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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
Boat people, refugee family.

Submitted: March 24, 2012

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Submitted: March 24, 2012



I stumbled as I followed my mother into an old, creaky fishing boat, to my side was my little sister Tulla.  My mother looked uneasy as she tried to guide us to a spot to sit. The boat was full, all the people squashed on the floor like fish in a can and looking at us with tense yet exhausted eyes.


It had taken my mother many months to plan this trip. She said it would bring us more opportunities and that this country was not safe for children anymore. I didn’t want to leave Vietnam but I knew it was a dangerous place. We had many friends that had already taken this trip, they had packed up all their things, and abandoned everything they had ever known. Ironically it was a priest that referred us to some people that could help us escape the country.


In a matter of months here we were here putting our entire lives in the hands of a fishing boat.


We finally found a small corner where we could cramp in to sit, as I uncomfortably lowered myself to the hard wooden boat floor I could feel a sudden wave of emotion crush through me. I was about to leave my country, the country I much loved yet deeply feared. I could hear my small sister, Tulla, complaining in the background, teary eyed and yelling “Tôi ?ói, Tôi ?ói” She was hungry. That’s when we realized this boat had barely enough food or water for the 40 people on board. We prayed for a miracle. There were about 5 cartons of water stacked like a towers. There was no food. I suppose everybody was meant to pack their own. But not much was allowed to be taken on the boat. They were very strict about this, an old lady had been forced to throw some of her belongings overboard because she had packed several pieces of clothing and a photo album. All we had packed was fresh bread that would soon be stale and small cans of food. We weren’t allowed more than a small rack sack to carry our things. As I uncomfortably rested on the floor I watched the boat overflow as more and more people embarked. And as more people embarked the more we were pushed and shoved.


We were beginning an adventure to the unknown future.


The worst happened sooner than expected. The first night we all watched the sun go down, and quickly watched the sky replaced by dark clouds and eventually rain with thunder. My mother grabbed Tulla and I grabbed my mother and we all huddled together under some plastic. But soon the mighty sea was roaring and hitting the boat forcefully with its violent waves. Chaos was unfolding everywhere as the captain struggled controlling a fishing boat carrying a lot more than it should be. “Its okay, its okay!” he shouted but he couldn’t be heard over the peoples screams. We were in darkness only been guided by the seas waters, which reflected the moonlight from above. The waves stopped. People slowly calmed down till there was absolute silence. A small waved tapped the boat. Silence. Suddenly the boat took a powerful strike to its side and before we could scream we were all immersed in the cold blooded seas ocean. 


I desperately grabbed onto the first thing I could get my hands on, a floating plank of wood hit me hard on the temple but the adrenaline overpowered any feeling of pain. I hung on to the wood. I could barely swim but my grandma had taught me when I was very young, which is more than I can say for the people surrounding me. As I looked around my eyes looked for only one thing. My family. I called out for my mum “m?!” but instead my eyes began to focuse on other things. People were splashing around everywhere, some holding onto broken bits of the boat and others fighting over things to keep them afloat. Worst of all i noticed a man using a woman to keep himself alive. He was pushing her head, in desperaition, down into the water to keep himself from drowing, while the woman tried to surface again and again. He was drowing her. I couldnt look any longer. “me!!” No reply.  So i closed my eyes and prayed for a miracle. Soon my body was too numb to even think. I felt nothing, i was immobile. I was numb and lost in the middle of the sea.


I dont know for how long i was out there by myself but it had felt like an internety. I nearly didnt notice when bright yellow lights starting to shine all around me. Help was here. And they were looking for survivers. I was so frozen i couldnt speak. All i could do was hope that they would shine a light on me. And they did. A small boat was lifted out of the ship and it was paddled towards me. I caught a faint sound of their voice. They didnt speak vietnamese. This made me afraid, i didnt know id they were gonna say me or they were pirates.  But as they got closer i relized they were white men. By the look on their faces they had noticed i was scared so they smiled at me and said some things which sounded nice, although i dont know what they meant. The talled of them grabbed my arms and pulled me onto the boat, as a landed on the hard floor the man who had smiled at me placed a blacket over my body. I knew this was meant to make me warm but i was still numb and couldnt feel anything.I managed to tell them to please look for my family too and i pointed into the sea. They replied but did nothing. On the way to the ship i started into the stars, i wondered if they had already rescued my family. I prayed again for a miracle. Slowly i felt the sensation return to my body.


We arrived on the ship and to my surprise they had rescued others from tje ship too, i rushed around the place and found my little sister huddled with a starnger woman. “Tulla!” i ran to her and hugged her very tightly. She was crying. Part of me knew mum hadnt survived but i had to hear it for myself. I asked the stranger if she knew what had happened but all she said was sorry and walked away. I collapased to the ground and sunk my face into my hands. I felt two little arms around me. I wiped my tears away and held Tulla closely.


The white men gave us warm food and more blankets. Alot of people where crying but many had blank expressions. Tulla was sleeping on my lap.



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