Rasheeda  ·  Iran

The Journey: What We Carry

I pray most of all for my children who are still in Afghanistan and Iran.

Writing by Twila Bird
Photography by Christophe Mortier

We left Iran because we are Afghans. We weren’t allowed to work, so we couldn’t pay the rent. And we have enemies in Iran. My daughter has nightmares. She’s still afraid because of what happened to her, what they did to her.

We sold everything in Iran. We suffered while we were going through the mountains in Turkey. Sometimes I crawled on my hands and knees. We had to throw away all of our clothes, anything that was too heavy. It was so hard; we lost hope. We thought we were going to die. Then it was really hard coming down. It took thirteen or fourteen hours, and I could barely walk. At the end, I fell in a hole in the mountain that was full of water.

Even though our journey was so hard, I brought my Koran and my prayer rug with me. I carried them on my back. I love my religion.

2016 Lindsay Silsby: What remains of the home - the prayer rug
V9 S Evqzw
2016 Elizabeth Thayer: Charcoal drawing

I remember one part of our journey was in the sea and I was afraid we would drown. I asked God to help us. All of a sudden, the sea got really peaceful. He helped us. Whenever I felt I couldn’t continue anymore, I asked God and He helped us. Now, even though my knee doesn’t work and it hurts very much, I make sure to say my prayers every day. When I can’t sleep at night, I pray most of all for my children who are still in Afghanistan and Iran. I get so afraid that our enemies will find them and hurt them.

Here in Germany, we have new friends who bring us clothes. It makes me happy to have true friends who are so good and kind. In the refugee camp, we sleep in beds, which is better than sleeping wet beside the shore in the cold. The Germans are so nice. For the rest of my life, I will serve them because they help us. I hope the government will let me stay here and that my children can go to school to get an education. This is all of my life.

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