Year 6 recently wrote stories about refugees following research into this topic. We researched using videos, pictures, poems and text in order to get a flavour of what life as a refugee could be like. We also had the opportunity to listen to a refugee talk about their experiences and then interview an aid worker about their work in refugee camps.
We then used other texts to practice writing different elements of a story for example creating suspense, the beginning of a story and a diary entry before planning and writing our own versions. Below you can read some of the pupil’s own writing
The Survivor (Refugee Story)
Before, my life was perfect, tons of smiles and laughter to go around. The lush green grass squished under our bare feet as we raced one another through our banana and coffee farms. When my friends and I walked from school, we just had to stop if we saw a flower that would look good in our hair. We all wanted to be fashionistas. On weekends, I would call my friends. We’d stroll to the village shop, grabbing the crispy gonja and running away, then dying of laughter when we saw the shopkeeper’s face and my mum would come to pay. Once at my house, we would go to the bedroom to have a feast. We would smell my mother’s village famous chicken samosas and run downstairs for the first pick. Every Saturday we stayed up extremely late talking about boys and singing the latest pop songs.
One day, my parents began to talk about war and guns but I never listened because it wasn’t my concern. I was more interested in climbing trees with my friends or digging for diamonds. Now, I regret this because it meant that I was not ready for what was ahead, lurking in the shadows like a living nightmare, waiting for me, Brock, Bella and the whole village. But I couldn’t have done anything anyway; I was just a helpless child about to be swept away, a leaf in the wind.
I was slowly falling asleep, hugging my 7 month old sister Bella, and listening to my 6 year old brother Brock’s rhythmic snoring. Out of the blue, there was a deafening bang coming from outside. I decided to ignore it thinking it was just my dad banging the kitchen cupboards as he put the plates away. My eyelids became heavy, abruptly there was another tremendous bang. With horror, I realised what these bangs were. It was a gun! Soon after, there were more similar bangs. Ear-piercing screaming started from outside my window. It was as if the whole world was in uproar. I heard my mother shout in a desperate voice, “Brooklyn, run for your….” The sound of a bullet ripped through the air and there was silence.
I heard men inside the house, speaking a foreign language. I somehow understood some and listened carefully. “Oi, boy, go check dat room over there for em’ mice, eh?” I knew that I was the so called “mouse”. A familiar voice answered “Yes, sir boss!”. I hear the heavy footsteps getting closer and soon I saw a flashlight scanning the room, an X-ray looking for a broken bone. The spotlight passed me and I exhaled with relief. Then it slowly went back to me and stopped onto me. I bit the insides of my cheeks to stop myself screaming. I cautiously lifted my head and examined who had found me. It was my classmate! He searched in his pocket and I braced for a bullet, but instead got hit by a packet of gonja. I smiled at him thankfully as he turned on his heel, and walked out shouting, “Sorry sir, no mice sir!”
I packed a bag with cassava and an empty bottle for water, giving it to Brock to carry. I picked up Bella, and I shouted “Follow me, Brock and run!”. Brock called out my name. “Brookllllyyynnnnn!!” I grabbed a blanket and tied Bella to my back. After running for who knows how long, I heard a small voice behind me say “please, Brook I am tired!” and began to walk instead. All of a sudden, rain started to pour heavily upon us, it came to my senses that we had run too far, too fast. We were lost, without mom and there was nothing we could do about it.
Feeling it was unsafe to rest on the ground I spotted the perfect tree for us to rest in. I shoved the bag, Brock and Bella up and then jumped up myself, not thinking of the dangers once we fell asleep. I played down the lack of blankets and pillows and tucked them in. I wiped Bella’s snotty nose and began to sing a lullaby, making them fall asleep. I tied up my hair and jumped down, heading to the river bank to fill our bottles. After filling them, I sat down dangling my feet into the strong current, and held my necklace tightly. I thought of how it was my birthday when my parents gave me the necklace, and I thought of how it was in the shape of the moon. I lay down, holding my necklace and staring at the moon as I drifted off to sleep. When I woke up it was dawn, so I thought we had better continue our journey. I realised how dangerous it was for me to leave Bella and Brock sleep on a tree, alone! I gasped and began to run towards our area. I climbed up to the tree, brushing sand off my legs as I went. My first sight was a sleeping Bella, snoring softly. I let out the air I was holding inside of me. I climbed over her to wake up Brock. But, he wasn’t there. My stomach lurched as I cautiously lowered my head to look at the ground. The sight I saw made me want to be sick. Rapidly, I jumped down, and kneeled beside a motionless and pale Brock, his limbs sticking out in strange angles, blood covering his dusty, wiry hair. I began to stroke it knowing this is the last time I could ever touch him. I started to cry, but realised I had to be strong, for me and for little Bella. I gathered some flowers and spread them over his lifeless body. I slowly climbed back up the tree and grabbed our stuff, softly picking up Bella and tying her to my back with the blanket. I set off as grief and was on my tail. Wondering where to go, I remembered the only geography class I concentrated in was about Ugenya and how to get from one place to another. It came to my knowledge that Tanda had a good refugee camp, with 5 bags of 10kg rice per person. We had to go north, that would take us there! We set off, every sundown stopping for snack, water and then sleeping till dawn. After two days of frightful travel, we finally made it to the border of Tanda! There were many people there; some faces I recognised some were complete strangers. Some people in uniform came up to me and asked me which camp I would like to go to. I said I wanted to stay in this city, as it would be less of a journey for Bella. They loaded us into a truck and me and Bella could sit down because we were kids, but the not-pregnant-women and the men had to stand. After a few hours, we arrived at what looked like a sea of white tents. They asked us if we had our parents with us. I looked down and they got the hint and took me to someone whom would be my foster mom. The lady was kind, and had a welcoming smile, but nothing could make me happy after losing 3 of my loved ones. After some days at the camp, Bella fell sick and although my foster mom wanted me to stay away from her, I didn’t listen. Every morning I would feel her little sweaty head, and clean her up after she was sick. I, of course, caught her sickness but got better in days. Bella was still sick after a month passed. One morning, I slowly woke up and was going to give Bella a hug, but nobody was there. I opened my eyes to see my foster mom sitting there. “S-she… S-she is…. dead,”
After this news, no matter who tried to comfort me, or make me smile all I did was cry. My foster mom sat me on her lap like a big baby and rocked me every time I was in hysterics but, I still cried while sleeping, while eating, and even cried myself to sleep. I wished I wasn’t the only survivor. I thought of my family having fun in heaven, but I was stranded down here, lonely, grieving and dejected. One foggy, dark night when everybody was asleep I went down the river bank. Tears flowed from my eyes, rolling down my cheeks and dripping into the sand turning it into mud. It sort of reminded me of how I felt. One minute light and dry, next minute dark and wet. I tightly held my necklace as I lay in the sand. I looked at the big, white, full moon, still securely holding my necklace. “I miss you…but I will survive” I whispered.