My Election Day

A week before the election, because of security concerns, the people of Afghanistan faced hundreds of problems, like not being able to attend school or do their routine work. Suicide attacks took a lot of victims, and people hardly wanted to leave their homes. As the election neared, the situation got worse, with the suicide attacks and blackmails attempts from anti- governmental people and Taliban. My province, Kunduz, which used to be very famous for being one of the safest provinces, is now one of the most unsecure provinces. People would recite their Ashhad, words of passing away*, every day. No one was sure if they would return home by day’s end, nor did people trust each other, because no one could recognize good people from bad. Both were living in the same clothes.

I was in Kabul far from my family, in my uncle’s house with my sister. There, I saw how much they were involved with the election. Seeing their courage and confidence, I drew courage from them. I told my uncle’s wife that on Election Day, I wanted go with her to help, and I was pushy about it. I got trained for 15 minutes about where, how and what would happen.

I was afraid, but I felt really strong about my country and I couldn’t stop myself. When my sister saw me, she was willing to come with us, too.

On Election Day, streets were empty and silent. You would see only twenty people in a mile. We woke up at 4:45am, got ready to go, and I was in my section at 6:00am. Election workers had fear but didn’t want to show it to others to keep everyone strong and make them feel nothing would happen. I was distributing voting papers to people and giving instruction about how to vote.

We waited for a long time. At about 8:00 am a group of women arrived. We were very happy to see them and we welcomed them. By the end of the day, we had 208 votes from one women’s section, which was over our expectation. They were very supportive of their favorite candidates.

The voting process finished at 4:00 p.m as it should have, and then we had to start counting the presidential candidates’ votes. I thought the process of voting was very straightforward and clear. Still people think that the process did not go how the government says; I heard them doubting an honest process.

My sister and I stayed there until 8:30 p.m. As the day got darker, we worked faster. Our section was the first to finish counting out of nine sections. Our boss praised my work.

I got home very tired, with zero energy. Even so, I went to volunteer for the second day, to count the provincial candidates’ votes. After finishing our own section, I went to two other sections and helped them. It made me proud. I knew that any minute anything could happen, but I really wanted to participate. I did it spite of the risk.

Now people are waiting for the result and everyone is guessing that it will be a big deal to know their president. The violence has not stopped yet. We still have the situation that we had a month before election. Now Afghans are praying and hoping for everything go alright, at least from this point after.

Ashhad: Muslims read “there is no God but Allah, and Mohammad is his prophet” when they die, or they are about to die. If they read that they die as Muslim. And the words in quote are the Ashahad.

By Fatima

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