The weather was cold but sunny. The streets were full of mud and water from last night’s rain. I stepped carefully to not dirty my clothes. I should have walked fast; I did not want to miss the bus. I was reviewing my economic questions in my mind for my exam later that day.
There was no sidewalk. I was scared of the car horns when they crossed next to me. It was ten minutes from our house to the bus station. However, in this muddy situation it took 15 minutes longer. I was almost at the bus station. I looked mostly at the ground so I would not slip in the mud. Suddenly I saw the school bus pick up other students and then move on. I think they did not realize that I was close by, so I missed the bus.
The next bus came one hour later, so I decided to take a van. I checked my purse to make sure I had enough money. Unfortunately I did not bring any money.
I thought to myself, “Oh my God, now what should I do? I should go home and then come back again. But it would take me more than half an hour to go back and I would be late.”
The van cost 10 Afghani per person. I decided to borrow money from one of the shops near the bus station. I entered into one of the stores. A man with a white beard sat on the floor and was organizing his shop’s stuff. He looked very kind and I was sure that he would help me.
“Hi!” I said.
He supposed that I wanted to buy something and said, “What do you need?”
I replied, “Excuse me, I am student in high school and I just missed my bus. I didn’t bring money today and I cannot go home because it will be too late for me. Could you please lend me 10 Afghani? I will bring it back to you tomorrow.”
While I was talking, a little boy with dirty black hands and clothes entered in the shop.
“I don’t know you! How can I trust that you will bring my money back?” the shop keeper said.
I explained: “I will bring it tomorrow; I stand in front of your shop every day.”
“No, no! I don’t have money, go out.” The old man pointed to the door.
When I heard this, I felt that the world had collapsed on me. Ten Afghani was a very small amount of money. It was my first time facing such a problem. I felt ashamed that we call ourselves Muslim and Afghan, but we do not help each other.
Suddenly, I heard the little boy’s voice. “Sister! Come in my shop I will lend the money to you.”
I saw the little boy go to the shop, next to the old man’s store. It was a small shop that used coal to make fire for cooking steak. He came back with 20 Afghani on his hand.
“Here you go!”
“But I need 10 Afghani,” I said.
“It’s okay, you can bring it whenever you want,” he replied.
“Is this your shop?” I asked.
“Yes” he replied.
“I will bring your money here tomorrow,” I said while he handed the money.
I took a van and went to my school. In a way I was very angry with myself that I forgot to bring money. Why should I have to ask others to give me money like a beggar. And I was shocked about the old man. Why would he not help me, but a little boy would help?
Everything went okay and I arrived at school.
The next day I returned little boy’s money and thanked him for his kind help.
I learned that every human being needs another, and we should support others in time of need. I also learned that people have different personalities; some may help you and some may not. I learned that when I am disappointed and it seems all the doors are closed for me, there can be an open door, too. The boy lent me some money, but I will never forget his kindness and trust. If someone one day needs me and asks for help, I will help them, too. We are in this world to lend kindness and receive it back.
photo by Martin van Asseldonk