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Meena's Story

I don’t know where I was born, but I’ve always lived in Dasht i Barchi (the section of town on the far west side of Kabul where Le Pélican is located).

I have five sisters and five brothers.  There are 11 children in my family and three babies died.  My house is not nice since we are very poor.  My father earns very little money.  He is a carrier who doesn’t have a karachi (wheeled platform for carrying loads).  He uses his back.

When it rains, water leaks into our room and we get cold.  I get very cold at night and have only one blanket.  I sleep on a namat (an animal skin).  It is hard.  I don’t like summer because it’s too hot.  In the morning I am sore all over.  At night, I eat bread and drink tea.

At Le Pélican, I eat well.  I feel stronger now.  I like the good quality rice.  At home, the rice is bad and I often get tummy aches.  When I come home from the center, I work on the carpets.  I also do housework and laundry. The loom takes up a lot of space in the room and we are cramped.  In the winter it is good since we stay warm, but in the summer we suffocate.

My papa returns home very late at night.  I don’t know where he goes.  My parents are very old; maybe 40 years old?

I love to study.  English isn’t difficult and reading in Dari isn’t a problem for me.  At home, nobody can read.  What I like best at the center is playing with dolls with my friends and pretending to be a mother.  We give food to the dolls and wash them too.  This is like the work I do at home but at the center I like to do these things but at home, I don’t.  I also hate making carpets but I have to--we buy our food with the carpet money.

"When it rains, water leaks into our room and we get cold.  I get very cold at night and have only one blanket..."