Sorrow of the returned by Madhuri Mahato

SORROW OF THE RETURNED: Mojmil Miya Hawari, 37, left his hometown Birgunj for Saudi Arabia, with the hope of making a living for his family. He worked as a tea boy in an insurance company, but it closed down when the pandemic hit. He had not been paid for three months, and the company refused to pay him.

Jobless and penniless, Hawari sought help from the Nepali embassy. “I called the embassy every day requesting them to make arrangements so I can go home, but there was no one interested in my flight,” says Hawari from his small house in Birgunj. He persisted, “Sometimes I was scared to think if I wouldn’t be able to see my family, to return to my country, but I kept trying to keep my spirits up.”

He kept calling, and kept trying, and finally managed to get his name on the embassy list about two months ago. Then he asked his company to advance him Rs 85,000 for a one-way ticket home. “The company owed me for three months,” says Hawari, “I also had to pay extra for a PCR test before they would let me get on the plane.” When he landed in Kathmandu, he was put directly on the bus to Janakpur by the Nepal Army, and again put on another bus to Birgunj where he was told to self-quarantine.

Hawari is now at home with his wife and two sons, but worries about what the future will bring. He has not found a job in Birgunj and has no savings. “I was forced to go abroad not because I wanted to, but because there was no employment here,” he says, “How will our situation get better when I can’t find a job, how will I support my family?”

Text and Photos: Madhuri Mahato @mmhisimmy

Copy Edit: Nisha Rai @nishastoryteller

Edit: Mallika Aryal @mikaness

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