110 Ruschka & Milan
[Translate to English:]
Ruschka and Milad lived for almost 2,5 years in room 110. The deprivation of their "toleration" status caught them unprepared. At October 23, 2015 at 5pm they left Berlin with the bus direction Novi Sad in Serbia. > Sve dobro
our happiness did not last for long
My first stay was from 1997 to 2004, together with my three children and my wife. The children were still young and in 2004 we went home by choice. After six months we would have had the chance to come back, but I did not. I came back to Germany in June 2013. This time I am an asylum seeker. Before I was not an asylum seeker but legally tolerated.
When I got here first I did not work. We would live off of legal tolerance and social welfare. For seven years we would stay at an asylum and in an apartment. For the last years until 2004 we stayed in an apartment in Wittenau.
Since 2013 I am back. In June, it has been two years. We've been here, at this asylum. It is okay to be here. However, we've missed wall paint and the like … a bit difficult … no fresh air. But what can you do.
Yes, I know people in Berlin.
The reason I came here was because of my heart condition. It is difficult to get medical treatment in Serbia. If one needs to have an intracardiac catheter you have to wait years for surgery. While you wait for at least two years you have to stay in Serbia. If you don't stay they will not perform surgery. It is different in Germany. If the doctor says you have to have an operation, he will perform surgery that very same day. No problem. But in Serbia you wait way too long for an operation. You need to wait and you have to pay. Pay too much … I have had an intracardiac catheter in 2006. I was lying in bed; they did a medical examination, and said I needed a stent. A stent costs about 200 Euro. "You have or have not the money?" When I said no, they would not set in the stent.
It is different here. Here they help you so you get well. After surgery one has to drink a certain medicine for a year. It costs 200 Euro every month. Then there is a pain reliever for 300 Euro every month. Here I have plenty of medication. Probably seven that I take every morning and another three that I take at night. But I have no residence permit. Every three months my residence permit status is renewed … I am legally tolerated. On March 19 I will again go see people at the Foreigner's Office. I have no idea what they are going to say … it may be another three months, maybe one month, maybe six months. You never know before you are at the Foreigner's Office.
Yes, I am afraid. When I have to go back to Serbia, my medication will be gone. If they are going to perform surgery all is well. But without medication … no good.
Without medication, no work. Without medication, no life. For the time being, I am feeling well due to medication. But without medication it is bad. [Milan takes plastic bags full of medication out of his closet.] Those are the drugs I was given … this one I have to take for a year, this one until the end of September. Every month it would cost 200 Euro in Serbia. 600 Euro for three months.
I have no profession. I went to school for eight years in Serbia. And I got my driver's license in Germany. Later, when I became sick, I did not work. Before that, I was in a plant, making sugar. And in another factory I used to work with metal at maximum temperature. I don't know how this is called. Metal and iron at roughly 1.000°C …
I am from Novo Miloševo. It is a village in the South. I have three sons. Two of my sons stayed in that village. One is in Germany with his wife and children. But soon he'll have to go back as he was given that paper. To hear that … lots of problems. It is hard for him, but even harder for me. Without medication I will no longer live.
What I am wishing for? I wish all my children would have the chance to come here, to work, and to live like everybody else.
I have no problem with Germans. And if I have a problem, they are interested, and they want to help. It is easy to interact - hello and goodbye - no problem. People are nice. Before, we were in Marzahn, in Wannsee for a short time, and in Wittenau … No problem. If I have to go to social welfare I have no problems either.
My wife and I have been married for 30 years. We have twins, they are 27 years old, and another one of 25 years. Three sons.
Our happiness did not last for long. However, it is better when in Germany. We were happy with the boys when they were small. All was well. It is no good to go back. It is no good neither for me, nor my children, nor my grandchildren.
You know, the problem is that there is no work in Serbia. Plus, I am a problem for Serbians as I am Romany. It is hard for us. It is a problem. Once they know you're Romany they won't give you work. Maybe they offer work, but they won't give it to you.
There may be a lot of Romany in Germany, but they are Romanian … not all Romany are alike. There are quite a few differences you know. I am Serbian Romany. Everything is hard on us, everything is a problem.
Making music and dancing is associated with the Romany. There is music inside of me. I like to listen to it but I am no musician.
April 8 is national day of the Romany. You're not supposed to say Serbian Romany but orthodox Romany. When in Germany my wife and I had our children baptized. The church was in Wittenau. Not even far. However, we have not been successful in finding it again. It is no longer there; something else is in there now. […]
Not every Serbian at daHEIM is Romany. There is a Serbian family and a Bosnian family staying on our floor. Downstairs is another family from Bosnia. We have no problem with any of them. No problem at all - whether they need help or we need help … No problem with people from Arabia either. No - no problem.
I speak German with everyone but some don't speak German. Some try to learn it and I try to help as much as I can. But those who came with their children were unable to speak a single word when they got here. Only later they would learn it. After five or six months they make progress. Adults as well as children. No problem.
Usually, people stay for three months. When I got here, there was no kitchen or the like. Later, when they had installed a kitchen I wanted to stay. Here, I had no problems, whereas in a new asylum I did not know what to expect. In the past, a lot of people from Serbia and Bosnia where here. Now, only a few of them are left. All of them had to go back. I told social welfare that I wanted to stay.
I am ill. I need to rest. The bathrooms are acceptable . I have seen quite a few homes. I have met a lot of people with different cultural background. All is well here. It has been a problem in other homes. My own apartment … I have been here for two years now. Maybe there is a slight chance we might get an apartment - that would be different. But another home? I'd rather stay here.
I was born in 1964 and I am 50 years old. In Serbia, when I was small, I stayed with my grandmother. My children were never baptized, as this is very expensive. My wife has never been baptized either. When we came to Berlin I was the only one baptized in an orthodox church. When we were here, me, my wife, and our children, we had the chance to make up for it.
My mother died when I was seven months old. When I was born, my mother left. I don't know where she went. My grandmother raised me. My father died when I was 13. I have no siblings. All of my children have become parents too. I have 8 grandchildren. But I am not upset. I enjoy having a big family. One of my sons is still in Germany, but he'll go back soon. Tamara is the wife to another son. Every now and then, he is here to visit and goes back after that. Like a tourist. The other one is registered here, applying for asylum just like me. The other one comes to visit.
I have missed my grandson when he was born. He is two years and four months old. I saw him for the first time a few days ago. Another grandson was born in January. I have not seen him yet. That is a problem for me.
In Serbia I need help. My sons used to help my but now they need help for themselves. Without a job … but that is how it is: if you have a job you have a life. Without a job, without money … no life.
[…] When you're out of work for 100 years, all you do is wait. There is nothing you can do, no chance to get a job. It is even harder for Romany. It may be slightly better for non-Romany. Slightly, not much. Right now, it is hard for everybody.
I have heard about other European countries. While in Germany I heard about other European countries. Germany is good for me, as I understand the language. Otherwise it would be a huge problem as I would not be able to communicate. Once you are able to communicate nothing is a problem. If I have to go places I can go. No matter whether I have go somewhere in Berlin or elsewhere. I can read the map, no problem. In another country, I don't think I could manage that well. A different language and all of that. Too difficult. But in Berlin we get along well. I can do anything I like to do.
Right now everything is too hard. Everything … my son has to go back. On the one hand, my children are no longer with me. On the other side, they may be able to come back later. However, I don’t know when this will be. That is a problem.
Tamara: I have been here for about 10 days not. How much longer … no idea how my husband thinks about it.
Milan: I think for another 10 days. She stays at her sister's apartment.
Tamara: I live in Novo Miloševo. I got there through marriage. There are no jobs available at all.
Milan: Occasionally, we get jobs for a few days. But that too is hard. You work for a few days, then you're off again … a few days of work and then five or six days without. Sometimes even 10 days without. Then again two days of work … this is how it goes.
Tamara: we have a small yard. We have potatoes and onions and the like. But it is not enough for all of us. We have 14 people staying at our house. Eight of them are children.
Milan: I have eight grandchildren. Two children, then three children with the other son and again three children with the third. They all share the same house.
Tamara: It is like kindergarten with children between two months and nine years. That is to say, there is a two months old baby, a three years old, a four years old, a five years old, a seven years old and two daughters. Both of them are nine years old. I have two children; the others have three children each. We get along. The house is not big. Actually, it is small. All of us live together.
Milan: Each has their own bedroom but they share all other rooms like the kitchen …
Tamara: I have no professional education. I went to school in Berlin for two years. That must have been in 1997. I was here with my father and mother. I went for only two years. My sister stayed much longer. For maybe five, six, seven years. And for nine years in Vienna. I went to school for only two years. We stayed in Germany for about four and a half years. I know how to read, but I forgot how to write. I never went to school in Serbia.
Barbara: Do you ever feel the urge to actually learn something?
Tamara: Yes, totally. But now, with a child, it is impossible. I get along but no more than that. I am almost 25. If I could … cooking is my passion. I always wanted to become a cook but there was no way for me to learn how to cook in our school. We had no money. Serbia is different. People aren't helped there. It is evident that Germany helps people. This is why so many foreigners come here. There is no support in Serbia. Training on how to become a cook - yes. Voluntarily.
Milan: We've heard something but we're not sure it's true. She was born in Vienna and supposedly there is law she might get an Austrian passport. No idea whether she can stand a chance.
Tamara: For many years, my mother used to work in Vienna as a cleaner. That is probably 35 years ago, maybe only 30. Me and my sisters we were born there. However, my mother got seriously ill. After working for six months she had cancer. This is when my father decided we should go back to Serbia. That must have been in 1993 and I was three years old. He said it was better if all of us went home. We knew we would not get along without her. Her work was needed. Back then, you would find work. Now you won't. We used to have an apartment but my father had given it back. That happened a long time ago, he has lost it now.
Milan: If ever she'll obtain an Austrian passport all will be well for this family, for my children and for my grandchildren. Work will no longer be a problem.
Tamara: We'll need money for that and probably a lawyer. My mother says I have an Austrian birth certificate. Just like in Serbia.
The conversation with Milan was held on March 5, 2015 and transcribed by Safaa Moussa.