I was in Cisarua with Raza, Fawad and Agha Zia on New Year’s Eve 2013. We wished that next year we would be in Australia. Fawad and I got a date for an interview with UNHCR in 4 months time. My date was 3 June 2013. I was always thinking every day: wait, wait. I went to the Internet cafe to pass time. I chatted with friends or spoke with my family. I came home to make something for eat every day. Doing like this, day by day, feeling sad and getting stressed, we waited for resettlement. If UNHCR would not help us, we would try to go by boat. I got depression because of thinking too much. I always had headache. I used 3 or 4 tablets at one time; however when I tried to sleep I couldn’t. Fawad was like me. He also couldn’t sleep. Fawad and I would sit all night and tell some stories about Afghanistan. We wished for peace in our country, when people would stop killing.
When Fawad had his interview with UNHCR, he got stressed. He couldn’t sleep. He went to Jakarta for interview and came back very sad. He said they didn’t perform his interview. They asked him to come back again next week. I had my interview next. I went to Jakarta and I had interview with a UNHCR officer for 3 hours. After I finished I had a good sleep. I had never slept like that night. Fawad was finally interviewed and he was offered resettlement to USA.
Raza went by boat in 2013 and arrived in Christmas Island. He was released into the Australian community with a temporary visa. After 16 months waiting, I got a refugee certificate and I was very happy. I came home and all my friends were happy. I have a lot Hazara friends in Cisarua and everyone got our refugee certificates from UNHCR. I made Afghani food, they came to my home, and we made a party.
Then I waited for my resettlement. We played football. Sometimes we went to the swimming pool. We passed time always waiting, always thinking. When I thought too much I felt sad and down.
A young woman and her brother arrived in Indonesia and had no accommodation or local knowledge. We helped them to get in touch with Jesuit Refugee Service and let them stay with us until they had their own place. Some Afghan people who are newly arrived, they don’t know any place, shopping mall or hospital or bazar, or how to go by train to Jakarta UNHCR office. I helped them without being paid. I’m happy to help. I also donated blood to help an Indonesian child with the same blood type. I donate my blood to the blood bank in Bogor hospital 3 times every year.
Agha Zia was a refugee and was also trying to be resettled to Australia. He submitted his form to the Australian Embassy and waited for his interview. In January 2014, he was refused resettlement by the Australian embassy. Before it never happens like that, to be refused by Australia. Around 20 people were refused and just 15 or 20 people were accepted. In 2013, I did not see or hear of anyone who was refused by Australia. Day by day the situation became harder for refugees and asylum seekers.
On 4 October 2014, 8 of us went to a swimming pool in a hotel. We didn’t know the water in the pool was electricified. We all jumped in the water and felt the electricity and got out. Wahid shouted, “Help me, help me.” Everyone was scared. Wahid was a strong man and tall but he couldn’t get out of the water. He gave his hand to security and they pulled him out. After one minute Wahid fell down and security took him to hospital. Wahid did not wake up when we arrived to hospital. The doctor said he died and then I fainted.
The police got a bribe from the owner of the hotel and no-one was found responsible for his death. The police never listened to what we had to say. We needed a lawyer but we had no money. The police said the reason Wahid died was because he was an old and weak man. They didn’t say anything about the swimming pool. Wahid was 24 years old. He was a refugee. He submitted the application forms to the Australian embassy. He was waiting for an interview. He always wished to live in a peaceful place but he passed away. I always remember that day.
I had an interview with the Canadian Embassy on 26 November 2014, but I was refused resettlement. I decided not to tell my mum until I got my visa from the Australian Embassy. She had a lot of problems in Afghanistan and I didn’t want her to worry about me.
I had my interview with the Australian embassy on 11 February 2015, but it got postponed one month because of floods in Jakarta. After my interview with the Australian embassy in March 2015 I felt happy and I hoped to get an Australian visa. Unfortunately my application was refused. I felt so bad I couldn’t sleep. I was depressed. I just wanted to cry. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t do anything. I’m confused. I am almost 32 months waiting. I don’t know if I can get resettled to another country. I have little chance to be accepted because my application was refused by Australia and Canada. Everyday is like a prison. When I wake I am just waiting to hear any news from UNHCR until night.
* This story has been edited for publication.