Taxi! (Berlin): Bedar

I am not really sure where to start when it comes to telling the woeful tale of Bedar. He hasn't been a taxi driver in Berlin for long, six years tops he says. Before that he did a series of odd jobs with no permanence or long-term to his name, and in spite of living in Germany for the past 28 years, his language is wobbly, a fact that he bewails.

Bedar is a Palestinian born in the refugee camps of Lebanon. His parents fled Palestine and have remained there all their lives, like so many others. Bedar´s mother once came to Germany to visit him but after a week she was eager to return to Lebanon. The life in Germany was overwhelming and too strange for her. Freedom was not something she was familiar with nor did she have a clue how to handle it. Her son, on the other hand, took a chance after completing his university studies as a certified public accountant and escaped to Germany with three other friends. Schönefeld was the first port of entry, and the beginning of a long and difficult road.

For the next ten years, Bedar was transferred from one refugee settlement to another within Berlin, was not allowed to work or obtain further education. It was only when he finally applied for permanent residence and eventually citizenship did Bedar have the freedom to seek gainful employment, but not as an accountant, since he did not meet the language or certification requirements. By then it was too late to go back to school and learn something, he wails. I needed work more than I needed an education to support my family. And work he did, in whatever capacity he found. Whether that meant janitorial, gardening, landscaping, waiter, or even delivery man.

Taxi driving was the interim solution offered by a friend, which Bedar discovered was rather enjoyable. It was not the perfect job, but it offered some sort of stability. Germany is far from being the ideal country for him, But it is my home now, and I chose it, so I make the most of the opportunities I find to live up to my choice and make me a worthy citizen. I don´t want the country to regret granting me the privileges. His children were born and raised in Germany, and know no other country. In addition to his citizenship, Bedar is grateful to finally have an apartment away from the refugee settlements. The choices we make in life are not always the easiest ones, but some things are worth pursuing.