Stories from Manus

The thing I miss the most about my kids [who are in Australia]... is sitting down for dinner together.

Meet Nayser, 63,

Imprisoned on Manus 

Island Detention Camp

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We're Rohingya, and in Burma that made us targets. We had to get away, so my family could be safe.

My wife and I have beautiful children. My daughter, she's very good, very smart at school - I used to tell the others to be more like her and work hard at school, but the other children just accused me of playing favourites!

We all left Burma together. We went to Indonesia, and we waited for a way to get to somewhere safe. But we got separated in Indonesia, and I was left behind. My family arrived in Australia a week before the rules changed, and were allowed to stay and start rebuilding their lives in safety.

When I arrived, I told the government my family were here. I assumed we'd be reunited. One day they told me to pack all my stuff because I was being moved. They only told me they were taking me to Manus Island at the boarding gate - I felt numb.

We got separated in Indonesia, and I was left behind. My family arrived in Australia a week before the rules changed, and were allowed to stay and start rebuilding our home in safety.

The first phone call to my family from Manus Island was so hard. I tried to reassure them, to tell them it would be OK and we would be together soon. Australia is a country that respects human rights - I couldn't imagine they'd just dump me here, separated from my family.

That was three years ago. Now, my youngest son is eight. I talk to them on the phone, I am scared they will forget what I look like.

In Burma, I worked as a shop assistant, and my hours were very long. But every night I made sure we would all eat dinner together. I think that's important, for a family to spend time together. Now that my children are in Sydney, and I am here - every night I think of the dinner together we are missing.

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Photo by: Mathew Abbott