June 7, 2017

Habid

I’m Pakistani but I moved to Kashmir, very near to the Pakistan border. There has been a lot of violence between India and Pakistan for years. Kashmir asked me to leave and I wanted to find freedom. The shooting of Muslims is not uncommon in Kashmir. I was a member of this one party while my other brothers were part of others. Around 9pm we heard gunfire break out around my house. I don’t know where my oldest brother was when he was killed. After a year, I had to get out. Pakistan doesn’t care for me and there are many problems there, too. It wouldn’t have been any better if I moved into the country. I only want freedom; I didn’t want either Pakistan or India because I knew the freedom I wanted wasn’t there.

I believe Brazil is a much better option than staying where I was. If anything, there’s too much life here. There are difficulties… I can’t speak the language and the only work I’ve found is working as a street vendor in Brás. I’m taking Portuguese courses through CAMI, an organization that works with immigrants, which is how I met these guys from Bangladesh. We’re all in the same class together and came from similar situations. The language is getting better. At first none of us could understand a single word, but now we can talk with others. A second language is always hard to learn as well as your mother tongue.

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