The Bicske Refugee Camp: The Story of Humans
And we are back...in the past year, team bB has been very busy with numerous activities, ventures and campaigns. Stay tuned as we share our memories, activities and experiences here.
As the year's first post, we have a photo essay documenting the experiences of one of our close friends, who brings back her vivid memories from the Bicske Refugee Camp, in Hungary.
Hope these stories of bravery, courage and perseverance will help us look at the new year with a fresh perspective!
The photographs of this camp are taken privately and the names of all people mentioned are kept anonymous to protect their identity.My only hope by creating this photo album is really to show the faces behind the camp, to quash desensitised media reports which fail to highlight human stories of courage and perseverance, and to encourage more people to open their hearts and mind to help their peers in need.I do not wish to criticise any country in this story. All I want to do is to portray the stories of these people as accurately as I can.
IMAGES OF THE CAMP ONLINE
I did a search online about the Bicske Refugee Camp, I found photographs of an empty, seemingly isolated camp with no humans involved.My question is: If we want to raise awareness about the plight of these people, why are we showing the camp, and not the stories of the camp?
“WE DON’T WANT TO TROUBLE THESE PEOPLE, YOU KNOW. WE NEVER WANTED TO BE REFUGEES. BUT IT’S JUST THAT WE NEED TO LEAVE OUR COUNTRY TO SAVE OUR LIVES.”
-From My Friend, a Wonderful Lady in the Camp
Sara was educated. She had been a medical assistant and had experience with computer programming. She speaks fluent English and when I met her, she met me with gratitude that I was willing to help her improve her English during my time in the camp. She was older than me. But age does not matter to her. All she wanted is to learn and learn more.She came from Pakistan out of fear that she might lose her life. As an educated young lady who worked, she had received death threats from the Taliban. She came out of need, and walked for four months to Hungary with her brothers.Although she received her status to work and stay legally in Hungary (and thus no longer stay in the camp), she was haunted everyday by people, coming to her on the streets and shouting at her to go home. She could no longer stay with her brothers and her brothers are still waiting for a home in Hungary. A NGO personnel was kind enough to lend a room where her brothers, and some other refugees, stay together in Budapest.When I talked to her recently, she was depressed. She just had an appendix surgery and she had to wait 1 to 2 days, in pain, to receive treatment. She had been roughly treated by nurses who dislike her presence in the town.You know, she is a really strong woman. But when I hear her telling me like this, I know that something is really wrong.
“IN KOSOVO, THERE ARE A LOT OF GUNS. THAT’S WHY WE WENT TO FRANCE. BUT WE GOT DEPORTED TO HUNGARY AND LOST ALL OUR DOCUMENTS.”
I met the mother of this little boy and she told me the story, how they have to flee from their home country due to violence. They are French-speaking and love France. But one day the police came and took away all their belongings, and deported them to Hungary.
This little boy, together with his lovely sister, are the most loyal comrades we ever met in the camp. They regularly pulled us to their home in the camp and made us stay for hours. They are ordinary kids, in bleak circumstances. This little guy taught me that all the education I ever learnt was useless.
In one of the art and craft sessions I held for the children, I wanted to teach them a catapult but I did not have the materials to do so.This little guy took the medical gloves that was used in the camp for cleaning and the top half of a plastic bottle. He tied the fingertip portion of the glove to the top half of the bottle and created the best catapult in the world.He taught me how to make the best out of a constraint, like he always did.I called him Wise. His name is somehow similar. He is intelligent, he loved learning everything and he picked up English pretty fast. The last time I saw him, I saw him waving at me, waiting to board the train to travel to Germany. I pondered how he has been since. He is a bright kid, with a bright future ahead of him, if he hasn’t been caught in a war.
He was the best gentleman I ever met.Ever protective of his siblings, he would be so apologetic if he accidentally knocked into his younger siblings while playing, and starting kissing them on the forehead and saying “Sorry” many many times.
“LET’S PLAY THE BOMB GAME. WHEN I SAY THERE’S A BOMB, EVERYONE MUST HIDE.”
One day, when we were playing games with the Syrian Siblings, they suddenly wanted to play the bomb game. They told us that in Syria, there are “bombs everyday, everywhere”.
And that’s not the only game. A very popular game among children in the camp is the police game. One child will be the policeman while the others will be normal civilians, and when the policeman says stop, you are supposed to stop and the policeman will search your pockets before allowing you to pass.
“WE WALKED FOR DAYS WITH A BABY AND AN INJURED CHILD AND SHE WALKED WITH US.”
She was only eight years old. But she was the eldest sister and she had to be strong for her parents.Her sister’s leg was broken during their journey from Syria to Hungary, and her parents had to carry a baby and her younger sister while they walked.She walked with them.
You know, at the end of this, if you are still thinking it’s no big idea that these people get discriminated, then think about how you would feel in their situation. How does it feel like, to be discriminated day in and day out, to be told that you have to leave, even when you can’t. To fear your lives everyday and fear the future. To live a life where your whole world is only home or work because you fear what outside world tells you. You know, what separates you and them is only where you are born, and whether you are lucky to be born at the right moment.
Note : The Bicske Camp was going to close on 31/12/2016 but we were recently made aware that it closed ahead of schedule and about 60 refugees who remained in the camp were given one hour to leave premises.
Read more here: https://www.unian.info/world/1669897-hungary-closes-main-camp-for-illegal-migrants-ahead-of-schedule.html