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  • Writer's picturekwankew

A Red Bundle

Most of last week’ volunteers stayed a week and left, three male doctors from UK joined us.

Right around late morning at the Hope Clinic, two young men carrying a red velvet bundle into my room, preceded by a distraught middle-aged woman, brows knitted into a worried frown. When they unwrapped the bundle, it revealed a miniature woman, a 27-year-old woman with achondroplasia or dwarfism. sitting quietly crossed-legged on the floor. The young men reached down and heaved her to the bed by her arms. With her puffy eyes lowered, she neither moved nor uttered a word. Using a thick branch threading through knots they made in the corners of the velvet blanket, they had carried her from the camp to the clinic.

Mom said she had been bleeding for 10 days. There was no actual bleeding when I examined her but her conjunctivae looked pale. Her hemoglobin was low, signifying that she was anemic. She was transferred to the Red Crescent Hospital, we did not know whether she received any transfusion.

All the Rohingya women were heavily clad in layers, it was impossible to do a good exam. They were reluctant to show their body, only revealing me patches of their skin that they wanted to show me when they had a rash. Raising their covering to show me their painful knees also posed a problem. Often being the only woman doctor in the clinic the woman Rohingya would be sent to my room which usually did not have an exam table, even when they were alone with me, many refused to let me examine the most intimate parts of their body holding onto their trousers tenaciously refusing to budge.

Jafore 50-year-old man, in camp for 2 months. He rode with 2 family members in a boat for 1 day and walked 2 days on land.

SK, the 27-year-old woman in the red bundle has been in camp for 5 months. Her mother had 4 sons and 3 daughters. She saw her brother killed and her house burned. Her oldest son was still missing.

Rusham, 70-year-old woman, in camp for 1 month. Her father and brother were killed. She and her husband and 4 brothers walked for 15 days to the border.

Minara 35-year-oldwoman, in camp for 4 months. She walked with her 5 children for 4 to 5 days. Her husband is in Dubai.

Shaska 20-year-old woman, in camp for 4 months. She had 18 family members and they walked for 14 days to the border.

Many gave a familiar story of indiscriminate burning of villages, soldiers shot to kill and mobs “slaughtered” with “big knives”. They had no choice but to flee for their lives. Fear lingered in their eyes as they recounted their stories and many hearts were broken. Many are too afraid to return after their horrific experience.

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