14 May 2012

Anya, a refugee Child

Imagine with me for a while. Imagine that the country is in chaos, and almost everyday, soldiers come knocking on your door at unpredictable hours of the night, demanding this and that, sometimes taking your possessions, sometimes hitting your family members. You live in fear, and because you love your daughter, (we'll call her Anya), you decide she has to go.
So in the middle of the night, you hug Anya, you hug her tight, because you don't know if you'll ever meet again. You whisper "Go my daughter, go to a better place. Your aunty will meet you in your new country. Here's some money, somebody will meet you in the forest. Be brave, and I'll miss you, I love ou, but you must go." Then reluctantly you push your daughter out of the door. You watch her disappear into the forest in the middle of the night as your heart breaks. She turns around for one last look, and that is the last time you'll see her. You pray hard, that Anya's journey will be easy.

Anya manages to meet the people who will take her across the border. She spends 11 days running through the forest at night, sleeping in the day. To cut a long story short, she's caught at the border and thrown into prison for several months. She's weary and hungry and everyday she cries in her dreams "Mother...mother..I miss you." You have no news of her, but you dream of her everyday.

One day, the prison releases Anya and she finds her way to a secret meeting point where she and others are stuffed into a little dingy boat. It's so cramp they have to lean on each other. For days they travel that way, weary and beaten by the scorching sun. During the journey, she thinks "Mother...I'm far from home...I don't know where I am...mother, I will survive for you, because of you."

They finally reach land, where she's immediately squashed into a tiny car. Because she's young, only 10 years old, she's put in the leg space of the front passenger seat. They squash someone else on her, and she travels that way for 11 hours. The journey is unbearable and she feels like she's going to die of suffocation. But she remains strong...because of you.

Months have passed, and you have no news of Anya, your daughter. You wonder about her, you wonder if she's made it safely, kidnapped or shot dead from trying to escape the country.

  Hundreds and hundreds of miles away, Anya finally arrives at her aunt's place, where she shares a tiny apartment with 21 other people. Again...to cut a long story short, months later, her aunt who promised to take her to America, leaves for America, but abandons Anya who's left behind to fend for herself. Having no money, no family, she has no choice but to find work. Her journey will continue that way for many more years...alone, without you her mother by her side, without anyone, until the UN approves her application and sends her to a new country.

Working with Start has allowed me to come into contact with many refugee children. Just last week, shopping in KL, a young teen ran, grabbed my hand and said "Teacher,teacher..." She hugged me and my children and said "I cannot stand it here anymore..not one day longer. I want to go." Her boss watched her closely, and reluctantly we parted ways.

And just today...while grocery shopping...another young girl came, grabbed my hand and said "Teacher Teacher...." barely 30 seconds later, her boss approached me and interrupted. She was quite nice, and I'm thankful, this refugee child has found a good boss. Still, I saw in her eyes, the longing to go....

Oh how their childhood has been robbed from them.....
At class run by volunteers, children are fed lunch. Without this, some children have plain rice with salt, or look for shrubs by the road side to eat. (Fortunately, they know which are edible.)
I wrote this post because I was so affected by my chance meeting with these children, twice in just this month. If you ever come across workers in restaurants/factories who seem young, they're most likely refugee children. Please be kind to them. In this country, they are not protected, no education/health rights. Pray that they'll get to go quickly, and pray that this country will recognize the status of a refugee so that they will not need to live in constant fear, or be antagonized by certain organizations.

@poundthegarlic.blogspot.com 2012



marie said...

What a touching post. I don't have any experience with refugees but I wish they all get the opportunities of a happy and safe life.

Karen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Karen said...

LOL Sorry for leaving, then deleting so many comments. I type faster than my brain works I think.

Thank you for visiting my blog. I couldn't have dissected that rat either. I am surprised Keilee could. We were expecting owl pellets to dissect and that is all.

This is a heartbreaking story. I am about to go read your back story and find out more about what you do.

gail said...

How my heart hurts for the children. Ow. Dear Lord, please be their comfort.

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