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Foto: an ethopian woman pours coffee in a cup

"Enkuwan Dehna Metu! – Welcome!" - Hayat Mohammed welcomes us under the canopy of her house in Kombolcha. The woman in her mid-thirties lives together with her son, mother and other relatives. The family of five shares a bedroom and a storage room.

From the outside, the walls made of wooden planks are covered with clay, the floor in front of the house is covered with dried grass. Inside the house the walls are covered with plastic tarpaulins. There are some sleeping mats and blankets on the PVC floor. Otherwise the room is rather sparsely furnished. There are two plastic stools, a metal frame with a kettle, a small table with a traditional coffee pot and a laundry basket full of cups. A shiny picture frame hangs on the wall. The power cables stretched through the room lead to some sockets and the only light bulb that dimly illuminates the room.

The conversation in front of the house takes place in a busy situation. Neighbors and children drop by curiously. Hayat Mohammed tells us about her illegal migration experiences. She left Ethiopia 14 years ago. "To make money," as she says. This odyssey lasted 13 years. Her path led to Saudi Arabia. "'Delalas' (smugglers) got me a plane ticket, a visa and a contract as a housemaid." To a young woman who had left school after ninth grade, this sounded like a dream. For this she was also willing to invest a small fortune. “10,000 Ethiopian Birr the smugglers demanded, a lot of money 14 years ago. My family borrowed the money for the trip to me.” But the dream quickly turned out to be a nightmare. The situation at the workplace was catastrophic. “I had to work up to 24 hours a day. The food was not good and was rarely enough.” Sleep was a luxury. Mohammed was the only worker in the very large house. "Cleaning, cooking, washing and babysitting, the workload was too much for me." In addition to this there were language barriers and physical violence. "I was often shouted at. Partly mistreated.” Also the payment was not as promised. In the first three months, she received no wages. "Why? I do not know that. May be the money went to the smugglers?” Then she was paid less than originally agreed. She was only allowed to contact the family in Ethiopia once a month. “I had to use my employer's phone to do this. I was not allowed to have a phone myself."

At some point she couldn't take the situation any longer. "I fled from my employers. Lived on the streets with other migrants and offered myself as a day laborer.” Finally, she was arrested and deported to Ethiopia. As it turned out, she was illegal in Saudi Arabia all the time. "I never got the promised visa." At this point, Mohammed becomes very emotional. The corners of the mouth tighten. The woman gestures excitedly.

Back in Ethiopia, she found herself in a dramatic situation again. The family had used up the money she sent from Saudi Arabia. With her son she was left with nothing. "It was terrible. Nothing was saved. I was back where it all started.” With the little money she had left, she opened a small coffee shop. But without success. By selling a cup of coffee, she makes five Ethiopian birr, less than 15 euro cents, too little for the family. There were also bureaucratic obstacles. "It was difficult for me to get an ID card. Because I didn't have any papers.” Returning to a life without perspective, Mohammed's view of the future is not very hopeful. "The only chance to improve my economic situation at the moment would be to go to Saudi Arabia again." Against this background, she has a clear request to the government. “Living conditions have to be improved. Those who have hope also see their future in Ethiopia."

For seven months now, Mohammed has been taking part in the roundtables organized by Kelem in her community. She is warning young people and their families about the things that refugees can expect. In addition to the terrible memories and economic problems, Mohammed also kept physical memories. “The chemicals that I had to use for cleaning had a major impact on my vision. I also have gotten kidney problems. " Mohammed knows that her engagement is a bit like fighting windmills. “Parents send their children away due to the economic situation. Many know how bad the situation is and still push their children to go.” But without more jobs and support and space for young people, illegal migration will always be a supposed way out. Especially since the smugglers are waiting everywhere. "You can just ask for the number." After all, she knows some families whose children stayed. These small successes also give Hayat Mohammed a little hope.


more on that topic:
Sabir Ahmed - Bati

 


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Please support our work


Accounts for donation:

Sparkasse Marburg-Biedenkopf
IBAN: DE46 5335 0000 0000 0444 40
BIC: HELADEF1MAR

Volksbank Mittelhessen
IBAN: DE58 5139 0000 0016 4090 06
BIC: VBMHDE5F


or conveniently online:

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