By Roni Roseberg
Mrs. Hadisa was one of the women who fought for an education in Afghanistan – and won.
Unlike many women, she had gone to the university in the 1960s and had become a lecturer in history. She loved school and she understood my teaching methods.
In fact, we had an instant affinity for each other.
She regularly attended my ESL* class and had a sense of humor which transcended the boundaries of language.
Her bright blue eyes were striking, and she had beautiful olive skin and black hair. She was always smiling and helping the other students.
She wanted to become a teacher in her newly adopted country. I am very sure she could have done it, too.
One day however, Mrs. Hadisa stopped coming to class.
I felt tentative going to her apartment to investigate, but it was so unlike her to miss class.
When I arrived, her kind husband asked in very good English who I was, and then welcomed me in. He introduced me to his adult son, but I could not see Mrs. Hadisa, and I had a bad feeling in my stomach.
He invited me to sit down and served me a glass of Tang juice. He then told me she had died.
How was it possible? She was a healthy woman of about 50. “You know,” he began sadly:
She walked for days through the mountains of Afghanistan to escape Russian invasion. Many days on foot. She had to bribe people for a ride to Pakistan. But she made it here.
This was her new country. She loved it here. We loved her very much.
Her son, about 30, stared speechless.
Then, last Sunday, she was walking to the launderette with her basket of clothes. A 17-year-old boy who was drunk had hit her with car as she crossed the street.
This shining and lovely lady had come thousands of miles through mountain passes only to be killed at 10 a.m. on a sunny day by a kid who had stayed up all night drinking. I was simply dumbfounded.
I made one more visit to Mrs. Hadisa’s apartment to deliver a card and a beautiful pale pink orchid plant sent by her classmates.
Her husband showed me a spare bedroom devoted entirely to photos and mementos of his wife. “I talk to her every day,” he said.
Mrs. Hadisa was an unforgettable and inspirational woman.
May her memory forever be a blessing.
*ESL – English as a Second Language
Today, 2 out of every 3 girls in Afghanistan do not go to school. Take action today to help them gain an education. Find out more.