It was Hanza´s first Sunday morning in the refugee camp. He was a ten-year-old boy who had had a very hard life in the last one year. He used to live happily with his family but suddenly their lives completely changed...
Hanza woke up very early, when he heard a couple arguing about who had to go and fetch water. He felt hungry so he got out of bed and had something to eat, not much as there wasn’t much choice, a piece of hard bread that he had saved from the night before. Afterwards, he decided that he wanted to have a walk around the immense camp with his sister Shumaj. He asked his sister, but of course, he already knew the answer, as she was in a negative mood since she had arrived at the camp , nothing could be said in front of her as she would say “No” continued by a, “You won't find anything in that place”.
He stayed thoughtfully by the tent, but soon he decided to take a step forward, typical of a guy like him, nervous and adventurous. At this moment, he decided to have a walk around the campsite on his own. He walked for some time and felt the same sensation as the first time he had stepped in that place, fear and insecurity, but this sensation did not last long, as he soon experienced that everyone there, even though they did not have anything, seemed to be kind and helpful.
He walked for some time through the tents; it seemed as if the tents did not come to an end, rows and rows. The only reference that Hanza had to move around the camp was the mountain. In the middle of the mountain, he could see a big stone that reminded him of a horse. Hanza at that moment had a flashback, he remembered the horse that he had left behind, Masjal. He started to feel a bit sad, it seemed like all his feelings were coming out, as he had more time to think and for this reason analyzed the situation in more detail. Of course he wanted to take Masjal with him, but time was against him, he never thought he would be in a situation like that, where important decisions had to be taken in seconds. Before he considered himself a normal guy with a normal life, but a bomb changed that normal life.
Hanza soon stopped walking; he noticed something shining between two tents, he was a bit nervous as he wanted to see what it was, his imagination started to flow, and what will it be?, he thought to himself. He started walking towards the shiny bit but, he didn’t want anybody to see him. So he looked from one side to the other making sure that nobody was looking. He stepped towards it. There was something buried, it had a shiny and sharp corner that he could see. He started to dig and in seconds he couldn't believe his eyes. A book! but when he started to look more closely he saw that it wasn’t a normal book, it was a diary………….
Hanza took the diary and went to his tent. He sat comfortably, to see better what he had found. Carefully, he managed to open with some effort the very old pages. Something was written in children's handwriting, and the top of the page. It was a date: November 16
Hanza swallowed with excitement and he felt his hands trembling. He remembered that he had been keeping a diary like this, himself, in which he used to describe various incidents of school and carefree life he led before coming here in the camp. But now holding this little book in his hands, it felt very different. Maybe it belonged to another child, since the camp was full of children. Maybe, those twisted brown lines were like a message from the past:
"Today it is frosty again. The wind plays around our tent so someone could swear that he is alive and wants to get inside. Dad told me that in Spring we will return to our country and everything will be as before".
Hanza shuddered. He was feeling exactly the same, when he arrived at the camp. Living in a tent did not seem like living in a warm home, especially when this tent is far from your homeland. The writing was so faded that at some points you could barely read. He frowned, trying to figure out the rest from the beginning.
"We walked a group of 32 men, women and 12 children. I was afraid, but what could we do? Death pursue you everywhere, and if we die along the way –well, we are already like dead. We had no choice but to leave and run away from this senseless war! I can not forget how it is, when bombs are falling. - We flee from war. But we had no idea who is fighting whom. I only know that we were living in fear".
Suddenly he heard voices coming from outside. It seemed a long time someone was looking for him and lost patience.Hanza recognized the voice of his sister Shumaj. He hold his breath having no intention to show up. His mind took him to his own diary and how different those two small books were. His book had a beautiful silver padlock and a cover with horses, and in the front page there was his name and address. He wondered why the child still had not written his name on the first page, but on the other hand this was not a real diary id was just a notebook with a shiny cover.
Here, there was not only one but several names written on the inside cover: Zahra Ali, Mohammed Issa, Berry. Yeah, right, this is a book for children that have been before me in the camp, Hansa thought to himself. And these are their stories.The one I read is probably the story of Zahra.
Hanza gently stroked the pages and began reading in December. At some points,spelling was a bit strange.
"How did I come to camp? Nothing special ... We were sitting at home, as usual - me, my sister and my mother. I was playing on the computer in my room, when mom called me to help her with something in the other room. Suddenly the room just fell apart, just something huge, terrifying and creepy happened! Everything suddenly went off; the bomb fell right in the middle of our house. I jumped, or rather I was thrown away. When I got my senses, I saw that I was alive but badly wounded in the leg. I thought I knew something about bombings, but I had never seen what it looked like in reality... As I came to see dimly, I realized that I had something in the eye. But the one thing I could see and feel was that everything was destroyed. I had not noticed that the body of my mother lied next to me. She and my sister were lying on the floor, buried under the rubble. Very scared, I tried to go out, to the neighbors to see what happened there, but I realized that I could not walk. So, I started to crawl on the ground, I managed to get away. The house next door was not so much affected. I heard the voices of the neighbors. I could feel blood all over me. They saw me, they ran to me frightened and shouted: - Zahra, are you okay? They called an ambulance and took me to the hospital. Now I have no mother, and my sister was only 9 years old ...
…I'm better now, of course. At the hospital, for more than a week I was lying completely naked because of my injuries;I could not wear anything. And for a long period of time I was not able to see. Doctors, operated on my leg without anesthetic! I do not want to remember this nightmare. I felt like current went through me. All this trembling in pain. I was very distressed, now I have an injured feet nerve, I can not move easily or fold my leg. I also had an eye surgery... And my head hurts constantly ... In 12 years I want to be healthy and live normally. I have a dream –I wish this war ends!"
Hanza was breathing heavily. He could not control his thoughts. He rose and looked for a pen in his backpack, standing next to him….
Hanza decided that it did not matter, so he started to read it carefully. The boy realized quickly that on the cover of the diary there was written a great letter “K”. He called Shumaj and asked her where she had been.
“I was outside with Jack! Hey, Jack has a similar diary!”
Where is Jack, Shumaj?”
“He is outside, behind his tent!”
When the two children arrived there, Jack was no longer in that place. After searching everywhere for him, they found him by the wall, reading.
“Hello, Jack, what are you reading?”
“It’s an old diary. It was my grandfather’s.”
“Can you check if this diary belonged to your grandfather, too?’
“Yes, of course.”
After looking carefully, he confirmed that both diaries belonged to his grandfather. He said it was because of the great letter “K” on the cover.
The three children decided to go look for other diaries. First thing the next morning, the three children started on this new adventure where the unknown awaited them…
After no more than two hours, they found another one, but … this one had something different, something unique, a lucky charm with the letter “K” on it. At that moment Jack got scared and wanted to go back, but supported by Hanza, he decided to continue this unique adventure. Jack was rather sad, because it wasn’t easy for him to look for long-forgotten things about someone dear to him. But he kept telling himself that now, his grandfather was free, enjoying a new life.
After walking for a long time, they found a beautiful and peaceful village. They were welcomed there and treated as if they were royalty. But things were not perfect as they thought. They realized this, but only when…
Hanza heard a discussion between their hostess and the mayor of the village. The two were talking about Jack’s lucky charm, saying they had to kidnap him as soon as possible. Quickly he ran to his friends and told them everything he heard. That night, they left the village without leaving behind a single trace, a trace that could help the villagers find them.
In the middle of nowhere, they saw an abandoned horse. It looked like the one they left behind so long ago. But when they got nearer, they saw it was a different horse. Then, Hanza noticed that the horse was wounded, and the three of them said the person who wounded the horse was ….
……. surely either running from someone or chasing someone. Should the first option turn out to be true, they also might be in danger, but also if the other was true it couldn’t mean anything good. Why? Well, anyone cruel enough to hurt an innocent animal cannot have good intentions and be a good person, can they? The children looked around carefully, but nothing suspicious was to be seen. Hanza kneeled down beside the horse and stroke its mane. One of the horse's stirrups was missing and a red bead was lying next to the horse’s head. It seemed there was nothing they could do to help the animal. It was dying in pain and the children felt like screaming because there had been just too much misery and death and unhappiness in their short lives. And the look of the poor horse was just the last straw.
Holding their hands they continued their journey towards the unknown, their faces covered in tears, their hearts longing for home. As it started to dawn, they saw a small village on the horizon. About a dozen cottages with white walls and roofs made of straw. When they got closer, swaying because of hunger and thirst, they saw an old woman standing beside a well. She was squinting her eyes as if to see better. ‘Who are you?’ she asked in a harsh voice. ‘I’m Hanza and these are my sister and our friend,’ replied Hanza. ‘We have left the refugee camp and are looking for something very important. We’re starving and really thirsty. May we stay here for a while?’ Having wandered for a second or two, the old woman said that they could stay in the village for some time, but that if they wanted to get food and drink, they would have to do some work for the community. The children happily agreed. The woman took them into her cottage. They didn’t know that the whole time they were being watched by a man who was standing in the field. His malicious smile didn’t disappear even when he lost the sight of them….
They were fed and having got a few hours of sleep, were shown what they were expected to do. The work was not hard - Shumaj helped to prepare food and look after the kids and the boys helped the men grow plants and do minor repairs in the village. They stayed in a small shack and lived a peaceful life, but all the time were thinking about the real reason of their leaving the camp and about what they were looking for. On the first day of their arrival, Jack hid the charm in a small hole dug in the floor of the shack. He covered it with some grass and put a pot on it.
One day, when the boys were resting after work, Shumaj came out of the shack pale and trembling. She came closer to the boys and whispered: ‘Someone has been inside and stolen the charm.’ All three quickly entered the shack. The pot was now in the corner and someone had dug the charm out. ‘Look what I’ve found,’ said Jack suddenly. Shumaj and Hanza turned towards him. Jack opened his hand, on his palm they saw a small red bead………..
Immediately they remembered the hostess and mayor of the previous village, their
discussion about the charm and their discussion about kidnapping Jack. They were
nearly sure that they took it from the place it was buried. Then suddenly Shumaj
remembered something really important :the hostess was wearing a red beaded
necklace! She said:”This red bead in your hand belongs to the necklace of the
hostess she was wearing one!” Then Hanza and Jack also remembered the red
bead next to the wounded horse .Part by part like the pieces of a puzzle the things
happening made sense.
They all got afraid all were now trembling in fear. They were thinking about why they
left the village and got into this adventure. They had better stayed in the camp and
never left it. In the camp it was not perfect but at least around them there were
people they knew.
After a while Hanza told said “So let’s do something we cannot just stay here cry and
got more afraid. It is nonsense we have to do something.”
“Yes you are right I agree with you. I think we should leave this place and return to
the previous village “ said Jack
“So then we shouldn’t lose time and go” answered Shumaj
They all went to the old women the owner of the farm thanked her for everything
they were treated in a nice way had some food and a shelter during this time. But
they had to leave now
On their way back to the previous village their heart was beating all the time because
they were afraid but they all were so sure that they had to get the charm back! Only
because of this eagerness they had strength to carry on. Otherwise they were all
really exhausted and mentally tired too.Their emotions were mixed up none of them
could think clear. The only thing they knew was that they needed the charm.
After a long journey they arrived in the village late in the afternoon they were a bit
tired and sleepy. But fortunately the old lady on the farm gave them some food and
beverage so they weren’t hungry. But it was not time to rest, every second was
important .As soon as they arrived they began looking and searching for the hostess.
Not late they found themselves at the hostess’ door. A light breeze was blowing and
they could hear some dogs howling, Hanza’s hand was trembling while knocking on
the door, they are were scared but all of them tried to hide their fear.The door opened
and there she was standing in front of them her mouth open and squinting her eyes.
”Oh ,good evening children, what a surprise! You missed us and came for a visit.
How nice and kind you are.” she said. Come in please, don’t stand at the door,take a
sit.It’s wonderful to see you here. “ she told.
The children looked at each other they were speechless. They in fact knew the
shouldn’t go inside. But like hypnotized they all took a step forward and entered the
house. They sat down on the couch while the hostess was asking some questions lie :
where they had been, what they did there and if anything strange happened because
they were looking suspicious. Then Hanza noticed the red beaded necklace on the
coffee table - with some missing red beads ! So Hanza couldn’t resist anymore and
he shouted : “ You were it, you stole our charm .We know it, the proof is this necklace
you lost beads and we found them.You are a evil woman, give us our charm back!”
Shumaj and Jack were now standing too The hostess said “It’s nonsense you are
talking, there little children are in my house and accusing me of stealing a charm or
whatever. I will teach you some manners ,you rude and unbehaved kids ! “ she said.
Then she called two helpers. From that moment on everything went really quickly.
Two well-built young man came ,they grabbed the children and threw them into a
dark dungeon in the backyard of the house. The children were crying and yelling but
it was for nothing...