rainI don’t know if I am brave, I don’t know if I am successful, I don’t know if I am fearful, I don’t if I am shy, I don’t know if I am beautiful, I don’t know if I am quiet, I don’t know if I am an optimist and I don’t know if I have the right to think for myself. There are adjectives that I sometimes think describe me, and other times I don’t, so I have no idea whether I am this or that.

One rainy night, I was walking in the back garden of the university. I was crying and it seemed to me the sky was crying with me. I felt alone and weak. Suddenly I heard someone calling my name. I saw a girl wearing a coat and smiling. She said, “Stop for a few minutes for me, please.” I stopped and she came and took my hand and said, “Let’s walk together.” I didn’t know why she was doing this, except that she had observed me and knew I was sad. Her name was Fahema.

“Tell me whatever is in your heart,” she said. At that time I was crying, and she didn’t try to stop me. She told me, “It is better to cry as much as you can.” Then I explained all my problems to her—that I am so weak and that I am afraid I won’t be able to complete my mother’s wishes.  She smiled and told me, “You’re not weak; you’re bereaved. But if you lose one thing, you will get more than you lose. This is your time of life. Don’t give up.” She knew everything about how difficult it is to be a girl in our society.

That night we talked a lot. She told me about her life, how she suffered being a girl in her family, and how she suffered when her father loved her brother more, and how she managed all her problems by herself. Then she said: “Look at me, I didn’t give up. I promised myself nothing can make me weak.” And she said, “You can do this also.”

She is the one who is introducing me to myself. She has taught me that I am bereaved but strong, and that I have the right to talk, to think. I’ve learned that we women tolerate violence, but it can’t make us weak. I’ve learned to never give up, and that I have ambitions inside, and that all the mistakes and failures will collect and, in the end, make me successful.

By Shogofa