From the Refugee Camp

Also available in this link: http://www.voicesofyouth.org/en/posts/from-the-refugee-camp

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Photo – Hindustan Times

I am Abdul Ramiz. I am ten years old. I am a Rohingya, they say. So I know I am a Rohingya but I do not know what that actually means. People around say we are in Bangladesh. Maybe, that is the name of the place we are living now. There are so many people here but no houses to live in.

I am very tired and hungry. We walked so long before arriving here. My parents carried me on their back because I could not walk. And there was nothing to eat on the way for two days.

I was so terrified on the boat because that was my first ride. One of the boats next to us overturned in the middle of the sea. Some of the men swam and came to our boat. I do not know where other small friends like me on the boat went. Maybe, they died. Thank god, our boat did not overturn.

Here is my new friend whose name I do not know. He is alone. He came following us after we got down from the boat. My mother asked him about his parents. He said they were in the boat that overturned and his father was sick. He managed to swim and caught our boat. He does not know where they are now. My mother asked him to come along. He is with us now but he neither speaks much nor eats anything. He just sits and stares towards the way we came from.

We do not know what to do next. My father goes somewhere else and brings something to eat. My mother gives us some loafs of bread and some biscuits that hardly satiate me. I never see her eating. Even if she does, she eats less than I can eat. I think she reserves the food for us. And this new friend eats even lesser, that too very rarely.

Back in our village, I would play with so many friends especially in the evenings. But here, nobody wants to play. Neither do I. I usually see a fear on my friends’ face and tiredness and worries on the grown-ups’. I do not know what happened to our cows and hens. We had set them all free before taking off. Minutes after we took off, we had heard the bombs blasting and people screaming. I do not know who blasted the bombs and why. That was the most beautiful place on the earth for me but they destroyed it all. I asked about it to my parents later but they did not say anything. I do not know when we are going back home.

Sometimes, some good people arrive here. They give us food and water bottles. But we do not have a home to sleep in. We sleep in tents but my father sleeps on the ground under the open sky mostly. My mother cuddles me if I feel cold at night. My new friend also sleeps with us.

I do not know who I should ask for. My parents do not answer my questions.

Please tell me when will we be able to go back to our own home? I am missing my friends and school. Do we have to board a boat again to reach our home? And will my new friend be able to find his parents?


This is fictionalized account inspired by several stories reported in the news. Visit http://www.voicesofyouth.org/en/posts/from-the-refugee-camp for details.

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Better than The Kite Runner

Salaam Alaykum!

A lot of thoughts got implanted in my head after reading The Kite Runner. I don’t know when was the first time I heard about the book and how I heard about it. The book was written in 2003 A.D. when I was about just 10 years old. It had been a long time I wanted to read it but hadn’t found it in my college library [ I don’t buy books as long as I can find it in a library or with a friend 🙂 ]

There was a book exhibition in the exhibition ground, Bhrikutimandap in Kathmandu. I had gone to spend my free time around there as I was free after completing my final year at the college. I saw the book again. The desire to read it surged again. I flipped through the book, looked the price, and began reading the author’s foreword, praises for the book and the highlights/description of the book which I usually do before reading a new book. When I came to know that the novel is about childhood and friendship, I could not stop myself to begin reading the first chapter. I read some of the pages standing in front of the stall. Then I decided to BUY THE FIRST NOVEL 🙂 

I was so attracted by the first novel [The Kite Runner] that I could not stop myself from reading the author’s second work; A Thousand Splendid Suns. Though this novel has portrayed the male characters [Baba as well as Rasheed] as evils, I loved the second novel [ A Thousand Splendid Suns] more than the The Kite Runner. But yes, one book cannot be compared with another; each has a different purpose/theme. It’d be better to say I loved the story of the second novel than that of the first one. 

A Thousand Splendid Suns is a melange of conspiracies, love, war and at last patriotism. It shows how war has shattered Afghanistan and how people become bound to the circumstances they don’t even want to imagine. The following lines from the novel describe how it is the melange of conspiracies, love, war and patriotism. 

#conspiracies: 

• Her (Mariam’s) gaze skimmed over all of these things before they found a face, across the garden, in an upstairs window. The face was there for only an instant, a flash, but long enough. Long enough for Mariam to see the eyes widen, the mouth open. Then it snapped away from the view. A hand appeared & frantically pulled at a cord. The curtain fell shut.
• “Yes. But I’ve seen nine-year-old girls given to men twenty years older than your suitor, Mariam. We all have. What are you, fifteen? That’s a good, solid marrying age.” … It didn’t escape Mariam that no mention was made of her half sisters Saideh or Naheed, both her own age, both students in the Mehri School in Herat, both with plans to enroll in Kabul University. Fifteen evidently, was not a good, solid marrying age for them.

#war:

• “They have food here (orphanage)”, Laila (mother) said shakily. She was glad for the burqa, glad that Aziza(daughter) couldn’t see how she was falling apart inside it.

#love

• In the middle of the night when Laila woke up thirsty, she found their(Laila & her second husband, Tariq) hands still clamped together, in the white knuckle, anxious way of children clutching balloon strings.
• “Me?”, he (Tariq) says, “I will follow you to the end of the world, Laila.”

#patriotism

• A year ago, she (Laila) would have gladly given an arm to get out of Kabul. But in the last few months, she has found herself missing the city of her childhood. She misses the bustle of Shor Bazaar, the Gardens of Babur, the call of the water carriers lugging their goatskin bags.

If you read The Kite Runner and liked it, I think you will like A Thousand Splendid Suns more.

Happy reading !!