Posted by: thisiskv | June 14, 2011

The Deported…

 

So a few weeks ago I got deported and the worst part is from Germany.  Now Germany and Switzerland are two of the most strict countries in the Schengen region about penalizing travelers concerning their visa. Getting deported is definitely the scariest experience I have ever had while travelling and here is the story:

After long months of planning a Euro trip and borrowing money from friends and family (which I have to pay back of course). I was finally ready to go. I spoke to some of my close friends about the trip and they all asked whether I had all the necessary documents or if I needed a visa? I was quite confident I didn’t need one travelling to Europe for less than 90 days. “Why?” I thought. I travelled to the UK and I didn’t need one. But being a university student, I had to make sure so I “googled” it and went on the Austrian embassy homepage. Austria was where I was going to spend most of my time travelling until I end up in France. I scrolled down on the page until I saw a list of countries that need a visa. There it listed countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan and to my surprise no Namibia?! Yep, Namibia was not on the list so this reinforced my thought that I didn’t need a visa if I’m travelling for less than 90 days.

Lesson: Always call the embassy and find out for sure.

My ticket was from Cape Town to Windhoek, Windhoek to Frankfurt, and from there I would catch a bus to south of Germany into Austria. “Here goes the start of my adventure” I thought “breakfast in Cape Town, lunch and dinner in Windhoek and wake up Europe? Phew God is good!”.  So there I was 2 hours before we land in Frankfurt and I was getting excited to see what the world had in store for me and the endless adventures I would get myself in to. “Bring it on world!” I said to myself. Haha, I would later regret saying those words.

People who know me well know that I’m quite an out-going person and I love to make new friends. In the airport I was very bubbly and talking to people in the queue and finding out where there are from and where they are going until I was next. Now what I’m going to describe next is exactly as my vague memory recalls it happening.

Officer: Hallo, passport please?

Me: Hello officer, how are you? Here is my passport.

Officer (after a few seconds checking my passport): Where is your viza?

Me (in a confident voice): I don’t need one. I’m only travelling for less than 90 days sir.

Officer: No!  Where is ze viza?

At this point reality hit me and I knew he wasn’t joking, so I was speechless. I had a blank expression on my face. Soon four German officers sprung out of nowhere like boom! “Deportees are frequently accompanied by the paramilitary German Border Police or private security agents, who are prepared to use force. Those who resist are beaten, restrained and injected with drugs. A number have already been killed, but the culprits and the authorities responsible have so far escaped prosecution. The dead and abused refugees and immigrants are consciously accepted as the price of a brutal deportation practice.” ( E. Zimmerman. 2003). Luckily this is not what happened to me. They asked me to step out slowly with my hands in the air (yes, just like in the movies) and everybody in the room, mostly white people were scared. You can imagine I look terrifying, I’m black with my huge muscles 😉 like Mr. T, a Mohawk and about 6ft. I heard rumblings from other passengers, speculating what this fresh faced early 20 something had done to get in to so much trouble. The consensus was that it had to be drugs.

Lesson: In the eyes of immigration and the law, you either have a valid visa or you don’t and there is no such thing as I’m a nice guy.

I was then escorted to the little infamous interrogation box, where fellow convicts from Iraq, Afghanistan and even the U.S. were waiting to be deported.  I have never been so nervous in my life waiting for anything to happen and my knees where shaking terribly that I couldn’t stand up straight. I was asked to have a seat, I sat down and quietly prayed to be calm and for God to reveal Himself in this situation to show me He is in control.  I then waited to find out what was going to happen to me. I went through papers, translating from German to English, interrogation, mug shots and taking finger prints. My passport was taken along with my bags and searched. They entered my information in the system, which I presume would ban me from returning to Germany or make it harder to come back or obtain a visa in the future. The official line is that you will be banned indefinitely from returning to any Schengen country. They may look upon it more favourably if you own up to it and admit that you made a mistake and you won’t be jailed. After 9 hours I thought this was so surreal and kept pinching myself to wake up from this terrible dream. Romans 8:24-39, that’s what I kept reading. Now I didn’t believe it at that time and it is so hard to but all I could do is trust and have faith in His everlasting love and promise.

Lesson: when everything is gone and we are at our lowest. We will still have everything we need in Christ.

Meanwhile, my mind kept wondering about all the movies I’ve watched and remembered that in movies you get one phone call from prison. I politely asked if I could make a phone call and there was a nice German officer in his late 20’s or early 30’s who in fact gave me more than one phone call. I tried calling Annika and a few friends in Europe but they didn’t pick up after the first call. The officers were looking at me with more suspicion after this. I knew there’s only one person in this world who has my back no matter what, so I asked if I could call my sister. Her phone rang for what seemed like forever at that time. When she picked up, I was quite relieved to hear her voice. I explained what had happened to me and she suddenly fell in to a state of shock. I tried to reassure her that everything will be okay and asked her to email my friends and ask Annika to call me. I got hold of Annika later and she always kept calling to find out how I was doing. So whenever the phone rang they knew it was for me.  After all the phone calls, the nice German officer asked if I wanted to phone the Namibian embassy. I agreed and he called them but once again the Namibian Embassy was no help since no one picked up. Knowing my people very well, everyone was off to have lunch at 11:37.

Lesson: Always carry emergency numbers with you

And after all that drama, I begged the officer if I could be released to go buy something to eat in the airport. I had not eaten for almost a day now. He gave me one hour and I went to star bucks and ordered a coffee and my favourite muffin in the world (blueberry muffin) and I thought of my friend Ofee and the Student Y. I also managed to get on the internet and I sent out a message to my family and friends. I returned back in 44minutes like the good boy that I am. After a while and going through heavy duty security, I was then escorted by the police to the airplane. I have never been more relieved to get on a flight to Namibia in my life!

Afterword:  I was young and naive when I went to Germany (that was 3 weeks ago.lol). It was the first country I had ever been to besides England and Scotland.  I have since wised up but wanted to share this experience with others who are considering living abroad as a cautionary tale of the importance of having a proper visa in place. I was also a bit unlucky in my situation because the South African and Namibian immigration offices failed to pick up the situation with my visa.

All that I recommend is that you have an air tight plan when you travel. Have an itinerary printed out that has the names and the addresses of the hotels/ hostels that you plan to stay at. I would also recommend that you have at least your first night of accommodation booked ahead of time and carry a printed receipt with you. Also bring a bank statement with you that proves that you have enough money to last your stay, as well as a couple credit cards.

P.S. I can never say this too many times but thanks to everyone who was praying and supporting me through this time. I truly appreciate it.

Grace, Peace and Love. Kaveto

 

 

 

 

 

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Responses

  1. You are a living testimony of the Grace of God. Thank you for sharing your experience with us and keep the FAITH.

  2. I met Kaveto purely by chance. I am Australian and was travelling in South Africa with my wife. That day Kaveto had also visited Robben Island and we met on the boat back to Cape Town. We in each other’s company for only a brief time, but I was driven to ask for his email address. Understand this. I was three times his age. He is black. I am white.

    Sometimes in life, not very often, but sometimes, you are immediately aware that you are in the presence of a soul that shines. So it was with this young man. His intelligence friendliness and optimism blazed from him. I have travelled all over the world and met many many people. I tell you this. Kaveto is a treasure. Thanks for sharing your experiences so honestly and with such openness. Life will always test you my friend but your strong heart and faith will carry you through. You don’t have to be a Steve Jobs. You are already so much more.


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