“You need to wake up! The whole house is flooded, we have to go NOW!” shouted Jibon’s mum as she tried to shake him into life. Like so many other landless people, Jibon’s family lived in a simple mud building close to the river, which is the cheapest place to live.
‘‘It was late in the evening, and everyone had gone to bed when mum suddenly woke us up. Floodwater was rushing into the house. When I stood up, the water came right up to my waist. I was so afraid. Perhaps mostly of all the snakes that are in the water everywhere when there’s a flood. Being bitten by a snake can be fatal.”
“We are landless, so we don’t have any land of our own. And the small strip of land we rented to grow grass for our cows was covered in water and destroyed. But we were lucky that the whole family survived. Because that night we thought we were going to die.”
“We’ve had to move three times in five years because of flooding. Every time it happens, we lose almost everything we own. We are often hungry. We only had dried rice to eat after the latest flooding. I asked mum for some fish with the rice, but she said we couldn’t afford it. We had nothing.
“It’s great for us that I get to go to boat school, as we’ve lost so much in the floods. Because everything’s free at boat school. The teaching, the notebooks, pens...everything! I’m in fifth grade now, and in the future I dream of becoming an engineer and building large bridges and buildings.”
Told by Jibon, 11
TEXT: Andreas Lönn
PHOTO: Johan Bjerke