Saturday, October 29, 2011

The G.D

The G.D

The mixed sounds of the flowing river, swaying reeds and the singing birds almost sent me to another world. Were it not for the sudden croaking frog, I would have missed my target. I gathered my senses and tried to be observant- there it was; the rubber on the water surface was sinking yet my fishing road was poorly positioned. So I positioned it perfectly, and swiftly lifted the fishing road up and, wow! It was a mud-fish!
Though mud-fish has never been my favourite fish, I still, as a first-timer, prided myself for making such an excellent angler. While unhooking the fish to get the next bait for the next catch, excitement was growing big in me. My next bait was hiding inside a thumb of wet clay soil placed over a large green yam-leaf. I got the earth warm out of its hiding and decorated my hook with it before sinking it back into the water with overwhelming hopes. Before long, there was a cracking sound behind me
'Look at this dog!' I shouted on seeing my mud-fish being preyed on.
A dog was a title given to anyone doing something stupid or very weird, but I swear- this wasn't a homo sapien, he was a real dog.
The presence of the dog was an assurance that someone else was joining me down the river, so I stretched my neck to look around. He was my father- approaching as he whistled. And I could tell the rhythm of the song he was playing when he moved closer; it was his favourite patriotic song composed shortly before the country's independence.
“Any catch?”
“I had one but he ate it” I answered, pointing at the dog.
“Oh. What a pity! May I have a look at your bait?”
I had no more baits left in stock. So I pulled the string from the water to expose the hook and the bait around it.
“Oh..Ooh!” we all laughed. The bait had bin eaten. It was missing.
“Ooh. Feierabend” said my father. I didn't understand the meaning of “Feierabend” so he explained that it is a German expression for 'let's call it a day' or simply, end of work- mostly said in the evening or just when ending a work-day.
It was time gather my fishing paraphernalia and we chatted as we walked away from the swampy ground towards a wooden bench made from tree trunks and positioned on the shade under a tree. I’m always proud of these benches because I made them by myself from the knowledge I’d gained as a Boy Scout.
As I still questioned myself why my father had started to feel my head with German words ever since I'd arrived back from high school after finishing my final exam, he continued saying and narrating more and more about Germany and the Germans.
“My first employer was a German. He treated me well and when I saw better days I moved out to be an employer and started my own business and even partnered with some Germans.” he paused and watched my face as we sat on the bench.
“They are very nice people” He added, and I knew there were more good stories to expect from him about Germany and the Germans.
“Now my son, when you joined high school, your mother and I sent your brother to study in USA. He did work hard and as you know, he's living the American dream. We were determined to finance his studies, but after paying for the first year, he asked us to keep the remaining money for his other siblings like you and allow him struggle like a man. (paused)
Besides taking some student jobs to finance his campus life, he won a scholarship and defended it to the latter” he paused to take a look at the bird above our heads, which had just painted his wristwatch white.
“Well, now that you are on the waiting list to pursue your career, I feel it's good to allow an advice or two sink into your brain (he paused again as he wiped his wrist watch)
The best decision by a single individual comes from a second thought and the best decision by a small group of people come from a table. It is from the ballot box that come the best decision by the masses. Unfortunately, a decision from the ballot box is hardly valid here, and some of us are tired if not sick of even thinking about the ballot box. We work hard in anticipation for a better life, but others keep enjoying our sweat; we vote them out but they refuse to accept our verdict and if they do, they do it knowing that their representatives are there. The bitter part is that we cry and accuse them of this and that, but we defend them at the same time” he stared at me with a gloomy face.
“Book! Book my son; a book is the best lifelong cloth to clad; with it you'll be faced with naked truths and respect rather than pure lies and disappointments. Yes, a book is a one great shortcut to civilization.
It's because of that that your mother and I have been working hard to send all of you to school and ensure your success. I don't mind if you succeed while here or elsewhere. The fact that your brother is living the American dream should not make you believe that it's only in America where a dream can come true or where you can live your dream. I succeeded while here but, Well I swear, that was then. A lot of water has gone under the bridge since then. And we now have colonial masters of our own race.
Well, I've been talking to my sister to inquire how her son is doing in Germany. There is education opportunity in Germany, cheaper than USA, Canada or UK.” He said and looked at me directly in the eyes.

Immediately he mentioned studying in Germany, I developed cold feet. I had never thought of even visiting Germany in my life, leave alone studying there. Apart from the very little knowledge I had privately gained from History books, I knew very little about the country; the German language and culture.
I listened to my father speak and waited eagerly for him to completely convey his message to me. But he paused to scold at the dog that was in the process of wetting the grass in front of us- the dog ran away to do the wetting elsewhere.
“I've been talking with your Aunt today concerning her son in Germany and I was happy to learn that your cousin Jefferson is doing pretty good. It was my proposal to let him fly to Germany for his studies last year, you know.
I was also happy when I talked to him last month; his German language proficiency has improved a great deal. He will be writing his language exam this month and will begin his studies in two months, in summer.” he then snatched the fishing road from my hand and looked direct into my eyes once again.
“Now, my son, I want to serve you with the best food for thought and allow you to ponder it and let me have the feedback in due course. (He paused) Your cousin Jefferson isn't in a wrong place for his study mission. My advice to you, therefore, is to join him in the campaign for knowledge and civilization. Do something different from your brother, and in a totally different environment from his. Your mother and I will struggle to finance your study and accommodation there and we will probably send you to the city to learn the language for three months- just enough to help you find your way in and out of the train stations in Germany” He smiled to me and I nodded to crown his thought.


I was escorted to the Airport in a convoy of 5 cars, this wasn't uncommon in my side of the world. I wasn't so excited because I was thinking of the mission that was awaiting me and the challenges expected. After parting my family, friends and relatives, I drove my luggage to proceed with the checking in process. A young lady was checking passengers' passports as her colleagues received and weighed luggage. The process was quick but she slowed down after picking my passport to carefully confirm its validity or other details. She examined it and stared at me; I was one of the few natives on the queue, so she was -I guess- confirming the similarity between the photo on the passport and the passport holder.
She gave it back to me and I proceeded straight to the waiting room and later occupied my space on the Aeroplane still trying to imagine what to expect on my arrival.

A man in his late forties arrived with a small hand-luggage and a copy of Time Magazine, Business week. The gentleman was squeezing his eyes trying to find seat number 33A, the one next to me. Because our plane was headed for Frankfurt International Airport, I suspected that he was a German. So I constructed three different sentences in mind in his mother- tongue and polished them well ready to fluently bring them out. The first sentence was an elongated greeting.
He turned to me as he sat and, surprisingly, greeted me in my own mother-tongue.
I was, of course, caught unawares with his sudden greeting in that unexpected lingua franca.
Even the sentences constructed on my mind melted away and I joined him in speaking my national language.
We talked about Global politics, business and culture. From him, I not only knew what to expect in his home country but also gained the morale to study business there. He warned me not to be like others from other states who go to his home country for the same reason as mine, but fail to achieve their goals after taking in wrong pieces of advice from irrelevant quoters.
“If you must take in the advices from failures, make sure it is exactly what they never did” he added. I smiled not because what he said was funny but because it was exactly as said to me by my
mother and Aunt.
“well, what's your name again??
“I'm Manfred, I've been working and doing business in your home country for close to 15 years now.” He looked at me again.
“From my conversation with you I've learned that you are intelligent and well versed with the current affairs, globally. You can make a good businessman. Can’t you? Yeah! Just don't waste your time following other things rather what is taking you there.”
I nodded with a serious face to crown his advice as he looked at my face as if to confirm something.
“Jamba! But, this name sounds familiar!” he starrred at me again, but I had no comment to make. “When I first arrived in your country, my first boss in a cotton factory was called Jamba. He was a good man- Jamba was a saint really, one in a million, but I lost contact with him after a civil war erupted in your country followed by a military coup d’état ”
As he continued talking, I pulled out a wallet from the back pocket of my pant and opened it to display something.
“You mean this gentleman?”
“Oh! This is Jamba (pulling the passport-size Photo on my wallet closer to his face) Are you related!”
“He is my Dad”
“What! (examining my appearance once again) your biological father?”
“Really! I see, (nodding) indeed there is some resemblance. Hey! (Exited) So I'm meeting Jamba again? Huh!”
“Junior” I said with a little inclusion of pride.

Manfred was the man who helped me to worry less on the rest of my journey as we went through thick clouds and until our plane touched down at Frankfurt International Airport. That being my first flight, I comfortably relied on his help in moving around at the airport to clear with the immigration officials and to find my luggage. After picking my luggage I went to meet Manfred at the waiting section. He was standing next to a woman and two boys with his right arm round the woman's waist and another hand holding one of the two boys as they chatted happily.
When he noticed my arrival, he turned to the three people standing with him.
“So, here comes Jamba we've been travelling together (he said and then turned to me) Jamba! Meet my family- my wife and kids.
His wife passed a handshake with a warm smile and said.
“Annabel” Introducing herself.
“Jamba” I reciprocated. She said my name again and again but still the pronunciation wasn't accurate. I repeated to her and the result was the same so I accepted her mother-tongue effect.
“No! Jamba”
“yes. Good to meet you, Annabel” I said and allowed myself to be introduced to their two boys, Friedrich and Otto. We shook hands as their father revealed something to their mother.
“Really! (Said Annabel to her Husband and turned to me) you are the son of Mr. Chamba my husband's former employer!”
I didn't know whether to say yes or give a smile, so I just nodded with a warmest smile on my face.
“Do you speak German?”
“einbischen” (a little) I said hoping that she wouldn't tune to her mother-tongue and gauge my language proficiency- she didn't. She laughed instead and engaged her husband in a short conversation in German. I looked around to see if my cousin Jefferson was around to pick me.
“Have you phoned your cousin already?” Manfred asked.
Not yet, I have some coins here and will have to find a telephone booth to make that call.
“you can use my cellphone. It's a flat rate to almost all lines.” offered Annabel. It was a sigh of relief to me. What I needed was Jefferson's number and I began searching for it from a small diary in my wallet.

“Hallo miteinander!” there came a familiar voice

I lifted my eyes up to hand over Jefferson's number as I tried to see whoever was greeting us with that familiar voice and whether the greeting was mend for us. I watched him for seconds before recognizing him.
First, I thought he was a movie star but seconds later I became happy to meet him again; he was my cousin Jefferson dressed in a white fine leather jacket, tight white T-Shirt with shiny metallic decorations on it, a pair of thick dark-blue Jeans and white leather shoes. On his left ear was a shinny ear-ring and a white leather designer-cape was covering his bald head at the beginning of that winter. His left hand was shaking a key. We hugged each other and talked in our mother tongue for seconds before I introduced Manfred and his family to him. After that introduction, Manfred invited us for a coffee at a restaurant in the Airport. We accepted and walked towards his direction. Jefferson and Manfred engaged in a conversation in German language while I tried to put my language skills on trial by talking with the two boys, Otto and Friedrich and occasionally with their mother.
We entered a coffee café on the first floor and sat next to a window for a beautiful view of the Airport's runways and other facilities outside the café. Jefferson sat next to Manfred while I sat between Otto and Friedrich facing the window and feeling integrated. Annabel was next to her husband on his left. I lost my concentration whenever they spoke in German and regained it whenever they tuned to any language that I could understand, but shortly before I switched off, I overheard Manfred and his wife giving good remarks to Jefferson on his excellent German Language proficiency; “Perfektdeutch”
Whenever I switched off from the conversation on the table, my mind was filled with anxiety, happiness and sadness. I was sad to have changed the venue of launching my dream to acquire knowledge and live a free, descentt and respectable life. The perception I had was that without knowledge one would never be considered civilized, whether in developing or developed world. I perceived that being in a developed society, whether by birth or immigration, wasn't a passport to civilization. So I had to struggle to acquire knowledge, even through thick and thin. My greatest anxiety was how to acquire this knowledge and the ups and downs that were to surface on my way in the course of this struggle. But I was happy because we had a perfect landing at the Airport; a perfect landing that was the successful launching or birth of my dream-The German Dream.

After chatting and getting acquainted to Manfred's family, we exchanged contacts and accepted to attend their son, Otto's Birthday in a month's time.
We walked to the escalators and went down to the basement where Jefferson surprised me when he pressed a key on his hand to open a BMW that was shining before my eyes.
“Hey Jeff! Whose machine is this?”
“Don’t worry. We are middle class, man”
“What! Middle class students?”
He laughed while helping me to on-load my luggage on the car.
“So you haven't changed! Well, how is my uncle doing?”
“...and how is the city? Oh, did you visit the village prior to your flight?”
“Of course yes! They all greeted you and they're doing fine like you.” I said, smiling at him.
We drove out of the Airport and down the interchanges to touch the smooth highway to the south towards Freiburg City where Jefferson played some country music and concentrated on the steering wheel thus allowing me to have a view of the outside environment.
30 minutes into the journey, Jefferson's cellphone rang but he refused to answer the phonecall saying that it was against the traffic rule to answer phone-calls while driving. He asked me to answer it on his behalf.
“what do you want me to say, and how will I say it?”
“Just listen and answer anything according to your understanding.”
“Yes, but I can't speak German. Do you want me to embarrass myself on my first day here? No way!” I resisted.
The phone went silent and we peacefully continued with our journey.
After some 10 minutes, it rang again and Jefferson turned to me once again. I looked at the Cellphone and then at Jefferson's face. He laughed at once on seeing the kind of face that I was putting on. I just smiled.
“You know what? That approach will fail you; if you seriously want to learn German, you must not be shy to speak it” he said. I felt ashamed because what he said was exactly what my father had said to me before I attended my first language class. For that reason, I picked the phone to answer it. First, I checked to confirm the number of the caller as I straggled to construct a valid sentence in my mind to say it out to the caller. It was a private number, so I decided to tell the caller to wait for his call back.
“Guten morgen! Jefferson ist gerade am Steuer. Er ruft Ihnen gleich zurück (good morning! Jefferson is on the steering wheel. He will call you back”
“Oh. wunderbar! Ihr habt euch schon getroffen? und du sprichst schon gut deutsch, mama mia!“ excalaimed the caller!
It wasn't easy for me to sustain that German conversation for more than two minutes with someone who taught me my first language, my mother tongue. Foreign words gradually disappeared and we tuned to the language we were used to.
The caller was my Dad, he wondered loudly that Jefferson and I were already together and that I was even able to answer a German phone-call. I talked with him for close to half an hour and returned the cellphone back to where it was and I remembered to convey his greetings to Jefferson.
The highway was so smooth that it was comforting to cruise around without fear of stumping a head on the roof of the car due to potholes, like I was used to back home. I kept thinking of Jefferson's recent advice that I completely agreed with- to take the best approach towards improving my German or learning German language. Above all, the fact that he had refused to answer his phone-call because he was driving, was a true testimony to me that he was a different Jefferson from the one I used to know. Back home, he would drive as if there were no traffic rules.
Apart from the strange speed at which he was driving, I witnessed that he was a changed person.
We reached Karlsruhe and Jefferson pointed the city skyline to me as he said, “This is where Bob is studying. By the way, he bought a nice sports car, a Porsche.”
Immediately he mentioned Bob, Bob's image popped on my mind, but when he talked about that nice car, I remembered Bob's father our state governor who early that year had been implicated in several grand corruption scandals. How my mind swiftly connected these events at this instance, for sure, I do not know. Yes of course, it's not only through corruption that one acquires property.
I turned to Jefferson to ask him to reduce the speed, but his eyes were fixed into an overtaking BMW.
I followed the direction with my eyes and witnessed a red light.

We parked by the roadside and two people walked towards our car from the BMW.
They introduced themselves as high-way police officers and one of them, the woman said to Jefferson that he was over-speeding. Her voice was clear and her language standard. Even as a learner, I could understand her message without begging for a pardon. What shocked me was not just the fact that I was meeting the police on my first day, but I just couldn’t understand Jefferson's plight; He had been praised for his good German language knowledge about an hour ago and he had just given me a good tip on how to learn the language or improve my knowledge in German language, but here he was – completely unable to say a word to the police, not even responding to a polite greeting.
When the police woman greeted us, Jefferson stared at me as if I was to play the translator and translate the greeting to our mother-tongue. (#  )

We reached Freiburg City and Jefferson drove to his place at Vauban where we relaxed after a heavy lunch. He then called my house master- to alert her of my arrival in the city after which we made an appointment to enter my room.
At exactly 2.30 pm, we were along Kappler street, Littenweiler with my luggage where instructions were being issued to me on how to carry out my daily activities around the compound or where to find what item or tool for my personal use. A bunch of 4 keys were handed over to me, all of different sizes ad mend to open multiple locks or doors. Of course there were rules given to me, which were to be observed. The most disturbing rule was on the separation of wastes. I was used to dumping wastes
at one point while at home and I therefore consistently made mistakes here when separating wastes the German way, but got used to doing it the right way in few weeks.
We spent some time arranging the room while I occasionally paused to admire the beautiful environment through the window of my third floor room. Jefferson went about sorting out some fresh fruits and other stuffs that I had carried with me all the way from home, as he commented on almost everything he came across from by luggage:
“I like this... I like that... I miss this... I miss that...” etc etc.
I walked out again to see for myself the kitchen that was to be shared by all the five members of our flat unit. Inside the kitchen was a man cooking something that I couldn't recognize at that time. He turned to me, gave a smile and greeted me by shaking my hand.
“Hello!” I answered, as I walked to receive his handshake.
“wie bitte! (I beg your pardon)”
First, I thought I was having difficulty in understanding his German accent, but I later realized that he was introducing himself to me.
“Jamba” I pronounced my name to him and I was happy when he got the pronunciation right.
“good to meet you Jamba. Where do you come from?”
“good to meet you too, Chihui. I come from Dala”
“from Dallas?”
“No! Dala!”
“Oh! You are a Dallaian!”
“And you?”
“I'm from China.”
“I see! From The People's Republic!”
“That's right” smiling
“Way cool”
He rushed back to take care of his food before it could burn. I took that opportunity to move around and discover things for myself. Inside the kitchen was a fairly large dining table on the left side of the entrance opposite the cooking area. Behind the entrance door was the writing ‘Close the door while cooking’ and I walked fast to obey that instruction by closing the door that I had left wide open.
We still chatted as he continued cooking and I learned that he was a graduate student of Internet economics. His German language knowledge was no better that mine, so I had the strength to speak out with confidence. As a graduate student, he did not need to speak German fluently. I left Chihui to eat in peace and went to see Jefferson in my new room. It was a very quiet place and, according to Chihui, most students were not yet back from holiday.

We were joined by Chihui out for a walk and to show us around. We even went together for shopping at Edeka supermarket situated along Kappler street.
The landscape in Littenweiler is worthy falling in love with: Both traditional and modern architectural designs, the green mountainous landscape and the nice physical infrastructure all met in Littenweiler to form a gorgeous residential area- or at least for students.
As we walked around; I could confirm from the racial diversity of the young people we came across, that it was also an International students' residential area. Maybe that was just because I was not used to seeing architectural designs as such, but I really liked them and still, I do.
After a careful and economical shopping aided by Jefferson's language proficiency, we filled my refrigerator and took off to the city centre.
Jefferson had to succumb to my pressure to leave his car behind and let us consider the public transport;-of course I was eager to learn new things as early as that moment. So we had to go green. We walked for some 8 minutes to catch a Tram at Lassberg Street, the main Bus/Taxi and Tram station in Littenweiler.

Tram number 1 towards Landwasser via the city centre arrived and we walked in after giving way to the alighting passengers.
After buying our tickets from the Automatic inside the Tram, Jefferson led me to a seat opposite two youthful ladies in their early twenties.
“Excuse me! May we occupy these seats?”
“Yes of course” answered one of the ladies.
We occupied the seats and I began smiling and ended up laughing out loudly enough to attract attention.
My laughter had nothing to do with the ladies, but it was difficult to prove it. I kept laughing for a moment even as Jefferson asked me why I was doing so. It was a comparison between Jefferson's past and present that ignited the laughter; when he asked for permission to seat opposite the two ladies, I took a quick journey to memory lane back to the days in Dala when Jefferson almost had a fight in a bus just because he was told that the chair he was intending to occupy was reserved for someone else.
“excuse me, the seat is reserved for someone else” a lady said to him.
“what! I paid for my bus fare!”
“I know, but why don't you take another seat”
“Noo! No one came with a private seat from home and nobody's name is on any seat. Your friend will take another seat. I came earlier than anyone absent here now”
They staged a quarrel forcing the bus conductor to move in. Jefferson refused to listen to the bus conductor's request to find him another seat and demanded a refund of his Bus fare.
“We don't refund fares that easily, read your ticket boy. Don't sound like you are from a place where there are no parents or elderly people” said the bus conductor. His remark saturated Jefferson's anger mode forcing him to walk out of his seat. He was stopped from reaching the conductor by some three male passengers.
“let him move closer, I will teach him discipline for free.” The bus conductor shouted.
“Give me my money back!” shouted Jefferson as he struggled to push through the three men who were holding him tightly.
He began uttering some dirty words prompting the male passengers surrounding him to throw him out.

It was the memory of that bus conductor's statement of “... I will teach him discipline for free” that brought me laughter. Jefferson's new behaviour was that of a man who has been taught discipline- whether for free or not.

I began accepting my new environment as the Tram drove through the streets of Freiburg towards the city centre. I kept commenting or asking questions about every interesting thing I came across including natural features like Dreisam River. The two ladies sitting opposite us corrected Jefferson when he said to me That it's called Threesome river and I laughed.
“It's called Dreisam” said one of the ladies.
“It's still OK because Threesome is its English translation” her friend explained.
“I see, but why is it called so?” I inquired.
They looked at each other, stretched the skin of their faces and upped their shoulders before saying to me, Keine Ahnung! (no idea) almost in unison.
“It's just a name. You can check it on the Internet. Maybe it has a meaning” added one of them.
We maintained silence as I concentrated on viewing the inner city. We walked around and towards my language school where Jefferson helped to make sure I knew the way to school and the right Tram to board on my way back to Littenweiler. It wasn't so difficult to have the city map memorised for we were walking at a slow pace with Jefferson stopping every now and then to greet some of his school mates or well known friends he met on the streets.
I made it a chance to look around and read names of shops and streets each time Jefferson stopped
to greet or shortly chat with his friends or acquaintances.
It also came to my realization that there were very few Dallaians in Freiburg such that whenever they met, they would greet each other or sometimes even stand for a chat. It was, of course, easy to identify a Dallaian. The only difficulty was to tell their exact origin. Some were never born in Dala or had no relatives there but they were all trying to associate themselves with Dallainans since, after all, they were all of Dallaian dessent. They called it Dallaian pride.

Almost two weeks after my arrival in Germany, my eyes began to open aiding my desire to explore new places and ideas. My language course was a good enough tool to help me curve out a social window from the boring house of loneliness; I was then able to meet new friends or go shopping alone without having to bother my house mates or other friends. The more my language knowledge improved the more I felt integrated into my new society and began, as a result, falling in love with the place.
On this day, waking up in the morning had to be very early and at odds with my routine. I had to prepare breakfast and attend to my homework, which I was always eager to do before attending my language classes as from 1:00pm to 5:00pm. Everything I did on this day was done in a hurry, but without a complete exclusion of care. On my daily planner, there was a phone-call to be made from a cyber café in the city centre to my parents back home. I also had to register with the authority as a new member of the society and go shopping for some school items before attending classes. It was a precisely busy schedule.
To save time, I decided to do the unusual. After finishing everything at home, I boarded a train from Littenweiler Train station to the main train station at the city centre, rather than commuting with the usual Tram that required 16 good minutes to reach the same destination, arriving six minutes after the train.
But, before boarding anything to do with public transport, it was always important to confirm whether my Regional travelling card was carried with me. For that reason, as I footed it along Bahnhof street in Littenweiler from the student's apartment- few meters to the appropriate Train terminal, I passed my right-hand across the left back pocket of my pants and felt the presence of my wallet. That was an assurance that I was an OK fellow. The travelling card was so important to me that it had to be made part of my wallet- without it in my wallet the wallet was almost as useless as my forgotten and disappeared tail.
I kept walking at a comfortable pace for I had quite a luxury of time between then and catching my train. The sun was shining, fine, but it was still very cold. There was snow covering the nearby hills, and I could also see traces of snow covering the stagnant grass beyond the clean dark footpath under my feet.
A red painted Train from Neuestadt towards Freiburg city’s main Train station finally approached and I walked in out of the cold. There were four empty seats near the entry door to my left and, while removing my winter Jacket, I walked to occupy the one next to the window and placed my bag on the seat next to me leaving the two seats opposite me as free as they were. As I stood up to insert my winter gloves into the pocket of my Jacket hanging above the window, I had an eye to eye meeting with a Dallaian man who was sitting behind me. He waved at me with a smile on his face and gently patted his chest twice. I reciprocated his greetings with a matching action and emotion.
After about two-minute ride, I heard some men talking loudly behind me, one was almost shouting while the second voice was trying to explain something. There was a real problem behind me; the Dallaian man had no travelling ticket and was trying to explain how he had forgotten it at his workplace.
“Oh Damn! He can’t even pass a straight face test!” I whispered to myself, not because I was surprised but because I was annoyed with the Dallaian man. Deep in my mind, a thought was at its height of creation that the man was a big shame to any other person of Dallaian origin, in and outside that train, for he was either creating or promoting a stereotype that Dallaians would rather prefer easy and illegal ways of doing things than adhering to the enacted beautiful laws. When the Train conductor approached me, I prepared to make it tacitly clear that that was not the case. A man’s mind is not a perfect tool for cogitation; it has a little room for failure and a bigger one for improvement. He greeted me and I replied with a warm smile as I stretched my hand to flash a wallet out of a back pocket of my thick winter pants.
“Scheiße!” a yell came out of me uncensored.
“I remember putting a wallet inside my pocket, but...but this is not a wallet!”
The conductor was staring at me with a smile, as if to say. “We’re used to that!” …In a sarcastic way. He was a medium-sized man in his early fifties with grey hair, grey eyes and a fairly long grey moustache.
He spoke to me in alemannic German, common in the black forest region. I couldn't understand him clearly, not at the best of time; leave alone then when I was in a hot soup.
I knew he was used to misunderstandings, as such, but my language proficiency was genuinely below par.
Yes, I was out of words and removed the item that was in my pocket; a small green notebook with a passport between it and handed over my passport to him, as per his demand.
“Was it a one-way ticket or a monthly regional ticket?” He inquired.
“It was a monthly regional ticket”
“Student ticket?” He inquired as he recorded some information on his digital assistant.
“So, you will receive a letter in few days with instructions on how to pay the fine of €40, 00. But in case you find the ticket at home, do take it to the main train station for confirmation- alongside the letter you'll receive from us. Then you will only have to pay a fine of €14, 00.”
“Heh! That's enough to comfortably feed me for a whole week!”
“Sure! Me too, but it's cheaper than paying the full fine and, the cheapest way is to always remember to travel with a ticket. Isn't it?” He said with a smile.
I gave him my full address and a smile on top of it.
By the time that problem was sorted out, we were about 4 minutes to the main train station. The other Dallaian man stood up from his seat smiling at me and, I assumed that the smile was a gesture of identity not solidarity- men of the same origin in the same plight. He walked to seat opposite me for a talk.
“Comment ça va?” he said.
“français?” He added after seeing that an answer to his greeting was not forthcoming.
“No! Anglofon” I replied, forcing him to tune to English. He inquired to know my exact Dallaian state after letting me know his as well as what he was up to in Freiburg or Germany.
“I am Mika and work in a steel company in Titisee. In fact, I'm just coming now from an early morning shift. I've been here for fifteen years now...and you?”
“I'm Jamba. This is my second week here and, I'm attending language classes at the city centre at the moment”
“Really! But you look as though you've been here for quite a while now.” He remarked. For such a remark, I couldn't know whether to say 'Thank you!' ask 'Why?' or simply smile.
“Where were you before coming to Germany?” He added
“I'm actually fresh from Dala.” I said. A smile flitted across his face as he examined me from head down my feet. I pulled down the trouser on my left leg to cover my shoes before he could notice that my socks weren’t exactly of the same colour. I was in a hurry and couldn’t find my grey socks. So I picked the black one to make a pair.
“Welcome to Europe my brother. The laws are hard and first but the loopholes are in plenty- you only need not to be ashamed of anything; just try to divorce dignity and respect from bread and butter issues and you shall live your dream. Don't you have any dream or goal in life?”
“Of course I do! I want to study and...”
“Jolly good! That too is a dream. It must be achieved by all means. No going back home empty-handed, that is, if you must go back. You know, we aren't here for holiday. Are we?”
A flippant laughter came out of me.
“Yes! You know, if you have full scholarship or, say wealthy parents to send you money all the way, you may not open your eyes to see the reality. You don't send drinking water from home to quench the thirst of someone in the middle of a fresh-water lake. Do you?” I maintained silence prompting him to laugh victoriously. “Hah...Hahaha... you see Oh! Let them pay for you, but you should be working hard towards self-reliance
“You are very right. But how do I go about it? Right now I need to focus on one thing first!” I said.
“Don't worry boy. There is certainly no problem with having your finger in many pies” I told you, I've been here for many years and seen plenty. There are many paths towards success. Just don't be afraid, shy or ashamed. (He turned to look behind his seat) These young women you see around here can sort you out a great deal” He said, secretly pointing at two women at their forties, who were walking towards an exit door. At that point, he clearly confirmed from my face that, indeed I was surprised.
“Yes. I know right now you might look at them and think that they aren't young. Just wait, ha ha ha! (Laughing) They might be almost twice your age but the more you open your eyes the younger they become. You understand me? (Silence) even your mum will see, (gesticulating) when your parents tell you that your future lies in your hand, they mean exactly what I'm telling you. I have a son too. Whenever I tell him that his future depends on himself, he knows what I mean and I'm proud of him because he is only 19 yet living his own life in Paris.”
“Wao! How did he make it, or how is he managing it? Is he studying right now?”
“Don't worry! I said you'll open your eyes.”
Whenever he spoke, and especially after he mentioned my mum, her voice kept on vibrating in my ears with her last words to me before I left home.
“Weare Dallaians, people with own culture.
There are those who will want to make you believe that,
given a geographical change or economic circumstance, vices can qualify as virtues.
...If you must receive advice from a failure make sure it is exactly what he/she never did.
If anyone teaches you his or her culture, don't reciprocate by embracing it in Toto
and forgetting your own, but by teaching him/her your culture as well.
If someone takes you to his worship house today,
don't wait until he/she asks you to show up again and again, take him/her to yours tomorrow.
If you engage in anything that you feel your own parents or siblings shouldn't know,
know it by yourself that the undertaking is not worth your salt.
Don't sell yourself; your values, your dignity for love of material life.
Integrate not by losing and gaining but by preserving and gaining.
Your culture is the rose in your hand; you know its thorns better than the rose
in another man's hand- remain a Dallaian, a real son of Dala”

The train grinded to a halt at Terminal 7 of the main Train station and I immediately inquired from Mika on where to find an International calling station. We walked together towards the large glass building at the train station where he was to show me an Internet café doubled as an International calling station.
There were several people or passengers inside the building waiting to either catch their train, receive their loved ones or just enjoy the inside warmth away from the cold weather. Mika spotted some familiar faces and walked straight towards them.
They were four Dallaian Men standing and chatting in one corner near the elevator system. They turned to greet Mika, speaking happily.
“...and who is he?” asked one of the friends facing me.
“This is Jamba” answered Mika as we shook hands the Dallaian way.
“New arrival?” another man asked as I shook his hand.
I said yes to him, but Mika was already speaking on my behalf.
“No, no, no! He is a student! He's actually planning to study” He said. They looked at me again before turning to Mika to begin a long conversation.
One of them pointed to me the direction of the International calling station, which was situated some few yards from where we were standing. “You see that staircase 30 meters away? Use it to reach the first floor and you will see the Internet café.”
I followed his instruction after exchanging contacts with Mika. While climbing the staircase, I kept asking myself what I had just gathered from my fellow Dallaians.
“I'm not a new arrival but a student despite the fact that I landed on this soil last week? Huh! So students never arrive, or should I say new arrivals never study? What exactly did Mika imply by 'No, no, no? He’s a student! He's actually planning to study' to reject the notion that I'm a new arrival?”
Just as per the direction, the calling station was easy to find. I walked in to buy an international calling card for €5'00, which had a bonus of €3'00. According to the audio information given by the card manufacturer when I dialed some numbers as instructed, my air-time was 125 minutes. So I was cocksure that a chance to communicate with my parents and cousins was in existence. First, I began by calling my Dad. We talked and laughed but I was surprised to be told, some 50 minutes later, that my credit was insufficient to continue with the call. That happened while I was still explaining something to do with culture shock to my mother.
I hated that calling card for the dishonest information. But such dishonesty was as familiar to me as an oath.

After accomplishing everything as programmed, it was some few minutes left for my language class and I was among the 8 students in our class waiting for our language teacher and other students to arrive. On my left were two blond haired Russian ladies, Alexandra and Liliya. The blue-eyed Alexandra was a very polite type but could laugh at anything slightly funny or strange, while the grey eyed Liliya was quite to the contrast- very talkative, inquisitive and humorous.
On my immediate right was James, a tall youthful man from Philadelphia, USA. As we chatted in different accents making mistakes and laughing at ourselves while we waited for our teacher, a man in his late twenties walked in. He stood at the door 5 feet 8, two meters away from us and observed the classroom for seconds. He then noticed an empty seat next to James and walked to occupy it after greeting us by passing a handshake to each one of us as he pronounced his name, Hassan.
“Are you a new student?” Liliya inquired.
“Yes! Have you gone far with learning?”
“Not too far. You can still catch up through revision!” I answered.
“Well, where do you come from?” asked James.
“I'm from Iraq, and you?” said Hassan.
“What! ...Iraq!” exclaimed James with an open surprise that caused laud laughter to the ever-laughing Alexandra.
“Yes, from Baghdad”
“Baghdad!” surprised again. The two Russians and other classmates laughed out loudly.
“Why are you shocked? You've never met an Iraqi before, or don't you expect Iraq to be inhabited?” commented Liliya, as her compatriot laughed even lauder.
“You sound like you are from America!” said Hassan, facing James but avoiding an eye to eye meeting with James.
“Why! …because of my accent?”
“No, the surprise on your face” (we all laughed)
“Don't you have any friend or relative in Iraq?” added Hassan.
We couldn't stop laughing at that conversation. I was particularly laughing at the manner in which the ever-laughing Alexandra was making a funny noisy laughter, with her head hitting her friend's back and tears rolling down her chins.
She continued laughing even after the language teacher had arrived, and occasionally during the lesson. A totally different teacher arrived to step in for our usual teacher who was out of sorts. She was in a pair of blue jeans trousers, a dark-grey oblique shoulder polo-neck pullover and was carrying a rucksack on her back.
We were learning about sentence construction in past tense, present perfect and past participle, and the teacher asked each one of us to construct a sentence using the German word dürften (allowed)

Während meiner letzten Schulprüfung, dürfte ich nicht sprechen(I wasn't allowed to speak during my last school exam) said James. It was then my turn to speak and I said this after a careful construction:
“Als ich jung war, dürfte ich ins Kino nicht gehen(I wasn't allowed to go to the cinema when I was young )” I said with confidence.
“Yyeaaah...but... (Thinking while swaying the fingers of her right hand, moving them clockwise and anti-clockwise, again and again facing my direction) Well... OK... the sentence is in good form, but where he (Jamba) comes from…actually, there are no cinemas.” commenced the teacher. I sat attentively like all other students, to listen to her explanation of where I come from. Liliya was equally attentive but her compatriot Alexandra was warming up for her loudest laughter of the day, so it seemed.
“They go out in the nature, especially at sunset or just when the weather is good. In the nature they can watch the beautiful sky as the clouds move slowly in different beautiful shapes...”
“Oh nice!” said one student. Almost everyone's eyes were between me and the teacher.
“Yes. So beautiful- a scenic panorama of it’s kind. It's actually known as Sky cinema, so gorgeous. But, sometimes they go out just to watch wild animals walking or grazing freely in the nature...It's a breathtaking experience.” she paused to look at me, or perhaps I were to loud her wonderful revelation. I was only looking at one Dallaian lady who, even though she was from a different Dallaian state from mine, was equally surprised.
“Well, where do you come from?” asked the teacher.
I looked at her face to see if she was at the junction of a big joke and was only looking for a punch line. She wasn't. She was just a teacher, with extra information. I thought of a German proverb “A teacher is better than two books” and decided, painfully, not to argue with two books but to give a challenge.
Alexandra, the Russian classmate, was already laughing with both her hands covering her mouth. I cleared my voice to say something to our teacher:
“Well, I'm surprised that you know what is in my home country, yet you don't even know where I come from- you don’t know my home country!”
As the rest of the class broke into lengthy laud laughter, the teacher concluded to herself that her comments were getting into nerves of her Dallaian student and opted to continue with important topics of our lesson.
She had to skip the ever-laughing Alexandra from presenting her constructed sentence with the verb dürften, because the Russian lady was completely unable to speak- she was still laughing at the Sky-cinema story.
To date, whenever we meet or have long telephone conversations, Alexandra still laughs when reminding me of the sky-cinema story. It must have been a funny story to her. Or, perhaps the funny thing wasn't the sky cinema story, was it me?
Still, I do not understand why the teacher came up with that story even before knowing my origin. What country did she have in mind and how did she come to conclude that I came from there? By looking at the colour of my eyes?
My surprise was, indeed well grounded; never once had I visited a country with breathtaking sky cinemas, as such. Still, until this day, I do not know where to locate one.

It was 1710hours, time to go back home and I was standing at the city theatre Tram station waiting for Tram number one, which was to arrive in 8 minutes. A middle-sized man with a round pot-belly in his late forties approached me. He was in a dark suit with shiny black shoes. On his right hand hang a brown leather briefcase.
He greeted me in French but later changed to English after noticing my failure to sustain a French conversation for more than 4 seconds. And, because I disapproved his lingual expectation, he inquired to know my origin.
“I come from Dala”
“Oh! You are a cowboy, or should I say ranger?”
I thought of what he meant first “No, no, no! I'm from Dala not Dallas, Texas!”
“Oh! I see! So you are a Dallaian. But most Dallaians speak French. Don’t they?”
“You are right. English and French are also spoken in Dala”
“Yes, including several other Dallaian dialects”
“They are actually languages that can qualify as global lingua francas, in case there's need. Most of them are not dialects.” I insisted.
It did not take me long before I knew his intent. However, I let him beat about the bush as he scouted for the right nail.
Well, my name is Kevin. I like talking to Dallaians so much. You know, you people are very...I mean so...”
“You mean, very submissive?” I interrupted knowing that I had to save his time so as not to miss my Tram.
“Yes. But also...but not in a negative way”
I had three minutes left for my Tram to arrive. He finally informed me of his Worship centre and invited me to join him on their forth coming convention, fortnight later. Meanwhile, he also invited me to his worship centre that coming weekend.
“No, no, no! It doesn't matter where you go to pray. Just come and see how we conduct our services!”
He said that as a reaction to my comment that I attend religious services in a different worship house.
“This must be the one my mother was talking about” I thought, after recalling my mother’s words.“If someone takes you to his worship house today, don't wait until he/she asks you to show up again and again, take him/her to yours tomorrow.”
“There are many Dallaians here, some of them are refugees. But not you, one can easily tell by the way they dress.” He said. His statement, revealed a lot to me; that as a Dallaian, I had to always dress smartly if I needed not to look like a refugee. But because there were natives even in that Tram station, who were not smartly dressed, I had to argue with this preacher…and made him take back his statement. “We need to dress as per our wish just like any other native of this country, not everyone native is smartly dressed! Is there any refugee amongst the natives?” I added regardless of his apology.

The tram finally came and I walked in thinking of the busy schedule that was on my diary that day and how I faired on with everything- the encounters and the situations I had found myself in.
Out of the many thoughts on my mind, it was the sky-cinema story that occupied the lion’s share. I couldn't stop smiling to myself. While travelling, I tried not to give the picture of a mentally challenged person in that Tram. Being a Dallaian with, a different hairstyle from other passengers made it easy for anyone to spot me in the corner of that Tram. Adding a smile to my face would have made me an unavoidably visible figure in the whole Tram of over 100 passengers. What I did was to try to avoid laughing or smiling to myself.
I almost achieved that by forcing in the thoughts of my Travelling card that was landing me in real trouble. There was no need to worry about it so much for I was almost reaching home, and there was no conductor in that Tram either. “After all, I have a fine to pay and a regional travelling ticket at home for the whole month. Why a one-way ticket now!” I thought, not knowing whether I was right or wrong.
After leaving the second-last station towards the last station, I realized that some passengers were turning their necks to watch me. It was then that I also realized that there was a lady sitting opposite me-she was staring at me, occasionally turning her neck to face behind. My mind acted swiftly and made me aware that someone was shouting at me about 10 meters away.
“Why are you looking at me? Stop it!” A lady shouted facing me.
“I don't know him but he is looking at me and even smiling at me!” She said to her partner, a blondish man who turned to meet my face but cared less. My anger level was springing up but because her own forefathers once said that “He who conquers his anger has conquered an enemy, be silent or say something better than silence” I began conquering my anger by keeping quiet, at first, as I prepared to say something far much better than silence. After all, silence is a fence around wisdom.
A good friend, native of my host country, had already whispered to me earlier that some people, especially native women, often perceive that Dallaians are always on hunting spree- hunting without standards just to boost their immigration status. Such women can be a big nuisance to Dallaian men and women who have no interest in hunting, no hunting tradition, are engaged or married. And, those Dallaian immigrants who have their own preference or special standards in mind rather than the immigration law will feel the pain too. I looked at that lady and suspected that she was one of those people. As a gentleman, very diplomatic as my name Jamba defines me, I concluded that it wasn't in good shape to shout back and call her stupid. “Doing so might either create or promote a negative stereotype that Dallaians are never diplomatic or are violent people. I might not just be me, but us” I thought. Clearly, the lady had laid down the necessary procedure for
conflict and it was upon me to decide what to do with her conflict. My decision had to paint or repaint the image of a Dallaian man; I decided not to resolve to the cowboy way of conflict resolution.
Because we were approaching the last Tram station, I stood up on my feet and walked towards the exit door where the lady was standing. Meanwhile, the tram was still running, so I turned to the lady's male partner on my left and made sure I spoke in my mother tongue, not his.
He stretched the skin on his forehead and said
“Ich verstehe gar nichts! I understand absolutely nothing” It forced me to repeat myself in English.
“Were you speaking to me or something? Well, you know I was thinking of my own funny stories when I saw the two of you looking at me and saying something. Were you conveying some important information to me?” I said with a warm smile.
“No! Not me. She was the one.” He said, pointing at the lady.
“Ach so! So she was the one looking at me!” I added with soft and audible voice, facing the lady with sharp but friendly eyes.
Because she wasn't used to speaking English and, apparently, had forgotten almost everything, her reaction and my whole action brought laughter to her male partner and, even, some male passengers near us laughed the loudest. “Well done man!” said a male voice. I walked out feeling pretty fine and went straight to my address after beating her in her own game of shaming.

“Home sweet home” I said to myself as I pulled out the jacket and scarf from my body after opening the door to feel the warm temperature.
One of my housemates, Annabel, was coming downstairs to the kitchen. We greeted each other and talked for a little while.
“How was your Day?” she inquired.
“It wasn't too bad. I managed to call my parents and talked for a while then...”
“Wao! That was good. I always feel good when keeping in touch with my parents in Hamburg. Family is very important, you know” she interrupted.
I learnt that she had already cooked and was walking towards the Television room to have her dinner while watching news. I too had to go to the kitchen to prepare mine.
Few minutes later, I had a name call, Annabel was calling me. But, before leaving the kitchen, I looked at the cooking-alarm timer and confirmed that there were 7 minutes left for my meal to finally get cooked.
“Hey Jamba! You’ve always been complaining of lack of news coverage from your home country, there's something for you today. Feel happy …Ha ha ha! Just seat and wait- it was a news headline and the real news is yet to come” said my housemate.
She was in the leaving room with a lady who was a stranger to me and two other male housemates.
“Oh! Meet Maureen my classmate. Maureen meet Jamba our housemate from Dala” said Annabel.
We greeted each other and I kept wondering why she was called Maureen.
“She is a Chinese, but why is she called Maureen?” I asked myself. “Perhaps that's just her nickname or perhaps it is the effect of globalization!” I thought again. This system of using foreign names has been as common as poverty in all Dallaian states. Perhaps Dallaians are embracing globalization faster than others since it is very difficult to find non-Dallaian people, say a native German or Dutch with Dallaian names such as Jamba. What my grandfather told me was that some powerful forces came to Dala and swept away Dallaian values replacing them with foreign values and that today anything Dallaian is related to Tradition while anything foreign is related to modernity. By that he meant that if one doesn't want to be seen as very local, one had to speak a foreign language. And, for your information, a foreign language does not mean the native language of a person from a neighbouring Dallaian State. It has to be a language like German or French,
whose origin is not Dala. In fact, even some Dallaian Media still refers to independent Dallaian Languages as dialects. For instance, a Dallaian Journalist would say something like “...the NBA Star speaks German, French, English and 8 other Dallaian dialects” referring to Dallaian languages that are fully independent just like any other so-called, 'modern language'. Of course, there are dialects too in Dala.
Well, I allowed such thoughts across my mind chiefly because I had no interest in whatever was being aired as news on TV. It was something to do with a musical icon who had shaved her head bald. It just reminded me of my plan to shave my hair that coming weekend but because I had to pay a fine of €14'00 to the Railway company (DB), shaving my hair had to be a dead plan. I waited for real news to start even though I was sure not to feel proud of whatever was to be aired on TV, not unless it were something to do with sports.
The news finally came and there began an embarrassment- It was about police brutality, or attempt by police to stop a public demonstration in my Dallaian state. We watched footages of youths lying in pools of blood, we saw dead bodies piled together in morgues and heard doctors saying that most victims and bodies had gunshot wounds or live bullets in them. The Dallaian governor was still out of reach. At this juncture, Annabel turned to me and posted a serious question.
“Will you go back to your country?”
As if that was the question in everyone's mind, they all turned to face me and waited eagerly for their answer.
Well, everything, but the answer to this question is still fresh in my mind; I swear! I do not remember the answer to that serious question. What I remember is having turned to the Maureen lady to make noise and divert people's attention away from the horrifying news and video footages.
““Maureen, nǐ shuō Hànyŭ ma?(Do you speak Chinese?)” I asked.
She was positively surprised to hear me speak Chinese and stood up on her feet and walked closer to me. I appropriately assumed that that was a standing ovation to my linguistic ability.
Oh, hăo! (laughing) Wŏ shì Zhōngguó rén. Nǐ ne, Nǐ yě shuō Hànyŭ ma? (Oh cute! I'm a Chinese. And you, you speak Chinese language too?)”
Māma huhu (A little bit)” I responded. We chatted for a while and I learnt that Maureen was just, but her nickname. She had taken it as a nickname because many non-Chinese people found it difficult to memorize and pronounce her first name, Muolihua. Muolihua is such a beautiful name which means, Jasmine (flower) in English.
Even though everyone was surprised to hear me speak Chinese, none directed her/his attention to our conversation. Instead, they glued their eyes to the screen to continue watching the darkest side of Dala. And, while speaking with Muolihua, I saw a different video footage picked somewhere in the Beach, there was a Marine vessel with some Dallaian passengers in it, what attracted my ears the most was the statement said by the news anchor that “...the new arrivals are being taken care of by the UNHCR” I underlined the word “new arrivals” for it clued me in on what Mika meant by saying that I wasn’t a new arrival “No, no, no! He is a student!”
Believe me you! All my encounters or happenings since that morning, from the fine in the train, dishonesty with the international calling card, the refugee issue and the sky cinema story to the shouting lady in the tram, never made me an angry man. It was that television video footage that spoilt my day, completely. I walked out to go and check my food in the kitchen, feeling very sad. While walking out with thoughts, a voice came from behind me: “Zàijiān!” That was Maureen saying goodbye to me. I responded without showing my emotions “Zàijiān!” and closed the door behind me.
“Dala has once again failed to protect me from shame, has failed to respect humanity, has failed to safeguard the dignity of her dead citizens leave alone those still alive. Why did they allow dead bodies to be filmed? Why didn't they cover the bodies lying in pools of blood in the streets? Why must they shoot at unarmed demonstrators in the first place? “Do they want other people to see us as failures? People, who cannot organize, create and deliver any good? Why do they make decisions that are unpopular with their good citizens of integrity- decisions that can only herald civil unrest and loss of lives?
And, those with the behaviour of forming militia groups, why can't they just form political parties instead? Some of these thugs are well educated... God! Is a connection between education and civilization in existence, really?
Now the Dallaian public is turning to foreigners for help when their well educated leaders are still defending their acts and offending the masses. When others, so-called ‘foreigners’ come in to extend helping hands to helpless Dallaians, the Dallaian leaders will then talk of sovereignty. Damn! Is sovereignty a shield against justice? You failed to do it right, why tell others who are doing it right that you have a sovereignty?
F**k your sovereignty!
F**k it up!
“Huuh! …Heh! Are you OK?” shouted Annabel.
She had just opened the kitchen door in a rush and almost ran back out. She stopped at once causing a folk from the plates she was carrying to fall down. It was then that I not only realized that my food was badly burning a meter away from me. I also realized that I was actually holding a frying pan with my both hands. And was hitting it strongly above the dishwasher each time an F-word came out of my mouth. It appeared as though I was crashing a strange insect on top of the dishwasher.
Yes, the lady was shocked, but I was equally shocked and upset. A thick dark smoke was all over the kitchen, coming from the burning food. She moved closer to see whatever was being crashed by a frying pan. What she saw was a dark mark, which came to existence as a result of the pan-dishwasher collision. Because a straight answer to any of her highly imminent questions wasn't available with me, I opted to walk out of the kitchen and leave her with tough speculations.
An hour later, at around 8:30 pm, someone knocked at my door. I stood up from my bed and opened the door to find that all my four house mates were in front of my room.
“Oh my! It was this serious! I'm finally a mad man!” I thought.
Michael, the one whose room was next to mine moved forward to speak on their behalf. He pronounced my name almost as “Chamba” but it was OK with me because it sounded better than “Yamba” as some people still do pronounce it.
“Hi Jamba! we all understand your feelings now. Well, we were equally upset with the footages and the way things are happening in Dala. You know, the disappointments, the extra-judicial executions, coup d'etáts and human right abuses of many kinds. But that's beyond our control now. We have to live our dreams in spite of everything. We have to find other ways to bring happiness in our lives, even if it means forgetting the ugly things.
As your friends and house mates, we feel that you need to sleep well, and for that reason we have arranged the table for you. Come on, you need to eat before you sleep. You are invited to come with us to the dining room.” He said, patting the back of my shoulder and slightly pulling me out without any resistance from me.
After having a heavy dinner and playing English Billiards with my house mates till 10pm, we called it a day.
I went back to my room knowing that my surrounding was full of very kind people, or perhaps civilized?
I picked my phone to reset the alarm for the next morning, but before doing that, I had to read the Text messages that had arrived on my absence. They were two text messages from one sender. I had to begin with the earliest.

Boy, now that ur Dallaian state
isn't an exemption- tiz literally
burnin, Hop u'll open ur eyes en
Reassess ya gols inlyn wit ya immigration status.
Don B stupid en go bk hom!

The papers U receive from class
R important but those you receive
from the alter R very important.
Start hunting as early as yesterday,
B4 tiz too late.

That was Mika, the one who had told me “…not to be ashamed of anything; just try to divorce dignity and respect from bread and butter issues”
I did not want to reply that text message. What I did next was to say a short prayer before sleeping.
“Lord, the most merciful the most beneficent,
you taught me through my mother that anything dirty at home shall remain dirty everywhere and dirt shall never be good.
When we are at home in Dala we define papers as academic documents and we all struggle to get as good papers as possible. How can it be that when we cross the pond away from Dala, the same mouth changes the good definition to something else? Lord, it is what some Dallaians go through when searching for these 'papers' that lead them into shameful, dirty ways of life. Help us retain our dignity Lord! Help us maintain the original definition of Papers and aid our campaign for good papers. Bless our good hosts- give them more geographical and cultural knowledge of other places and people and may they give us keys for life without changing the padlocks, Lord.
Lord, give our Dallaian leaders the knowledge they lack and make them know that decisions they make in any Dallaian state have got effects in Dala and as far distance as here, in this room. Help them to act wisely and not otherwise Lord. They might display us as uncivilized people just because of their political bickering or survival politics. But Lord, I pray that all these shall come to past, sooner than later. God Bless Dala! In your mighty name I seal my prayer! Amen”

# # # #
Every moment that approached and came to pass was approximately a good moment for my expected bright future. I preferred to spend real time layin down strong social, cultural and educational foundation to accommodate or pave way to an economically prosperous future. Like in any other upright man's plan, poverty did not feature in my future plan. And, if at any time poverty happens to knock at my door, I would rather jump out through the window than welcome it.
The only challenge is that poverty can choose to force itself in, even without knocking.
However, sometimes it knocks at our doors when we are too helpless to prevent its entourage and we either succumb to it or resolve to desperate measures that forfeit us our dignity; we end up reviewing our taboos and behaviour and legalize certain behaviours and taboos either as acceptable professions or modern culture. Those refusing to embrace these changes on the ground of protecting their culture, dignity, religious believes or personal values are tagged 'conservatives' while the rest take the opposite of that.
I was laying down on my bed facing up, calm and listening to some country music that Saturday morning. meditating upon anything positive about life and silently layin down strategies and principles that would be the basis for my social life and driver of my dream or ambition:
I agreed with my conscience to eat my pride in case of need, but my dignity as a member of the human race, was not to be negotiable. Saying 'No' to Mika's idea of 'hunting' as a survival strategy was not an issue of pride but dignity. Doing odd jobs to finance my education rather than relying on savings from abroad was an issue of eating my pride- and that was obviously doable. Allowing myself to fall in love with a person of any race (including my own), nationality or colour was not going to be guided by my immigration status; the decision had to be from the most romantic part at the bottom of my Dallaian heart and soul. By so doing, I was not only going to be allowing myself a chance to exercise my freedom of choice, but also giving myself what my heart desires- the best according to my own standards.
The door bell rang and I knew my cousin Jefferson has arrived to pick me. We were to visit Jefferson's friend, Peter, in Heidelberg and also attend a birthday party in Offenburg on our way back. It was Otto's birthday, the youngest son of Manfred and Annabel. I was happy that we were going to meet them again. We still had their contacts and, I believed, we needed to retain this contact.
I opened the door and saw two people pausing and kissing, and I wondered why they had to do that after ringing the door bell. They turned to me as if they never expected the door to be opened. The two were my cousin Jefferson and apparently his girlfriend who was still strange to me. (vividdescription)We introduced ourselves to each other and I learned that he was Jefferson's girlfriend, Penny. Of course, her name wasn't strange to me.
“Mehn! You've arrived a little earlier than expected!”
“No! You ought to have finished everything. You are in Germany- where punctuality is part of life”
said Jefferson, with a smile at his girl.
I ushered them in to the living room where Jefferson made her feel at home. I then went back to my room to complete my dressing for the occasion and pick my Regional travelling card together with my passport, just in case.
Five minutes later, we were walking down the staircase and towards a dark Volkswagen car that I couldn't recognise. But when Penny occupied the drivers seat I concluded that it was her car. We drove off and, before long, we were on the highway commonly known as AutoBahn.
I kept posting some questions to Penny in a bid to know her well. Unlike Jefferson, she was extra-careful with her driving speed and rejected Jefferson's attempt to have the speed increased. It was then that I learned that she was a Police officer. “The Dallaians I know here do often accuse police officers of looking at them with suspicion, but here is a cousin of mine who has gone a step further to even fall in love with one! How did they even meet?” I wondered deeply to myself, flashing my eyes all over the car, perhaps to find any proof that, indeed she was a cope. But how did they even meet?
I posted that question to Jefferson in our Dallaian mother tongue.
“Last winter in Heidelberg, when she came to ask for my passport, suspecting that I was an illegal immigrant”
“Ah ha ha ha haa... are you serious! You better be kidding, Jeff!”
“Sure! You can ask her”
She turned to Jefferson to inquire about the genesis of the big laughter. I thought that Jefferson was going to lie to her, but he was honest enough to make me feel shy.
Penny giggled and offered a smile.
“We should speak in German language because one of us doesn't understand the other language, yet we all can speak German.”
“Oh sorry! You are right; I should improve my German knowledge too.” I echoed her comment.
“Well, were you observing your professional ethics there?” I inquired.
“Where? Oh! Of course yes! We met when I was on duty but we didn't even exchange contacts or...”
“we met again the same evening by coincidence at Aldi when she was off!...”
And you remembered my name, I remember” interrupted Jefferson with a warm smile.
“Yes! And you inquired to know my real name with a box of Pizza in your hand. Well, the rest is history, I suppose. Isn't it?” she said jokingly to wrap up the topic.
“Jefferson, was the meeting in Aldi really a coincidence or a perfect timing on your side?” I asked in our Dallaian language. We all laughed except her.
“Oh sorry! We should be speaking in German!” I apologised.
As we cruised around Heidelberg old town Penny asked Jefferson to alert his friend, Peter that we were under five minutes away from his street.
With Jefferson playing a co-driver, they led the car towards the slope of the hills where beautiful traditional mansions framed our quiet street.
“There we are!” said Jefferson, pointing at a Dallaian man standing in front of a gate, some 60 metres away.He was definitely waiting to receive us and because I was the only stranger to him,I prepared to be a gentleman and introduce myself. But I had no doubt that he had heard of me from my cousin, Jefferson.
He pressed a button in his hand and the gate closed behind us. Because the car had only two doors, Jefferson walked out first and pushed his seat in front to offer space for my exit.
“He's the VIP?” joked Peter. A youthful middle´sized man at his late twenties or early thirties.
“yeah... from the VIP corner” added Penny.
( Hisdressing)

“Welcome to Heidelberg, sir!
The city of castles and romantic ruins,
The hidden treasure of our land, a land where love-birds land!
Stamp your feet today here, and fill your mind with an exclusion of fear,
Do whatever exciting you wish to do, for this is the place to say 'I do!'
Your host is Peter and, from the word go, you are required to feel at home sir!”

uttered Peter with a Poetic expression and a light touch. He passed a handshake as he pronounced his name. Jefferson and Penny could only listen and giggle.
I prepared my voice to imitate his poetic expression:

“Thank you brother, great son of Dala,
All the way from your roots I come,
I come to witness the positive results of civilization.
Opposite your presence I stamp my feet, I stand to tag you “result number one”.
I'm humbled and delighted with your poetic hospitality
I can't wait to know you better than this!”

“Ha ha ha! That was a good one” He laughed and spoke as we hugged each other. He then greeted Jefferson and Penny before leading us in to his mansion.
“Well, let's go in. It's too cold out here.”
He opened the door to usher us in. And, as we removed our winter jackets to hang them on the garderobe, I kept my eyes busy and my soul free to admire the environment and the opulent-looking interior design of that spacious house. “He must be living his dream in Germany” I thought.
But that was just near the door; I was yet to see the living room.
As we sat chatting freely, my desire to know Peter, the man whose house reminded me of MTV crib, began to grow. I had never bothered to ask Jefferson what Peter does for a living, perhaps this was the time. He walked to the kitchen to prepare something with Jefferson while I remained in the living room with Penny!
She picked the TV remote control to search for a nice program. She came across a saved past TV program called Lebe Deinen Traum (live your dream), and played it. The program showcased the extent at which Germans were living their own dreams as per their desire and need and ability; there were those going to as far as Laos to do successful businesses there or to Thailand to work marry and live their dreams. Others remained at home to live their dreams in different styles. I liked that TV program for it reminded me of my own Dream.
Jefferson came back to inquire whether I would drink coffee or Tea.
“coffee, of course!” I answered.
I asked if I could help and Penny asked me to help her arrange the dinning table with her. From her actions, I knew that she wasn't new in that house. I kept inquiring about her profession; whether it was her dream to become a police woman, whether she enjoys the job and her future ambitions.

It was breakfast time at around 10:50 am. We enjoyed the breakfast´, talked over it and left the table with a stronger social bond between me and Peter as well as between Penny and me. It was at the breakfast table that I learned that Peter was a company owner, he was an employer to be precise. Clearly, with his young age, one would have been honest to say that he was a big name in the making. But I still wanted badly to know the secret behind his success. I knew for sure that it wasn't that easy to start business in Europe given the large amount of capital required to sett up one.
An hour later, we were seating in the living room, Penny was setting up a game on the Nintendo Wii while Jefferson was out to search for something from Penny's car. I had that one to one moment with Peter to understand him and his path of success. But this moment was too shot when Jefferson popped in with a different topic.
“We have a present for you, brother” said Jefferson, he was holding beautifully wrapped item in his hand. Penny finished what she was doing and we gathered to watch as Peter unwrap his present.
He began by laughing out loudly, before I could even recognize what his present was.
He opened it, dropped it on the table and walked out to his bedroom, laughing and giggling and... expressing surprise and happiness in a comical way.
“Why is he laughing?” I posted this question to nobody in specific.
“He still uses the same wallet he bought eight years ago- too old and out of fashion. So we brought him this new wallet that befits his status” Explained Jefferson. Within the same minute, Peter was back, holding copy of the regional daily newspaper that, perhaps, he had been reading in his bedroom and an old brown fine-leather wallet.
This wallet present might not have been a point to me, but the fact that it revealed to me a lot about peter, made it an important topic; I metaphorically picked the Regional newspaper in his hand added it to his excellent language proficiency and drew a conclusion that he was well integrated. And, as he transferred the cards and few items from an old wallet to the new one, I saw a yellow Western Union's Gold membership card and concluded that a connection between him and his roots was not just in existence, it was a very strong connection. From the old Wallet came a Dallaian couple's photo, which he explained to Penny that they were his parents´with the photo I concluded to myself that family was very important to him. His opulent looking mansion was evidence that he was an industrious fellow. These and many other petty issues confirmed my earliest poetic expression that he was a “great son of Dala”-clearly, all I witnessed from him were a hallmark of a noble man.
We played Nintendo Wii for a while; where Jefferson beat me on Tennis but, after knocking out Peter in a hotly contested boxing match, the room became too warm for me. I walked out to sit in the balcony to collect some fresh air and use that chance to view the backyard of Peter's mansion. There' was a fairly large swimming pool, a waterfall and beyond the swimming pool was a Japanese-style stone garden with two green painted garden sofas on it.
“do you smoke!” asked a voice. I looked behind me and saw peter; He perhaps thought that I was out of the house to smoke one or two cigarettes.
“No. I don't smoke. Just having a fresh air here”
“Good!” he said as he closed the door behind him to join me in the cold.
“So, brother! How do you find Germany so far?” Asked peter. He stood at an angle of elevation against a silver´painted metal that fenced the balcony.
“so far so good. I like almost everything. The people are nice, but some just have very negative stereotypes of the outside world.” I said that referring to the Sky cinema story by my language teacher and, to some extend, the shouting lady in the Tram.
He smiled and folded his left leg to write a 4 from my side of view.
“You can fight that negative stereotype by educating or telling them the truth about you or your country.( silence) Well, I like talking to young Dallaians, especially those who have come here with the same goal as me- to gain knowledge and uplift their living standards as well as the living standards of their close associates here or abroad or both. Isn't that your reason for being here?”
“you got it right. That's exactly why am here, brother” I said and let him say all he had for me without interference.
“you, know. I was asked by his mother, a distant relative, to receive him from the Airport. While still at the airport on his arrival, I told him that when you go overseas in search of success, the person receiving you at the airport plays a great roll towards your success; If the person receiving you at the airport is successful, you are likely to succeed too and vice versa. But, there is a possibility that the person receiving you at the airport is successful and you end up being a failure or vice versa. Do you know what would be happening in this second case?”
I mumbld with the question “I...I don't know, but I think in that case the two wouldn't be in good terms because of the difference in their approaches to success.”
“There you have it brother! That's the point. (He said smiling, with his index finger pointing at me)
I offered Jefferson a room to stay with me here. I was doing all that for I knew how fast some foreign students do change their goalposts- I wanted him close to me to help him remain focused to his goals, like a younger brother. You know, if a candle lights up another candle, it doesn't go off or reduce it's light. But, together they increase the light. You get the point?”
“You are right” I responded.
“Yes! I don't shy away from terming myself a successful person, because I know, for sure, that many can only dream to be where I am. (he paused and put on a serious face) Now, if you are a student,you need to remain just that. If you want to live like an achiever when you are still a student, know that you are on the right path, if failure is your destiny.
Well, eight months after he came to stay with me, I sold my small car and bought the one you saw at the car stand, the high powered BMW. I did that because I have to travel countrywide or ,sometimes, as far a distance as Madrid or Paris- for business deals.
I was shocked when Jefferson bought a BMW for himself too. I had to talk to him and I also asked his parents why he had to drive such a car. There was no good answer and it appeared as though he had cheated his parents to get that car. He even feel shy to drive here in that car, but anyway, he seemed to have changed his way of life since then. That should be the reason why we are in touch again. Getting himself a cope as a girlfriend has added adverse pressure in his wind of change; he was getting lost, and was lucky to be found by the police officer!”
“ha hah ha...”
“Yes brother, these are pure facts from my own tested standards of purity! I'm not telling you all these because I'm a gossiper, but because you just landed here the other day and I need to bend the tree when it's still young. (He interrupted my laughter and went away with it)
There are those of us who set their feet here to define success as getting married to any willing person. Their only requirement of a suitable spouse is that, the spouse must not be a citizen of a developing country. Well, I'm not against any form of inter-relationship; whether inter-anything. In fact, I like Jefferson; girlfriend so much so that my wish for them is that they take it far...If he break out from school to marry, then I will be against him or them”
“I completely concur with you and admire your status of mind, brother. You have been explicit in defining to me what I would privately term as, the German dream. Oh! how I wish I should be seeing you more often than I thought.”
“No problem! No problem, brother. What I hate the most is seeing Dallaians come all the way from home to lose their dignity here. I want to be opening my daily newspaper to see our faces, the Dallaian faces, on the front pages for good reasons- some of the times. Not just in the sports pages most of the times! Think about it, Jamba. (He made some moves towards me)
“You look bright, brother! Welcome to Europe once again! (I stood up too and smiles flitted across our faces as we shook hands facing each other eye to eye) It's too cold out here. Come on, let's go in” He said and held me by my shoulder as we walked towards the door. I felt like he has just given me a full dose of morale, which I so desperately needed after consuming Mika's advice of 'hunting' for survival.
“It's the antidote to Mika's poisonous advice” I thought.
He allowed me in first, before shutting the door behind him. Jefferson and Penny were now busy with Karaoke; singing to the best of their ability and competing to accurately pronounce the lyrics of their favourite romantic songs.
“So, I will prepare for some minutes then we can visit the castles or walk around the city and find a nice corner for lunch. We can leave the house in thirty minutes. Is that OK for you?”
Penny looked at me then to Jefferson and then:
“yeah” she responded.
We then wrapped up all the electronics gaming apparatus and kept them away.

“Hey! come with me Jamba. You ain't a VIP any more! Ha ha ha!” shouted Peter, as I tried to join Jefferson and Penny in their two-door Volkswagen car.
I was delighted to join Peter in his fat BMW whose comfort injected necessary energy in me to help me nurse my dream in Germany, the German Dream.
We drove of away from his place to the city. I was very eager to see those castles. In my home state, such things exist only in exotic stories or Films to the majority of people, myself being part of the majority.

Visitin H Cas

    * sailing on the necker (in a solar powered Catamaran) through the Necker Valley framed by numerous castles in the traditional Mark Twain.
    * views of old town Heidelberg.
    * Daily between- 9:30 and 13:9
Heidelberg Castle Museums, romantic ruins, the Great Vat and gardens in Baden Württemberg.

“Offenburg Hauptstraße” I shouted to Jefferson when we crossed the first roundabout in Offenburg. He had asked me to help find it, Offenburg mains street. From there, It was easy for him to drive and find Manfred's street and house number. At exactly 6:30 pm, we were at Manfred's car park. Their two sons were outside, apparently waiting to receive us. We walked out of the car to meet the two jovial boys.
As per the tradition, I walked straight towards Friedrich, the birthday Kid, and shook his hands.
“Alles Gute zum Gerburtstag, Friedrich! (Happy Birthday Friedrich!” I said.
“Danke, Jamba!” He responded.
Jefferson faced him with the same action before introducing Penny to him who also followed siut by wishing Friedrich a happy birthday. Penny began to sing a birthday song, which I helped to seeing the second part of each repetition.
We chatted outside with Friedrich and Otto as they led us to the main house to meet their parents and other visitors.
The parents were busy preparing for the occasion, and there were three more other young boys in the house- perhaps Friedrich's classmates.
We happily greeted Manfred and his wife Annabel, indeed we were happy to be meeting each other again. - - - - - - -
It was his day and he was therefore the one to open the door or pick the phone each time the doorbell or the telephone rang. While we were still arranging the chairs and chatting with our hosts, comparing their culture with our Dallaian one, another couple walked in and were happily welcomed by Friedrich's parents.
“This is my brother Rudolf, and his wife Annette.” He introduced them to us after introducing us to the couple. As we began knowing each other by throwing questions and short answers across the table “ did you know Manfred, what do you do for a living, where do you stay, in Germany...” and so on and so forth, a young Dallaian lady, or a lady of Dallaian origin walked in with two German kids holding her hands.
At this time Manfred was in the cellar and his wife was in a different room.
“These are our twin kids” when they always walked in in the company of Friedrich; Behind the couple came a
- - - - - - - -
I walked out with Friedrich who had asked his parents whether he could show me his trophies in his room or play video game with me in their play room.
He was as friendly as his parents and I couldn't turn down such friendship. We walked in to their playing room where several types of games, including computer games were available. Rawila, the other Dallaian lady was kept busy in their by the two twins who were constructing a toy house using toy equipments like tractor, cranes, wheel barrows and several others.
Friedrich stood in front of a glass window and began pointing at some beautiful trophies and medals as he explained to me how and where he received them as well as who awarded him. He then concluded that he was a busy boy; a three time regional tennis champion, a two-time swimming champion, a top pupil in his class and an excellent under-age fire-fighter. All these qualities were confirmed to me by his several trophies.
“Did you also receive trophies when you were young?” He asked me.
I patted him by the shoulder and prepared an answer.
“you know, elsewhere in this world, children struggle even to have fun; they make their own toys,
some are not given time to go out and mix with their fellow children and they can receive survive punishment just because they went out to play football or any other game. In fact, some...”
“yes, I saw it on TV. In your country children like me can become soldiers. They are given very buggy combat uniforms and they nick-name themselves, Rambo, James Bond or ...were you also a soldier? What was your nickname then?” He interrupted me and posted that serious question.
“No! That is supposed to be illegal. Children are not allowed to hold guns. What happens actually is that, well educated elderly people who want to make wealth by ruling a specific region, cullide with their friends abroad to import arms and start fighting the government of the day in the name of defending their people, Religion, culture, rights or other things. But, since the government of the day gas lots of power or support from abroad, the rebels lose more of their fighters and end up capturing children and forcing them to fight for them. It is not a good thing- it's illegal and not even allowed by the international community; I mean all countries including Germany, doesn't allow it to happen. Well, I was just lucky that in my home area, there were no such rebels and I was therefore lucky not to fall a victim of child-soldier or participate in illegal activities, as such! That could be the reason why I managed to finish high school” I explained
“and how about Jefferson, your cousin? He looks like a soldier!”

A door bell rang and he walked out promising to come back quickly. It was a sigh of relief for me After such very difficult questions.

His exit opened another wonderful page of chances in my life; I turned to the two twins to watch what they were doing with a high probability making an important contact with their care-taker.
“How can you compare them with our Kids back home?”
“Hhm. Of course they are different, with good qualities all across the board”
I wasn't quite sure whether I understood that answer or even whether the answer was friendly to me me.
“come, we are constructing your mansion. She is my workmate (said the boy pointing at his twin-sister). You be the owner of the house and she is your fine( now pointing at me then at Rawila) OK?”
I moved closer to the two twins and turned to Rawila who was smiling at me. “OK. Fine?”
“No, No. No! You can't step on the construction site without a helmet and apron like us!” shouted the boy, almost crying.
“yes! You even have gloves or the right shoes for construction” added her sister. I looked at my legs again. It was then that I remembered to buy a new stock of socks to replace my warn out ones.
I sat next to my wife as the children insisted and watched for learned professionalism at workplace.
“How old are they again. Rawila?”
“they will be five next month.” she replayed.
Well, as the our house was still under construction, I thought it wasn't bad to chat with my wife over certain private issues.
“by the way what do you intend to do after finishing this program. I mean after your Au pair stay has come to an end.” I asked
“I really want to join music school. I've got passion for classical music, Jazz or just to play Opera music.”
“That sounds really good, but we don't have Opera houses in our Dallaian Cities. Do we?”
“you are right! But you can't build Opera houses where there are no such Opera musics. can you?”
she challenged me. I could only smile.
“Well, how about you? Are you still learning German language? And then? What next as far as your future is concerned?”
“Yes, am still learning so that I can be able to study Business or economics”
“Where exactly do you want to study? Frankfurt?”
“I've not yet decided where to do that. But, why Frankfurt?”
“It's the financial capital and so, I thought it should make sense if one studies financial related subjects there. But that's just my thought” She responded, looking directly at my eyes.
“You sound very intelligent” I said with a warm smile.
“Thank you handsome brother!” she said.
I frowned for a while “Handsome sounds way too cool, but why add on 'brother' to it? Are you trying to stop me from reaching somewhere?” I thought. The female kid turned to us and complained.
“Nooo. He is your husband and he my workmate!” she pointed at Rawila and then to her twin-brother.
“Yes! ...and this is your house. Just wait for three more months!” added her Twin-brother, inciting smiles to our faces.
I gave the children my attention again.. they seemed to have been showing me something here through their action and co-ordination; the girl would scope sand using a plastic spade to fill a small plastic wheelbarrow before driving it across the room to the construction site. On the site, she would then fill a tiny bucket with the sand and allow her brother to press a crane's remote controller and lift the sand up. The sand would then be poured down to the floor after it reached the top end of the crane. When all the sand is collected on the site, it becomes his brother's duty to clear the site using a tractor and ferry them back across the room. The house itself was invisible.
A thought flitted through my mind again:
“They have refused my entry at the construction site without professional outfit? Ugh! At their tender age they already know the meaning of professionalism, even before knowing whether the word exist! And, by telling me to wait for three months, they also know something about time.
This is only possible where there are role models to emulate; where there are professionals who
strictly observe professional ethics. Where elder citizens teach their children by examples”
I began to perceive that my host nation was wealthy because her citizens were reach; reach with loyalty, reach with industriousness, with honesty, with good communication, with professional ethics, with intellectual qualities, with...
A country's wealth is not the quantity of the mineral under her surface but the quality of citizens above her surface. And, here I witnessed a representative sample of large quantity of high quality citizens. This is what can stop a country from developing forever- it is exactly what makes a developed country.
Friedrich walked in again and one of the kids shouted.
“OK. The house is ready. You can have a view without helmets”

we walked back to the high table, where more visitors had arrived and I had to introduce myself to the new faces. We then sang a birthday song to Friedrich and he blew off the birthday candles before cutting the cake to officially mark his birthday party.
Friedrich's birthday wishes finally came true when he received a brand new Tennis Racket from Jefferson, Penny and myself. He also received a brand new basket ball from his Uncle and many other presents from his parents, friends and relatives.
We ate and relaxed chatting freely and cracking jokes and, where possible, laughing out loudly. But ,ever since Rudolf's wife murmured a question to her husband to know whether Jefferson was Penny's boyfriend, She spent most of the remaining time reading the chemistry between Jefferson and Penny or, perhaps, wondering whether the two really were a good match?
She finally posted a question to Penny;
“By the way; how old are you Penny?”
“I will be 23 in 3 months!”
“Oh! So cool, and you are already focused on your profession. That's wonderful!” She lamented and turned to Jefferson. But, I believe, Jefferson's wish wasn't to receive such a question. He made a joke before the question could completely be posted to him
“And Jeffer...”
“when you were born, I was already the commander in Chief of the armed Child-soldiers, aha ha ha.!”
We all laughed loudly! I was laud too as my eyes I searched for Friedrich. He wasn't laughing. It was like a confirmation to him.
“ha ha ha ...what was your nickname?” Asked Rudolf.
“John Rambo! But If you said, Bruce lee to me we would still be in good terms”
We laughed again and I saw Annete whispering something to her husband who answered her amidst laughter: “aha ha ha Keine Anhnung ha ha hah eehh! ( I don't know)”
After hoping that he had preventing a question from reaching him, Jefferson decided to put himself clear:
“Well, that was just a joke! Many schoolmates like asking me questions about child-soldiers. That's why I like cracking jokes to do with the soldiers”

It was time to go, but I still had issues to straighten out with Rawila, who was still remaining behind with the children and their parents. I walked to his coach to exchange contacts and made sure my
contact with her host parents Rudolf and Annette was in good shape. When Rudolf sow my good moves he added a brilliant voice to it:
'Jamba, have you ever been to Rust?”
“Not yet!”
“you should visit us there, we stay few yards away from Europa park. Ever heard of it, Europa park
“Yeah, I see the adverts in Freiburg. I will be there soon, if I have enough cash!”
“No problem, I work there and; I still have some free cards from my good Boss, I can give them to you as a welcome present. Ask Rawila to take you there, if both of you have time”
After thanking our host family and their children for inviting us to the birthday party, I walked out to Join Jefferson and Penny who were already out of the house.

“I liked the way you avoided that imminent question.” I said to Jefferson as he paved the way for me to occupy my back-seat. He was holding the door after pushing his seat further in front.
“”so you so it coming too? Ha ha! Yes, I had to” He responded as he repositioned the front seat and occupy it, shutting the door with a bang..Penny was only smiling with her hand on the wheel, waiting to drive off.
They dropped me at my hostel in Littenweiler and I called it another good day:

It was almost about time to begin pursuing my studies, a series of exams were forthcoming and my hostel contract was also about to expire. This was, so far the most stressful moment in the whole of my stay in a foreign country. I was seating on a cement pillar surrounding a water fountain in front of the city hall and an Ice café in Freiburg city. I n my hand was a vanilla ice cream, which was melting slowly as I spent the time thinking of where to find a cheap room to move to and the forthcoming final language exam. Down in front of my feet were several doves feeding, playing or just relaxing, when a parent dove began feeding a younger one via their beaks, I began thinking of some romantic moment as my mind drift away from the rail of of stress; deep in my mind I recalled my best moment with Rawila at Europa park Rust, when we were kissing up the roller-coaster and yelling sweetly on our speedy way down. With our hands up and hearts closer to our
mouths. I recalled how my us we ascended slowly up the roller-coaster.
My phone finally rung, and brought me back to myself, It was the very person that had failed to observe punctuality that was calling mine. He asked me to meet him at the main Tram station up above the main train station. I had to walk some 5 minutes to reach there, hoping that my meeting with him would reduce or cure the stress in me. He wasn't a psychologist, he was my fellow Dallaian whom I had met early that week. And because he said to me that he was an IT student and that the language of instruction in his university was English, I took his contacts and arranged to meet him today. My main aim of meeting him was to know more about his study institution and get some assistance from him on application for admission. That was the best way to reduce stress of the forthcoming exam and deal only with the stress of looking for a hostel.
The hostel issue was stressing me so much so that I could not even concentrate in preparing for the language exam.
When I reached the tram station and learned that he was still far away from arriving, I began feeling
that my time was being wasted or I was simply wasting time wit such a person. He finally arrived, and without saying anything to his belated arrival, She introduced me to a lady with him, his sister.
We went down the elevator system and towards a McDonald at the train station. As, we moved our ways inside the MacDonald to find something to drink, I began feeling that my Dallaian friend must have just arrived from home recently, not from a Dallaian city but from what the Dallaians call the 'grass root'; He was being pushed here and there and didn't even know a word in German language apart from simple greetings.
“So, where exactly is your college located?” I inquired after learning that he wasn't even ready to begin that topic, the topic that brought me to meet him.
I was confused when her sister, who was writing addresses on some envelopes beside him and opposite me, starred at me with surprise written on her face. She then glanced at her brother and continued with her business. He brother maintained a short silence before saying:
“Hey man! Who told you that Dallaians do come here to study? Look for a woman, man! and marry
before you start hustling!”
His sister listed her head up to meet me eye to eye. She then nodded her head in support of her brother's remark. I took a sip of my orange juice and remained silent, looking out of the window.
“Don't you have someone ready to lead to the altar?” he asked.
“It hasn't flitted through my mind yet. I thought it would be wise to achieve education and get a job before giving such ideas a thought”
“uhm! No! Use that fixed formula back home not here. Do you have a girlfriend?”
“yes, I do! We are 9 months together now” I said with pride, scrolling down the Photo Gallery on my phone to find Rawila's photo.
“how old is she” asked his sister
“She's 21, just like me. Here is her photo” I handed over my cellphone to her brother for a view.
“what! Your girlfriend is a Dallaian? You can't be serious, man!” he registered his surprise to me and handed over the Photo to his sister who was already demanded for a view. He picked it and giggled flippantly before returning the cellphone back to me.
“does she have a German Passport?” she inquired while placing my cellphone on the table in front of me.
“Passport! I don't know. Well, I've never bothered to know such details but, I know for sure that she is a citizen of my neighbouring Dallaian state- not a German national” I explained.
They looked at me then at each other and giggled again.
“How old are you, anyway? And are you married?” I inquired.
“I'm 23. Just married three weeks ago. My wife is 45.” He said and defended himself quickly after noticing surprise on my face.
“The best option is to marry first, so it doesn't matter whom you marry. What matters is the new immigration status that you gain after marrying.” he stopped to look at his sister who also wanted to add something important, I supposed.
“Well, you know what! He arrived here two months ago with a visiting Visa that was valid for three months only. But he knew that he wasn't here for holiday; he had to search, search and search...” I looked confused when she said “search search and search” so she became a bit explicit.
“He had to wake up every single day scouting for any potential bride. It is a matter of life and death going back to Dala is as good as going back to hell, so he had to find anyone marriageable. And, after almost a month he got a woman who was willing to marry him on certain conditions, which are a bit private. They flew back home to Dala five days after their agreement and tied the knot from there before returning back two weeks ago as husband and wife.” she looked at me to see if I was gaining some sense.
“let the natives of EU or this land, for that matter, do other things to achieve their dreams, but for you, a nere dallaian immigrant with a passport that is subject to scrutiny at any airport in developed society, you've got to do it our ways, brother: For you, it is not only a stepping stone to achieving your German dream, It is the German dream itself.” added the man.
Their remarks reminded me of Mika, the first Dallaian man I met on the train less than ten days after my arrival in Europe. Both of them were quite to the contrary as my Idol Peter, the one from Heidelberg who’s intellectual rhetoric and business excellence I admired the most.
I began gaining the feeling of someone with important fish to fry but wasting time with other useless things. Maybe, my feelings were misplaced.

My meeting with the two Dallaians was designed to reduce the stress in me. Yes, it was a successful meeting as it managed to strengthen my spirit as far as keeping to my own principles is concerned. Above all, I got a good contact of a landlord who was to offer me accommodation that suited my financial status. I had to call the landlord while on my way home and was happy to learn that the room was occupied but was to be free at the beginning of the following month.
It was a furnished double bedroomed apartment, which I had to share with another house mate at the cost of Euro 210.00 each. We had to share the kitchen doubled as living room, the wash machine and refrigerator. The fact that it wasn't my duty to search for a housemate whenever the next room was free made it a good deal for me. I made a date with the occupant of the room to examine it aforehand.

There was no more stress when I entered my room in Litenweiler that afternoon. After paying fine twice to Deutche Bahn for failure to carrying a regional travelling card with me, I had come up with the new rule to help me remember carrying the card always, whenever I go out of the house; I picked the wallet
from my pocket to make sure the regional card was inside before placing the wallet on the table. To my surprise, the card was again missing in my wallet. I looked around and saw it on the table. “Thanks God! They never inspected me today!” I said to myself in relief.

We were driven back to Schalstadt train station from the firm where we sat stretching our pants and the entire body as we waited for the train. I was dead tied but my colleagues were still very strong and remained not just standing but dancing to hip hop music from a play station. They danced in arrow moving left to right attracting admiration from other smiling passengers at the train station.

The train finally came and we walked on board for the 10min-journey back to the city.
“How was it?” asked my colleague, one that had introduced me to the farm manager for recruitment.
“ya yaa! It’s wallet friendly. I guess we should show up next time.  I answered with sincerity.
My phone rang again, almost two minutes before our arrival at the main train station, and that was my cousin Jefferson. He was back from Monaco and was dying to see me for some very urgent reasons. I asked him to pick me at the train station and he was right there.

I slammed the door while belting up in the front seat of Jefferson’s BMW. He then drove off with a screeching sound.
“how was Monaco?”
“Nkt!.. hah.. not so nice!’ he expressed and I expected some bad news.
“Why! Of course Monaco is a beautiful place and you have to have fun while there! So why not tell me the bad news, anyway?”

“I have no tales to tell because I’m only a broke person with a BMW that needs maintenance and an expensive apartment that owes me cash at the end of this month”
“what! So you don’t have cash to pay your rent yet you can afford a celebrity holiday in Monaco! Is that the case or Am I saying too much?”
“No, Noo, come on. You shouldn’t be so conservative. You know, we’ve got to help each other as cousins. If you help a man swim to the shore you reach there yourself. And it shouldn’t be a sin to give yourself a royal treat once in a while! Huh!
While we struggle we must enjoy life too. Whoever did not walk in a moonlit night, and in the morning with the dew, did not enjoy life”

“I see. But everything must be in its due time and mackerel in August. Well, tell me. What do we do now? Do you need cash or how exactly should I help?”
“I don’t know exactly how to put it. Let me just explain the entire situation, but please don’t sing the song too high, cousin”
“Yes, I was in Monaco for a holiday. But that’s not the problem because I had budgeted for it. I had 2K set aside for the holiday and some good amount in my bank account for my study and other things. The problem started when I began parking my car in front of a casino and got addicted to it.”
“What! So you’ve lost all your money in the casino! Jeff?”
Jefferson remained silent driving towards Haslach-weingarten, to Jamba’s apartment. Jamba turned to him to break the silence when they approached a red ample.
“What’s your plan now? or what should we do.”
‘I have been waiting for some cash from my mum but it is three months now since she last updated my bank account”
“No Jeff! Noo! I think your bank account has been updated while in Monaco and that’s why there is a financial problem now. You see, let us talk straight now that we need to do so. When you picked me from the train station, I was on my way from the vineyard after working to shape up my financial status. My parents no longer foot my university bills, I do that. It’s tough but I’m managing it. Well, you need to review your spending and give much attention to your savings. You see, the situation at home does not support money transfer to your bank account.”
“What do you mean, cousin?”
“I read it online that the trade minister’s private car was burned to ashes by unknown hoodlums and about $7,000 in hard cash stolen from her- the campaign money. Well, let’s thank God she escaped uninjured”
“Eish! That’s my mother’s new range rover that was turned to ashes! Huh! You better be kidding this time, Jamba! Just tell me you are kidding, please”
“I’m afraid, not now. Your Dad also survived in a separate incidence, thanks to the well paid security hoodlums. Anyway, let’s confront the emerging problem in Germany first. So how should we deal with the poverty that is currently approaching you?”
‘Man, you scare me with the term ‘poverty’; I cannot come all the way from home to face that monster here, in the European economic powerhouse! No way!
And that’s why I want to dispose off my car in the shortest time possible’
  • *to be exorbitantly beautiful
  • *"Everything in its time and mackerel in August."
  • Things must be done in their proper time, not before.
    • "A shoeless man saw a one-legged man and felt better."
    • Someone will always be in a worst situation than someone in a bad situation.
    • * When God wants to destroy the ant, he puts wings on him and it flies (to its destruction)."
    • * "When you hear of many cherries, hold a small basket."
    • Don't get overwhelmed, and be cautious.
  • "He was born without pants and is ashamed to be dressed."
  • When one person is not raised properly and is accustomed to poor manners or a poor way of life, they are uncomfortable doing things properly.
    • You can't see the forest for the trees
    • Even a broken clock is right twice a day.
    • Only dead fish swim with the stream
    • Talk is cheap, silence is golden.
·  The village is burning and the village prostitute is washing her hair."
·  English equivalent to "Rome burned and Nero fiddled."
*The apple will fall under the apple-tree."
The offspring will be like his parents, usually derogatory. Akin to, "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree".
*"Don't sprout where you haven't been planted."
Do not interfere/meddle in the affairs or discussions of others.
  • * "At the deaf man's door, knock as much as you like."
  • Some people ignore any advice or guidance that may be provided to them. In more modern Greek, there is a funny spoof of this proverb : "Στου κουφού την πόρτα, μπες απ'το παράθυρο" ("When at a deaf man's door, get in through the window").

*this is where things went off the rail.
*A thought flitted through my mind/ A smile flitted across his face.
*she flirted with the idea of becoming an actor when he was young.
*A flippant answer/attitude, to sound flippant
*They deployed the same tactic
*hurling unprintable words
*a big commotion ensued
*research on the driving law.
*in comes artwork, a mammoth Piano- anything to make up for the absence of human beings.
*It's the sort of thing that would make dad thunder, 'you wanted it to die so that you would eat it!'
*my mother gave me something good that I want to share with you ( a warning- no sale of car.)
*There are good people of integrity in every society
*police got wind of it and acted fast. For some reasons, they only attract uncouth, violent and belligerent youths..
*It did not bring in any new thinking and sacrificed the principle on the altar of retrogressive(returning to old ideas rather than making progress)
political expediency(...
*in an ill-advised attempt to arrange a compromise between one & two...he chose to dance
on the treacherously slippery slope of sharing executive power..
*clearly, ...
*Hence, it is foolhardy and suicidal too... It will sow seeds of future discord and instability.
* Karate
means empty Handed: founded in the Japanese Island of Okinawa back in the 16th Century.
*amazingly resilient-ability to feel better quickly after something unpleasant.
*receptive, to sth, -willing to listen to or support new ideas.. a receptive audience
*obsolete, n/adj:- no longer used coz sth else has been invented
*She is obsessional abt cleanliness
*it'll be kinda, like leftover Turkey for a thanksgiving day
*I'm being both objective and subjective on this issue
*parlance- in legal/ climbing/ common / modern parlance
*parrot-fashion: learn or repeat sth parrot-fashion= without thinking about it or understanding what it means.
Paroxysm-A sudden strong feeling or expression of an emotion that cannot be controlled: paroxysms of hate, a paroxysm of laughter. (Med): sudden short attack of pain causing physical shaking that cannot be controlled.
*illusion: a false idea or belief, esp abt sb or sth´I have no illusions abt her feelings for me: I know the truth is that she does not love me. She's under the illusion that... (= believes wrongly that...he could no longer distinguish between illusion and reality.
*ill-assorted: not seeming suited to each other (= they seem an ill-assorted couple.
*ill-bred: rude or badly behaved esp. because you have not been taught how to behave well.
*well-bred: opposite of ill-bred
*ill-conceived: badly designed or planned
*ill-defined: not clearly described- an ill-defined role./ not clearly marked or easy to see- an ill-defined path.
*Ill-disposed (towards sb): not feeling friendly towards sb. OPP- well disposed.
*ill-advised: likely to cause difficulties in the future- the remarks were ill-advised, to say the least.
*living on the bosom of her family/ she pressed him on her bosom.
*Hover: to stay close to sth/ stay in uncertain state. =) Temps hovered around freezing, A smile hovered on her lips, he hovered on the edge of conciousness.
*Squash-sth agst(sth): push into a space that is too small= we all ~ed into the back of the car 2. stop sth from continuing/destroy sth coz it's a probm for you: Squash a plan/ an Idea/ a revolt/ rumours = their natural curiosity was squashed.
*Panacea-(for sth) something that will solve all the problems of a particular situation.
*squarely- directly not at an angle: he looked at me squarely in the eye/Stood squarely in front of her.
*Jibe: an unkind or insulting remarks abt sb. He made several cheap jibes at his opponent during the interview. He jibed/ gibed repeatedly at the errors they had made. “) to be the same as sth or to match it= your statement doesn't jibe with the facts
*Perpetual: continuing for a long period of time without interruption= a perpetual noise of traffic. Awe lived in a perpetual state of fear. B4 noun. Humerous- perpetual president, perpetual student.
Override. The first man ever to fly. He didn't have a pilot licence.
*busboy: a person who works in a restaurant and whose job is to clear the dirty dishes, etc.
*arm in arm. Arms folded
*his face is like thunder: very angry
*..and the smallest of smiles lit her eyes, then her face
*amused by em
*well versed in all the important traditions
*pass a politically loaded message
*a choreographed (exercise) : to design and arrange the steps and movements for dancers in a ballet.
Or a show. (fig)=there was some carefully choreographed flag-waving as the president drove away
*phalanx: a group of pple or things standing very close together.
*fallacy: a false idea that many pple believe is true.=it is a fallacy to say that the camera never lies.
a false way of thinking abt sth: He detected the fallacy of her argument.
*fallible: able to make mistakes or be wrong (memory is selective & fallible) opp: infallible.
*autogenic training:way or relaxing and dealing with stress using positive thoughts & mental training
* faute de mieux
*she thinks she's really somebody in that car
*a far sighted decision* To stand the test of time* bullheaded*
*laudatory: praise something/ also: chuckle, titter, giggle, guffaw, cackle etc.
*one read the koran, while the other went about the task.
*far more men are literate than women *demean the idea of.. *it was far from a universal truth.
*smell, scented, aromatic etc..
Www.bbcworld /superpower/blogworld.
CHECK::Romantic diner, political message on terrorism, describe Kylie's
*I remember thinking as the argument was raging that there was a certain asymmetry in the emotional approach the two sides brought to the controversy.
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