My father wished for his son not to be poor like him. Today I am grown but he is not alive to see me. I search all day to find a loaf of bread to feed my hungry mother. Sometimes the street kids beat me up and sometimes the bigger boys take my bread. When I go to collect wood from the garden in my village I am constantly afraid that I will step on a landmine.
My older brother is now one-legged because he was not as lucky as I have been in avoiding the landmines. He stays home because he does not have a prosthetic leg to walk with. When I go the main road, the Commanders’ vehicles are going so fast that they send the dirt from the ground flying everywhere. The dust burns my eyes. I thought the foreigners would help us. I see them everywhere; some are armed soldiers, some are non-military aid workers.
I see people having lunch inside restaurants. I can smell the food. If I come too close to the diners, the waiter kicks me and says, “Go away, orphan bastard!” The Commanders’ cars are parking at the market. They take their children shopping. Their Land Cruisers are so big and high. I can’t even reach the windows to ask them for money. My feed hurt a lot because I don’t have shoes. I cannot protect my feet from the broken glass on the path. I am only a kid but I see myself as a father. I feel responsible for my sick mother and my disabled brother. I wish I were born into a rich family where no one is sick.
I watch the rich kids as they enjoy every moment of their life. Their fathers are commanders, ministers, and politicians. They ride bicycles and dress accordingly for each season. I have only one turban. I cannot even wash it because I have nothing else to wear while it dries. If I don’t find bread I go to sleep hungry.
I wish my dad was still alive. At least I would then be able to go to school instead of having to beg everyday. I live in a different world. A world where nobody cares. I don’t know anything but War! War! War!