A place she calls 'heaven' Nuriya Shamsuddin looks at them today and smiles, taking in the spacious living room of the three storey house she never dreamed she own a decade ago barefoot in the cold of a distant refugee camp, wanting to die.
Her life has had as many twists and turns as these Mother Day mementoes, delicate folds of pastel she swirled and sprung into pretty May buy ray ban wayfarer decorations for the home she shares with her husband and three children. From places like Afghanistan and China; Egypt and Bhutan, a tiny Himalayan kingdom touted as the happiest place on earth but for some, not that happy at all. Some have escaped deep struggles and danger to find safety in Halifax or smaller Nova Scotia communities. Others come to connect with distant family. Shamsuddin story starts in a dusty, poor neighbourhood of Kabul and detours to orphanages in Afghanistan and Kazakhstan, a refugee camp outside Moscow and finally, to this quiet residential street in Halifax, a place she calls I share my own experience, what we all go through, she says with a slight accent, sitting on her living room couch, wearing a beaded bracelet she learned how to make in one of those faraway facilities for poor or parentless children. are lots of people who are still in this situation and they cannot do anything, just wait there, wish for better life. But here, people have everything have food banks here, we have other supports here, no one is dying from the cold, no one is dying from being hungry, no one is eating the food that is not good anymore. But in other countries, they all eat these things. She lived in Afghanistan under Soviet occupation until she was nine, one of eight children of her soldier father and midwife mother, who couldn afford to feed their own. She remembers eating stale bread and going hungry until her parents pretended her mother was dead so they could send her and her youngest brother Dawood to an orphanage. There, shed have enough to eat, she get an education. And soon, they told her, shed return home to help the rest of the family. Shamsuddin thought she be away for three months. She didn see them again for seven years. And even then, only for a short time. She cries today thinking about the separation. The loss of her mother photograph only thing that was connecting me with the family on her way to Kazakhstan, and other losses that followed. Staff at the Soviet orphanage in Karatau treated her well. It was a nice place, much nicer than the dirty, crowded Watan facility in Afghanistan, where she stayed for 22 days before saying goodbye to her mother, who pretended to be her aunt; and to her father, who cried in front of her for the first time. told us that you have to go get education and then after three months you will come back, she says wiping away tears. didn tell us that it going to be so much longer. years longer before she finished the orphanage school, where she learned everything from reading and writing to sewing, carpentry and crafts the skills a person need to be survived. two years more in the middle of a four year nursing program the orphanage helped her get into before she returned to Kabul. went back 1992, she recalls. didn want me to go back to ray ban at collection Russia said you can stay, you finished two years nursing, it going to be enough for you, you can finish, get your education here but want to go back and finish. told them that I am going back because still on the bottom. I want your life get better, close your eyes and then think just about your sleep, not thinking about what you going to eat tomorrow. she left. And another 20 years passed. Years of brutal Taliban rule in her home country, years of struggle and despair in her temporary home, before she saw them again last year. The worst years for Shamsuddin came after she finished her nursing degree in Stavropol. She wanted to come back to Kabul where her brother Dawood, now living in Dartmouth, had already returned around 1992. But her parents told her it was too dangerous. Girls weren allowed to go to school, people were tortured or killed for everything from stealing to watching videos. parents said come, it not safe, they will kill you and they will kill us too. Then I didn know what to do, stay in Stavropol or go somewhere else. friend from nursing school suggested a United Nations refugee camp a couple of hours outside Moscow. we register our name there, he told her. then we will be fine. the Verbilki camp was so overcrowded she had to sneak in and hide. A couple with six children took her into their small wooden house. And she essentially became their maid and babysitter for two years while facing ostracism from other refugees because she came from an orphanage. hurt me a lot, she says. emotionally and physically, like working all the time and lack of sleep, lack of place to lay down, sleep and rest. was sleeping with the kids together. I was taking care of their kids. I cooked and cleaned. I did everything. After two years my parents called, I don know how they found out that I am there. I start crying, I said me back, I can live there, and what happened, my mother she told me can help you, no I cannot help you, seek help from the embassy, and she hanged the phone (up). was in Feburary and I was so happy to talk to my mother and I just went from one block houses to another without shoes (to get to the phone), she says, crying. then when she said that to me just went and sat on the snow. I want to die and then my friend came to me, I had one friend, she said have to fight for your life, she said there is black days but white days comes always, don feel like that, and then fight together. friend eventually contacted UN officials, explained her situation and Shamsuddin received a place of her own within the camp. A job opportunity in Moscow followed, the first link in a chain of events that led her to Halifax. For almost a year, she travelled two hours and 30 minutes each way from the camp to the UN medical clinic in Moscow: 30 minutes by bus to the train station, two hours by train, and then a 15 minute walk to the clinic, where she worked as a nurse. This is where she met her husband, a doctor originally cheap ray ban wayfarer sunglasses from Angola good person, a very excellent person, she says. They fell in love and had their first child in 2001. ray ban sunglasses for cheap But once again she had to hide, this time their relationship a consequence, she says, of the racism that was prevalent in the Russian and Afghan communities. Afghani culture, we are not allowed, or they are not accepting (of inter racial relationships), she says. have to marry the same. they don like black people too, racism a lot, it very high. had a good life, making money (but) then what was worrying us is we can go outside together, we can take our kids together outside because this whole issue and then we decided to do something, leave the country. left the country in 2003. They weren quite sure what to expect in Canada. Shamsuddin was scared even as volunteers with Immigrant Settlement and Integration Services greeted them at the airport and took them by taxi to Halifax past the houses so different from those in Moscow and on to the downtown hotel with its cold air conditioning and her lingering fear.
it morning I was still scared to go outside with my husband together. It was March 12th and at that time it was sunny day and (someone) from ISIS they came to us and they said you don be afraid of anything, everyone is equal, and they tell us the rules and I said let go try go together, and then, she says, pausing, choking back tears. and my husband hold each other hands and when we walk we crying.
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