The woman with two roles

My name is Faten, I come from Lebanon and I am 44 years old. Lebanon is a small country, we had many problems in Lebanon because there is too little work for the people there. I have a daughter, I’ve been divorced since she was three. My ex-husband didn’t take care of us. I had to work for the whole family. I guess that’s why he married me, so I could work.

I worked as a driver for a tobacco factory. It was very hard work. I delivered from town to town, from morning to night. There weren’t many women doing it. Everyone loved me, the customers were always happy and just wanted to order from me, even if I wasn’t assigned to the place. I hardly saw my apartment and my daughter. I took her to my sister’s in the morning and picked her up in the evening. Once I had an accident, nobody paid for my treatment. My back still hurts. I had to endure the pain, being sick, that meant a disaster. The doctor cost $40, how was I supposed to pay that? I couldn’t afford to be sick. In my city, south of Tripoli, there are many poor people. Nobody cares about them. If they get sick and have no money for doctors, they die in front of the hospitals. I left Lebanon because my life was in danger.

One day, I parked my car in front of a restaurant to finish the bill for the goods with the owner, I was molested by a man to drive my car away. I asked the man to give me five minutes to finish the bill. He insisted that I leave. When I refused, he became violent. He hit me on the ground, almost kicked me in the stomach, would not have gotten people in between. Without these people I would surely be dead today. I went to the police station with bleeding hands, they took my statement and sent me away again. That’s all they did.

In this country I got no protection, a country that leaves its citizens alone. It came to the trial. Because it was very cold and snowing outside, the way was exhausting for me. The man who hit me didn’t come because of the snow. The trial was postponed. As a woman, I fought my way from Tripoli to court and he didn’t make it? After the appointment he threatened me, he called me and told me to revoke the notice. I told him I’d rather die than do this.

I wasn’t interested in money, no one was allowed to raise their hand against me. He hit me. I wanted my right! He threatened me and my daughter. I had no choice but to escape. The threats got worse and worse, my country didn’t protect me. I sold everything I owned and took on high debts to come to Europe. Until today I wait for my right. The postponed date took place when I was already in Europe.

My daughter came to Germany a year and a half later. Her father didn’t let her go until I gave him our house. I don’t have anything left. I’m often sad about my parents, they live alone at home. I used to help them when I was still living there. I used to help my sister, too. It’s been on my mind ever since I got here. I was always the one who helped and today I need someone to help me. I’m in debt, 10,000 Euro. The price to come to Europe. I’ve never been in debt. I wish I could work and pay it all back.

I enjoy learning, my teacher prepares the lessons so that I can understand them. I would like to have my own apartment where I can cook. We have a common kitchen here, so I can’t cook in peace. Every weekend I visit friends in Münster, where I cook. I feel old, weak, hopeless. I want to work to feed my daughter. I learned engineering then, but didn’t study any further, because we couldn’t afford it. I could sketch a house now. I would like to learn the language. I thank the doctors here, we’re being cared for and well treated. Even without a lot of money, you can have a good life here.

Storyteller’s name: Foutoun
Interviewer’s name: Sarah El Desoke
Country of origin: Lebanon
Sex: f
Age: 44

Dublin Core: Language: de Subject: refugees, asylum, a million stories, germany, lebanon