Voices from the Aid Stations: March 2018
The MOAS Aid Stations at Shamlapur and Unchiprang care for children, women and men of all ages who come to us with a multitude of different conditions and experiences. Every month we hear the stories of some of the people who have attended the Aid Stations.
This is Marwan, a Rohingya boy who doesn’t like FC Barcelona, but does love Lionel Messi.
“My name is Marwan and I’m seven years old. I come from Buthidaung, in Myanmar. We had to leave our village because the military burned my house and were shooting our neighbours. We walked all the way to the sea, and then we got on a small boat with lots of other people and crossed the border into Bangladesh. The crossing took about two hours and there was no room to move.
Now I’m here with my mum and dad. I also have three brothers and a sister. I like to practice reading Burmese and I really like maths. I have about twenty friends and we love to play football. Real Madrid are my favourite team, but Lionel Messi is my favourite player; he plays for Barcelona, but I don’t like them. I really want a football of my own, but my parents don’t have any money to buy me one.”
Mohammad and Faouzia
“My name is Mohammad and I’m 58 years old. My wife Faouzia is 55. We have eight children: the eldest is 38 and the youngest is 12.
We lived in Maungdaw, in Myanmar. I had my own fishing business: I had eight fishing boats, four cars and a big shop in the central market.
When the violence erupted, the Burmese military shot at us and burned our house, so we had to flee. We made our way to the coast to take a boat to Bangladesh, but we had to wait there four days without any food. We were so scared the boat might sink, because we’d heard of a boat full of people that had capsized the previous day.
Now there’s talk of sending us back to Myanmar. We will only go if we’re recognised as Rohingya and promised the same rights as everyone else. Faouzia and I have been married for such a long time and have been through so much together that we know we can handle anything. Whatever happens, we’ll get through it together.”
“I have had a fever and a cough for almost a week now. Last night I couldn’t breathe properly, I stayed awake the whole night. Now I’m here at the Aid Station to see a doctor. I live in Shamlapur refugee camp with my wife, two sons and a daughter-in-law. Our village was close to Maungdaw, in Myanmar. Like most men from our village, I was a fisherman.
When the unrest began, everything happened so fast that we didn’t have any time to prepare for our journey. At my age… several times I thought I was going to die, that day. But we managed to stick together and make it over the border into Bangladesh.
Now we spend our days in search of food and supplies. It’s a hard life in the refugee camps, but we’re happy to be living here in safety. What can I say about the future? All of us have been living in constant fear for most of our lives. What I wish for is that my grandchildren will never know this fear.”
“I lived in Bolibazar, in Myanmar, with my wife and four sons, who all had families of their own. We were farmers: we grew rice and vegetables in the fields. I had my own land, I had 24 cows.
But all of that was lost when we fled Myanmar. When the military came, we had to run for our lives and leave everything behind. My life’s savings were taken away from me when we were searched. My documents were torn up, too. The journey was very difficult, particularly for us older people. After 14 days of travelling through water and jungle, we made it here. Now we are safe in Bangladesh, but our family is scattered across different camps. I have been suffering from back pain and having trouble breathing. I came to the Aid Station today to see the doctor. He prescribed some medication that I have to take for the next five days. They have taken good care of me here.”
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