Portrait of a turkish shop owner in Münster
Every Day the Same
“I rented this shop to make sure I can take care of my family”, says Adem with a friendly voice, smiling. For many years every day has looked the same for him: waking up at 7am, opening the shop at 8am, staying there until 10:30pm. “Then it´s time to clean up and prepare everything for the next day”, he tells.
During the day he puts new bottles into the fridge, writes down how many new packs of cigarettes he must order for the next week, sweeps the front place, or brings empty bottles down to the basement to get new ones.
“I have some Turkish friends here in Münster. Sometimes they visit me and we play backgammon, but only if I get some spare time”, he says while putting the magazines in a right order.
6.7 million foreigners currently live in Germany, with 1.6 million of them being Turkish. Most of their migration histories started back in the 1950s when Germany needed extra workers due to an economic upturn after the second world war. Thousands of men from countries like Turkey, Greece, Portugal or Spain were invited as 'guestworkers', meaning that they were expected to return home after their jobs were done.
Yet many of them found a new home in Germany, either inviting their families to move there, or even creating new families. Families such as Adem's from Turkey now see Germany as their permanent residence, despite the common desire to return to their homeland.
Adem is of the opinion that he succeeded in moving to Germany to support his family, but he dreams of going back to Turkey one day. “My wife doesn't want to. Our children go to school here in Germany, and she thinks it’s a better education for them than it would be in Turkey. We go to Turkey once or twice a year, but only for holidays. For the rest of the year I don’t have holidays”, says Adem in a sad voice. “But what can I do? I don’t have a choice.”
Asking him what he does when he's sick or can't work, he thinks and replies: “Well, I am here in my shop even when I am sick. If I were to stay at home because of every cold I get, my shop would have to immediately close down. It's about money, the money I need.” And does he earn enough? It seems so. “Yes, it’s a good business. But I can´t do anything with my money since I don't have the time.”
While walking through the streets of Münster, it looks like many people from Turkey have seen the possibility of staying and opening a shop like Adem's kiosk. Also in bigger cities such as Berlin or Hamburg the kiosk is well known and often seen. Selling confectionary seems to be a good compromise for someone who barely has another option to work in a strange country.