After my arrival in Germany, I was living in a collective accommodation on the edge of the village Marxen. I felt as if I was fallen into a deep hole of a well without any rescue ladder. The only connection into the world was the telephone number of a woman called Barbara with whom I could speak English. In this difficult situation, she showed me that there is a way out of the well. It was finally possible for me to register for a German course in Buchholz. I drove there from Marxen which took four hours daily.

Only then, my life in Germany really began. As I had nothing else to do, I stayed in Buchholz all days and used the wifi in the Buchholz gallery. A lot of refugees meet there and I got the recommendation to visit the Café International. There, I met Adelheid, Eike and Uthe. The people there have helped me to find a way into the German society. Adelheid helped me with the language every day. We sat in the café, told stories, laughed and talked. Despite the course, I would not have been able to learn the language without these friends.

Compared to my home, Germany seemed to be a country where everything was regulated. Even the rain – so I thought – is switched on and off by an authority via computer. I also had to learn that the pedestrians have prerogative on crosswalks and the cars have to stop. There are so many rules and provisions that I was very confused. Once, I had two HVV cards at the same time, and then suddenly none at all. It was very difficult to limit the penalty.
And over the top, the coping with the official authorities! I was not able to read the letters and did not understand the content. But Eike helped me, explained the content to me and accompanied my visits at the Jobcenter and the “Agentur für Arbeit”. He also helped me to find a room in a shared flat. Finally, I lived in Germany and not at the edge anymore.
There I also met Afghan and German fellows with whom I could play volleyball in a sports club. At the Diakonie, I found help for proposing a family reunion for my wife and my five children.
In March 2020, the Café International was closed and Corona isolated the people from each other. I again fell, not as deep as the well in Marxen, yet still in a deep hole. Everything became difficult again – particularly this complicated language. But Adelheid helped me and thenceforward, I went to her home every day. She taught me the language with a lot of patience and a lot of jokes. Her home developed to be my second school and almost a new parental home.

After a successful B1 exam, I registered for a Continuation course. The demands rose and increased. To make matters worse, Adelheid was absent for a longer time due to a stupid accident. “Khodore Schukr” – thanks to God – Eike was helping out. I can visit him almost every day. There, we either repeat the school lessons or read books and journals for improving my German.
This is how Buchholz developed to be my new home. I would like to learn a here recognised profession, stay in the town and work. I hope that also my children will receive the chance one day, to go to school in Buchholz and fulfill their dreams.

This is my highest concern: that my family can finally reunite. We are already waiting for an appointment for a German visa for more than a year. The embassy in Kabul is closed for a long time and Corona makes the journeys to New Delhi in India for the visa impossible. And also the development in Afghanistan worries me a lot. I hope, that the door for a common future will not be slammed shut for us.

author: Hussain Sirat
photo-infos: Arne Hildebrand, Blick auf Buchholz in der Nordheide