Each time we pass this stretch near Bangladesh’s border with #Myanmar, my #Rohingya translator, who fled his village after a military crackdown in Myanmar two years ago, points towards the fields across the #border, saying: “That’s #Maungdaw”. I ask him if he’d like to return after all the violence he saw there, and he says “Oh!” as if he can’t put into words just how much he’d like to go back home - even though he saw his house being torched before he fled to #Bangladesh.
Spending several days at the #refugee camps and hearing numerous stories like his can normalise things, but every once in a while I’m struck by the extraordinary plight of thousands of stateless refugees like him living here in squalid shelters with no place to call home.
Among the many things my translator says he misses about home are fresh fruits and vegetables. We pass by a refugee selling mangoes – the last of the season – and he makes a face: “You don’t get fresh fruits and vegetables here. They are stored for many days. In #Burma, we ate fresh vegetables straight from our farms.”