Monday, March 23, 2015

story of hajar


kom apa, kombaaaat~~

sambung sendiri sampai pusing balik kat assalamualaikum ya. hehe!

so, today agak busy. i had to run some errands and then tadi i helped Hajar, syrian refugee yang buat Tudung Mutia by taking her to the UN centre in PJ because she wanted to buy insurance for her mother.

i never had the opportunity to really really talk to her.
the first time i met her, her english wasn't so good so we both kinda had trouble communicating and since she had very little vocab, we spoke little and watch the kids play when we had that awkward silence moments.

now alhamdulillah, after months of talking to her, and she also had talked to a lot of people, her english is way better and just now, i was able to understand her real story.
haha =p

rupanya, Hajar ni my age! and she has 3 kids already! masha Allah, all strong boys lak tu =)
the eldest is 9, and the youngest is 3. ke 4? lupa lak =p

i thought she's a syrian, turns out, she's from Iraq. she was born and raised in iraq.
she said, when saddam was there, it was peaceful. "everyone is like brothers" she said.
and when saddam was gone, the syiah wanted to take over the country, by annihilating the sunnis. sounds kasar kan? but it's the truth.

she said her brother was killed because his name was suffian (not sure the spelling though) and because his neighbours told the 'people' that he was a sunni. she said he was captured 5 times, but alhamdulillah he was released. they had to pay the 'people' to get him released..
but the last time, unfortunately, they did not want any money. they just want blood. Hajar and her family found his body in a river.

"alhamdulillah we found the body. some people don't find the body. so i pray to Allah, if they want to take his life, then fine, but let us find his body." she said.

it was kind of hard to share my feelings with her. to be honest, i felt like hugging her and tell her i'm really sorry for all the pain she and her family had to go through. but seeing her being composed, i had to hold back. she's so strong!

she kept saying "alhamdulillah", "subhanallah" as she was telling me her life story. eventhough i write a lot of subhanallah, alhamdulillah, mashaAllah and stuff, it sounds awkward saying it. i don't know why, but when i do want to say it, it'll come out as a whisper. like i'm saying it to myself.

"i saw the most beautiful flower in the garden just now! subhanallah *whisper*" <-- me.


so when iraq wasn't safe for them anymore, she said going out of the house could get them killed, they fled to syria.

she and her family stayed in syria for 3 years.
she said, at first, syria was the best. it's a nice place, people there are kind. and then, the syiah took over. she said syria became worse than iraq. the planes would come and drop bombs at houses.
she said they couldn't take it, so when they went to 'them' (not sure who), they told her that they'll be sending her and her family to malaysia.

since there was no internet in syria then, she only assumed what our country would be like. so they all packed their winter clothings, and came to malaysia. at this point, we were laughing =p

she said when they reached KL, it was raining. "in our country, it only rains in winter. so i thought i did not bring enough winter clothes!" she said.


she said in iraq and syria, when it's hot, it doesn't rain at all. only rains in winter. so subhanallah, we have hot and wet in one season!
=') it's a blessing really!

so when we reached UNHCR, ok, i was completely wrong. i thought the UN would be like a welcoming place. you know, with opened gates, sort of like a hospital, but caters to help refugees and stuff..

NOPE. completely NOPE.
it was like a prison! the gates were closed, people wait outside of the gates because they can't get in. because the security was kind of entahpape.
serious rasa nak sepuk je mamat tu. hmph!

Hajar called the person she called earlier to help her get in. and then the guy showed up and told the security guard to let us in.
we got in, and from the inside, it's like walking through imigresen yang scary. we got in some more, and there were offices left, right, front and center. hajar said they all have to pass all of the interviews in order to be able to stay here.
if you don't pass, you have to repeat.
until you have a UN card.
it takes a whole day, she said. so if they were called for an interview, they'd have to pack food for the kids, and bring drinks.
"oh, so you all have picnic inside here!" i said. awkward laughs..


turns out, the insurance guy went back already. on the door, it says that opening hours was from 9am to 4pm, and it wasn't even 4!
so all that effort to go there, wasted.
the guy who got us in told hajar to come in some other time. it was a good thing that he was very polite. kalau tak.. memang aku naik amok kat situ. haahaha! (yeah right.)

what to do..
we went back to her place. on the way there, we talked about her other work. other than sewing, she cooks really well! she can do cooking classes, and even catering.
kalau nak tau lebih lanjut, if you want to know more, check it out here:

she made this kuah hijau thing with almond, and i, who wasn't a fan of all this hummus kinda thing, fell in love with it. dapat 2 balang tadi! happy sangat!

i asked her how did she learn cooking.
"my mother was going blind, but slowly. so she tells me what to do in kitchen." she said. and she started since she was 12. i dulu pun tolong masak kat dapur, tapi sehapak pun tak ingat.. wahahaha boooo!

so that's what her insurance was for. her mother needs to do eye surgery coz the doctor said she's got cataract. they can't afford the surgery. so yeah.

"you are very strong" i told her.
"ah well. we refugees. our psychology is different because we are refugees. we run here and there." she said.
i think she meant that being a refugee, they have to be strong. they don't think about living lavishly, about clothes, or cars, any of that stuff. they just think of surviving.

she's hoping to get her turn to go to canada. just like this other family in shah alam. they're all looking forward to go there because they can really live there. they can go to school there, work properly, get a driver's license, etc.
being in malaysia is good and all for them, because it's a muslim country. everything is halal, people are nice, but there are restrictions for the refugees. so i pray too, that they'll be able to live a normal life soon, in sha Allah.

for now while they are here, i hope to be able to help them as much as i can.

ps: i might have gotten some info wrong. sorry, sebab kekadang tak terpaham dia kata apa heeee.. 


nadhira nasaruddin said...


Suriaida Bakri said...

Terfikir kalau kita di tempat dia, adakah kita masih tabah menerima segalanya ?

jazzeyra aj said...

Amin, afterall Saddam Hussein was not bad at all, we just blindly trust the media that Saddam was a dictator and terrorist, Al fatihah to him.

Cahaya Pembuka Nisa' said...

jazakillah khair k.maria for the sharing...:'(

Hafiz Hafizol said...

mak saya pun ada katarak mata ayo.. sekarang tengah survey cos pembedahan.. all the best hajar. :D

Mademoiselle Irdina said...

Syukur juga duduk kat Malaysia ni.



sgrmse. said...

Thanks for sharing her story, Maria Elena. Definitely eye-opening.

Juz Haira said...

Kak mar, uve done a good job! By educating people out there *cough* me* cough*. Sometimes we take things for granted. Peaceful country, ability to practice our own religion, at least to get some rest when we need it is a gud start as what Hajar dun get in Iraq. My brother name is Suffian by the way. Sobsob. May Allah bless him. Thanks to both of u, kak Mar n Hajar to wake me up. :'(

angkisland said...

wow nice.... sabar salam kenal kaka

Daughter of Al-Merbawi said...

Nice sharing kakena ...... :)

norsalihah shaleh said...

subhanallah... automatically nak sebut word ni. tabahnya dia.. memg sesuai deng nama dia, setabah mak nabi ismail. semoga Allah permudahkn setiap urusan dia.

n definitely typical office gomen malaysia... duhhhh


lalau200 said...

Hi Maria,

Good sharing,
I was too… an ex UNHCR volunteer.

It was not easy for them to just go an stay in Malaysia.
I think we are trying our very best to accommodate them Maria.
Open door for them to stay here is good enough,
Malaysian very generous and byk yg volunteer to help them,
Tapi they cannot expect to come and simply work here.
Malaysian pon struggling Maria…..

Kalau la negara kita maju and selamat macam Canada, bagos kan….

All the interviews, security means is not easy to just "ok we are in malaysia, and be malaysian".

Selain Syrian, Iraq refugee, ada lagii Myanmar, Rohingya. hundreds thousand refugee flooding into Malaysia sebab we are helping them the best we could!
But recently byk crime kan? For example warga Myammar bunch sesame sendiri, or Bangla hampir nak rogol girl kat Publika.
Actually Ronghinya tu is Bengalli from Bangladesh.

So we need to do all this controls, interviews to make sure they are the right people to get UN card!

Apa apa pon all the best for Hajar!

syira yaya said...

ambil iktibar daripada cerita dia :):)

Dewi Aja said...

Perkenalkan, saya dari tim kumpulbagi. Saya ingin tau, apakah kiranya anda berencana untuk mengoleksi files menggunakan hosting yang baru?
Jika ya, silahkan kunjungi website ini untuk info selengkapnya.

Oh ya, di sana anda bisa dengan bebas mendowload music, foto-foto, video dalam jumlah dan waktu yang tidak terbatas, setelah registrasi terlebih dahulu. Gratis :)

kucen master said...

nice story.salam kenal dari saya


Thank you for sharing in this article
I can learn a lot and could also be a reference
I hope to read the next your article updates

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Oneyani Deankayree said...

perkongsian yg menarik..