A couple of months ago I ran into my friend Fanus. I was on my way to Lupe Pintos, a cool shop where I like to buy good Mexican and American food, and she was on her way to a shop that specializes in African products and produce. I was with Soren and she was with her daughter as well, who is the same age. Our kids have grown so much since we first met. She told me that she had been given refugee status and can now remain in Glasgow without fear of deportation. This was exciting news and it also means that now she can leave the UK and go to see her mother. While waiting for refugee status she wasn't allowed to leave.
Fanus is a member of the Maryhill Integration Network where I teach and one of the groups that they sponsor is the Writers Group. She was also a part of this and published her story in their book called "Second Home". Her writings left a deep impression in my heart and mind and brought me to tears.
She has given me permission to share some of her story with you:
I wish I could say this to my mother
when my father passed away and left you with four kids, you worked hard and brought them up well.
One day one of them despaired of her life at home. So for her own sake, and the sake of the people she loved and cared for, she decided to get away. Do you remember that day when she came to you? She was crying. She said she had to escape from her army work. She could take no more. You were crying too, but because you're a mother, you wanted her to have life. You helped your daughter get away. You came with her through the jungle to the border. Since that day you haven't heard from her.
You must be asking so many questions: Is she alive? dead? You blame yourself for letting her go, for you think, 'I'd rather have her die in front of me that die alone.'
Mother, Aday, I know I've broken your heart. I let you down. I am desperate to be with you. I want to see your face, to kiss you-but how can I? They'd catch me. Aday, God gave me to you. You are the most generous, beautiful, special person in the world. I promise I'll see you soon. Not in my dreams, but SOMEWHERE in reality. Good bye, my dearest Aday - for now.
She also has, in the book, the story of her escape through the jungle. I'm so impressed and taken back by her courage to do what most will never have to confront. While in the jungle she was threatened by the man that was to help her to safety. He tried to force himself on her. She resisted courageously and screamed as loud as she could. This allowed the enemy to hear them but it also made the man realized his awful stupidity and terrible error. She made it to safety and eventually to Scotland. . .
Now she is in contact with her mother. This brings me great happiness. What an amazing woman she is.