The Words of a Young Person
In 2013 Aiden Hanrahan was a year 6 student at St Francis Xavier Primary School which is located on the outskirts of Ballarat and was founded by the former Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy, Ballarat East. Aiden travels to school by bus from where he lives in close proximity to Ballarat with his parents Mary and Dominic and two older siblings – Liam and Declan and a younger sister Gemma.
In Term 4 the Year 6 students give time to preparing – from a choice of topics – a speech. Aiden chose ‘refugees’, a topic the teacher said really came from ‘left field’ and yet was within the scope of expectations. Aiden’s choice possibly was influence by the religious education topic of Missions. Each year the classes become involved in fund raising and following up on places who receive their assistance. Aiden had many ideas and so had to do much editing (because of the time frame) – something his teacher said he did well and his speech is one to be shared among many, not just his class.
Geraldine Mugavin rsm
More than a day in the life of an asylum seeker
I awake to the sound of screams, distant but spine tingling nonetheless. I shoot up out of my bed. It’s only your imagination, I tell myself. I close my eyes and try to calm down, there is eerie silence lingering. I hear another scream this time much closer. I now realise the first scream was not my imagination. I peer cautiously out my window only to see one of my worst nightmares: An army of them marching up the street. I lay my eyes upon my kindhearted neighbour Farrah on her knees. One of them is pointing a gun at her head while she is shielding her daughter; tears are streaming out her eyes. “Please God” I beg “don’t let her life end this way” but begs did all but nothing.
He pulls the trigger and her lifeless body drops to the ground. I think of her children, they are too young to understand it all. “Mummy wake up! Wake up!” her daughter cries. I duck behind the window shielding my eyes from what I had just witnessed. Of all people why her? I’d known they were coming, I just didn’t know when. War was once again breaking out all over Iraq. And they were doing anything and everything they needed to to ensure taking over the country. My mother Shada burst into my room “Aban come on, we need to get out of here”. I look down the hallway, my father Rahim is barricading the front door but he can’t hold much longer. One of them breaks in “Go, save yourself” my father yells over the gunfire. He then charges at the soldier. I turn, run up the stairs and take one last look at my father. I hear the fatal shot a tear wells up in my eye. The remaining members of my family scramble into my little brother Mohammed’s room. He is bawling his eyes out; he too, alike the others is too young to understand what is taking place around him.
Amira my sister pushes one of my brother’s cupboards in the way of the door. I cradle my brother in my arms and calm him down. “We have to get out” my mother wails. “The window!” my sister suggested. My sister helps me clamber out the window and passes me Mohammed I hear my mother’s screams from inside the house. Amira jumps for dear life. I hear more screams from my mother. “Mum jump!” I yell. “Good bye my darling” she sniffles while blowing me one last kiss. She is shot and her body tumbles out the window. I take one last gaze at the woman who loved me, raised me now gave her life for me. I do not want to leave her side, but I know I have to. I plant a kiss on her cheek. My sister and I run for our lives while shots are being fired above our heads, I fall behind due to carrying my brother.
We run for what seems like hours. But eventually we stop. “Where are we going” I pant, “I have a place in mind, have you heard of Australia?” Amira calls back “No” I reply “is it in Iraq?” I ask “No, apparently it’s a land out in the ocean where there are no wars, everyone is equal and everyone is free” “It sounds too good to be true but I have no better idea and if it’s in the middle of the ocean then how are we to get to it?” I ask, “Maybe a boat, I’m not completely sure,” my sister says. “Well we better keep moving I reckon we could find a town on the seaside and with some luck maybe we’ll find a boat”.
Some hours later we are sneaking around the side of a boat and clambering in; we hid in a small room with lots of cases in it. We made ourselves comfortable and even managed to find some food in one case. We carried on like this, sneaking on and off boats until we finally reached our destination. We were about to pull in to this mystical and wonderful land, but something went wrong. We stopped for an hour of two but no one got off like they usually did. Then we started sailing again, this was definitely not the plan. We decided we would find another boat when we got to shore, but little did my brother, sister and I know we would never leave that boat. We fell asleep and once again I awake to the sound of screams not distant this time, right outside. I feel water lapping at my feet, we are taking on water I wake my sister and brother. By then the water was up to my chin. So this is how it ends I think to myself, my sister, brother and I hugging one another as the water rises above our heads and it all turns black.
Messages to: Geraldine Mugavin