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  • Writer's picturekwankew

The Hard Realities: Witness to Atrocities

Today was very foggy, I could only see between 30 to 50 feet in front of me. I went running around 6:30 am, the air was moist and felt misty. Despite the thick fog there were a number of people at the beach walking. It was high tide.

We drove through the near impenetrable fog all the way to the Hope Clinic. I had Hamid as my translator who had volunteered for 2 months now. He had seen enough patients to say most Rohingya complained of the same ailments: generalized weakness, epigastric distress, and aches and pains.

Fatema 1, 25-year-old woman, in camp for 3 months. She found her husband in a field with other dead bodies, his head was cut open she thought with an axe. She was 6 months pregnant and she endured 15 days of trekking with her mother to the border.

Ferani, 37-year-old woman, in camp for 5 months. She had 10 children, 3 of whom died at childbirth and a fourth died during the 15 days harrowing journey of running away from Myanmar. It was during the Monsoon rainy season, some days it was so cold and clammy and her baby was hungry. She tried to breast-feed him but he died in her arms. They had to bury him in the jungle. I could see the pain in her reliving the death of her baby in her arm. She saw about 200 people being shot to death.

Fatema 2, 40-year-old woman, in camp for 5 months. Her father-in-law was in a burning hut and as she tried to rescue him, she was hit by a soldier with the butt of his rifle. She was knocked unconscious and left for dead. When she regained consciousness three hours later, she hid from the soldiers in a pond submerging for eight hours until her relatives came and found her. She left Myanmar with her 6 children.

How could anyone survive such horrifying experiences and carry on with their lives?

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