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Said's Story
December 2001
Age: 6 Months

Little Said lives in an unusual house - it's a train full of refugees. But the train doesn't move anywhere, it just stretches four kilometres through the countryside.

Said, who is six-months old, has spent more than half his life living on the train.

It is cold on the train. Winters in Russia are much colder than New Zealand. Night-time temperatures can drop to minus 15C. Winter is not only cold, but also long.

Said's mother, Malika, keeps Said warm by wrapping him up in her scarf. Malika remembers how her family walked for three days from Grozny, the capital of Chechnya to the train.

"It was a long trip, we walked and walked. It wasn't easy with five children. At night-time we slept in other people's cars or buses, even on the side of the road. We are tired and just want to go home," she says.

Said and his family are some of the more than 240,000 Chechens displaced by the war, of which two-thirds of them are children. Life is really tough. Their villages have been destroyed and there are no gas or electricity supplies in their temporary home.

But for the people on this train, a little boy helps them forget their troubles. Said charms those around him and has captured the hearts of the 48 people living in carriage number 37.