Rohingya Diaries:Day 4 – Rohingya Humanitarian Aid Mission
25 October 2018|15 Safar 1440
Cii Projects Update: Humanitarian trip to Bangladesh with Hafez Yousuf Manack, Brother Atiqur Rahmaan, Brother Ikhlaaq Muhamed and Brother Haytham
24 October 2018
Today is the 4th day of our humanitarian mission to Bangladesh. Our mission has been emotionally and physically draining so far, as I mentioned yesterday conditions are dire. I am still haunted by the lack of access to clean water, which many of the Rohingyas don’t have the luxury of having. We once again set out to the Kutupalong and Jadimora camps.
As we set out on another early morning expedition to Kutupalong my intention is to survey the state of the shelters that many of the Rohingyas have called home for the last year. Just to give you some background information on the Kutupalong refugee camp. This remains one of the largest refugee camps in the world, the Rohingyas are housed in makeshift shelters. It is also important to note that Bangladesh itself is a poor country and the refugees are mostly assisted by the international community and aid organisations such as Cii Projects.
The weather today was blistering, combined with sheer exhaustion I found myself close to blacking out. Once again I regained some strength purely by observing the difficulties of those around me. Despite their circumstances we are always met with cheerful smiles from the camp residents and sincere appreciation for the little we offer.
We started walking around the camp and I got a close look at the dwellings the Rohingyians call their home. The camps are made from woven bamboo sticks, some are covered with plastic sheeting and the floor is the soft valley sand. These shelters did not fare well under the monsoon season, and many need rebuilding. I observe the elderly and women doing hard, physical labour in the sweltering heat. They do this because as refugees they don’t have any access to jobs or recreation. My fear is that an entire generation of children will grow up as refugees knowing nothing of life beyond these camps, and having limited access to education and basic amenities.
Our walk about today ended with a view of the brand new shelters that are being built by Cii Projects partner on the ground Syria Relief. These new shelters are more structurally sound, and come equipped with cement flooring and can withstand the elements better. These shelters will be completed soon and hopefully will provide better housing for the Rohingyians.
Todays gratitude lesson for me was to make shukr for the shelters we call home. We are protected from the weather and have every comfort at our disposal. We truly have the best of everything and we need to thank Allah (SWT) profusely.
I left Kutupalong again with a heavy heart. Knowing I was going to the comfort of a hotel and air-conditioning while many in the camps battled heat stroke and had nothing but the bare ground to sleep on. This will remain their condition indefinitely.
We later set out to the Jadimora camp for our continued efforts of feeding and distribution. I dread coming to this camp because this is where I see the most suffering and desperation and the effects are starting to take its toll on me emotionally.
Through the mercy of Allah, Cii Projects together with Syria Relief UK and the GRT UK, were able to sponsor meals for 400 families. This translates to roughly 3500 people we managed to feed today and once again this would not be possible without the assistance of our generous donors. The meal today consisted of 1kg rice, 0.5kgs meat curry and 0.5kgs of vegetables. For many families, this would be there first meat meal in over 3 months.
Our ticket system was in place yet again before commencing the food distribution. In the line I met 2 people who impacted me the most. The first was a child who gave me the biggest smile when I handed him the food, he could not stop smiling and his joy brought a smile to my face. The second was a bit more heart wrenching, an old cha-cha (uncle) on crutches who was in the line. He had a lung infection and could barely breath, he had made it all this way up the hill to collect food. As he approached me he collapsed and started gasping for air. I panicked and immediately rushed to his assistance. He explained his condition to me and I sat him down to rest and gave him water to drink. We sent someone to take his food with him back to the shelter.
This provided an important lesson to me, in these circumstances it does not matter what age or condition you are in, desperate hunger means walking far for food. Food is so important that this uncle jeopardised his health out of sheer desperation. *Dear reader, we are so ungrateful. I, myself have been guilty of pushing away food I do not like, how many of us waste food or refuse to eat what we are given? We do this because we do not know what it is like to live for days without a meal in our bellies. The food we are given is a blessing and I vow not to take it for granted.
For the second consecutive day, I leave the camp at peace because we have managed to feed every single person who was in line. Alhamdulilah! We also managed to make extra food and clothing parcels which were given to a madrassa.
If you reading this right now take note of the following: you have no idea how blessed you are by having a roof over your head, a bed to sleep in, clean drinking water, a warm shower and freshly cooked food every single day. Imagine if you woke up tomorrow morning, with only the things you thanked Allah for today. If you take one thing away from reading my posts, be sure to make shukr for every single thing you have.
Our trip is winding down but tomorrow we continue with hamper distributions. May Allah (SWT) accept all our humble efforts.
To Donate generously towards the families survival supplies.
Account holder: Cii Projects
Acc no: 625 011 580 77
Branch Code: 250 655
Ref: ROH zakaat/lillah
Cii Projects, together we make a difference!