A Refugee for a Day – Choose Your Own Refugee Adventure Series

(These Stories are real but all names and places are changed to protect identities.)

Once upon a time in a wonderful land called Ozway, there was a Great War. Ozway had been supporting another big country with great ideals for the future. Sadly, some other countries did not like the ideas that Ozway had and they fought. A lot of men joined this fight. Main cities were bombed and everyone was hungry as farmers could no longer grow any food.

In the southern highlands, close to one big city that had been conquered, land mines were placed. The boys who had been used to crossing the fields were a bit scared when they tried to go to school as often one of them would step on one of these mines with disastrous results.

Little children were dying as their mothers could not find food for them.

One friendly country nearby, called New Zeal Deal, took in lots of refugees who felt they could not stay in Ozway. Some of the wealthier Ozwayans who used to race boats in the ocean would, in the middle of the night, set off on a journey on these boats to take frightened and hungry people to New Zeal Deal. Because the offices and other work places of the boat owners had been bombed and they had no money, they had to charge money for the trip to pay for the fuel and their other expenses and so they and their families could live.  The boats were hit by rockets and pirates from other counties would come aboard to rob them. If the boat owners ever got caught they were sent to gaol because they were “people smugglers”. And so they were.

As time went on many of these boats had to head for other countries to the north because New Zeal Deal did not have enough room or food in the refugee camps that had been set up there. Some people who had left Ozway were frightened that, because they had fought hard against the Winners, the Winners might find them and kill them. Others had nothing left in their country. Most wanted to go to places where the residents spoke English so that they could understand and communicate but this was not always possible. Countries to the north did not want these people any more than New Zeal Deal as they felt all their food and goods would be used up so they tried to make the boats turn back. Some boats sank as they were getting older and older and the money paid by Ozway refugees was not enough to keep them repaired well enough. It was disappointing to the people from Ozway that when they got to northern lands they were put into fenced prisons. When those that believed in a god got out their bibles and crosses to pray for salvation or to hold some other impromptu service the northerners were very frightened of what their gods might tell them to do.

Soon the war was over. Ozway lost. Everyone else in the world thought the things the Ozway government had asked them to fight for had been wrong. No Ozwayans could really understand this but they just wanted to go back to the old days.

Adam was a man in his sixties. He had been an accountant in a big firm in Bellscene Hills. He owned an office block there as well as the home in which he had been born and in which brought up his children. But the Winners of the war had told Ozway that they had treated their indigenous population badly so they had given them all of Bellscene Hills and the surrounding area. Adam was not allowed to go back.

Adam went west into the country to a place called Tubhurst and tried to set up a business there but no one had any money to pay him and nobody needed an Accountant any more. Every now and again he went to look at his old office building and dream about the old days and hope that some day he could go back to his home. If the Winners saw him or any of his friends doing this they sent rockets to raze parts of Tubhurst where they thought their enemies had mostly gone to live. Many of the people in Tubhurst were killed by these rockets. Adam, who was getting older, just decided he should live quietly in Tubhurst until he died, but he could not help, sometimes, visiting Bellscene Hills where he had grown up, lived and worked, just to remember. He tried not to be seen. His son, who was also an accountant had lived and worked overseas for many years. He would tell his friends stories about his father and they were very sad for him.

In the big city that had been conquered Emily lived with her three children, Kate who was 13 years old, Sue who was 12, and little Bill who was 4.  Their father had been a soldier who fought against the Winners and no one had heard from him for some time. Emily was worried about her children, especially the girls. She did not have enough food and she worried about what the enemy soldiers might do to the girls if they were found. She had two passports that had belonged to the children of an overseas friend who had been living in the city and had been killed in the war.  She thought she might be able to send the girls to safety in the country that they had come from. If she only had Bill left with her she could probably find enough food for them both.

She bought tickets for Kate and Sue and drove them to the airport. When they sadly and finally had to go through the exit doors the children looked very frightened and miserable but stayed close to a family that their mother had pointed out to them. As they went through the gate the mother of that family put a hand on Sue’s shoulder and looked at Emily sadly. “She knows what I am doing” thought Emily.

The girls got safely to an airport on the other side of the world. They were found there after many hours when no one came to meet them and when they were noticed all by themselves in the airport arrival lounge. They were taken away and given a medical examination, some food and a bed. Much later they went to live with foster families and were sent to school and life seemed a little better for them. But every night they wept quietly for their mother, for Bill and for their long lost father.

Pick which refugee you would like to be and the queue you would like to join and finish the story.

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About Anne Powles

I am retired from paid employment. During my working life I have been variously and sometimes contemporaneously, wife, mother of four, lawyer, teacher and psychologist. I have also been a serial education junkie. As are we all, I have been an observer of the world around me. Here I have recorded some of my memories, observations and theorisings.
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One Response to A Refugee for a Day – Choose Your Own Refugee Adventure Series

  1. This is a very good way to show how it would be if circumstances were reversed. We cannot imagine it, of course. When their leaky rotten boat sinks slowly from under them and they find themselves and their kids in the water, with no hope of rescue and unable to swim anyway, we can comfort ourselves with one happy thought. They aren’t real people. They’re just images on the screen – a movie or an award-winning photo in the paper. They never really existed in the first place. And after all, it’s never going to happen to us real people, is it? It’s just a story, like yours. A good yarn it is too.

    It’s time for lunch. Latté anyone? [With the hyperforeign é on ‘latté’, naturally. So what if it’s wrong? It looks cool.]

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