Utrecht is home to many nationalities. Every week, DUIC features an Utrechter with a different background. The concept was inspired by ‘180 amsterdammers’.

“I hope someone will help me to bring my sisters here”

Foto: Jantine Albers

Boubacar’s life in the Netherlands is in stark contrast with the life he led in Guinea. He will never be able to return to his native country. “They’ll kill me if I go back”, says Boubacar. ‘They’ are the soldiers who killed his father. Not long ago, Boubacar also heard that his mother was dead too. His younger sisters still live in the small village where he grew up. “It upsets me to think about it. I want someone to help me bring them over here. Who’s going to look after them?”, continues Boubacar. “You can just walk along the street in the Netherlands, the police enforce law and order. It’s not safe in Guinea. It breaks my heart to talk about it.”

Boubacar arrived in the Netherlands when he was just 17. He was alone. He’s lived in several places since then: Almelo, Wageningen, Arnhem, Delfzijl, Groningen and Utrecht. “I found myself a room in Utrecht. But I want to move soon because I share it with mice”, laughs Boubacar. He likes it in Utrecht: “I love the city, it’s beautiful and there are lots of people. I like watching people.” Boubacar is an active member of the football club where he plays: as well as training and playing a match every Sunday, he also trains the younger players.

Boubacar is not only good at football; he also loves dancing. Tivoli is one of his favourite haunts at the weekend, particularly if there’s an African dance evening. But he dances at home in his room too. Boubacar: “I just turn on my music, reggae or something, and start dancing. Dancing is good for my stress levels.” He’s also a keen salsa dancer. He enjoys his life on the whole, but he’d like a buddy, someone to talk to and cook for.

Boubacar works as a painter through WERKbedrijf, a talent he would like to develop and gain qualifications in. “I always want to know more and learn everything there is to learn”, says Boubacar.

Name: Boubacar Sylla
Date of birth: 28 May 1996
Place of birth: Kindia, Guinea
Motto: ‘I want to know and learn everything.’

Allemaal Utrechters is a series of interviews with people who moved to Utrecht from another country. We ask them about their background and their impression of Utrecht, revealing the true diversity of our city. The ‘Allemaal Utrechters’ series is a collaboration between DUIC and Culturele Zondagen, and has been made possible with help from Stichting Dialoog and the Municipality of Utrecht. We hope to showcase every nationality in Utrecht.

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