Refugees do not assume they will be waiting for someone or something for years. If they knew how long they would be waiting, they would lose hope. They just take it one day at a time.

One Day at a Time

The first and probably most important lesson I learned from my Rohingya friends is the value of taking life one day at a time.

This isn’t something that’s easy to do. But when you’re a refugee, it’s your only option. Your life is so fluid, it could change at any second. You spend months, even years, waiting in limbo — hoping that your day might be today.

Refugees do not assume they will be waiting for someone or something for years. If they knew how long they would be waiting, they would lose hope.

They just take it one day at a time.

Because they never know when their day will come.

Eight years later, Shomjida’s day has finally come. She is one step closer to being reunited with her husband. The visa is approved. Finally.

 

Shomjida has had quite the journey. I’m so grateful to be a small part of it. 
 
I met Shomjida in Thailand in 2015 after she arrived by boat from Myanmar.
 
Separated from her husband, she waited in limbo with her three children, unsure of what tomorrow held. This unknown future is what inspired me to start an informal education program for her children. Whether they were here for 2 days or 2 years, they should have the opportunities to learn.
 
I eventually left Thailand. When I did, I thought I would never see Shomjida again.
 
Flashforward to 2019 when I receive a random message from Miranda, a complete stranger who connected with me over Instagram. She worked with the Rohingya community in Texas…and I heard through the grapevine that I had a few friends resettled there…I asked if she knew Shomjida. She just so happened to be one of her best friends. I was in Bangladesh at the time, so I went and met Shomjida’s mother, thanks to the connection from Miranda.
 
I surprised Shomjida in 2020 by showing up at her home in Texas. What a beautiful, incredibly strong woman she is. She has been through so much and continues to push on. 
 
She has a home, a job, and continues to raise a family. She didn’t know it would take this long to reunite with her husband. She was just living one day at a time, waiting for that glimmer of hope. The process of her husband coming to America will take a while. But from now on, she can live each day with that glimmer of hope growing brighter and brighter.
 
Just one day at a time.
 
 
 

The Rohingya Reunions storytelling series is sponsored by Books Unbound, my organization that develops contextualized learning materials for refugees. Rohingya Reunions is supported by individuals around the world. Donations are accepted through Books Unbound and go directly to support our storytelling initiative.

To support this project and learn more about our work, click here.

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