Story of Tanita

“I was born in Buriram. I was nine years old, when my father died. I loved my father. He worked a lot in the field and always came home tired. Even though he seldom expressed his emotions, I knew he loved me very much. I remember one day, I fell from a tree and suffered from minor injuries. I was in the bed when my father came into the room, sat on the edge of the bed, and kissed me on my forehead. He said: “Don’t worry Tanita, you know I love you, I’m here for you.” That’s the way he was: sweet, kind, carrying.

After the passing of my father my mother started working long hours to take care of my brother and me. I was helping her to do housework after school. I liked studying and I was getting good grades. My dream was to become a doctor. I knew this was a pipe dream, because we were so poor and I couldn’t afford to go to a medical school. So, I created a penny jar for the school. 

I was sixteen years old when I met Anurak. We fell in love and soon after I got pregnant. Anurak promised me to take care of the baby. I gave birth to a baby girl. I called her Chalermwan. I couldn’t express how I felt when I saw my baby girl for the first time. She was the most beautiful human being I have ever seen. I was happy.

Anurak was not as happy. He started slowly withdrawing from me and one day just disappeared. I tried to call him a couple of times, but his phone was always off. I cried. I didn’t know what to do. I felt guilty because my mother thought I made a mistake, but she never said anything like that. I decided to find a job. I asked one of my friends for advice. She told me that her cousin was working in a bar in Pattaya City and she could help me find a job. I called her and she told me that I could stay in her apartment before I could find a job. 

After working in the bar for two months I met Hakim. He came to the bar with his friends. His friends were drinking beer and whisky all night, Hakim drank only Coca-Cola. He had big green eyes. My English wasn’t that good, neither was Hakim’s, but we understood each other. After that night Hakim started coming to the bar almost every day. One day he invited me on a yacht and told me that he loved me and wanted me to go to his country Oman and get married there. I agreed. 

After arriving in Oman, Hakim brought me to the Hotel and left. It didn’t feel right. I couldn’t sleep all night. Next morning Hakim came to my room and I asked him the reason why he didn’t bring me to his house. Hakim told me that he already had one wife and he chose me as his second wife. I was furious. I told Hakim to bring me to the airport and I wanted to go back to Thailand. Hakim got angry and slapped me on the face and told me that he already spent so much money for me and I should pay him back all the expenses. I told him that I would send him money from Thailand.

I left Oman that night. I went back to Pattaya and started working in a bar again. The manager of the bar was a farang named David. He asked me to use my bank account. I didn’t have any money in my account so I agreed. One morning, I was still sleeping when police came to my room and asked me about some money transferring in Marshall Islands. I had no idea and I told them I didn’t make any transaction. They showed me my authorization signature. I told police that it was David who was using my bank account and didn’t know anything about it. The police arrested me. 

In the court hearing I explained everything to the judge everything, but he didn’t believe me. I was sentenced three months in jail. I was devastated. The jail was crowded, fifty people were in a tiny room, and I couldn’t even change position while sleeping without touching another person and waking her up. The prisoners know each other, they were probably there for a long time. They all had HIV and ate, shower and spent all day together. They asked me for money a few times. I had a 2000 bath that my friend gave me to buy food inside, but I didn’t give it to them, kept for myself in case of emergency. There was a library in jail, so I spent all day in the library reading books. After three months I lost almost 30 pounds and when my mother saw me, she couldn’t recognize me.

Now I’m out of jail, but I don’t have any hope for the future. I don’t have education, money, or house. My brother got married and he told me that he doesn’t want to see me, and I can’t go back. My only hope is my little girl Chalermwan. She needs me, and I will do everything I can for her to have a normal life.

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