• Maja

Wednesday, June 5th.


Maja is born as second child to her parents, who are Muslim and grows up in a Serbian city living with her grandparents.

At the age of nine she and her two-year-older sister are sent to their parents, who are living in West- Berlin and have just applied for asylum here. Making their journey by train they are accompanied by a friend of the family.

Maja is very excited. She is not sure how she is to feel about the situation because she misses her grandparents very much. As soon as she gets off at the train-station Checkpoint Charlie, she spots her parents and feels a little wary about this, takes her sisters by the hand. The family-reunion happens without a lot of emotion. Hugs and kisses are shared between parents and children, but no tears are shed. The two sisters are taken to the asylum-seekers-hostel, their new home.

They miss neither comfort nor luxury, because they did not have either back in Serbia. There is only one thing distracting Maja, and that is the fact that both she and her sister are not permitted by their parents to leave the hostel. It’s their parents’ wish that they stay close nearby at all times.

The slightly run down hostel is inhabited by people from all kinds of nationality, but manly by refugees from Africa. Maja’s parents forbid her to play with the other children from the hostel and so she spends most of her time in their small room watching German television on a small black and white tv-set with her sister and her father.

Her mother is illegally able to find a small job, her father mostly stays at home. Maja, refereeing to herself as always been dourness and very persistent, starts wondering how she could break out of this constriction. She finally finds the courage to venture out by herself. Outside of the hostels confinement a world, completely alien to her, awaits her.

She discovers the local YMCA on one of these secret little trips. Soon this place becomes her social- and main-centre of her life. She meets Claudia here and both of them take a liking to each other. Claudia is a very kind and competent social worker who straight away starts caring for Maja. Maja starts flourishing and becomes friends with two young girls from Berlin.

One day Maja makes a major decision that it to change her life forever. It is her wish to attend school, just like the rest of her friends. It suits her that her parents are not at home as much anymore as they used to be during the beginning. So she is able to break her parents curfew without them finding out.

Finally, one day, a friend of hers takes her along to school. Fortunately enough, she finds a free desk and chair in the classroom.

Of course, Maja was not expected by the teacher, so she is at first quite bewildered by the sudden appearance of this new pupil. Nonetheless she believes Maja’s explanation that her parents will soon show up to explain the whole situation.

Maja is not able to understand what is being said in class, but is very good at imitating her fellow classmates, and opens her book at the same time they do. During the next couple of days the teacher’s questioning about Maja’s parents becomes more persistent. She finally demands that they make an appearance at school or otherwise she shall come and visit them at home.

How Maja’s story continues will be revealed at a later date.