Spring Had a Nice Feel after Voting

 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


Comments

  1. Kat Fitzpatrick says:

    So glad to hear this story!
    Kat

  2. Dearest Nelab: You have me crying in the coffee shop. This essay! You and your family! How brave and powerful you were! Yes, it’s not enough just to talk. You acted. I was moved by all of this essay, but this portion will always stay with me:

    “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.

    Your fearlessness, your bravery, is profound. Thank you for sharing this with us.

    Stacy

  3. Nancy Antle says:

    Nelab — I applaud your strength and determination and bravery in voting when you were told not to by your father. You are clearly a leader and role model to the women of your family — and women everywhere. Thank you for sharing this profound and important experience with us! Nancy

  4. So simple yet so moving: My heart did not feel okay. And so brave of you. Continue being brave. Continue smelling the orange blossoms. A very happy spring to you, Nelab.

  5. I have recently come of age and am currently registering to vote. I found this story particularly moving because I consider the right to vote to be one of the most important and empowering parts of being the citizen of any country. I cannot imagine the frustration I would feel knowing that I had the right to vote, but still being told by my friends and family that it was not a good idea. It makes me very glad to hear that you take the right to vote so seriously and are willing to go to any length to make sure that your voice is heard. Stories such as these give me faith that, no matter what, progress is being made. I also deeply enjoyed how you mentioned the orange blossom. What a great way to end the story! Good luck!

  6. Dear Nelab, Thank you so much for sharing this story. I admire your for your wisdom as well as your courage. Your story leaves me smelling the orange blossoms along with you!
    Pat

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