Marien Lara Orbezo Lira
Courage led Saima to fulfill her dreams.
This is the story of an Afghan girl whose life had a change she always dreamed of. Saima, the main character, relates the story. Since the moment when Saima´s father stated that his daughter would be stronger than a thousand Pashtun boys, and different than any other Pashtun girl, Saima´s firm ideas became even stronger. The story starts in a country where women are treated poorly and abused. Saima tells how she made her life different than the one a normal Pashtun woman would have. A huge opportunity was presented when Saima and her siblings and cousins moved to America to get a better education. Moving to a western country was a big help for Saima in order to live in a different and better environment than the one she was used to. Going through some cultural adaptations didn’t stop Saima from reaching her dream of both going back to Afghanistan and living a life full of freedom. Saima´s return to Afghanistan was not a normal one. She went back as an American and Pashtun interpreter for the U.S. Army. It was definitely a life full of excitement, emotions and lots of different experiences when Saima traveled to different parts of Afghanistan, and even to America for a short time. Everyone has different dreams. Saima´s dream was to have a better life than the one she would have had if she stayed in Afghanistan. Her idea of success was not to become famous and known everywhere, but to have a calm life with the rights every woman deserves to have. To get this life, Saima had to make decisions that would lead her to the life of freedom she wanted. Many of the decision she took could put her in a risky situation, but she knew that in the end she would not regret them. It was definitely courage that made her take the right paths through her life. Sometimes courage means leaving a comfortable life or a family behind. In the first part of the novel, Saima showed how courageous she was when she left her uncles´ house. “Saima, your father would be ashamed of you” (49). These eight words that Uncle A said while having a discussion about Saima being friends with someone of the opposite sex, were what made Saima step out and showed her courage to defend herself. Saima knew that her father would not be ashamed of her, and thought as she left the house, “My certainty of that fact gave me the courage I have been lacking all those years when I have lived in terror of being into a life I did not want” (50). “I did not know where I was going, I just needed to leave my uncles´ house” was her next thought (50). Saima knew that it would not be easy to start a life by herself, but at least she would find the life with freedom that she expected to have. Another example of this kind of courage was when Saima joined the US Army. By this time, Saima had been living in America for more than a decade, had gotten a house to live with her siblings and even brought her mother to live with them. Even though Saima was enjoying life with her family, new job, freedom and a relationship, she had thought about going back to Afghanistan. “I had been thinking about returning for a while- just not considering the when or the how” (65), mentioned Saima. It was until she got a job offer as a translator for the US Army when, once again, Saima had the courage to leave her family and comfortable life that she had been living until then and went back to her country of origin to live a new experience. Courage can mean going against your culture. All through the story, Saima always presented herself as a Pashtun female, but she also mentioned how all the years that she lived in America gave her an American cultural style. Saima respected her Muslim culture while she was in Afghanistan, but when she felt like things were wrong she had the courage to defend herself and acted not as an Afghan woman but as an American one. The Afghan part in her knew that going against her...
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