“Home”… Oh, what a sweet word it is! This one word brings all the emotions, memories and love. After all, home is not just a building made of bricks and cement, but it is where everyone lives together in harmony with each other. It is a place to share, care and love. Here people make a beautiful place to live together with your loved ones. I realized all this when I had to leave my home.
That one night, my dad came home injured. He had bandages on his head and arms. I remember my mom was panicking as she packed all of our bags. My dad and his friend were loading stuff on the friend’s car. As a thirteen-year-old, I could not understand what in the world was happening. Nobody was telling me what we are doing, where we are going etc. I just followed what I was told. We all sat in the car and I just stared at my house from the window. As the car started moving, all I could see was the slab on the front gate that says “Home Sweet Home”. It somehow brought tears to my eyes. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that it would be the last time I saw my home.
The unexpected, rough journey of life began. At first, we moved from one house to another. Then one city to another and finally, one country to another. During this time, my brother and I felt so homesick. The stays weren’t the same anymore. The purpose of living changed for us. At first, we lived at home to live our lives peacefully and then it changed to save ourselves. To this day, my family and I have to hide to save ourselves. At first, it was hiding from the group that tried to kill my dad and now hiding from the immigration.
I am twenty years old now. When I think about home, the first thing that comes to my mind is food. Everyday food was normal but on special occasions such as Christmas, Easter or New Year, my family cooked special meals. It was like a feast. We would cook biryani, chicken masala, lots of desserts and much more. On days like these, my family, cousins, and relatives would have reunions. The house decorations would start a week earlier and the food preparations would start a day earlier for the occasions. We always dressed up in our new clothes and go to Church. Then we would share our food and sweets with our neighbors and friends (even though most were non-Christians). We would play and eat with our cousins the whole day and never get tired. Afterward, the children in the house used to get so many gifts from the elders and that were the best part of the day.
Once a week, we used to have a prayer meeting where the pastor and his family would come to our house and pray with us. I would say that was also one of the best times because the pastor used to teach us worship songs and we would learn so many new things. Then we would sit together and listen to different biblical stories. At our church, my brother and I joined Sunday school which was also very fun to go to. At Christmas, we would get so many gifts and good wishes.
When I look over all these things now, my smile doesn’t leave my face. Those were really the golden days. Nothing can replace home and the memories that are connected to it as we grow. When I first left my home, I thought that I just lost a part of me there in the walls but now I know that it wasn’t the walls that gave me those memories, it was the people who made my childhood the best. It was my family and friends who have been there by my side. It was my God who kept my family and me safe and sound till this present day. My whole journey is a reminder of how blessed I am to people who make every day beautiful.
SARAH RUTH left her home country when she was 14. In the past five years, she has been scribbling all her feelings on paper. When the opportunity of writing came, she was so happy that she could now share her feelings. This contest helped her to reach out her voice to others. She is the oldest of two siblings and always encourages her younger brother (who won first place in the 10-13 year-old category) to write as well. Writing helps her relax and eases the depression that can come from living life as an asylum seeker.
Sarah’s essay won first place in the 18-21 year-old category in the 2020 Bangkok Refugee Young Writer’s Contest. This year’s theme centered around the word, HOME.