day 120


I wish that you could wake up to village mornings and mindlessly repeat outfits without any apprehension at all. 
I wish you could sow the seeds, watch them grow into towering corn stalks and eventually, when the leaves have started to yellow, I wish you could collect the corn cobs, locate the camouflaged beans that creep up the stalks and then head out with your sickle and chop down the stalks for animal feed.
I wish you could see day-old chicks, watch them grow, save them from abusive mothers and remedy their broken legs with some oil and a clump of girl’s hair.
I wish you could get fresh milk twice daily, from a cow whose name you knew.
I wish your meals for days on end would consist almost entirely out of produce from your garden and animal farm.
I wish you died a little inside every time you consumed something in a plastic wrapper because it seemed ludicrous that something could not be used from start to finish, like the crops.
I wish that days of the week were largely irrelevant and that working days depended solely on the daylight hours available.
I wish you could dedicate a month every year to harvesting grass for your livestock to live off during the winter.
I wish you could have the satisfaction of sharing a single walnut with a dozen other people.
I wish you knew how to make a fire, knew which wood burnt well, knew how to revive embers and most importantly, knew how to make the perfect winter kangri.
I wish that walking an hour to school, a wedding or to collect grass, was about as normal as hopping in your car and driving to the convenience store.
I wish you could attend weddings on a Monday evening and partake in main feasts on a Tuesday afternoon.
I wish that you praised God (subahanallah), thanked God (alhumdulillah) and remembered his greatness (allahhuakbar) instinctively throughout the day, rather than at routinely allotted times.
I wish that your garden chairs were picked out for their durability and ease with which they could be moved with the winter sun, rather than for their aesthetic value.
I wish you could by heart the electricity schedule and without fuss, time your baths, charging moments and television viewings to coincide.
I wish you could experience the joys of 2G Internet and the satisfaction that loading something for 3 hours at 3.4kb/s brings.
I wish you could live a life in which feelings of annoyance or depression are about as common as sightings of anything powered by an engine.
I wish that you weren’t afraid to sit in the dark and look up at the star filled sky, picking up your phone only to use the android star app to identify phantom constellations.
I wish that you could spend nights out on the machan, looking over your crops and sounding the bell to alert the village if a bear arrived.
I wish that your 7 year old kid would fearlessly lead you into the dark with a stick in hand, ready to hit the leopard if it popped up.
I wish that you accumulated enough to get by. No more and no less.
I wish you could live amongst a people whose poverty was overshadowed by their limitless generosity.
I wish that your life was filled with a degree of uncertaintity that disallowed anything but the present to matter.
I wish that you had someone to remind you every night that the sentence ‘see you in the morning’ was incomplete without ‘insha’allah (if God wills)’.

I wish that you could stop dwelling on yesterdays and losing sleep over tomorrows.
I wish that at some point in your life, if not for the rest of it, you could live for the present.


12 responses »

  1. Amazing. Loved reading and looked forward
    to your daily write up and awesome pictures.
    Jazakallah for sharing your experiences.

  2. This is beautiful Safiyyah – I wish that Allah (swt) continues to fill your life with opportunities to gain closeness to Him.

  3. Safiyyah, thanks for sharing the four months of your life with us. It made a lot of things clear in my head, in terms of what I want to do.

    Sabbah, you are doing a phenomenal job with the school. And, I hope, that someday I get to volunteer too.


  4. This reiterates the basic funda that there is beauty in simplicity…we ignore this and run behind all worldly possesions..if only we start appreciatin would be way more sorted 🙂 thank you for sharing your wonderful experience…it was so refreshing to read a simplified take on the world…:)

  5. This is beautiful Safs. I cried…..@ the lost opportunity to do something as noble as this in my youth…@ the things we and our children will never experience;@the contentment the people of Breswana(and the other villages) have with whatever little they have and that we, with all that we have cannot find. JazakAllah Khair for sharing. I’m crying, just thinking of you saying good-bye….Allah Hafidh will take on a whole new dimension……May Allah be with them and you.Ameen.(sobbing now )

  6. wow saffiya, i am speechless… my mum n i are like ———– theres no words, i hope u r well, give bana a huge hug from me. be safe n c u soon inshallah.

  7. I don,t how these four months passed since u joined H P S as volunteer ur daily narrative so good that i never missed it , so vivid ,. so nicely expressed now that u have left the school i miss the touch with it . it will not be same .ur students must be missing u very much i hope @imsabbah gets new volunteers like u. i am happy that u joined wit h ur family i wish u very happy happy life and also wish u get a very good life partner who will keep always happy BEST OF LUCK….

  8. Ah, this was so beautiful! I read the whole blog at one go and it was so, so lovely. An incredible Ramadan read. JazakAllah khayr!

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