I nodded before saying 'English'. 'Are you from Sudan or Liberia or Nigeria ' he asked. (I was surprised because I was told I was the one to tell them where I came from and not them calling out the name of the country) I composed myself and answered Cameroun.

He wrote down Kamerun with 'K' and asked my Name. 'Solomon Ebot' I said. He wrote it down again and asked age, etc. After that, he called another man who led me to a room with number 27. There were two double decked beds in the room, the two down ones had been occupied. I had nothing with me, so I just climbed on the top bunk and lay face-up staring at the wooden ceiling. About 12pm, 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 was rows of seats and tables. At the head of the hall was a buffet setup of assorted foods; Rice, some small breads as big as orange, honey, butter etc. It was time for lunch. There was already a long line so I joined up from the back. I passed the first table and collected two plates as I had seen the lady before me did. I got to the food table and received some rice and chicken in one plate. Then I received bread, one satchet honey and butter in one plate. Then collected a pack of orange juice and headed to a place to sit down. I sat near the Arabic girl I was following and started eating my food. ''Are you new here'' I asked the girl. She ignored me and continued eating. Some middle eastern men were eating about 6 metres opposite me and they continued staring at me from time to time. When we finished eating, I was on my way to room 27. When a fellow black guy stopped me. ''Are you Nigerian'' he asked. I kept quiet as if I had not heard him.

I was told to deny Nigeria entirely which was painful for me but I had no other choice if I had to avoid being sent back to Lagos. He continued talking and asking some questions about Home. From his intonation, I figured out he was a Nigerian too, A fellow Igboman for that matter but I was a Camerounian in that place so I acted out my script. 'I am from Cameroun'' I said to him. He let out a devilish laugh and told me his name was Ifeanyi, he was from Nanka in Orumba part of Anambra state. Despite the temptations to spill it out, I maintained that I was a Camerounian.

This guy could have been a German spy for all I care. 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 take asylum. Finally he warned me not to talk to the Arabic girl again. He said that her people could kill me if I ever touch her. That was a very good warning and I took it. It was then that I figured out why the Arabic men were staring at me. On my way to my room, I saw a group of boys playing every kind of games. Table tennis, whot, draught, chess etc. I joined them and stood by the window watching the draught players.

They were all amateurs except one guy from Nigeria again. I believed he was from edo or Yoruba but I wasn't interested in finding out. When it was my turn to play him, I allowed him to win the first game. Then during the second game, I knocked him out straight without allowing the kings to manifest. It was straight wins from then on until I got tired. I went to my bed to sleep and the bell rang again not long after I arrived in my room. It was time for dinner. We ate again and went to our beds. The following morning after breakfast, some names including my name was called out. We followed a man to an office outside the ship but in the same city.

We were registered appropriately and finger-printed. Then we were given train tickets to our various permanent camps scattered all over the Bundes Republic of Germany. I was posted to Eisenhuttenstadt, a small city between Frankfurt-Oder and Cottbus. The city was very close to Poland border. I was given a farhplan (the route map to the city). I was to Enter train in Dusseldorf Central station to Dortmund - Osnabruck - Hannover - Braunschweig - Magdeburg - Berlin Zoo - Eisenhuttenstadt.. It was a cheap ticket, so I had to use the inter-regional train. It also meant that I stopped and changed trains in all of the above mentioned cities. There were two of us going the same direction but the other person, a Kenya girl was stopping in Hannover. I was still scared of being exposed, so I avoided talking with the girl. It was when we got to the Dusseldorf Central station that I talked to her. According to her, her boyfriend had brought her from Mombasa in Kenya but he was treating her badly, so she decided to get asylum and stay on her own. I told her that I was a Camerounian. She laughed and said I was a Nigerian, an Igboman. When we got to Dortmund, she was hungry and suggested we go down and eat. I refused and told her that we only had 100 minutes to wait in Dortmund before our next train. It was written on our travel plans. It was when we got to Hannover where we had to wait for an hour and ten minutes for our next flight that we went down to eat. Everywhere in Germany was too neat, organised and beautiful. It was unlike anything I had seen. After our meals, she gave me a phone number to reach her and we parted ways. Herr Solomon Ebot, A 22 year old Camerounian arrived Eisenhuttenstadt by 6:15pm. It was a long journey but I loved traveling. I entered bus 31 from the station to Camp. When I arrived at the gate, I gave them the papers they gave me 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 when I arrived at the camp, so I was just given a juice can, some hard breads and a butter.

They also gave me a clean white bed sheet, two pillow cases. I dropped off the items in the room and came downstairs. There were many people playing outside; football, tennis etc. I strolled past a group of boys; about 4 of them, they were speaking Igbo. I pretended not to understood them and walked past them towards another group. The new group were speaking a language I couldn't figure out, so I walked past them again towards where girls were playing volleyball.

There were about 6 of them. I looked them directly at their faces to register my image in their heads. Only one of them seemed to have noticed my presence. She smiled at me and I waved. She was tall and black and looked east african; Uganda or Rwanda. I watched them play for several minutes despite my hatred for volleyball. When they finished, I walked up to the tall black girl and introduced myself. '' I am Solo from Cameroun'' I had said. She looked at me and said '' No'' You are Solo from Nigeria and started laughing.

I asked how she could have said such a thing.
She said that she had known Nigerians especially Igbos everywhere she had been.

I decided not to argue it but had my reservations. She walked towards a smaller building while I walked a meter behind her, anyone who saw us must have known that I was the one following the girl even against her wish. '' I like Nigerians'' I heard her say. ''really'' I shouted from her back.

She turned and waited up for me.

The introductions began. Her name was Agnes, she was from Uganda. She had been in the camp for one week before my arrival. We talked a few more and got in front of the smaller house. She said it was the female hostel and that boys were forbiden to enter inside the house after 7pm. I looked at my watch and it was 2 minutes to 7pm. '' Its 6:58'' I said. She laughed and asked what I wanted to come and do inside. *ladies and awkward questions* '' I have no friends here, I just got here'' I said. '' Look at those guys up there'' she said while pointing towards the Igbo boys under the tree '' they are Igbo boys''. She advised that I go and join them. 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 disturbing her. I smiled at her and turned my back and started moving towards those Igbo boys again. Two minutes later, I got to the tree. All of them just kept quiet as I got there. I greeted them in Igbo. ''Ndewo nu umunne m'' they hesitated a bit before one of the spoke up. ''Nwanne kedu ije'' one of them asked. I responded in Igbo again and told them that I just arrived Camp this evening. One of them named John was a little aggressive. '' Na now u enter camp and you don waka go chase woman up there'' John said. I laughed since there was nothing to say. I then told them that I was warned not to let anybody know that I was a Nigerian. I told them that I heard them speaking Igbo but I couldn't join them for the fear of them being spies. We all laughed this time except John. *I later learnt that John was after Agnes, my new Uganda friend* We introduced each other; John, the others were Moses, Joshua and Peter. None of us was using Igbo name. *We were all from the Bible. The children of Israel, sent to Germany by God' to avenge the injustice and brutal killings of the Jews by Adolf Hitler, the chosen tribe of God which every other tribe was obligated to defend and worship* It was getting dark so we walked towards our hostel. It was a sprawling three story building. The blacks on first floor, which has about 15 rooms and 3 Kitchens, 7 bathrooms and a long and wide passage way.

It was the same thing in the second and third floors with was occupied by the Arabs and others respectively. 'Others' consists of Chinese, Indians, Pakis, Uzbeks and all the kistans in the Euresia region. We all got to room 21 where Joshua and John stays. They were both Sudanese in the camp according to them. The other two were Liberians. Surprisingly there were no Nigerian in Camp. 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, so after the breakfast, some people went back to their rooms, some went out into the small dry city to look around, some played games outside and I, Solomon Ebot went to the administrative blocks to get myself properly documented.

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