• Mechthild

Refugees from Cameroon and Kongo

Updated: Aug 7, 2019

A large group of central Africans keeps mostly to themselves. I meet some women in the Second Hand Boutique. I see in their eyes that it must have been hard- and they shield themselves from more pain by not talking about their journey. Here are short stories of three African men.


Socrate Aristote is a pensive man, a poet, often quoting from the bible or philosophers. Did he self-select his name? He left Kameroun after a land dispute that went violent. He has no children of his own but had been taking care of his sister’s child. Both parents had dies of AIDS. I did not find out how old the child is now and where he/she is.

In his farewell note to me he writes this poem:

Un Monde

tous seront comme cet arbre avec ses feuilles, ses branches et ses fruits

on il y’aura ni couleur de peau, ni racism, ni marginalisation,

ni faible, ni fort, ni pauvre, ni riche,

un monde au sein d’un coeur.

(I translate) A World

all will be like this tree with its leaves, branches and fruits

there will be no skin color, no racism, no marginalization,

no weak, no strong, no poor, no rich,

a world within a heart.


Socrate writing his poem

One of the few older man, Simba, is from Congo – in a low-voiced friendly French he tells me the origin of his name. He is a twin.

"And in Congo all first born twins are named Simba."

He works at the panted old van that is now a multi-language “Bibliothèque” here with Jean-Pierre, small, friendly man who prefers his quiet place and prefers not to tell his story. (Image on the right by Xavier, a fellow-volunteer from Spain. clock for full size)



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