©Kazuo Koishi

Nobi, 42 -Testimony of Rohingya

As I walked with him through the camp, we could hear the residents call out: “Nobi vai!” (Brother Nobi!). Nobi is undoubtedly very popular in the area. As a leader among MdM’s volunteers, he is a true major pillar supporting community work. Nevertheless, his gestures and telling are humble, smart and calm. He talked about the need for a clinic for the inhabitants, but then he choked as he started to talk about his 2 year old son. Being a father, a leader of Rohingya refugees and a community worker is a heavy burden. If you feel that pressure and his feelings, one cannot help thinking that he will keep talking about it in the future and that the stories will regularly have opportunities to be heard. His warm human nature feels like a healing energy for the inhabitants of the camp who experienced unimaginable hardship and fear.

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Since January 2018, Nobi has been participating and helping with the Rohingya Community to conduct health education activities. Disaster prevention, first aid, hygiene education, vaccination, family planning, maternal,newborn and child health, diarrhea, malaria, dengue fever, malnutrition, … many different topics and issues. As a new attempt, our youth volunteers conduct health education for 2000 or more households in the area where about 20 community leader in charge. When training was over, practice started from November last year. In the past activities, even the workshop was not widely used. This time about 40 youth volunteers are now selected from the area we’ve been worked.

Nobi I am thinking health education is necessary for people living here, how can we live healthily here without knowledge? Clean water and hygiene education are important. There is a long distance between the area we cover and the clinic, so most people even when sick do not go to the hospital. Residents also request it, sometimes patients have severe symptoms, emergency response is necessary. It is also hard to get medicine. Many households have small children and it is complicated to get them to a far clinic. Sometimes children are left alone in houses and one can hear non-stop crying. Sometimes I drive on these tracks, and occasionally I see accidents involving cars and Tom -Toms. It makes me think we definitely need a clinic nearby.

I arrived here soon after August 25, 2017. And since it was forbidden to cross the border, I walked over the mountain from Myanmar with my family. During the rainy season the river is dangerous, in addition, we thought that there will not be any army guards there so we chose to escape through the mountains. It took us six days to come. It was really difficult to escape with my father who has paralysis and was 103 years old at the time. I used a blanket as a stretcher. I have a two year old son, but he had to walk alone. I felt very guilty to have made my son witness such harshness, besides no one proposed to help. We crossed the border with this heavy feeling. In the middle of nowhere during our escape, we saw a woman giving birth at the roadside.

In Myanmar, I lived in Maung Daw, the reasons why we left was not shortage of food. The only reason why we decided to leave was to escape Myanmar government forces’ s cruel violence . Innocent children, even pregnant women were killed and women were raped. I am currently living with my family in the camp. Both my father and my 85 year old mother are fine. But thinking about those events is very hard. I am grateful that you gave me the opportunity to speak. Thank you.

©Kazuo Koishi

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