The fish had been cooked to perfection; succulent with a hint of garlic and ginger. The green leaves accompanying it had a touch of spice, bringing heat to the tongue. Zafira pushed more fish onto the foreigner’s plate, honouring her guest even if she struggled to understand her. Their lives, although very different, were united through being mothers to boisterous young children.
Zafira is not offered the same welcome she so freely gives to the foreigners who visit her. As a refugee in Malaysia she is unwelcome and unprotected. She is vulnerable, liable to arrest and extortionate bribes beyond her small means. In her journey to her new ‘home’ she spent time in the hands of traffickers, along with her two young boys; held ransom for months until her husband could borrow an extortionate sum of money to free his family. She doesn’t speak of those days now, but her face sometimes shows years beyond her age – she is only 22 years old.
Zafira’s children are not allowed to attend school here so she teaches them what she knows at home. She is intelligent and a good teacher – her young boys already know their letters in Burmese and English. The kids enjoy showing off what they have learnt to their visitors, reciting the alphabet as well as their math skills.
Pray for this family and for the many Rohingya women and children like them living in Malaysia. Pray they would come to know the love of a God who longs to welcome them into his house with open arms.
“My Father’s house has many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.”