Marina Watson Pelaez, Journalist


Tayiba prepares food at her home in Bangkok. Photo by M. Watson Pelaez/2013.

Tayiba never leaves the house, but waits for her sons, roti-sellers, to bring back food. They have a permit to live in Bangkok but she doesn’t, and she’s scared if she walks around the city she will be questioned by the police and sent to a refugee camp.

She only recently arrived to Bangkok after a very long journey via Bangladesh because the looting in Arakan (Burma) was unbearable and she had to leave. She said her house was set on fire.

She arrived in Bangkok with just a few belongings, her Quran for praying and a few pictures. She showed me a picture of her little son, who was killed by the Burmese army when he was 15 years old. That was in 1985, but she still cries for her lost son.

We couldn’t communicate, but she had a warm smile and she let me stay on her sofa. I got sick once, and she looked after me and gave me tiger balm.

Tayiba sings a prayer very early in the morning, it must give her some strength to start a new day, another day long away from her home.


Tayiba prays early in the morning. Photo by M. Watson Pelaez/2013.


Marina Watson Pelaez is a journalist with a passion for social documentary. She recently developed a photography project about the Rohingya in Bangkok in collaboration with the Burma Rohingya Association of Thailand (BRAT). 

1 family torn apart by war is too many

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