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« When we fled, we did not bring any food with us. Sometimes, on the way to the border, we passed through deserted villages. We went into empty houses where some food had been left. Apart from that, it was very difficult to feed ourselves. I remember one day in particular; during the whole day and night, we had no food or water. We were lost in the middle of nowhere without any houses nearby. The people were so hungry. »
The journey to the border took ten days, a real challenge for Mohsena, her eldest daughter who had just given birth. « I was barely able to move, I had not recovered from giving birth. It was a terrible time. I kept my son under my clothes, near to my skin to keep him warm and quiet. My scars were painful and my legs swollen. At one point, we had to cross a canal on foot. Because of the water, I caught an infection that took time to heal since I could not pay for any medicine. »
In the corner of the room, a small boy is babbling, trying to attract the attention of his mother. Ziqbul Haq is three years old, and is Anwara’s youngest child. He was barely two years old when they fled. “Near the border, the crowd was so dense and distraught that anymovement was unpredictable. Two ofmy children fell in a fish pond. Tosmin Ara, 6 years old and Ziqbul Haq 2 years old. I was so afraid, luckily some people from the region helped them out of the water with some fishing nets.” After having crossed the border, the first people who helped Anwara’s family were the Bangladeshi. She will never forget their solidarity and generosity.
"Ils nous ont accueillis alors que nous n’avions rien. Je me souviens aussi que c’est la première fois que j’ai connu Action contre la Faim."
« We were given a hot meal. It was khichuri: made from rice, lentils, spices, and vegetables. »
The settlement in the camp was difficult. There was nothing when we arrived except the wooded hills that needed organising. The family lived for several weeks under a plastic tarpaulin tied between the trees before receiving the materials needed to build their current shelter. A slight improvement that does not make their life any easier though. Two of the children, one of them was Ziqbul, quickly fell into an undernourished state and were taken care ofby the Action Against Hunger healthcare centre.
Besides, today is Ziqbul’s check-up. The child is officially no longer suffering from malnutrition but needs to be monitored. It is his elder sister, Nur Fatema, 10 years old, who takes him to the healthcare centre. With the little boy on her hip, she strolls through the labyrinth of shelters to join the road that surrounds the camp. The circulation is dense and the never-ending horns warn about the Bangladeshi army’s trucks quickly driving through, with the task of consolidating a new road through the camp and surrounding areas. Crossing the camp, the new road measures nearly 15 kilometres long. The camp extends as far as your eyes can see and reaches nearly 25 km which represents the total area of the town of Versailles.