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BBC Persian (Translated by RAWA), September 17, 2009

Poor Kabulis survive by eating domestic animals food

At the moment my children only eat dry and hard bread, their last wish is to eat soft bread. They only think about bread.

By Ayoub Arwin


Marzia's Family in Kabul, Afghanistan

Poverty in the month of Ramadan shows itself with much harsher face in the dinning cloth of most of the families in Kabul city.

In spite the sloping of billions of aid from the international community to Afghanistan, a number of families says they are still unable to fill their hungry stomachs. A number of these families have to eat the stored dried bread for the domesticated animals.

Marzia is the guardian of one of these families. Marzia with her sick husband and seven children is living in a rent room in a mountain slope in west of Kabul. The rent of her room is 500 Afghani (around US$10) per month, but her uncle, who is the owner of her house hasn’t taken the rent money for the last six years for the regard of her state because she is unable to pay it.

The monthly income of Marzia is 1,500 Afghanis equivalent to 30 dollars which she takes from the government as her husband's pension. Once her husband has been a worker of municipality but now extremely needs to be cured and this money is even not enough for the cost of his sickness. This man already was paralyzed and now he is also suffering from mental problem and is always needs someone to take care of him.

Non of Marzia's children has the ability to work, Sakhie, her eldest son studied till fifth class nut hunger dragged him towards the television workshop. His salary is only 200 Afghanis equivalent to 4 dollars per week. He hopes one day he himself could repair television and earn a good income.

On Marzias breaking fast cloth there is potato sauce, but she says most of the time her family eat tea and bread. The bread that they eat is cooked by Marzia which is made from very low quality flour.

On her dinning cloth there was a type of bread which was white in color and was send by her husband's brother. This was a valuable gift which was sent to this family especially for the breaking fast.

Marzia with the photo of her son who was killed by Mujahideen
Armed gunmen killed Marzia’s son during in-fighting of Mujahideen in Kabul. (Photos: BBC)

Three fingers sacrificed for a ring

Marzia can't work properly due to her three cutoff fingers. According to her in 1996 during the internal fighting of mujahideen, armed men raided her house, they killed her nine years old son and cut her three fingers for a gold ring.

Marzia said: “They asked where is your gold jewelry? I said I don’t have. (Pointing towards the gold ring) they said what is this? I said it can not be removed from my finger. They said we will remove it. They attacked with a gun knife and cut three of my fingers.”

According to her these people also fired three bullets at her which injured her foot.

While Marzia was showing the picture of her killed son, she said I presented my destitution to the president Hamid Karzai, but I didn't get any help.

She said: “During the war, because of war I had no good life, after the war because of poverty and illness of my husband I had to find money for his treatment. I became a borrower until some one sent me a little help from Denmark.”

Marzia says she wanted to give her small daughter for adoption in return for twelve thousand Afghanis, but her eldest son stopped her from doing that. According to her, she has been thinking about doing so a number of times.

Soft bread, the last wish

Marzia is not the only one who spends her life like this, in the poor areas of Kabul a lot of families spend their days searching for a piece of bread and for many nights sleep with empty stomachs.

In Kabul some people say they eat the dry bread which is stored for domesticated animals. They buy seven kilos of this bread for forty Afghanis and eat it with cold water.

The guardian of one of these families said: At the moment my children only eat dry and hard bread, their last wish is to eat soft bread. They only think about bread.

But not all the Kabulis are like this. Some families spend a lot of money inviting guests for Iftar to expensive hotels and their expense of one night is equivalent to the expenses of few months of Marzias family.

Category: Women, RAWA News, Poverty - Views: 36058