Located 2 hours away from Jakarta is the mountainous town of Cisarua, a safe haven for refugees escaping war and conflict in the Middle East. The town has always served as a transit point for refugees hoping to get to Australia by sea. But since 2013, the Australian government has been turning away refugee boats. Over 14,000 refugees and asylum seekers have nowhere to go, and no way to go back home.
In 2016, we trekked down to the town of Cisarua hoping to answer one question : If war could speak, what would it say? Here, we lived within a refugee community listening to their recollections of hope and love amidst persecution, conflict and tragedy. As the days passed, we were welcomed into a previously undocumented community of men, women and children caught in the crossfire between ISIS, the Taliban and government bureaucracy. These are their stories.