Two Girls

Faces and Voices – Children

Two Girls


(The girls were not sisters, and had arrived in the camp separately. They were 11 and 14.)

We hadn’t told our parents that we were going to run away, because they would have disapproved. We didn’t know that once we arrived here we would miss them so much.

We’re both recovering from malaria, which we got here in the camp. For two weeks we were very sick: fever, vomiting, weakness and aching. Because our guardians weren’t there, we had to take care of each other. We lay on the bed in our hut, holding each other all the time.

We want to go to Europe. One of us has a brother there. One of us has a sister. They said they’ll send us visas. But we know the process could take awhile.

What would we like here? –A change of clothing, telephone access to our brother and sister in Europe, teapots (because the neighbors won’t always share theirs with us), safety (because recently a drunken man had yelled at us both in a terrible, frightening way).

(It was unclear whether, if the visas didn’t arrive, the girls were prepared to hazard the trip to Europe by way of smugglers — risking kidnapping, gang rape and extortion in Sudan and Libya, and drowning in the Mediterranean.)