The sold Dream13
Weeks went by, after a long time on the ocean you tend to loose count of the days. Almost half the of the people that came on board did not make it. The journey made me feel a bit immortal. I also realised what the word family means and how easily a mother would sacrifice herself for her child.
Mahi was weak and there was nothing I could do. I felt helpless because apart from sharing my rations there was no other way I could help her. As we climbed aboard we knew many would not make it out alive, we had heard the horrific tales but it was a risk worth taking. We had to get out of Burma. Mahi was sick and pale, all I could do was comfort her and pray that she made it to her better life.
The sun was blistering hot and it took its toll on us. We were left to fend for ourselves on the open seas. Finally I had seen the glimmer of hope, the glimmer of life seen by every person stuck on the open seas, I saw land. LAND! I screamed out in joy and those around me looked up to make sure, they probably thought it was my mind playing tricks on me, after all the lack of water and food, one could easily go insane.
As the land came closer everyone breathed a sigh of relief and praised the lord for keeping them alive. With the ocean breeze and land close by our hopes and dreams sparked once more.
We finally docked after what seemed like a life time and I cannot even begin to describe the sense of relief and the smiles. Mahi looked at me and asked if she had made it. She was really weak and could barely stand. I lifted her up and carried her to show her that her courage and bravery had paid off. She said, ‘sister bear we made it and I’m am going to learn to read and write’.
We made a line and disembarked in as orderly a fashion as we could. As soon as we got off we were lined up and our names called. ‘Please Lord let Mahi be with me, please make it so that we are in the same group off to the same place’. They called my name and asked what Mahi’s number was and so it happened that we were told to wait with the others who would be travelling on the same bus as us. We were ten women, ten girls, all under the age of nine, and three young boys. Looked like we would be heading to a school since we were the only ones with the children.
The bus arrived and we found our place. A well dressed women in a long formal skirt came and handed us food and water and welcomed us. For the first time in for ever we got to feel what it was like to be treated like a human being.
The lady sitting across us broke the ice the moment the journey began. She told us how the first thing she would do the moment she could afford to was go for a massage and a hair cut by someone who knew what they doing. We all smiled and added our plans to hers. I wanted to buy a book by someone famous. We sat and we were fed and after an hour the bus stopped. We walked in to an apartment block. There were clothes lined out and we were all told to take a shower neaten up and more information would be given to us later. Being women we savoured the shower and enjoyed the clean warm water on our bodies. something we often take for granted is clean fresh smelling hair and clothes. Basic everyday things suddenly made me feel like a princess.
I got dressed but the clothing was big, the lady from the bus smiled and waved her hands and another lady left and in no time appeared with a whole rail of clothes for me to try on. I picked an outfit and asked her what scarf I would be wearing since mine was dirty and smelt. She said I would not be wearing one. I had demanded a scarf, I would feel naked without it. I explained to her how even in the refugee camp I slept with a scarf on in case I would have to flee I would be dressed modestly as my religion dictated. I told her that with the brutal guards my scarf had kept me covered and had also meant that there was less for them to see. My scarf was my safe space and I would not leave the room without it. She nodded and said I need not worry, she didn’t have time for petty religious issues. Then she left the room.
I went to help Mahi get dressed. They had given her a school uniform and she was so excited. I decided to braid her hair so she would look perfect when she walks into her school. She told me she felt awkward without the pants to cover her legs under her dress and when she asked, she was told that it not part of the school uniform.
I smiled and told her that we were in a different place now , with different rules and the journey will be a little difficult because learning English is not as easy as it may sound. Up to now most of the people we met spoke to us in our mother tongue but the moment we associated ourselves with the new land we would have to learn Thai as well as English to become some one great.
Her big eyes looked at me with her big eyes and even though she could barley stand due to the lack of food and being at sea for so long, she looked adorable and I felt like a mother whose child had started school for the very first time.
I hugged her close and I cried. She wiped my tears calling me sister bear and asking me to be happy because she had made it!
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by mumtaz saley