Stories from Manus

I was in high school when I arrived Manus - just 17 years old.

Meet Mamud, 20,

Imprisoned on Manus 

Island Detention Camp

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My Dad passed away last year while I was here on Manus. Mum is alive, living with my sisters and brothers in Myanmar.

I was in high school when I arrived Manus - just 17 years old.  I turned 18 in detention, it was a really difficult day.

I talked to my family that day but it was hard because they don't have proper phone coverage on the border where they live.

My mother was a housewife. My father worked. I belonged to a fishing family and we lived near the ocean. We had some boats, and we used to catch fish.  We ate together as a family every night.

The kids at school used to steal my lunch and make me do their homework.  My older sister used to stick up for me and tell them off!

My favourite subject at school was English. I liked to write essays,  and I loved history.  I read a lot in here.  My favourite book is called 'Ali and Neno' - it's about the  history of Azerbaijan. Ali's is a Muslim guy, and Neno is Christian. There's not much to do but read here.

Where I come from, there are a lot of lakes and rivers between villages, and no bridges. I wanted to be a civil engineer so I can build bridges back home, so people can pass from village to village.

I like to watch Hollywood movies and listen to Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez.  And Akon. He's my favourite.

I also love soccer - I used to play as a striker.  Cristiano Ronaldo's my favourite player.

Where I come from, there are a lot of lakes and rivers between villages, and no bridges. I wanted to be a civil engineer so I can build bridges back home, so people can pass from village to village.

I escaped my country to Malaysia.   But even after we got there, we couldn't stay because we had no documents. If I'd been caught by police, they would have taken me to jail.

We made our way to Indonesia.  Again, we had no documents and had to hide from authorities.  There was no way to know how long it would take to be recognised as a refugee.

We had to escape Indonesia too.  We finally landed on Christmas Island and were brought to Manus.

The Government keeps telling us that those of us who are refugees will never get to Australia.  Things are getting worse and worse here - at the moment the toilets are broken. They won't fix them. The lights don't work either, and there are cockroaches everywhere.  

I am hopeful that I will be released from here one day, and that I will be a good man who can look after my family.

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Photo by: Mathew Abbott