Watch out if you think Europe is paradise – TETE

Tete Loeper

Tete Loeper is Rwandan-German author of Barefoot in Germany, a book she says she wrote to portray the reality of life in the diaspora, and Europe in particular.

“When I think of how I used to see Europe in movies that I watched or articles that I read before, I always considered the Western countries to be the paradise and it’s not really like that. It is different. So I’m talking about another image of diaspora, or another image of Europe that we didn’t know before,” the actress and creative lecturer told Rwanda Post.

“There is no place on this planet where someone reaches and then life changes all of a sudden. Life is tough everywhere… in Europe, in America and in Africa. Europe offers more opportunities but they’re not opportunities like they fall from a tree and you have to pick them up.”

Sections of Loeper’s book on mental health issues in the perspective of young Africans who move to Europe and challenges they face featured prominently in the reading session she held during her trip to Rwanda early this week.

Other image of Europe

She says she wanted to draw audience attention to the other image of Europe that most Africans, and especially the young people don’t always see or learn about.

Mrs. Loeper also featured as key speaker at a Press Brunch Session (photo below) held Tuesday at the Kigali Genocide Memorial where she joined journalists, writers, civil society organisations and health experts in discussions themed The Role of Writing in Making Mental Health and Well-being a Global Priority.

Placide Ngirinshuti, head of Rwanda Journalists for Sustainable Development (RJSD), a local non-governmental organization that organized the event said it’s high time media professionals and writers in general create spaces for people to open up in ways that raise awareness on the scourge of mental illnesses in the country, and help eradicate stigma experienced by people with mental health problems.

Mental health illnesses have been on the rise in Rwanda with the referral neuro-psychiatric treatment facility reporting a fourfold rise in depression-related cases this year.

Also read: MBOKAZI: African migration not a problem to solve, it’s an opportunity

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