Once a Girl

“Here is the praying ground, everything complete, everything an answer. Digging your calloused hands into the dirt, you tell me this is how it should be. ‘This is how it should be all the time.’ Things are prayed for, then rain, then life. Generations of women; mothers, protectors, lovers, painters, loners, fighters. All have grown here, just like the flowers tended to. It’s been a green-field full of life, a safe place, a haven. From birth to death, it’s been a home.

Once a girl of nine stumbled in onto wooden floors, scrapped knees before this. Two women ran to her, noting small cuts, noting she smelled of smoke, ‘from running,’ one woman assumed to the other. When the girl put wet cloth to wounds and filled herself with a meal, she told them the fire’s name. The dark-haired woman stuck her fork into the beef, eyed the sweat beading from the drinking glass, and remembered all her own father burned down. ‘You’re safe now, here,’ she said. ‘You’ll always be safe here.’

Twenty years old, to the brim with promise, head full of destiny, loses faith at the sight of blood draining down her leg, loses god with a hand around her throat, with betrayal thrusting in and out of her despite her pleas, despite the clawing. Found by the outskirts of the praying ground. A broken bird walks for miles before passing out. Blood hers and not hers under her fingernails. Pain all hers between her legs, constraining the chest, the heart. An old woman finds her and brings her to the gardens. Eyes flutter open, lip trembles, first words ‘I loved him.’ The old woman takes her hands and puts them to the ground. ‘Love yourself even more. You need yourself,’ then digs her hands into the ground, the beginning of prayer. Her hands tremble above the earth, face buried in Queen Anne’s Lace. ‘I’ve never really believed.’ The old woman smiles, hands in the earth. ‘You just have to believe in yourself. Believe you’ll grow from this. Believe that blood can turn to water.’ Twenty years old, hands find destiny and promise buried, pulls it out. She’s twenty years old and she finds her worth. ‘I want to stay.’ The old woman smiles, hands in the earth.

A miracle of a girl from a tiny village in the middle east, abandoned as a child found rescue at eight, now nineteen, has breakfast with the woman who for the longest time she’s called her mother and with the girls she’s called her sisters, drinking milk, making teeth out of orange slices, laughing, throwing raisins. The girl puts bread between teeth, and with her mind always wondering, she asks what exactly the praying ground is. Mother, looking out at all the girls saved over the years, tears a pomegranate apart. ‘It’s love. It’s finding love in everything, in anything you can. It’s recovery. It’s finding religion. Not religion in the sense of some sort of god, but it’s finding something to believe in when you think there’s nothing left. It’s not a destination but a lifelong journey, and along that journey you find others like you. You make a home, a support system. It’s about running from a fire, then when you feel like you’re stronger, running back into it, putting it out and rebuilding the ruins the way you see fit. It’s digging your hands into the earth and feeling the hope, the strength of everyone before you who’s ever done the same. It’s a sense of unity. It’s unity scattered like stardust.’

Once a girl of nine, now a girl of thirty, smiles more, has discovered a passion for teaching. She teaches about stumbling and about getting up again. She teaches about running headfirst into the fire. She’s wiser now, braver, louder. By nature a quiet voice but by nurture it resounds. Every now and again she’ll look up into the distance, see the smoke still rising from the forest. She’ll smile to herself, look down at her feet covered in dirt, the feet that ran her back.

Seventy years old, a life lived, promises fulfilled. Three children, all beautiful, all taught to be gentle and true with loved ones. She taught them all that she was taught, mostly about forgiveness, ‘not for them, but for yourself.’ Years after washing her hands and years after blood drying, she visits her abuser. She takes her name back. She fills her books with Queen Anne’s Lace now. She feels her wings mended. Looks back on life now, closes her eyes, in the end can say ‘I loved myself.’ Seventy years old, destiny, a story told, in the end can say ‘I loved myself.’

Here is the Praying Ground,”Elijah Noble El, from The Age of Recovery


World Through My Eye : 7

Afghan girls working at a brick manufacturer with buckets of stones on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan

Afghan girls working at a brick manufacturer with buckets of stones on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan

Afghan girls working at a brick manufacturer with buckets of stones on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan.

In Afghanistan, more than 50 percent of the population of 24 million people is under the age of 18. UNICEF estimates that up to 30 percent of primary school age children are working and are often the sole source of income for their families. Already hobbled with an illiterate population (71 percent of adults and up to 86 percent of women) due to almost 30 years of conflict, Afghanistan’s future will be compromised if its children miss out on education.

Picture 7

Speak Up : It’s ‘Your’ Life

I think this is the most important question which everyone should ask from his-self that “Are we really satisfied with our lives?” and the majority answer is No, Not! After getting the answer of your self-asked question just gives a little thought on your life which you are having. “Is it really the way how u wants it?” If it is according to your approach then it is fine but if it is not then you can change your life only if you are willing to change it otherwise time never stops for anyone it has to move so the life too has to go on. We can take the example of a child whose parents forces him to choose science subjects knowing that he is more interested in arts subjects. Now the child should convince his parents that he wants to study arts subjects because he is good at arts and he is not capable of studying science subjects. But the problem is if he does not convince and start studying those subjects which his parents has chosen for him so what will happen in the end, obviously failure or a bad marks! Afterwards he will keep complaining about his life that what a hell life he is passing or so but if he think a little bit about it he will surely get the answer all this pathetic life which he is passing is due to his fault of not convincing his parents, for not taking stand for his career. As we are not the servants of anybody. Allah Almighty has created us “Ashraf-ul-maqluqat” which means we are independent; we can make decisions of our life independently i.e. we are capable of making difference between what is right and wrong for us. I don’t say that we should start doing things without any guidance and permission from our elders. It is very obvious thing that the guidance of elders matters a lot but if they are wrong at some point we should tell them what is right by giving logical reasons. In this you will be more self-satisfied, can lead more better life and ultimately you will be a successful person.

Another very important issue which is more common in less developed country that is of marriage. When there comes a time of marriage people (specially referring to the people of rural areas) don’t bother asking their daughters about their willingness of getting married to the guy which they have selected. They don’t consider the acceptance of a girl in a marriage is important. They just think that we are elders so we have every right of making decisions of our offspring. Marriage is actually the thing which is the contract between a girl and a boy so the willingness of a girl matters a lot as it is her life she has a full right of making her life decisions as she is going to spend a whole life with that guy not his parents. So be strong and speak for yourself because no one is going to fight for your rights because it is your life !