Poya had never been on a boat like it. Big enough to fit so many but small enough to feel the sea all around. He wanted to be excited. Happy. But he wasn’t. Not yet.
It was night and the darkness of the water and the sky made the world an empty hole.
The others’ faces were all tight and pale. And the smell from the cans of fuel brought a strange feeling.
Once they left the land, the water swung them all around – up and down, side to side.
But Poya’s uncle, Kosha, was there with him. With his hand on Poya’s shoulder.
“Soon, Poya, soon,” he would say. He had said so many times. Since they had left home so long before. And Poya knew that they weren’t heading into darkness. But towards a light. A bright place of sunshine and of peace. “Sola,” Kosha had told him. “Peace … that is where we are going.” So Poya felt the small treasure of happiness inside him and knew that soon it would reach out into the world.
When they saw the lights – real lights – and the safe shapes of land across the black rolling water, the dark hole became a tunnel. A path to Sola. “Still further, little Searcher,” Kosha said, using the meaning of Poya’s name in the way he did, with a careful smile. “Not too far now … but still further.”
And so Poya slipped into sleep and dreamt of his mother and his brothers and his father. Who were far, but in his heart.
And he dreamt of a place of sunshine and of sola.
Where he could play and let his happiness be free.
Poya is on his way to Australia.
After leaving his country where there is a war.
What would you say to him if you were there to meet his boat?
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