Hope in a time of despondency

shaista-langari5About the author: Shaista Langari is a Star alumna. She works as a teacher and is a project manager at Afghanistan’s New Generation Organization (ANGO). She graduated from Kabul University with a degree in Educational Psychology. Shaista is currently building a career as a professional artist and has recently had her first art exhibit.

Early one morning, I got dressed and prepared myself to go to work. When I opened the door all the streets were silent and there were only a few students and workers out. The students have many hopes and dreams of building a brighter future and the workers are out early, in hope to find work for the day. I had a busy day, full of many things to do and needed to start early. I had to go to three different places to work and study. I did not wear my high heel shoes on that day because I needed to hurry and did not have enough time to catwalk like a stylish girl.

I had my headphones in with music playing while I travelled to work. I thought about my dreams, imagined my new paintings and talked to myself. Suddenly, I saw a bundle of flashy and glamorous bangles that were hung over the handle of a car. At every traffic bump they jingled and I imagined that I was at a Henna night party where a beautiful girl was dancing. I smiled as I thought how much the driver must love his car.

mobile-drawing-by-shaista-langari

All of a sudden, I was snapped out of my daydream by a heartrending sound. I thought it was a bomb blast, but it was the traffic policeman’s stick hitting a car. I thanked Allah that I was alive and that I would be able to complete my half-finished painting. I put my heavy bag on my back, got out of the car and walked to the office. I remembered that the place where I exited the car was the site of yesterday’s bomb blast. There were still some bloodstains and dark burned oil on the street. The memory of the attack made me despondent without hope for the future. I thought about yesterday’s martyrs and their families, the people who were still between life and death in the hospital, the children who would not see their mother or father again, and the ones who had lost their loved ones. That bus station reminded me of other explosions in Kabul like Dehmazang and Shah Shaheed. I also thought of how I could not remember the location of other blasts that took place because so many blasts take place in Kabul and all around Afghanistan.

I walked fast carrying my thoughts and sad feelings. While I was crossing the street, I saw a couple buying a pair of small, cute socks for their coming baby. I then saw a man opening his shop and a little girl buying a notebook for her new school semester. I saw an old woman buying a dress for herself and three girls using one umbrella while reading their chapters at the bus stop. I saw many workers waiting to find a day’s work for three hundred Afghanis. I heard different kinds of music playing in all the shops. As I looked at these people, I noticed that despite the issues affecting my community, they are still hopeful for better days to come. Yes, Kabul is a normal city, even when there is a bomb blast one kilometer away. There are still hopes and dreams for a brighter future.

Each day might be my last good bye to my mother but I still walk strongly and purposefully toward my goals.  As I press forward, I tell myself that there is no time to be despondent; there are many jobs to complete and responsibilities to tend to.