Valley of Happiness, Mountain of Joy
What grows in the valley of Baba Sahib?
Wild flowers of many colors
A mountain stream rushes by where
children can play all day long.
I love the big sky above Baba Sahib
looking over my home of Kandahar.

Can you hear the voices and laughter of families?
“Win a goal, pass it here!”
Their shouting is soon replaced by cheers,
the laughter of girls who sometimes scold
and the words of caution from mothers.
From men come the murmurs of card games played
with the occasional cheating.
“You owe me a Pepsi,” someone says.

Do scents follow you?
The scent of bolani as it bubbles in oil
Watch out for it spattering as you cook.
Or is your nose in a rose
One that is purple or pink?
The earthy smells that cover my brothers
mix with the fresh mountain air
over my home in Kandahar.

How do I feel on top of this mountain?
Free and fresh with no problems to face.
In Baba Sahib, I’m free from homework
and the dusty air on my way to school.
No burqa is needed.
I feel proud of my family
to allow me this freedom.
I know I am free to have my rights
that all girls should have.

It makes my family happy
to see their friends
and be happy and laugh
I learn from the environment
to take care of the earth
while I fill my lungs with the freshest air
over my home in Kandahar.

By Shahida, age 14

Photo by Phil Borges.