She would sometimes come into my room at 2 am. With two mugs of hot tea. We would snuggle on my bed and she would talk. I listened. Sometimes I didn’t understand, I couldn’t grasp the things she was telling me. About growing up in a country in West-Africa, losing your family, your home and coming to a strange, cold country. Facing lawyers, civil servant officers, doctors and caretakers in a foreign language as a young girl. Fighting the system. Surviving. Scared. The world calls her a refugee. I call her beautiful. That’s what her name means, so why not use it?
The first time I met him, he gave me a strong hand. A bright smile. “Hello,” he said, “it’s nice to meet you.” “Nice to meet you too,” I said, “welcome!” He couldn’t walk properly, used crutches and a wheelchair. His big hands are folded around a pencil. Slowly he writes the letters of the alphabet. Letter by letter. Sometimes I see his eyes stare into the distance. I wonder what he thinks. What his eyes have seen back at home. Home in Syria.
Dark eyes look at me. A tiny hand lightly touches my arm. My muzungu arm. White. Her skin is much darker. She is not old enough to go to school yet, but hopefully, she will be able to go soon. A school with proper desks, books, and qualified teachers. To give her a future, a new start in life and a chance of overcoming conflict. She probably doesn’t know why she is here. She is too young to know what war is. Too young to understand politics. But she is here. One of many little South Sudanese princesses. In one of the largest refugee settlements in the world. Far away from home.
Just a few stories. There are more than 65 million stories. From people that had to leave their homes in search of safety. Open your heart to the stories. All you have to do is simply listen.
I stand #WithRefugees