End of Misery

Published on Nov 16 2008 // Opinion
By Ichha Poudyel
Father is domain deaf with speech impairment. Mother is physically handicapped, deaf and without speech. The only physically active member in the family of three is four year old son, Nishan who went for resettlement in the Phoenix in the US. Had it not been for third country resettlement, Nishan would grow up in camp like the kids of his circle- thin and with bleak future. And, for Till Man Jogi, the father, it did not seem to make a difference as he does not know much, if not at all, about the fairy land he is flying to. All he knows is he is flying on plane and excited over the most waited experience. 

Hema Devi, the mother, did not seem to feel any thing, out of deep feeling, smiling as usual even at departure. 

16 October separated Jogi family from relatives and neighbors, especially Pokhrel family with whom Till Man live until they left Bhutan in early 1990. Devi Charan Pokhrel had rescued Till Man who was then dying from malaria some thirty years ago. 

It was Shanti Ram Pokhrel, Devi Charan’s son who helped Till Man throughout the process of resettlement in the US. Once the Pokhrel family decided to resettle, they explained its pros and cons in the best language Till Man could understand. It was only a few days before their flight Till Man really knew he is leaving refugee camp forever. 

“We get a lot of money there,” Till Man said boarding IOM bus for Bhadrapur airport. He doesn’t like to return Bhutan due to fear of being shot at. 

In camp Til man lived in a bamboo hut near Shanti Ram’s hut. Taking advantage of this vulnerable family some sex vampires raped Hema Devi more than three times. And some attempts failed due to interventions by the neighbors. “Despite identification defaulters are not brought under the control of law” says Santi Ram. A handful of some unscrupulous exiled Bhutanese and leaders, playing with rumors to protest resettlement did not spare Til Man. 

According to neighbors, Till Man was misinformed that his son would be taken away from him and given very little to eat. While in camp he continued his ancestral occupation of blowing Feri (a blowing pipe believed to ward off evil sprits while played at night). And, with the royalty he used to buy few clothes and vegetable. 

 He was very slow at work so he was often paid less than half even for the whole day work. 

Tillman would have been already resettled in Canada a year before had there been no communication gap with UNHCR. That time too, some persons told him that he would be thrown into the ocean. So he denied. UNHCR never knew about Pokhrel family who acted as Till Man's guardian. 

Till Man, then 60, married Hema Devi who was hardly 20 once he arrived in refugee camp. This huge ditch of age did not interfere with there conjugal life but cemented with the blessing of a baby son, Nishan. 

 A large crowed gathered to see Till Man off. Hema Devi fit in tight jeans pant and a tea-shirt, which she never wore before, was smiling all the way. While on bus she waved to every one with the same smile which she had before. In less than 20 minute upon arrival on the bus stop to board IOM bus, the tone of Till Man's Feri was fading away and all missed his tempering voice. The slow, cheap but sincere work he offered to his neighbors soon became just a topic of discussion to kill time inside camps. 

Among the crowd gathered to see him off one elderly voice was heard, Till Man is now going away to another village to blow Feri. 

May be the royalty collected from blowing Feri, did not buy him a meal with fish which he loved most, at least once in six months. More than quarter of life spent in refugee camp was too much to suffer-that never took him back to his motherland. 

He now would have a place to call home, feel like citizen and live on his own sweat.