Despite the fact that neither my husband nor I never really succeeded in anything, we know that our children will. That is some relief. One studies business law, two are at high school, and another four do well in school. In Congo I graduated in economics, having planned to use it at the UN. I wanted to help other people get a better life. While we ourselves were fleeing and lived in a refugee camp in Tanzania, I also worked for the UN but had to stop when Tanzania was no longer a safe place for us. We spent nine tough years in Malawi before we were allowed to come to Denmark. Today my education is not only obsolete, it is also no longer recognised by the Danish system.
Mapendo, my name, means love – what everybody needs. I have lost touch with my family, and I haven’t seen them for 22 years. It is a huge loss, but I have another family now, my God’s family.
Imagine that I with black skin can call the people with white skin next to me my mum and dad, my sister and brother. I found consolation in the Catholic church.
I now work as an interpreter and do temporary jobs in factories and other unskilled work. Only once have I done a job where I could use my education. It was as a volunteer coordinator in a project lasting six months. A purposeful job which made me feel equal to the Danes.
All my life I have helped others and strived to create links between people in nice communities. I have been a Neighbourhood Mum for ten years, a visiting friend, and active in the volunteer network. There will always be a place for it in my life, but Denmark is the first place where it could happen in peace and quiet and away from danger.
50 / female / married / children / candidate in business economics / Randers / from Congo / came to Denmark in 2007 / residence permit in 2007