Speaking for Ourselves

'What do you do?' I'm undocumented and that question haunts me

'What do you do?' I'm undocumented and that question haunts me


 Migrant Voice -
 Migrant Voice - 'What do you do?' I'm undocumented and that question haunts me

It was Eid last week. It’s an Islamic festival and the full name is Eid ul-Adha (the festival of sacrifice). I had a really great time but I was also depressed as I live in the UK undocumented through no fault of my own and I’m suffering the consequences of it. When my family gathers together for these festivals, and I have to answer questions about what I do with my life if I can’t study or work, it’s mentally disturbing.

The festival of Eid celebrates the time when Allah appeared to Ibrahim in a dream and asked him to sacrifice his son Ismail as an act of obedience to God. The devil tempted Ibrahim by saying he should disobey Allah and spare his son. As Ibrahim was about to kill his son Allah stopped him and gave him a lamb to sacrifice instead.

Muslims celebrate Eid ul-Adha on the last day of Hajj. The Hajj is pilgrimage to Makkah in Saudi Arabia. It comes at different times each year depending on the Islamic calendar.

Before Eid was Arafat day. This is the day when Muslims who do not go to Hajj fast to repent for their sins. So I fasted on this day and also cleaned the house, baked cakes and cookies with my mother for the guests coming the next day. It was hard work but fun to do.

Eid was Sunday 11 August. We went to sleep late and woke up early in the morning to get ready for Eid prayer. We had cousins and my sister coming to our house and we ate together and enjoyed the rest of the day. We went to my mother’s friend’s house as well. These days were the best and most joyful moments of my life. 

But at the same time, I had some bad times when I had to listen to everyone’s questions such as: What do you do all day at home? Why don’t you study or work? Don’t you get bored? Even when they know that I don’t have a visa, still they ask the same questions. These might be just ordinary questions to most people but they hurt me deeply. I think about them for days, sometimes I find it hard to go to sleep or eat food when I reflect on what I am doing with my life and what my friends are doing. Some are almost finishing their university degrees or doing jobs and earning money with which they can buy whatever they want.

I don’t have a visa and it might seem like a small thing to people who do have one or don’t need one, but I would like for them to sometimes ask someone who is deprived of this blessing what it is like. Being undocumented is like living in an imaginary prison where you want to do something but the main requirement is a visa so all the doors are closed for you.

Despite everything I have accomplished a lot during my time in the UK and once I get my visa, I can do a lot more. I have done my GCSEs and A levels and I’m looking forward to studying biomedical science at university. In the future I want to support and help young refugees, who may be experiencing the same kind of uncertainty as I am now and finding it difficult to build a life here in the UK.


TOP IMAGE: Eid Me, Imran Ali, Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)