My name is Sunia. I might be thirty or thirty-five years old. I was born in Kabul, but my husband is from Shamaly. I have six children—two sons and four daughters.

My son is working to earn a living for us. He sold soup for a while, and then he started working in a bakery. They pay him 100 Afg every day.

Is my husband alive? Yes, he is a young man. He was working in a bakery where his job was to clean and to carry out the ashes. Suddenly, his hands were burned. Something happened so now his hands and feet are paralyzed. At first, we used to feed him and put his cigarette in his mouth. Now he can move his hands a little bit.

My young sons work. I don’t let them go downtown, so sometimes they can go to school and study. I do this because I don’t want my sons to blame me for not letting them go to school. You know that boys always accuse you, even if you are good.

I am not educated. The Russians were here then. That is why my parents didn’t let me study. My father used to say how “You will go to school and make boyfriends.”

I wanted to go to school, but my parents didn’t let me. In those times, girls did what their fathers told them to. We couldn’t say anything. I always looked at my dad to see if he agreed with me. If he did not, I couldn’t do anything.

What problems have faced in my life? We went to Iran in the second year of my marriage. My husband was Mujahid. My daughter was one year old when we moved, and then my other children were born in Iran. My husband worked on the streets selling things downtown. Sometimes the police didn’t let him sell anything and chased him away.

We rented a house. When we couldn’t pay, they always came and knocked on our door. After one year my young sister died. We have not had a good life, not in Iran nor in Afghanistan.

When we moved to Kabul, my husband became paralyzed. I was ill for a year. My ears hurt. When I went to the doctor they said I must have an operation. I couldn’t continue going to the doctor because of my husband. 

Every day when I get up, I clean and sweep the rooms and then I send my children to school. My first boy is in sixth grade and the second one is in fifth grade.

My husband is very delicate and I take care of him as well. I have an upsetting life. I still have problems. I rent a house and it’s not very easy to pay the rent. It is 2500 Afg each month. How many rooms does it have? It has only one room.

By Sunia, as told to Mariam Y.