The asylum homes food packages; a dumping ground for expired foods

style="float: right; margin-bottom: 10px; font-weight: 600;"Tue 19th Nov, 2013

The asylum homes food packages; a dumping ground for expired foods
Victoria Lillian

Being a few months away from my home, I started getting home sick. I missed the food back at home. I imagined my freshly garden picked vegetables, the cooked bananas so to mention. Actually the thought of having to eat genetically modified foods which is the case in most European countries never ceased bothering me.
Anyway one has to accept that life has to go on no matter what. So I forced myself to enjoy my privacy in this well secluded asylum home south east of Munich. However the challenge of my next meal worried me. Was i ready to adapt to Bavarian foods? How was it going to affect me? I put the questioning aside and grabbed the yellow and green forms that were going to be my meals orders. With this forms I had to tick what my week's meal was going to be. But trouble came as I could hardly understand any of the items on the forms. Save for continental items like Rice, Milk, Tomatoes and Bananas. The rest was totally new to my eyes. And yet this was the procedure I routinely had to follow for as long as I was living in the asylum home. So anyway I depended on guess work to make my orders.
The Food package pick up day came, 7:00 am I was awakened by public speaker announcement calling on us to pick our packages. I quickly slide into my jeans and head for the House masters office. It's here that every one queued with their IDs for their packages. Families went with two or more packs depending on how many they were. Generally every one, children inclusive were entitled to a pack each. I picked up my pack. With curiosity I peep through the white plastic bag to see what was there for me. I could hardly understand what was in my pack. Save for Rice, Bananas, Milk. The rest was totally new to me. In order not to upset my stomach nor disorient my test glands, I put aside what was unknown to me. And that is how I ended up surviving on Bread, Milk and some fruits for two days.
Even with the bread we were offered, one needed to re-bake it. But with no baking facilities in the home we survived on pan roasting the bread. Sadly for me because of doctor's advice I needed not to eat bread. I was getting hungrier for a real good meal. Consequently with some little pocket money I headed to a nearby supermarket, picked up some chicken that would go along with some Rice.
For the second meal order I made sure that someone was on standby to help me through the order forms. The rule was that we had to pick up our meal packages every Mondays and Tuesdays. One would be questioned by the housemaster if they never showed up on these days to pick up their packages. So whether one was going to eat what was in the packages or not, they had to as a must pick them up. More so the officials would think you are earning money elsewhere that you can afford to buy your own food if one did not pick up the packages. This was of cause unacceptable. We were meant to rely on Government food aid. So in brief the package pick up days were also a way of routine roll calls to ensure that we stayed in the homes. For that reason wherever one was, we always had to return and pick up our packages unless away on permission. Not even a friend was permitted to pick up your package.
The most unfortunate bit about the packages was that they were mostly one-sided meaning it was the same type of food month after month. That aside the expiry date had often been exceeded or was just days away to expiry.
One night as I tried to grab some sleep I had noise and guys running up and down the corridors with excitement. They were calling on every one to rush down to pick up bread and vegetables. In order not to let this chance pass me by, I sprinted down the stairs too and squeezed my way through the crowd to get my share. But I asked myself afterwards why would a truck would deliver bread and vegetables late in the night. I am fond of looking at expiry date when shopping so inquisitively I look at the expiry date. To no surprise the Bread had expired two days ago. And the vegetables were just on their way to expiry to. Not long before came another incident of the dioxin contaminated eggs. While it was all over news for eggs to be voided, most of the eggs found their way into the asylum seekers homes. I remember that day the housemaster pilling me with over 10 packets of eggs which I declined to take. My colleagues who were not keen at listening to news found themselves taking packs and packs which on the other hand were on their way to expiry until I enlightened them on the issue. Some of them never bothered about it while others cursed why they had to be given the eggs. Those two incidents made me feel underestimated and abused. It made me feel like our homes were dumping grounds for unwanted or expired products. I might be much better than my colleagues in Ethiopia or Somalia who are starving to death, but I don't deserve expired or contaminated foods either.
Since 1993 the Asylbewerberleistungsgesetz (Asylum seekers performance law) past and amended several times, that asylum seekers and other illegal immigrants only have the right to food stamps or packages, but not money or work. Such provisions I believe are discriminatory, and violate the basic right to food choice. I think it is a human right to choose what kind of food with which quality, one should eat. Limiting refugees to have food packages is against the simplest right of any human dignity. Without any doubt, eliminating food packages and giving the right of choosing what a refugee wants to eat, is one of our serious demands. No wonder last May, asylum seekers in Munich Neuhausen refused to accept food packages. In a resolution directed to the local administration of Upper Bavaria claiming they be paid the value of the packages in cash. I supported them in that cause but our plea fell on deaf ears.
So the food packages with the same items are still my source of food year in year.

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