Beatrice has short, dark hair. Small, firm curls frame her face. Not one of them moves, even if the wind makes the giant wings of the steel towers on the Schöppinger Berg vibrate. The pictures of her with shoulder-length hair were taken only recently. She had tamed her full hair into a myriad of small dense pigtails. Braiding her hair, strand by strand, had kept her for hours glued on a chair. Two years ago, the weight of all that hair disappeared with the help of scissors. Since then she feels free.
Spring had returned to her farewell from Münsterland. So far, I had only known her in thick sweaters; to celebrate the day she wore a sleeveless, little black dress. She’d gotten it on one of her shopping sprees. The kilos of free luggage were not completely used up yet. Hence, she shopped away the last ounces. “I walked down the street,” she said at our last dinner together, “when a woman kept shouting ‘Hello! Hello!’ The woman’s voice sounded very friendly, so I went to her. The woman grabbed me by the forearm and pulled me into a backyard. I had to step through a door and found myself in some kind of secondhand shop. The woman showed me clothes one could buy for only a few euro.” About two kilometers away from the charity shop, just before the first wind turbine, a central accommodation facility shields itself behind bars, protected by trees. The accommodation is looked after by a business called ‘European Homecare”. Probably because it sounds niftier that way, the operator named his business in English. The people who live there have applied for asylum in Germany. Many of them are Africans. They move between the clinker facades and fields as if they were hitchhiking in a distant galaxy.
“When I returned to Schöppingen by bus from excursions in the surrounding area, the driver would always slow down at a certain point, decelerating in expectation that I would get out.”
The bus stop the bus driver anticipated for Beatrice is not far from the central accommodation facility.
Beatrice will land in Kampala tomorrow morning at 3h10. The route to Schöppingen did not lead across the Mediterranean for the “Queen of Short Stories”1 and award-winning writer2
The author, who was born in Uganda and lives in its capital Kampala, was a scholarship holder in the artists’ village for three months.
For guests of the artist village we recommend the bus stop at the old town hall.
This applies to people of any skin color.