Seeking sanctuary.

Daily Prompt: Stranger in a Strange Land.

Every time I see an immigrant,
struggling to speak English here,
I think “This could be their story”.
It is a story I first read years ago in our local paper.
It is a story I have never forgotten.

The narrator was a mother of one child.small__2062889444
She had come from Somalia (I think).
Her daughter was eight years old.

It had taken them many months,
to make it to Ireland.
That story in itself was harrowing.
However it is the story of her transfer to a refugee center,
that I will relate to you.

She explained that as she got onto the bus,
she began to feel uneasy.
All along she had thought that Cork was her destination.
Now she was being put into a bus,
and transported somewhere else.

It was night time, and she was tired.
Her daughter picked up on her anxiety,
and asked was every thing alright.
In a hushed voice she reassured her daughter.
They took their seats on the bus,
and she placed her arm around her,
holding her close.

She saw two white men come onto the bus and speak with the driver.
They all sounded angry,
and then they looked down the bus.
As they did so,
she described how everyone quickly looked towards the floor,
avoiding eye contact.
When she looked up again the men were all laughing.

A cold fear overtook her.
This bus was not her salvation.
It was a trick.
They were being taken away to be killed.
As the engine started her heart was racing.
There was no escape.

The journey took approximately one hour.
Every minute of that hour,
she sat by her young daughter,
with the firm belief that their time remaining together was short.

There was a quietness on the bus.
Anyone who was speaking,
did so in a hushed tone.
Even children did not cry.

Her young daughter fell asleep,
and as she slept this lady rocked her,
and sang gently to her.
She said she held a conversation with her in her head,
telling her everything would be alright and not to be afraid.

Eventually the bus stopped.
It was pitch dark and it was this very darkness,
that convinced her,
that this was it.

The doors opened and two white men got onto the bus.
Nobody moved.
Her daughter did not wake,
and so did not see her tears falling.
The time had come.

Then a lady entered the bus.
This woman spoke several languages.
She reassured everyone,
and explained what was happening.
Everyone was removed from the bus,
and all shown to their accommodation.
She began to relax.
There was no danger.
They were safe.small__6707773257

The article went on to say,
that occasionally this lady has been racially abused.
She has been accused of travelling to Ireland,
in order to sponge off the nation.

I thought to myself “What ignorance?”.
If only those people knew what this lady had experienced.
What sort of horrors had she witnessed,
that would allow her believe that here in Ireland,
an entire bus load of women and children would “disappear”?

Thankfully overall things have worked out for this lady and her daughter.
They are both now Irish citizens.
She has remained in the town she was delivered to that night.
She feels that she and her daughter are part of the local community.

She is no longer “A stranger in a strange land”.

photo credit: fortinbras via photopin cc
photo credit: jacquesy_m via photopin cc

Written in response to the Daily Prompt Stranger in a Strange Land

31 thoughts on “Seeking sanctuary.

    1. Yes it was shocking to me when I read it as my daughters were younger and I just thought “what a nightmare?”. She was re telling it after being in the country quite a few years so I suppose it was quite a “happy” story,.. except for the racism!

  1. I can’t imagine her fear. And then her relief to find community. Community is a very desirable thing, to belong. To exist with others. I’m very happy for her and her child.

    1. Yes it all turned out quite positive in the end. With so much comment on immigration in every country I have never forgotten this piece of writing. After all we are all mothers, fathers, daughters, sons. regardless of origin.

        1. It also shows the power of education. Reading this article gave me an insight and understanding I would never have got in everyday life. I just read it to my youngest, hopefully she too will remember it, so its reach is extended to another generation.

    1. Thanks a million. I really do appreciate the nomination. I am still amazed that people read my posts no talk about ranking them as something they enjoy. As you may have read I am very very tardy in my acknowledgement of these but hopefully some day I will do my Award Blog Post. Thank you again.

  2. I am an ELL teacher and have seen/heard many such stories over the 20 years I’ve been in my classroom. The average person has no idea what others have endured to come to a different country and start all over again. So often, I’ve thought if people thought of other people’s children in the same way they thought of their own, how much better the world would be. If we traded compassion and not barbs…

    1. Yes at some level people view immigrants or other races as different, and this seems to facilitate their discrimination against them. Great to see you visit. What does ELL stand for?

      1. English Language Learner — I am an English as a Second Language teacher. All of my students are from somewhere else. πŸ™‚

        1. Thanks I was wondering. So you experience first hand the different stories behind the moves to a new country.

    1. Yes I have to agree. Although I think that integration and education ( not in the literal sense) are the key to understanding and tolerance.

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