It was a bright day; I was sitting alongside the window in the classroom. As the principal of the school entered the class, he began calling a few names, including mine, and asking us to leave the room. We were all scared, but we left the room and headed towards the yard of the school where another one-hundred girls from different schools were standing. One of my close friends whispered in my ear, saying: “Maybe it’s a school contest.” I thought the same thing, except as the principal was finished gathering girls from different classes, we saw another man standing next to our principal wearing jeans and shirt. We were all busy finding out what was happening.
The man introduced himself. He was there to test us for a one-year scholarship program to the States. He pointed out the key objectives of this program. My schoolmates and I were pretty much shocked; some declined to take the test because of the security issues which may have put their parents’ lives in danger, along with other reasons. I was aware of all the consequences; still, I persuaded myself to join the rows of the test takers. With a great hope, we took the test, which took us roughly three hours.
Once we finished, I looked my watch and realized my parents were probably enormously concerned about me. When I got home, I told my parents the story about the American as a joke, because I didn’t want them to get mad at me. I didn’t know that my parents, who are engineers, were so open-minded. On one hand, they were tremendously pleased for me if I possibly could go to the States; on the other, they were concerned for the security and safety of their daughter, as we live in an area where the Taliban are well-known.
The next day, my classmates were wondering whether I would be going or not? I kept a promise I made to my mother. I said, in a light-hearted, casual way, “No, I won’t be going.” For a week, my mom dreamed about me getting killed by Taliban because of the possible scholarship. However, it was all a bad dream.
For a while, we determined to not talk about it. One day, when I was busy with my school assignments, my mom called me with a loud voice: “Yagana … Yagana … Yagana.” I felt stunned when I saw my mom. I saw tears of happiness in her eyes. She came close to me and started hugging me. Someone from the American program called her to say, “You daughter has passed the final test and has been designated to go for one year to the States.” I was exceedingly happy. A dream came true, although there was a dread still in my heart which didn’t permit me to be content. That was my fear of the Taliban. My family and I sat together and discussed it very seriously.
I had to make a decision. If I said yes, I would create problems for my family. If I said no, I would miss my golden chance. It took me many days and nights of thinking. It was extremely hard for me to finally decide. One night when I was looking at the sky, many things were going through my mind. I closed my eyes and asked God to help me with this decision. My eyes were full of tears when I opened them. At last I knew what I ought to do.