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It is almost nine years ago that I came to Holland, and I have experienced quite a lot of bad things during these years... But there were good things, too. The good things I had never expected.
Thirty hours after my arrival in Schiphol (the airport of Amsterdam), an Immigration Service official told me that my case would be considered seriously and that I would be sent to an asylum seekers' camp. They brought me to the camp on the evening of the same day. I was accommodated in a cottage where two other women already lived. My greatest fear was that my neighbors would hate me, that they would think of me as a snob...So much 'out of place'. I seemed to be in the asylum seekers' camp.
As a representative of what they call 'local aristocracy' in my native land, I had a European university diploma. I had been well off and had visited many European countries before (for my studies or for my work). And suddenly everything was over. My bank accounts were frozen, my house was confiscated, and I was lucky to get a Dutch visa and to leave for Holland just the day before they came to arrest me. The women who were now my neighbors in the asylum seekers' camp were from villages located in the middle of the jungle and had not had much of education. But, contrary to my expectations, these women were very kind and very helpful. Although their background differed so much from mine, they understood very well what I had been through.
Without moral support from these women, I would have never survived. I would have got crazy or committed suicide, or I don't know what. But these nice women were always near-by, saying kind words. In addition to my neighbors, I met a few other women. Also from African villages. Also not with much of education... But they became real friends to me. Some of them had been through really terrible things in their native lands. But these women were ready to try and make a new life in Europe. And they encouraged me to do the same. Meeting these women in the asylum seekers' camp was one of the best things that happened to me in Holland.