There is a saying that you don’t know another person until you’ve walked around in their shoes. Perhaps this month we might try to do that through this story telling of a young African from Burundi:
My life was that of any young girl of 17 years. I had never thought that one day I would be far from my family, far from my country, far from all those who were very dear to me… But for me, my story has a common theme, a common denominator – that of being a “refugee”.
I had my own country, I had my own brothers and sisters, my own parents. I had done nothing to deserve this punishment. I did not choose to become what I am. I have been forced to understand, to accept that what happens to me, that what will come I must take as it is.
I do not know what tomorrow will bring for my country, my family, my brothers and sisters. I know nothing about my future. I sometimes give myself justifications or give myself some hope that perhaps tomorrow it will be quite different from today; that tomorrow I will return, that tomorrow I will rediscover all those people whom I have lost. Tomorrow – whether it is in two years’ time or ten or twenty – I may return to Burundi.
I have to rediscover my identity, my personality. I am going to do everything I can so that tomorrow I may help all those people who have helped me, who have loved me, who have accepted me, who have made me what I am.
One day, I will no longer cry because of this title of “Refugee”. One day…. I will return and I will no longer be a burden on anybody.
May God help me to succeed, to maintain the courage, and above all the hope to struggle so that tomorrow I may rediscover myself on my journey to freedom.