Makassar / Indonesia

Sailing without Docking: Rohingya in Makassar


There is no guarantee where she will celebrate her sixteenth birthday in the future. No certain dream of country and citizenship, just like sailing in a stormy sea and wait if there is country invites them to dock and settle-down.


 

This is story of Nur Azizah (15 years old) with her father Alam (40 years old) and her younger brother Ubaid (7 years old). They are Rohingya refugees among approximately 300 refugees in Makassar, South Sulawesi, Indonesia.

 

Her family had been forced to find some ways to leave their village in Arakan Mondo Province, Myanmar for violence and hard life. Firstly, Alam went to Bangladesh by boat and stayed for two years, then entered Malaysia through Thailand. When he was 24, he married a Rohingya woman named Safika who also lived in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia., and blessed with two children, Nur Azizah and Ubaid. After giving birth of Ubaid, the mother was died from an illness.

 

As most of Rohingya or Bangladeshis in Malaysia had same dream to migrate to Australia. So did Alam with his children tried to enter as illegal immigrant several times, but never succeeded. Then, their boat with other illegal immigrants was caught at Indonesian territory by the navy and immigration. After been arrested, they were sent to Makassar, South Sulawesi, Indonesia to be retained at detention center of Immigration Office for couple of years.

Now, they had been lived at refugee accommodation for about four years. Without any legal accesses to formal education, Nur Azizah and his brother continued to study in groups under the guidance of a fellow refugee from Afghanistan.

 

In a 3 meters x 2 meters room of free camp accommodation, Nur Azizah spent the times with her families and other refugees. Unlike other refugees from other countries, the Rohingya are stateless persons and can’t go back to their homeland. Alam himself said that insofar as possible, they will stay at the refugees accommodation to wait until some third countries will invite them. He is leery about trying to enter Australia illegal.

 

Now, Nur Azizah celebrated her fifteenth birthday in uncertain and temporary country. There is no guarantee where she will celebrate her sixteenth birthday in the future. No certain dream of country and citizenship, just like sailing in a stormy sea and wait if there is country invites them to dock and settle-down.

 

Happy birthday Nur Azizah!

Since morning, the public kitchen in the safe-house is crowded with people and scents of spices are in the air. The refugees, mainly Rohingya, are helping the family to prepare some traditional dishes for birthday.
Nur Azizah, as the only woman in her family, insists that she must cook the traditional dishes of Rohingya to serve the guests in her birthday.
While her daughter is cooking in the public kitchen of the safe house, Alam, her father, is fixing her headscarf.
After cooking, she changes clothes into newly ones to welcome incoming guests. All of her friends, most of them are refugees from different countries, and other Rohingyas in Makassar are invited.
Not only the Rohingyas in Makassar, her father also make international calls to his relatives who flee to different Southeast Asian countries.
After saying her prayers, Nur Azizah blows her fifteenth birthday with her father and youngest brother. All hopes are to better life in the future.
After saying prayers with her relatives and friends, Nur Azizah spoon-feds her youngest brother after her father.
After her families, Nur Azizah and her father give slices of cakes to the guests who are mainly refugees from different countries.
Most of non-Rohingya refugees, such as Afghanistan and Iran, are room mates in the detention prison before they were sent to safe house in several places of Indonesia.






Leave a reply


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *








Recent Portfolios