‘Darkness surrounds me’: Nauru child refugee paints pictures of despair

Given pens, Ahoora draws.

They are not the conventional drawings of a seven-year-old child: he draws pictures of children on fire, of sharks circling small terrified boys, of crying faces behind bars.

Seven-year-old Ahoora, a refugee, has spent most of his life on Nauru. He arrived on the island as a three-year-old and has only traumatic memories of his life before, and of his journey to Australia.

His time on the tiny island has been a further trauma. He is unwell often, succumbing to regular fevers and breaking out in rashes. He cannot go to school on Nauru where he says he was bullied on the one day he went. He wets himself as a reaction to the threat of violence from older children and, because of his disrupted education has not learned to read and write.

He has spent years being heavily medicated with antidepressants.

One of Ahoora’s drawings.

Ahoora lives with his family in a tent inside the Australian-run regional processing centre.

Almost every night, when he falls asleep, Ahoora wakes screaming. “In my nightmares, darkness surrounds me,” he says. “My mum is not with me. I feel like she’s abandoning me and leaving. Then I see blood everywhere.”

“In my dreams, I keep on dying … everywhere, everything is constantly filled with blood, the floor and the walls.”

A succession of psychiatrists and doctors who have attempted to treat Ahoora have consistently reported it is his detention on Nauru that is damaging his mental health. He has a series of behavioural tics and, when frightened, chews his clothing until he disintegrates it. He is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder exacerbated by his continued detention and the absence of any hope for his future.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com

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