ink fingers

When I woke up Saturday my father and uncle were already in a hurry. My father called to me saying he was going to vote.

“Wait for us. Don’t go anywhere today. It is dangerous. Tell your mom,” he said.

Disappointment surrounded me as I wondered. Is there a need for my vote? Why shouldn’t my mother go with my father to vote? Isn’t her vote necessary?

I thought maybe women’s votes were less important, maybe only worth half a vote like when they divide a father’s property and the son gets one part and a daughter gets half as much. My heart was not feeling okay.

I asked my mom if her vote was equal to half of a man’s vote. “No they are same. One man’s vote equals one woman’s vote,” she said.

I said, “It’s not fair. You have the right to go and give your opinion on who should be our next president.”

“I love a candidate who can make an impact for the broken hearted people of our country,” I said. “Inshallah he will win.”

My sister asked if our talking about my candidate could make him win and my aunt answered, “If we just talk about our favorite candidate among ourselves he can’t win. Four of us want the same candidate but we are not voting.”

My cousin also wanted to vote, but her brother and father said she could not.

Then I said we should all go together and if a bomb exploded we would face it. I called my cousins and we all went to the voting center. After voting I saw the happiness in their eyes. My cousin thanked me for encouraging them. Her brother had warned her that it was too dangerous and he told her that her vote would not change the result of the election.

She said she decided that even if he hit her, she would use her right to vote.

Struggling to vote was an expression of women’s freedom. The spring had a nice scent from the orange blossoms here in Nangarhar and voting made a colorful day for us.

By Nelab

USAID photo