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