Thursday, November 5, 2009

Safia's Poetry - Speaking from the Heart

Safia is in my class here at SOLA. She recently shared this powerful I Am Poem with me. It has since been published on the Afghan Women's Writing Project website - I've also included her poem, Winter in Kandahar which I find to be beautifully written. When I first met Safia she was shy and unsure of her ability to write, and in particular to write poetry. I am so pleased to see what has emerged. I'm incredibly proud of her. I encourage you to go on the AWWP website and read more! Since Sofia speaks about her experience growing up in Afghanistan, I have added a few scenes from Kabul to this blog. If you click on the image you can get a closer look.

I Am From...................
I am the daughter of a land in south central Asia
The daughter of the strong and hospitable people of Afghanistan
I belong to a nation which suffered three bloody decades in war
Which left us millions of orphans and widows
I am from those Afghans who migrated as refugees to our neighbor’s land
And returned homeland after a long voyage to find our identity
I belong to a loveable family with parents, five brothers and two sisters
I am from parents who come from south and west Afghanistan
Parents who had different ways of life since childhood
But after meeting, compromised and loved each other
I am from a kind, courageous and hard-working mother
Who protects us from the ills of society
Who teaches us the value of honesty, faith, and education
I grew up with siblings who held pen and paper instead of toys or kites
Who have been heroes in my life and good examples of success
I am from my eldest sister, who is like my second mother, caring, generous, and helpful
I am from young Afghan women with goals and desires
A woman who is educated, independent, and makes her own decisions
A woman with a friendly, softhearted nature
And a strong belief in Allah and His creatures
Enthusiastic about exploring cultures and lifestyles
Eager to travel the world to meet people and places
A woman who feels the pain of other deprived and vulnerable women
And wants to support them
Who dreams of Afghanistan as a peaceful place
No bomb explosions or suicide attacks, killing us like flies
No fear of walking to school and work, as if we’re entering hell
I imagine Afghans holding pens as weapons
Women walking in the gleam of education instead of the dark shadow of illiteracy
Children reading books with shining faces instead of begging and picking trash
I am from women with dreams and wishes
I am an energetic, optimistic, and responsible woman praying for a better Afghanistan
A woman wearing a green scarf as a flag
Protecting myself against winds that can take away my identity and homeland again
I am an Afghan woman from green mountains, wanting unity and peace for Afghanistan.

Winter School Days in Kandahar
The arrival of winter reminds me of those rainy days when I was going to school
Sleepless from the cold nights and the tup-tup sound of raindrops leaking from the roof
Cold air through the broken windows waking me up from my warm bed
Each morning my mother making me hot tea and naan (bread) with her kind, soft hands
Walking in my burqa through the long, narrow streets of our neighborhood
Holding my blowing burqa tightly to cover my school uniform from unwanted views
Folding it around myself to warm up my cold hands and red running nose
Bundling up my white pants and burqa to jump over puddles across a broken bridge
Cheering in my heart like an Olympic champion for succeeding in crossing the broken bridge
My burqa flying in the wind like small birds learning to fly in the sky
Slipping and getting my school uniform and shoes muddy before reaching the bus station
Pleased to arrive at school, like a lost bird returning to the nest after a long voyage
Being punished by the school’s monitors for being late and wearing a messy uniform
Those freezing classrooms with hollow windows and doors giving me flu and fever
Finding raindrops on each page of my books, like the shabnam (dew drops) Spring brings to leaves and flowers
The cracked benches like rocks freezing in the mountain
Snuggling with my friends and classmates to warm each other against the cold
Praying for sunshine to melt our frozen muscles
The arrival of winter giving us a lesson on how to be strong against hardship
The end of winter giving us a blossom of hope for Spring

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