‘Europe Is Not Paradise’

“Africa: Undoocumented Immigrants–‘Europe is not paradise,” Anne-Mireille-Nzouankeu, for AllAfrica.com:

Some manage to live a decent life in Europe, but many African immigrants become disillusioned. Jean N, called Jeannot by friends, is an illegal Cameroonian who has been living in Europe for 15 years. Before settling in Belgium nine years ago, he had tried his luck in Spain, Italy and Switzerland.

“I have not been able to have a regular life. Without papers, I have not been able to find a real job or housing.” Jeannot decided to immigrate because he thought life was better in Europe.

The reality proved him wrong. “When I arrived in Belgium, I spent three years living in the streets because relatives, and people that I took for friends, refused to accommodate me. They did not want any extra burden,” he complains…


The work of a tacleur involves intercepting potential car buyers, guiding them through the garages and helping them with their shopping. In return, the tacleur receives a double commission from both the customer and the car dealer. There is no fixed tariff; all depends on the person and the mood of the customer. “Incomes are very unstable. Some days I make nothing and on others up to five hundred euros. Sometimes I can earn between three and six thousand euros per month,” reveals Jeannot.

This non-controlled income is almost entirely reinvested in Cameroon. “I pay the university tuition fees for my three little brothers. I build a house for my parents and a four-apartment rental building,” says Jeannot. He’s also sent several second-hand cars back to Cameroon. He intends to return there one day “but only when I have enough investments there to live comfortably.”…

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