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Hassan's Story

My name is Hassan.  I am eight years old and I only have one leg.

I was born in the Hazarajat, but I don’t know exactly where.  I remember there were mountains, water, animals, and also deserts.  There were six people in our house and we all lived in one room with the animals; a calf, two goats and my cow that is now dead.  Before she died, I drank her milk.  We never ate meat because we didn’t kill animals.  When my cow died, we didn’t eat her meat because she was sick.  I had two sisters, my mother, my father and my grandfather.  He is the one who cares for me today.  It was a little crazy, but it was nice.

Before the drought, Papa farmed the land.  He grew clover and potatoes that we could eat.  But there was no rain for too long and we had no water at all.  Nothing grew and when winter came, we had nothing to eat.  So Papa sold our two animals and we went to Kabul; I was six I think.

One day my mother got sick and she died soon after.  I remember she had dark skin and black hair too.  I don’t think of Mama during the day, but I think of her every night while I’m falling asleep and I’m sad.  I was about seven years old when she left my life.

Today I live with my grandfather.  My Papa is alive, but I don’t see him often.  It’s my grandfather and also our uncles who care for us.

I will tell you now what happened to me and how I lost my leg in the Hazarajat countryside.  It was caused by a flower.

One day when I still lived there, I wanted to go to the mountains.  I walked into a field at the bottom of the mountain and saw a plant that interested me and I wanted to pick it up.  I remember it was a very pretty little yellow flower.  I was little, not quite five years old; it was the Taliban times.  I approached the plant and suddenly everything exploded.  I stepped on a mine.  I was hurt very badly.  I remember the pain, but I didn’t pass out.  I cried and I screamed and I saw my foot and part of my leg far away from me.

My mother heard the explosion.  She came and carried me all the way home.  She screamed too and there was blood everywhere.  She laid me under the sandali (a heating system used by the poor).  She stopped the blood with tissue paper and a coat.  She took a plastic bag and dug a hole in the yard and put my foot and the part of my leg there.

After a few days, I felt very bad and was getting worse.  It all turned black; it was so horrible I can’t even explain it.  Then my mama said I had to go to Kabul to a doctor or I would die of infection.  She carried me in her arms. I was operated on several times in a foreigner's hospital and then they put the prosthesis on me.

Now that Mama is dead, it is grandfather who takes me to the hospital to get my prosthesis changed because I am getting bigger.  And each time it hurts.  In the hospital I saw many doctors and one of them sent me to Le Pélican.

At first I came to the center without my shoe, but my plastic foot fits with my prosthesis.  It was difficult to walk and nobody could accompany me.  The first day I was ashamed, but now everyone accepts me and I’ve never had a problem.  I remember when the foreign lady said I could participate in all the activities like the other children.  I have been very happy.

I love learning to read and write.  Today I’m in the second grade and have made good progress.  Later I would like to be a doctor or a teacher.

I also love to play ball with my friends at Le Pélican and now I’m good at dodge ball!

"I walked into a field at the bottom of the mountain and saw a plant that interested me and I wanted to pick it up.  I remember it was a very pretty little yellow flower.  I was little, not quite five years old; it was the Taliban times.  I approached the plant and suddenly everything exploded."