“Blood, Sweat and Tears”
The writer talks about their life changing experiences as they visit a country troubled by war
By: Fasih Taqvi
Date: 28 October 2019
How? Why? That’s what I thought to myself as I crossed the once shanty towns that had now burned to the ground. War I knew, was something not to take something lightly. But what I saw was something I could never prepare myself for. Horrors of such sorts that I thought never existed. Sights that have forever etched itself in my mind. But moving on, I will now tell you what I saw and how it changed my overall attitude towards life itself.
When I entered what was once the country’s capital all I saw were hundreds of lean, hungry, terrified faces all betrayed by their country and government. There was no life to be found. Yet if there was, it would be wound festering bodies, laying their helplessly, struggling with every breath they took. To weak to find food, to weak to find help. Despite how sick it sounds, the need for shocking material is like a another hit of morphine, each more nerve racking and brain shattering than before.
Conversely, there was a small village in the middle of nowhere, a place we had yet to reach. After a tedious 2 hour journey our group of journalists reached. The roads surrounding the area were unpaved dirt roads, untouched by mankind, preserved by nature. The first thing I saw there were a group of small girls huddled together. Their bodies were as thin as a stick, their skin as sunken in as a raisin. Death was around the corner for them. You could see it in their yellow eyes, you could detect it in the putrid air that surrounded them. But there was nothing that could be done, nothing you could do. These young girls, so fragile, had been robbed of all the happiness in the world only to pass away with a small whimper.
My reaction and attitude to everything that day was a mixture of fear, disgust and sorrow. I mean, without a doubt who wouldn’t be sickened by such terrors. Right? The revulsion to see nature taking it heed to themselves to decide the fate of others. Having to see living bodies slowly fading away is painful to watch. How could someone be so cruel? Who could treat another person in such a manner? That’s what I constantly thought to myself; and to see no international organization or source of foreign aid made me angry. You would be too.
Furthermore, to see humanity being lowered to such standards is appalling. To see that; along with the old woman I met, who had been unfortunately shot in the leg. It shook me to my core. It really illustrated how horrific war is. We can all go back to the comfort of our homes, whilst their suffering never ends. I felt pity, sympathy for them. From hearing the death of two young teens, Habiba and Ayesha, to the young man shot dead right dead in front of my eyes, those emotions never left my side. What was it that caused these feelings? That is something I might never answer.
As a result, this brings me to my final point. What did I learn? Well as one wise man said,” Life has so many great opportunities for everyone to experience and to learn in the best of ways.” Indeed, it reflected how if anything manifests itself in its purest form, whether it be war or peace, can change our perspective to life. Moreover, being there helped me to understand not everyone is born with a silver spoon in their mouth, not everyone gets the same opportunities I got. Finally, war taught me that actions has consequences; and as one person said, “Every action has a reaction.”
It connoted to me how careless actions of certain people can ruin the lives of others around them. So, what I observed there convinced me that I would share my story with all the purpose and power I had. War was a seminal, climatic moment for me as a journalist. To make the known unknown. To make sure that you guys, my dear audience, know what’s happening. So, I end my story on a high note and I hope you have been inspired by what has been said.
- You have recently visited a war-riddled country with your family. You have been asked to write an article for your school magazine relating your experiences. In your article include the following:
- What you saw
- What were your emotions
- What you learnt
My Visit to Alasiah (STOP BEING UNGRATEFUL)
The most tragic experience of visiting a war-riddled country, Alasiah.
By: Areesha Fatima
October 28th, 2019.
Have you ever visited a war-riddled country? I am sure a very few number of people have. So, you cannot even imagine the pain and emotions of the people living there. I will make sure that you will be able to feel their pain and hopefully visit a war-riddled country in the future after reading my article (my experience).
I saw thousands of hungry, frightened and betrayed faces as I made my way through the tiny huts made out of straws. As I entered one of them, I saw three girls lying on the dirt floor of their hut. They were helpless. Their teary faces could bring tears on any or everyone’s face.
Moreover, Alasiah had been under attack in a war since as long as I can remember. I had always wanted to visit a war-riddled country so I could help them in any way.
Seeing broken families was really breaking me. There was this old woman who laid in her hut, abandoned by relations who were too weak to carry her. I could see every other person struggling, struggling to survive.
I was extremely sad when an unexpected thing caught my attention. I saw a feeble smile. An old man quietly sitting outside, leaning on a tree and smiling. What was it about that smile? How could he smile? It was not a smile of greeting or a smile of happiness. It was neither a smile of any sort of sadness or sympathy. This smile moved me in a way that was unexplainable. It touched me.
This was the face that I will never forget.
My reaction to everyone and everything else I met and saw that day was a mixture of disgust and sympathy. There was utter despair. The feelings of disgust came from the extreme degeneration of the human body, people suffering from kwashiorkor (lack of protein, body mass). The twin evils of hunger and disease had taken over the whole of Alasiah.
A heartbreaking incident occurred when I saw a five-year-old child with two small pieces of bread. I came to him for a photograph as I had to inform and provide my school with every detail of Alasiah. So, as soon as I went to him, he immediately put his hand forward with one piece of bread and offered it to me with the most innocent expression I had ever seen. In no time, my teary eyes made an eye contact with his pure and innocent eyes (as his eyes spoke for him). I held his hand and took out a granola bar and any other treat from my backpack and handed it over to him. He quickly hugged me.
It was the most satisfying hug, ever!
This hug reminded me of the smiling old man, who was no longer there when I saw him. I knew before my visit that I will definitely see and learn a great deal of things but this smile only brought one word to my mind again and again, grateful.
Despite going through so many hardships, that old man was smiling. It made me regret everything I did when I was ungrateful. This man had not uttered a single word but had left me with so many questions to think about.
Alasiah has my heart!
It has made me into a stronger and a better person. That is why I have decided to publish this article in the school magazine so that you guys will be able to learn from my experience. I hope this article motivated you to be as grateful as possible.
One thing I really want to do is, is to meet that old man again and thank him for how without even talking to me, he has changed me.
Stop being ungrateful!