Finally their family and four hundred other refugees began their interim new life in Australia.Saranda closed her eyes when hot shower touched her skin. She had dreamt about this moment the whole month. A look in a mirror frightened her: what a pale face with big scarred eyes, her long brown hair had lost its shine...only her tiny golden sun shone like a star on her bare skin.
"Come on, Saranda, you are next." Mum openend the door dressed in a new dress with a pure white bandage on her left arm.
"And what about you?" Saranda dressed quickly into clean pants and loose shirt:
"Are you O.K. ?" She asked concerned.
" Im O.K. as you say in English, I am ingood health. A lady who translated for me sent you this to make you feel more welcome." Mum handed her a small teddy bear as she pushed Saranda through the white door with the sign in their language: Medical Check-ups.
Saranda was holding her teddy bear tightly as they approached the barbed wire fence of thier temporary home. The night was peaceful and warm. She looked up to the sky but none of the stars looked familiar. Someone from the back pushed her to move.
" Aar-my Bar-racks." Her brother was standing near the big entrance. "You see, I can read in English."
" Can you read the first word?" Mum approached him: "I think, it's the name of this town, I have no idea, where we are."
" It's called Fremantle, Mum." Saranda followed them inside.
The following night passed quickly. After checking their family unit, Dardon ran through the long corridor with the same family units on both sides. Saranda followed him thinking about this strange country.
" I thought we would have a real army room." Dardon peered in to a room, which was similar to theirs. Kosovar families, which were more fortunate than them were unpacking their luggage. They made piles of spare clothing to share with others.
" I love our room with its bright blinds and comfy beds," Saranda said following the noise from the end of the corridor.
They entered the communal lounge with TV and chairs. It was full ofyoung Albanians watching 'Simpsons'. The smell of cooked halal meat, which floated out from the opposite kitchen made them hungry.
"Come on, Mum and Dad are witing for us in the dining room." dardon ran out. The big room had already been prepared. Mum waved to them from one of the big tables laden with chicken and lamb dishes.
" Try the thick soup, it's similar to what we make at home." Dad was smiling, his mouth full as they approached.
" I love chicken." Dardon took up a knife and cut the first delicious piece. Soon warm meat was pushed into his mouth. Some drebbled down his chin as he grinned at his sister: " I bet I cna eat more than you."
"I bet you can't." she took some chicken form his plate. Saranda felt warm and secure for the first time in a long while. Having eaten their meals, small groups of refugees around their table stood up. Men went outside to smoke. Dad went to join them. Saranda looked at her Mum. The happy, satisfied smile on her face hid the horrors of the past, which were still very close to the surface. Saranda's stomach ached, not knowing what proper food had menat for so long. She pushed the plate back. Ignoring the tempting secure atmosphere, she went out. She passed some men on the open verandah. Fortunatelly her Dad was nowhere to be seen.
Following the path they came in she listened intently. All was still and quiet. Suddenly she touched something cold. Saradna tried to open the gate of her new home, wondering what was behind it.
MORE THAN A DECADE AGO AUSTRALIA OPENED ITS' DOOR TO MANY KOSOVAN REFUGESS WHO FLEED THEIR HOMELAND BECAUSE OF WAR AND DISTRESS. JUST AS YOU ARE READING IN SARANDA'S STORY. TODAY MANY DISPLACED AND SCARED TAMILS FROM SRI LANKA KNOCK ON OUR DOOR. WHEN THERE IS WAR AND DISTRESS THIS IS WHAT PROPELS PEOPLE. DOES AUSTRALIA OPEN IT'S DOOR AGAIN?