Anwara (Satkhira, Bangladesh)

Settling in

Nobody wants to marry into Anwara's family because they are refugees and poor.

But my neighbours are nice and help me out when they can. Our leader here G. M. Syed Ali founded the Mohajer Kalyan Samiti [a refugee welfare association] a few years back so that people get to know about us. In the past, we used to get rice and wheat from the Pakistani government but not any more. Sometimes life's tough.

I like it here, though, because it's the same soil, water, wind and trees as the ones I had to abandon as a young mother when I left India. Between his jobs as a labourer, my husband often worked in the forest and he didn't stick to the borders between the two countries as he considered that before it belonged to any government, the forest was the storehouse of Ma Bonbibi [the goddess]. Once, on both sides of the border they used to offer fruit and chickens to Bonbibi so that she would protect them from tigers but they have stopped doing that now.

Now, I take each day as it comes. My life has been a struggle; Allah took away most of the children he gave me, but he has given me kind neighbours who look after me when things go wrong. I hope people will love and care for each other whatever their religion or economic background. Allah gives riches and takes them away just as easily but this shouldn't be a measure of how we treat people.

Border crossing notice

Anwara and neighbours


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