On a fine day during our stay in Batu Ferringhi, we spent a lovely day on the pool of our hotel. And as the beach was just a few footsteps away, we decided to go there to see the sunset.
Here’s the story of a nepalese immigrant we met:
You have to know that every evening, some guys came up to the beach with their horses, to offer horseback riding during sunset and we were warned not to deal with them, because this would be too dangerous and these guys weren’t working for any travel or tour agency, but they were working illegally… As we were walking down the beach, a man with a horse stopped us and tried to sell us a horseback tour. He had a weak, unkempt appearance and a bad breath. We told him that we were not the type of horseback riders and friendly denied. The barefoot man looked down at our shoes and asked us if these shoes were our own or offered by the hotel!? We can’t tell you why, but on that moment we decided to continue the conversation with this sad looking, but friendly man. We asked him where he came from and why he was doing this job every evening? The man was quite irritated that someone would be interested in HIS life, but then he started to tell us his story: he was a Nepalese immigrant whose family lived in poverty. Most of the population lives on less than $ 1 per day.
…poverty means to me, to have no choice…
One day, he took everything he owned, kissed his family good-bye and headed up to the world hoping to find a better job, in order to offer a better life to his family, but it turned out differently… Already at the beginning the trouble started. He got attacked by some men, was robbed and taken all his belongings, except for his passport.
…they attacked me with a big knife!
Thereafter he lived on the street. He arrived in Malaysia without any money. A friend offered him a shelter and in return he had to help him with the horses which lead him to the next dilemma…One day he got arrested by some policemen when working on this “job”. They accused him of having no legal permit to work and stay and confiscated his passport together with his money. This had happened a few weeks before we me met him on the beach. So this man ended up on a beautiful beach, with no money, no passport and no possibility to go back home to his family. He was stuck in a country where he had to do an illegal job for having a shelter each night and to pay corrupt policemen to get back his passport!
He told us that he had nothing to eat because he was forced to leave his earned money to his “friend” (to pay for the bed) and his religion would not allow him to beg for money.
We have to say that this particular story touched us a lot and so we decided to leave him some money to buy food.
The man almost started crying and promised to be back the next day to refund the “borrowed” money (which we could hardly believe). Anyway, we left the hotel on the next day and never met him again.
This happened in 2012, but we think about this man very often and ask ourselves whether he made his way back home. We really hope he did…