Saturday, February 25, 2012
Saranda looked at it in a shock. She was scared to open it, fearing of bad news about more deaths of people she knew.
Mrs Hysa put the arm around her shoulders: "Take a time to read it and be happy for yourself that you escaped that life." Then she quickly opened the door and shouted to Mum: "We're coming, I thought I had some more photos of my son, but I left them at home." Mrs Hysa hurried to join Mum in the kitchen and gestured Saranda to follow her.
Saranda walked slowly back holding the note closely to her heart.
She could hear Mrs Hysa's loud voice beaming from the kitchen: "What were we talking about?"
"That there is only one God," Saranda heard Mum's gentle voice.
"You know, that's right, there is only one God but too many religions to fight for him. He has nothing to do with it all, in the end." Mrs Hysa replied and smiled sadly at Saranda who joined them back at the table, with the note safely in her pocket.
The telephone rang but Mum and Mrs Hysa ignored it, lost in their thoughts. Saranda slowly raised to pick it up: "Hello," suddenly her voice gained all its lost excitement:
"Hello, George, we're fine, how is Jack?"
That night she slowly opened the piece of paper torn from an old school book:
"Dear Saranda, I don't know if you remember me, it's been so long since we left Australia, I don't even remember any more what it look's like there. Autumn is approaching and we don't know, where to settle down. Our home was destroyed and our whole village is one big mess. Few people have returned, not enough to repair everything. My Dad and uncles went to look for work. Mum decided to take us to Bosnia, where her sister lives, she said there is no chance for us to survive the winter here. It's pity because they've promised to open our school soon. I went through my old school books, which I found in the ruins. They are a little bit dirty but still good to use. We can still hear gunfire especially during the nights, everyone has told us to have a gun to protect our home. But Mum answered that no one will attack a woman with daughters living under a broken wall. She prays a lot…"
Saranda suddenly stopped reading and jumped out of her bed. She entered Mrs Hysa's bedroom without knocking.
"Oh, Saranda, what's wrong?" Mrs Hysa looked up from her bed and then turned anxiously to see if Joyce had woken up: "Keep quiet, I gave her some Panadol only few minutes ago, she had a terrible headache."
"Sorry, Mrs Hysa, I didn't realise," Saranda whispered looking at the letter in her hands: "I have just thought you would know how to to help them, " she looked up back at Mrs Hysa: " We have to help them, we have to…"
Joyce coughed noisily and turned on the other side. Mrs Hysa put her hand on Joyce's forehead and sighed with a relief: "It's going down."
Saranda kept standing there, in the middle of the room looking expectantly on Mrs Hysa: "Mrs Hysa, you always know what to do, you work in our Albanian Club here, maybe they can help, we can send food and blankets and…"
"Dear Saranda, I wish it could be as simple as you see it," Mrs Hysa shook her head: "We have already sent a few convoys of things you have mentioned with the help of some Australian Charity organisations but…"
"But we have to send more, I am going to find some spare jumpers and…"
"Saranda, these things haven't reached the needy they had been aimed for…"
"Our convoys have been robbed and all goods sold on the black market," Mrs Hysa stopped and looked at Saranda's reaction: " You see, saran, a few goods, which have been successful to reach desired destination couldn't find the recipients any more, but still there were other people more that happy to take it…"
"I know where the girl with a ponytail is, look it's written here…" Saranda laid the note in front of Mrs Hysa.
"From the latest news we have from home, she moved on to Bosnia," Mrs Hysa took the note and folded it back neatly: "Don't worry, Saranda, she'll be alright, it always takes time to restore order in a country, sometimes it takes longer than we want to believe…and anyway you should be proud of your Father, him and some others from our Muslim community send a regular monthly payments to the new appointed government to build up a better school system there." She nodded and turned around to levee the room. After a few steps an idea struck her: "Why would Serbians rob it, I thought, they wre not our enemies any more, the war is over, isn't it?"
"Who said Serbians did it? It is hard to explain, you know, if there is no order in one country, all the customs and beliefs are falling apart and people don't know what to believe in, they tend to turn against each other in an attempt just to survive another day." Mrs Hysa stood up and embraced Saranda: "There is nothing we can do about it, my girl."