Here is what life was really like for me.
I was my parent’s second child and though they had two daughters instead of sons, they loved me and my sister very much and were happy with what Allah gave to them.
At that time, we had a private manufacturing company with more than 200 staff. We owned houses, a car, and were financially stable. My parents worked hard to provide the best of life for us. Though we were children, we had our own bank accounts that our parents put money into for our future needs. They were good parents and we wanted for little. We wore the most beautiful clothes and played with the finest toys. Most afternoons, my mother received a call from my dad telling her to be ready because he was taking us out for dinner.
On holidays, my father planned picnics and invited our relatives. Sometimes we went to our factory for our picnics because my father built a very nice recreational area there. It had a big swimming pool, a beautiful flower garden, and lots of trees. Life was marvelous; abundant moments were passing—one by one—without us fully realizing their worth.
But those wonderful days were short-lived. They started when my sister and I were too young to fully appreciate them and were finished exactly when we need them the most.
When I was five, I loved to play with the neighborhood boys, but still I can clearly remember the words of my kind mom who warned, “Take care; don’t go so far from house. There is a group of people who are kidnapping children. Don’t eat anything from the hands of people whom you do not know because it may be poisoned. Don’t pick up any pens, dolls, or other nice things on street because it might be a bomb or connected to a bomb. Don’t go anywhere else. Just play in front of the house so I can see you.”
I will never forget the moment the war was started. We were playing in front of our home. When we heard the voice of bullets, we were so happy. We shouted and jumped, not know it was war and that it was dangerous.
My mom ran to me and yelled, “Come fast. Let’s go home. Don’t stay here!”
I said to my friends, “Let’s go to my house and watch the bullets from window together.” And that’s what we did, not realizing that we were enjoying the start of our dark coming days. The bullets came with greater frequency, along with other sounds of danger and violence. We grew afraid, and our laughter and shouting stopped.
My sister said, “This is all because of me. When the bullets started, I prayed for Allah to not let them be finished. But now I am very much afraid of them.”
Throughout the night, bullets flew. Throughout the night, we did not sleep. Our house was situated between two rival factions of mujahedeen. We were caught in the crossfire, so we were unable to leave the house even though it was too dangerous to remain. Finally, we had no choice. Our parents carried us in their arms and ran barefoot from our home. We were not the only family running away without knowing where we were going. The street was filled with people just like us who were trying to flee the fighting and killing.
I saw terrible things. On the street corner, an injured man lay bleeding. He was still alive but medical aid could not reach him. Our parents tried to not let us see the dead people who were lying all along our path.
I still clearly remember each moment of that awful time. After hours of walking, my father finally found a car with a driver who was willing to take us away from the fighting. While my father and he spoke, many people jumped into the car—all of them with children and women. The driver was a good person: he took everyone to t heir requested locales.
He dropped us at my grandparent’s house. We stayed about one week, but my grandmother and grandfather were unable to safely live there any longer because I had four young aunts who also lived there. Any second, we feared mujahedeen would knock on the door and take away my aunts. No one was capable of preventing it.
So my family, my grandfather’s family, and my married aunt decided to leave Afghanistan and go to Iran or Pakistan in order to safe our lives. Along with our wonderful country, we left all of our happiness. We left our beautiful house that my parents had built out of hope and our factory that my grandfather—after years of hard work—had built into a successful business. But at that time, we could only think out how to find a safe place for our family. My idyllic childhood died in the face of war and migration to neighboring countries. Everyday my parents were faced new challenges: our schooling, our shelter, living expenses, on and on. For a time, war and relocation stole from me even the ability to look back and appreciate the happy childhood I’d once had.