Oral Stories Project

I have had a difficult life, very difficult.  When I was a young girl my parents arranged my marriage. My husband was a tailor and he was a very nice person.  He behaved very well and I lived with him for ten years.  But his family was not like him.  It was my fate that I could not become a mother.  His family punished me for this.   

“How long will you stay in our house without having a child?”  Without a child I was a servant and slave in the house of my in-laws.  I wish that my husband’s family had respected me because I was his wife, but they did not.  I served them and helped them all the time, but nobody cared.

In order to stay in my own house with them I said to myself, “I have to obey.”  I washed their clothes, washed the dishes, and did everybody’s cleaning just to pass my days and nights, just to exist.  For ten years I lived like this. 

My husband had a good relationship with me. He told me, “I don’t need a child.  You are a very good wife and you are nice to my family and tolerate them.  It is okay for me not to have a child.”

But fate would again make me suffer; one day on his way back home from work he was killed in a car accident.  I no longer would have him in my life. 

After my husband’s sudden death, there was no reason to stay with my in-laws, but I had nowhere else to go.  My parents were dead and I had no brothers to help me.  My brother had gone to Iran to search for a better fortune, and we had not heard word of him since.  We did not know if he lived or died.  My one sister had died after I was married, leaving me with no close relatives at all.  I lived with my in-laws for five years more.  Every day I tolerated hardships and every day I had a warning and they would ask me why I still stayed there. 

One day my brother-in-law told me that I would have to leave the house now. It was evening and I didn’t know what to do.  Crying, I left and stayed one night with a friend.  But I couldn’t live there.  I had a relative in Mazar, so I called him and told him that I was homeless.  I had nothing but the clothes that covered my body.  My friend paid for my trip to go to Mazar, and now I live with my relative as a servant.  I wash the clothes, cook, and clean.  I live, but my life passes with such difficulty.  I have no one close, no one who cares for me.   

My relative has sent me to Kabul because I am sick.  I have come to Kabul because of my high blood pressure and because of depression.  I am depressed because of the life I have led and what I have suffered.

In Kabul they say that widows receive a lot of help.  This may be true, but I have been here a week and I still need help.  But they have bought me new clothes and I have enough food.  I am happy here, but I will have to go back to Mazar.  My relative called me and asked me if I will come or not because he will find another servant if I don’t.

I will go back.

I wish I had a son or a daughter to help me today.  I wish I had a family to think about me.  Everybody in this world has someone to take care of her, but I don’t have anyone.  Maybe I didn’t deserve it.  I pray to God and ask God to help me. I don’t ask God to kill me and I don’t kill myself because I know it is not right.

You asked me to tell you about my life.  I don’t call it “problems.” I tolerate it.  It is my fate.

By Shakila

Editor’s note: This story is from an oral interview with Shakila conducted as part of the March 2013 AWWP Oral Stories Project.