Teuta’s Christmas Story as a Refugee

December 6, 2016 8:17 pm Published by

This holiday season and the battle in Aleppo, sent me back to the 90’s when my country, Kosovo was going through war.

We, Kosovo Albanians were forced out of our homes. The entire city was being forced to walk, or bike to the border with Albania for ethnic cleansing purposes. I had an old Yugo with food, clothing, drinks and medicine but the Serbian soldiers got tired of walking by our side, so they kicked us out of the car and took my car with everything in it. No food, no drinks, no warm clothes, and no medicine. We had swollen feet from hours of walking and feared of getting beaten, killed, or raped if we didn’t give them money.

The road to Albania seemed long and far. It was Christmas Eve and we were cold, hungry, some sick and all of us scared. The Serbian soldiers were tired as well and we all set for the night. We started a fire which was more smoke from wet wood than fire but eventually, we had some good flames. Some people smoked cigarettes and threw the empty packs in the fire. I noticed my six- years old cousin playing with the silver lining of the inside of the cigaret packs. He was making balls. I picked him up and held him up to put one on a dead tree. More kids joined us and we made decorative balls from cigarets packs and decorated a tree while singing a song. Pretty soon, everybody around us started singing. We held hands and formed a big circle around the tree and started dancing. Even the Serbian soldiers joined us which was weird and scary. It was like they needed a break from being evil. As we sang, I could see the faces brighten with hope. My six years old cousin brought cheer and joy to everybody simply by being a kid. We didn’t have presents, we didn’t have shelter, we didn’t have food but we had hope and a bunch of sweet little kids singing and giving hugs. Our extended family ran away from the line that night getting lost in the deeper forest, but we made it. We survived and that was our Christmas Present.

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