Let Your Life Speak

Life is an enormous sea of dignity, experience, and several elaborate turns. How we experience it as humans depends on how we alter the dark side, turning it into a vivid side.

The story of my life begins with the first day of my birth. I was born in a very poor, but very open-minded family. To them, my birth was the key to better luck in their lives. It seemed like the blessing of God had rained in our house. It was an optimistic time.

I was three years old when I started to become familiar with the world around me. The life I found myself living under was one of bombs, rockets, and bullets. Unwanted war brought the darkest moments to our lives, clothed everywhere with blood, danger, fear and was a huge interruption for the continuation of a new generation’s education and several other aspects of their lives.

As days passed, our poverty increased and our security situation worsened. This depressing situation forced us to leave our beloved country and emigrate as refugees to neighboring lands. My parents worked both day and night to feed us, and whatever other precious time they had was consumed in improving our education, as they have always valued education as a major part of our future.

Their support and love always sustains me. With that, I found myself able to attend my primary school in Islamabad, Pakistan, with a lot of great academic achievements but also with uncountable difficulties. I can never forget that hot, sunny day when I returned home from school with my brother. I saw everyone clothed in sadness. My father sat in a corner looking worried. My mom wandered around confused and stressed. My sister was busy teaching English to her students, but my brother and I were so tense. We did not have the courage to ask Dad about his sadness. We went to Mom and asked her what had happened. She first tried not to tell us, but later revealed that my father’s job was taken from him because he is an Afghan. They replaced him with a Pakistani and a relative of the director’s.

We found ourselves hopeless, because we knew it would be really hard to find a new job. My father’s deep tension and worry made him ill and put him in the hospital for several days. Then he began to help my mom teach adults who had been away from education. They would both sit on one side of the room and teach school subjects to adults, while my sister would teach English to different ages on the other side. After six months, my dad was able to get a new job due to his qualifications and skills. But his income was not much. He could not afford to pay all the expenses like our school fees, rent, electricity, gas, and other bills. Therefore, my brother decided to leave school in order to work and support my family.

After ten years of immigration complexities in Islamabad, we returned to our homeland in 2001. I found my homeland’s beauty faded. It had changed to a desolate place. The school where my mom taught and my siblings studied was destroyed. The historical places used for sightseeing were bombed and shattered. I could only see destruction and obliteration.

Despite that, I was able again to enter into the garden of education and pick some flowers. My family praised my talents as I grew day by day and I came to understand that I must help restore my homeland.

I have tried to help my country via volunteer projects and community service in different orphanages, schools and universities, and managing the finances of both medical and educational programs. I am sure I will be able to do even more to help my people and my country once I get my higher education.

By Meena Z.

photo: UN/WFP


Comments

  1. Meena,

    “……….the garden of education…………” How beautifully expressed. You have inherited a very sacred value from your parents. When we look back on what our families instilled in us it´s very lovely to see the values of learning high in their priorities. And you certainly value how you can now involve yourself so fully in all kinds of educational programmes. Thankyou for telling us the hopeful side of Life in your Afghanistan.

  2. Meena,
    Thank you for sharing your story. I attended an event sponsored by my local library in Goffstown, New Hampshire, USA, where women read stories written by Afghan women in the Writers’ Project, where I found your story on the website. I am a teacher (5th grade) and I will share this website and your story with my students and friends.
    Please know that I walk the streets of my neighborhood and think of people like yourself all the time. I am grateful for my happy existence and life, but saddened by the struggles of so many in the world, mostly due to oppression and war. Be strong….know that your story is both heard and important. Keep writing and good luck with your studies. You have already accomplished so much. I will continue to hope and pray for peace for humanity. Thank you for being brave.

  3. Meena,
    Thank you for sharing your story with us. You have a courage that transcends the strife and chaos you live in. Your education will come in so handy for you. Keep up your spirits!

    Val :)

  4. Blythe D. says:

    Your philosophy on life is inspiring! Great writing, please keep it up as you have a voice that deserves to be heard. I love your description of your education as a “garden.” So beautiful and so true!

  5. I think almost every thing was really depressing but the end is kinda uplifting. I know what it is like to move around and go some place you do not know about and come back to your home town and find it messed up and it just not seem right. I wish that I have a family that I could talk about and stuff so do not take having a family for granted and even a mom and a dad because I live with my grandma and grandpa it is not the best thing in the world but there the only thing I have.

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