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  • Writer's picturekwankew

Last Day

The tides were low this morning, the ocean seemed a long way away. Many men and women were crouching over buckets of ocean water to dish out little creatures from it. Crows stood around patiently hoping for some morsels. Fishermen set up big billowing blue nets probably trying to catch some fish as the tides receded. I was fascinated by a man carrying a long stick of cotton candy near the refugee camp, he was winding his way through the distribution center.

As we drove to clinic today, we learned that today would be my last day of clinic before my departure. Tomorrow is Bangladesh National mourning day, a day partly to commemorate the assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and almost his entire family. He was the founding father of Bangladesh. When I told my translator that this would be my last day, he was quite sad. He decided to put off taking his day-off so he could continue to translate for me this week. Next week he would go home to celebrate Eid al-Adha, a cow or goat will be sacrifice depending on the wealth of the family.

My translator said he had a surprise for me this morning. When he ushered a Rohingya woman in, she had two children, two years old. I looked closer and realized they were identical twins. The one with the bigger head, we were told by their mother that he was older by an hour. They came in with different problems. The older with skin infection and the younger one, a respiratory infection. She carried both of them for a total of four days to come to Bangladesh a year ago when they were a year old.

They were followed by two children with suspected mumps.

A ten-year-old girl had carefully put on make-up, painting her eyebrows and applying powder to her face. When asked if she was going to school, she said her mother needed her to care for her younger siblings, three, five and seven. She went to Madrasa school but she did not like school. She cast her eyes down when asked what she would like to be when she grew up; she remained silent. She did like the colored pencils I gave her.

One of the new volunteers was speedy in seeing patients, for two days now we whipped through clinic and finished early. Today was the earliest. By one in the afternoon, we had seen all the patients. The clinic was not as bustling with patients today to begin with.

On our way home, we stopped to gaze into Myanmar fenced by tall wire fences. No man’s land lay between the two countries. Apparently a few hundred Rohingya still live in no man’s land, stranded.

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