It is that time of the year – berries in abundance. Despite the fact that I have been shamefully neglectant towards my garden (“I will start doing it all when my exams are over!”) it is offering me a bounty of berries harvest.
I started working on it last week with white and black currants, gooseberries, the first, early red currants bush.
I even had some helpers, one completely voluntary and eager, the other had to be enlisted but has been attentive about this since.
Now the other reds are very ready to be picked and although I would have preferred to be able to defer it for another ten days – which isn’t possible at all, and they are clearly later this year anyway – I got started on them yesterday. The abundance makes it necessary to spend hours, and I don’t really have that time right now... but at least I got started. And found myself meditating over the berries, the past year, developments, options.
This past Tuesday was a weird day. And a good day. I am not going to talk about the weird part. But I want to mention the good part. Over one year ago I posted about the Senegalese whom I have been fostering for almost five years, and who had won a seemingly small but very important victory in terms of his status of residence in this country. (One of the helpers above.) The story of course continued, because he had to procure a passport, which he then needed to hand over to the authorities. Several months later he did just that, and now, a few months later still, he has passed his final exams in the technical school that he is attending. This was not his first choice in terms of professional orientation, but the only option to take – a purely vocational school, for this he did not need a work permit to be allowed to attend. Germany typically has a dual combination of vocational school with a section of professional qualification in a business. For this, however, a work permit is required, and his status of residence prevented him from getting that permit. That was the reason why he was not allowed to start training as a hospital caretaker four years ago at the end of the one-year preparatory class in which I taught German, and where I first got to know him closer.
Imagine yourself, in a strange country, having to learn the language, and authorities are constantly trying to demonstrate to you that you are not really wanted here. Going to school under these circumstances is hard, going to school in a field that wasn’t your personal choice, is even harder. And it is a tough school, as it competes with the dual mode of training and has to prove that the students are equally qualified at the end of the course. I admit, there were times when I was afraid it might have been too difficult a school, but there were good times when I was confident he would pass. I enlisted another helper for the technical lessons, I covered tutoring for German, English, social sciences. The exams started at the end of June. And the results were given out on Tuesday. I am so proud to say that he passed all the written exams, it is not necessary to take an oral to make up for a bad result. He is in fact going to take a voluntary oral exam to try to improve one particular subject, but it will not be counted against him, he has passed his exams. Now we need is to get the written work permit, and then there are options for him to find work. These are almost five long years of ups and downs coming to a good conclusion. We are almost there.