THE TEARS AND SIGHS
OF A WIDOW
In the process of the blanket and clothing projects we helped
a lot of widows who had horrible stories to tell. They all looked
twice their age, sick and tired.
The region that we launched our project is probably one of the worst struck
by war. For 23 years this region has been the battlefield against
the Russians and
Bibi Sherin, is one of the widows who has seen and born too much
of this war. You can see it on her face, in her eyes; her back
which is bent. She is 46 years
old. She lost her husband after only six years of marriage when the Russians
assaulted their village in Kohistan, a city in Kapisa province. She had to
face the hardship of raising her four sons by herself. All means
of survival had been
lost to her and it was a bitter time to raise her four children.
she could manage to find food and sometimes not. She raised
them single handedly
in a village where work was hard to find and the only work available, farming,
was beyond her strength, because farming was so laborious and time consuming.
She would wash clothes or be a cook in the village but a lot of people
in the village were very poor. She spent the dark and cold nights
winter with little
or no food.
Life got a little bit better as the children got older. Although
there was still war and the fear of children being forced to fight by this
commander or that
commander or by the government, they were old enough to help their mother and
help make enough money to survive. None of them had a chance to go to school
since this part of the country was the front lines that would shift back and
forth; the Opposition forces and the communist governments would sweep through
and destroy everything and kill. The situation went from bad to worse when
Taliban militia took control of the majority of the country. Again,
this region was the
front line of battle this time between the Opposition forces and the Taliban.
When the Taliban advanced to this region, they devastated the villages
and killed the villagers. All of the people in this region are from ethnic
from the Taliban but the same as the one of the Opposition groups. The Taliban
went on a killing spree, accusing these people of being the enemy because
of their ethnicity. Bibi Sherin’s four sons were beaten, tortured
and then beheaded in front of her in her little home. She buried all
four of them in her yard, digging the land with her weak hands for days
looking at the
bodies of her sons that she worked so hard to raise.
She had to look at them as their bodies became discolored and deformed as
they decomposed. All four sons were farmers and had nothing to do
with either side
fighting the war, but she paid the price and does not know for what and for
whom. The Taliban also had looted what little belonging that she had.
she is all alone. She looks at blue sky and the hard earth under
her feet which holds her husband and her sons and tears drip down
from her gloomy
finding their way across her bony face and down to the earth to join the
lives that she has lost. She thanked ARYA and YCDP for the opportunity
to make the
blankets; took her money and held it in her cracked dry hands saying that
it had been a while since she was given what her work was worth.