While growing up in the back streets of Oredo, in the ancient city of Benin south south of Nigeria, Juliet Erhunmwunse Wohlgemuth had washed dishes and ran errands in her mother’s makeshift restaurant at Sapele Road park to support her family without an inkling that such services would ever become her main occupation later in life.
Now the mother of two sons has been holding her own, running Treasure African Restaurant, a renowned catering business founded in 2006, situated in a serene environment of the German City of Dusseldorf and reputed to be a must visit by resident Africans and those on transit.
However, It is also acclaimed to be the African restaurant with the most European audience because aside from Europeans who swarm about to taste Nigerian dishes like Egusi,
Aah, I will recall a very tough entry into Europe but made easier by my loving husband who stood his ground. Let me say here that love took me to Europe. On arrival, I first started by doing menial cleaning jobs. I later worked as a sales girl in an Afro shop. It was when I got my legal status that I started travelling to France and Switzerland to buy goods for sale from house to house and shop to shop. It was in 2005 that I took over an Afro shop which was about to be sold. I invested and ran it for a while before opening Treasure African Restaurant in 2006 and the rest in history. I later closed the Afro shop when the stress became much but the restaurant is still functioning till date. We even added the Treasure Restaurant Christmas party which has been rocking Dusseldorf in the past few years. The Treasure Restaurant Christmas party brings people together at the end of the year for an all night jam. In the past few years, the interest in the end of year event has been encouraging. Now, tell me a little bit more about this loving husband of yours He is my destiny helper whom God used to make me accomplish much. Now let me tell you more stories. After my graduation from secondary school, I went to acquire a diploma and did my IT at UTC Benin branch office. That was when traveling out for greener pastures started hovering in my mind. I was soon on my way to Spain led by one man who claimed to know much about Europe. We were many under his guide but got stranded in Gambia when the man disappeared with the money we had paid him. He abandoned us to our fate. I was at the verge of returning to Benin but my parents told me to persevere and hang on. They promised to send money to me and indeed sent money for me to either continue to Spain or return to Benin. But not too long after, when I was almost demoralized and thinking of what to do the man who later became my husband came along to change my path for good. We have two sons, one 17 years and the other 15 years old. . You must have an interesting love story Yes .It is my destiny which can be delayed but not denied. I tell anyone who cares to listen to me that love brought me to Germany. I met him when I was almost at the verge of losing hope in Gambia. He was the man of my dreams with all the qualities I wanted in my man. He also told me I was the woman of his dreams. We lived together for about six months before his job contract ended and he took me along to Germany. Before this time, we had already made promises to each other. I was denied Visa at the German Embassy in Gambia. They said I should go to Nigeria for the Visa. So he left for Germany only to return again for me. Still no visa. We boarded a ship to Spain and then a flight to Germany where more immigration problems started. Germany could not wed us because I came without a legal visa. When the heat was on for my deportation, I ran to France where we got married after four months of legal tussle. It was after eight months that the German Embassy in France agreed to give me a family re union visa and I went to meet him. It has been a blissful journey I must confess. There is this Nigerianness about you that defies explanation. There is a Nigerian flag in the restaurant and your outside catering events would fly the green white and green colours… .how come you are so patriotic about Nigeria? I can’t tell why but I have my deep love for Nigeria because it is the place of my birth. Despite that I sought and traveled out for greener pastures, my deep love for the country of my birth is still intact and may be even deeper than it used to be. I usually dress up in Nigerian cultural attire just as our work uniform at Treasure is green/white/green top upon white. I belong to many Nigerian cultural associations and the Nigeria Community in Germany even though I am married to a German.
Culled from Vangard