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The Bitter Days

Updated: 4 days ago

By Ms. Omida*



When I talk about the bitter days of the past, it takes me to the depths of those dark days that were like night, and I felt that there was no light after those dark days. ๐ŸŒ‘ I remember how eagerly I took the path to school. From childhood, high hopes and big goals sprouted in me and drove me to the excitement and passion of tireless efforts. Although from the very beginning, if I sometimes said that I did not have a book to read or a notebook to write, they would break me by saying this sentence: "then don't go to school and don't study." But I was willing to ignore their words and continue my studies with the few resources I had. ๐Ÿ“š


Because I was the first student in the class, my teachers always encouraged me by giving me gifts such as pens, notebooks, or school bags, and sometimes I used those gifts to continue going to school. My life and school days went on like this until I was forced to say goodbye to the tenth grade of school and all those memories and experiences in my hometown and moved to Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, with my family. I continued to go to school and study there. There, too, I made friends, and my teachers loved me and showed me affection. And again, because I was the first student in the class, my name (Omida) became the talk of all the teachers in the school. Omida, who had traveled this path with difficulty, and again the days of school, which were the happiest days of my life, were passing by and I was gradually getting closer to the university entrance exam. This exam would shape my future and take me to a new stage of life. ๐ŸŽ“


It was the beginning of the academic year, and all my classmates had taken the entrance exam except me. I could not attend the university entrance exam preparation courses due to my father's problems or, to be more clear, poverty. But when the twelfth grade came to an end, I had again graduated as the first overall student in the whole school. And now there were about six or seven months left until the university entrance exam, and I thought to myself that if I wanted to, I could prepare myself for the exam without going to a training center and studying there.


That's what I said, and the next day, I went to get the application form to do so. I took the form and headed home. On my way home, hundreds of wishes were taking root in me, and I whispered under my breath, "Omida was introduced as the best student in the Faculty of ******." Oh, how much this sentence excited me, and maybe that's why I studied day and night without interruption to be successful. I remember the winter nights when I would study my books under a blanket without a heater with a flashlight that my father had bought for me until the morning prayer without blinking an eye. I would not take my head out of the blanket for fear of waking my sister up. And after the morning prayer, I could no longer resist my eyes. Sometimes I would even fall asleep on the prayer rug from sleepiness. I spent the winter like this and gradually got closer to the national university entrance exam. ๐ŸŒง๏ธ๐Ÿ“–


With each day closer to the exam, my study hours increased, and my eating and resting hours decreased. Finally, one week was left before the exam, and we had to go for biometrics and some other exam registration. When I went to one of the training centers for biometrics, I saw a huge crowd of people, and I was filled with fear and panic. I thought to myself that it is impossible for all these people who have all studied in university entrance exam preparation courses to be successful, let alone be successful in my desired field. I took myself home with the same thoughts until a week passed, like lightning, and we reached the day of the exam. โšก

This was the day that all the young people and teenagers in my country considered to be fateful for them, and everyone had dreams for it. When I entered the university to take the university entrance exam, I saw all these candidates, and I trembled again.


But I calmed myself down and took the exam paper and started solving the questions. When my answers were finished, I had to choose five majors according to my desire. My first choice was the one I had always dreamed of. With a thousand hopes and desires, I chose the Faculty of ****** at Kabul University. But with the high score I had, I had completely lost hope of getting into that faculty. Anyway, I took the exam and headed home. We had to wait a month to see the results. During that time, perhaps everyone was as anxious as I was about what would happen. ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ


Finally, the day of the results arrived. Everyone had to search for their specific IDs on the internet to see their results. When I saw my result, I was stunned. I couldn't believe that I had succeeded in my first choice and in my desired field of study. But I had to believe that I had been admitted to the Faculty of ****** at Kabul University.


That night, I couldn't sleep because I was filled with joy. I was grateful to God for letting me feel his miracle in my life once again. The next day, I went to the university to complete the admission process, and before long, our classes officially began. I had made friends, and our days were filled with studying and having fun. I spent all day with my friends, sometimes studying in the university's green spaces and sometimes in the restaurant, talking about our dreams and futures. ๐ŸŒŸ


But it seems like everything was taken away from us. The story begins in the third year of university, the year I thought I was just a few steps away from my dreams and aspirations, and only a little bit away from achieving them. But everything suddenly turned out differently.


On Sunday morning, August 15, 2021, I left home for university. The news of the Taliban's capture of Kabul had been spreading everywhere for a few days. Everyone was saying that the Taliban would enter Kabul on such and such a day. When I was leaving, my father said, "Don't go to university today. The situation is bad. Something might happen." I smiled and left the house. ๐ŸŒ„


On my way to the university, a thousand thoughts and worries were eating away at me from the inside. I prayed that today would not be the bad day that everyone was talking about.


Finally, I arrived at the university. As soon as I entered, I realized that many people, like me, were in love with their studies and their dreams. We went and joined my friends in the large auditorium of the Faculty of Economics. There, two or three classes were combined so that the professor could teach them.


That day, the attendance of the students was lower than in previous days. It was as if a feeling had told everyone that Kabul would be captured. The class ended, and we went to the restaurant in front of the university gate to have breakfast, which also served as lunch. After ordering our food, we were waiting for it to be brought when the sudden sound of our cell phones ringing broke the silence. The news of the fall of Kabul was delivered to us. We were shocked. ๐Ÿ˜ฒ


As soon as we entered the university, the distraught and disheveled faces of the professors and students increased the anxiety in my being. It seemed like something big was about to happen. Everyone was heading towards the gates of the university to leave and go home. I also went with my friends to one of the gates of the university.


The homes of many students were far from the university, and they had to take a vehicle to get there. But that day, it was as if everyone's hearts had turned to stone. No one was willing to take the students home.


On the way, I separated from my friends. This separation increased the fear inside me, and with tears streaming down my cheeks, I ran towards home. That day, the telecommunications networks were also cut off. I could neither make calls nor could my family inquire about my well-being. ๐Ÿ˜ข


After walking for hours, I finally reached home. That day was the worst day of my life. The day my dreams were promised not to be fulfilled, and my goals whispered in my ear that they would not be achieved.


That night, the skies of Kabul were surrounded by US military planes. They were evacuating all their soldiers from Afghanistan. The next day, the news of the escape of Ashraf Ghani, the country's president, reached everyone's ears. It was as if everyone was somehow leaving us alone in this chaos.


With the escape of the president and his colleagues, our hopes were also dashed. There was no one left to fight for us, no one to support us, no one to open the gates of universities and schools. Everyone had to stay in their homes, and no one dared to go out. Fear had gripped everyone.


From that day on, I was no longer able to go to university and study. Years have now passed since the Taliban's rule in Afghanistan, and I am still living in isolation. I am tired of going and not reaching my goals.


I do not know what sin I have committed to be deprived of going to university. The only path to my progress, which once led to the pinnacle of happiness, has now become the kitchen and cooking. There is no way to escape these worries, and there is no one to understand me and help me follow my dreams. ๐Ÿ˜”


It seems as if we were born to dream and never achieve. But with all the sadness that is evident in my eyes, I will one day cry out (Yes, I finally succeeded!) because the green tree of patience in my being says there is hope, there is God...

ย 

Her Hopes Were Crushed


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*Omida is a pseudonym. For safety reasons, we cannot publish her real name.

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