Posted by: Beth | February 16, 2013

Report from Kabul – “Nobody helps the poor people. We have lost our humanity.”

Faiz, of the Afghan Peace Volunteers, reporting from KABUL, Afghanistan.

Every day, I see a person near our house named Mr. Sayaf. He is 50 years old, and he comes from Maidan Wardak province. He lost both of his legs during the civil war in Afghanistan. He lost the first leg when a rocket landed in his house and exploded. About ten years later, another missile blew off his other leg. Because he cannot walk, he cannot work like the rest of us. He has two artificial legs, which were given to him in the hospital after his operations. “I live with a lot of suffering and sadness,” Mr. Sayaf said.

Mr. Sayaf has a wheelbarrow filled with mousetraps, cups, knives, forks, and credit cards for use with mobile phones. He has a special motorcycle with four tires that he rides to work each day.  He lives with his wife and six children in a house about two kilometers from his wheelbarrow, which he leaves each night at a spot near the Pul-e-Surkh Canal. Near Mr. Sayaf’s wheelbarrow is a friend who has lost one leg. Mr. Sayaf told me that he earns about 200 Afghanis (four dollars in US money) each day. He works from 8:00 in the morning until 4:00 in the afternoon, six days a week. I asked Mr. Sayaf if he earns enough for his family’s needs. He said, “It’s not enough, but we have to live on it.”

His motorcycle needs four new tires, but he doesn’t have enough money to buy them. When I spoke with him, it was snowing. He told me that it is very difficult for him to drive his motorcycle in the snow and mud. He must work every day because his family does not have enough fuel to keep his room warm, or enough food or warm clothes. The Afghan government does not give Mr. Sayaf any financial assistance. He said that there is a lot of corruption in the government. Money from outside the country goes into the pockets of government officials, “and there are lots of holes in those pockets,” he said.  Several of his relatives do have money, but they do not help Mr. Sayaf and his family. “Nobody helps the poor people. We have lost our humanity,” Mr. Sayaf said.

I asked Mr. Sayaf, who was an Afghan policeman before the civil war, “What do you hope for the future?” He looked at me and said, “Hope? What is the meaning of hope?”

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