Kid's Life In...
Al salaam a'alaykum! ( Ahl sah-LAHM ah
ah-LAY-koom ) (hello) My name is Fatima. I am an eleven-year-old girl
from Kabul, Afghanistan. My country is located in southwestern Asia.
It has huge mountains, hot deserts, fertile valleys, and rolling plains.
Would you like to learn about how we live here in Afghanistan?
In 1996, a group called the Taliban took control of the country. They banned television, music, and movies! Girls were not allowed to go to school. Luckily, the Taliban have been defeated here in Kabul thanks to the United States. I am so excited about going to school. But my mother is worried about what to do with her burka. A burka is a head-to-toe covering with a little hole to see through. When the Taliban was in power, all women had to wear one. Women are now not required to wear them, but some think that it is part of their religion and will choose to continue wearing them.
This morning mama sent me to the market to buy a loaf of bread. We are very lucky to have any food. Afghanistan usually has plenty of foods growing in the mountains. Rhubarb, currants, gooseberries and all sorts of nuts used to be grown here, but there has been a horrible drought - the worst one in decades. 25,000 kids died of hunger last year. My baby brother died. It has been ages since I had a piece of fruit- what I wouldn't give for an orange right now!
At least we have some meat from my brother's sheep that died. My brother is a shepard, and he rarely comes home. Many people who live in my country are shepards. Whenever my brother comes home, he brings his three dogs with him. The kind of dogs he has are called kuchi. They help him take care of his animals. One of them is as big as a small mule. He told me to stay away from them, for they will attack a man at sight.
My brother may not be a shepard much longer. He is going to get married. When you get married, you are divided from your fiancÚ by a curtain. Then the groom and other men leave the room. The bride is bathed and dressed at the break of dawn. Finally, the bride is brought to her husband.
You might be thinking, "What kind of religion has all these weird rules?" It's called Islam and the people who practice it are called Muslims.
Muslims have many other rules that we use to protect ourselves against evil spirits. If you look at the moon the third night of the new moon, you are supposed to have bad luck. If your right hand itches, it means something to do with money. You should never walk in front of a black cat, and if a pregnant woman touches her stomach during an eclipse, the baby will have a mark on it. My mother doesn't believe in that - she touched her stomach during an eclipse, when she had my baby brother, and nothing happened.
There are five pillars that all Muslims must obey. Here they are:
1. I must say, "There is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is a prophet," at least once a day.
2. I have to pray five times a day- at dawn, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset, and after the sun has set. Before I pray, I must wash myself, cover my head, and take off my shoes. Then I must kneel on a carpet and face Mecca, which is the birthplace of Mohammed.
3. I must care for the needy.
4. I must fast during Ramadan, the ninth month in the Muslim calendar. During Ramadan, I may not eat while the sun is down.
5. I must try to travel to Mecca at least once in my lifetime.
As you can see, it's not too easy to be a Muslim, but it's also not too easy being an Afghan. I hope you enjoyed learning about my life and that you understand my people better.
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