Migrant Bride's Mother: Ajbuda Khatun
Ajbuda Khatun lives in Chamra Godown Camp. It is a small camp of about 2,400 people. Ajbuda is 61 years old. She was born in Bangladesh. Her husband, Shahid, was a carpenter. He died around 1978 of tuberculosis.
[My husband] was my father's apprentice. His own father had died and he used to support his mother, brother and two sisters. My father told him, 'I'll teach you your job but in exchange you'll have to marry one of my daughters.' He agreed and so we were married.
She told us of her family:
I had two daughters when '71 happened. One was three years old and the other was five months. At the time, we left Rajabasha and went to Syedpur. We used to live in a camp next to the Post Office. The Red Cross brought us here. Here I had three more children. One baby died at the age of ten months, then I had another daughter and she’s now in Pakistan. My last child Jahid, a son, now has a son. He makes laccha Simai [a sweet dish].
My eldest daughter is called Shah Jahan and is married to a guy who works in the trucks as a coolie. He is a Bihari from Chittagong. He used to work there as a labourer, he is parentless and so he lives here with us in Syedpur.
My second daughter's name is Saleha, she is not married and works at home. My third daughter is called Sabra. My sister took her to Pakistan because after my husband died we did not have enough to eat.
I often want to go to Pakistan to see my daughter. I received pictures of her wedding and we talk on the mobile – two to three times a month. She has three sons and three daughters. It's been twenty-three years since we saw each other.
Ajbuda Khatun also spoke about making ends meet:
When my husband was ill and bed-ridden I got work at the Gohour Centre which was an NGO making handicrafts. Then I got a job working as a servant at a Canadian woman's house and used to earn well.
Her family had to move from camp to camp:
At first we lived at the Post Office Camp, but the land around the Post Office belonged to the government and it wanted the land back. After that we lived in Bangalipur Camp but the land on which the camp was built belonged to Bengalis so they wanted it back and after that we came to this Chamra Godown Camp in Syedpur.