The anguish of not knowing

Christine Erulin

–a mother’s predicament as daughter goes missing in Germany

MORE than anything else, it’s the anguish of not knowing that’s tearing her apart.
The last time Farida Mohamed saw her daughter in the flesh was the day she left for Germany to join her father and his family.

That was back in 2005. Seventeen at the time, she’d just done writing her CXCs, but time did not permit her to stay around for the results.
Born in French Guiana on August 12, 1988, Christine Erulin would spend her formative years here in Linden with her mom, but would ever so often travel to Cologne to spend time with her father, Stéphane; her stepmom, Angie and her two younger sisters. Together they would also travel from time to time to France, where her father was born and raised, to see her paternal grandparents.

But she’d always come back, as this was where her heart was; where her mom, baby brother and friends were.
According to her mother, Christine started school here in Guyana since kindergarten, and went right up to Fifth Form at Mackenzie High.
This time around, however, she was gone for good, as her dad wanted her with him. But she’d keep in touch regularly with her mother and friends here.

“She used to call on occasions like Mother’s Day, birthdays, and all the important holidays,” Farida said. “But she never sent pictures, though she always promised she would.”
She would, however, urge her mom to try learning her way around the computer and Internet, as times are changing. That way, she said, they’d be able to communicate more often, and she wouldn’t need to send her photographs, as they could easily be accessed on either Facebook or WhatsApp.
That’s how she was able to keep in touch with her friends here so regularly.

Then, all of a sudden, about two years ago, everyone stopped hearing from her. “She stopped calling; stopped chatting with her friends. That’s not like Christine; it’s as if she just dropped off the map,” her mom said, adding: “She’s no longer on Facebook either.”
Asked whether she sounded worried the last time they spoke, Farida said: “No. But the last time I spoke to the stepmother, she told me that Christine was very stressed out, and that she was moving from the apartment in which she lived to go to another one.”

But she did recall her telling her once that she was training to become an air hostess, but she doesn’t know whether or not she got that job. Besides English, Christine Erulin is conversant in German and French.
Farida says that after not hearing from her daughter, she tried reaching out to her father, who runs a thriving eco-construction business in Cologne, but to no avail.
She said she’s tried every telephone number Christine would have given her should she want to reach her father, but he’s not responding. Neither is his wife, who is more conversant in English than he. She’s even tried writing letters, but they all came back unanswered.

Asked what she’d like to tell her daughter, Farida said: “I just want to know what is going on; if you’re ok.
“I want you to know that we’re worried sick; I want to hear from you; to see you.”
As to what she’d like to say to Christine’s father, she said:
“I’d like to remind him that I am Christine’s mother; that I’m the first person he should get in touch with should anything happen to her.
“That’s not too much to ask of him, is it!”