An Afgan Girl on the Other Side of the Sky

I just finished reading a really interesting book about a girl named Farah Ahmedi.  She grew up in Afghanistan, and when she was only 7 years old, she stepped on a land mine and was almost killed.  She was one of the wounded children chosen to get medical care in Germany, so she had good medical care for 2 years, but it came with the price of loneliness because her family had to stay behind in Afghanistan, she didn’t speak German, and no one at the hospital spoke her language.  Her leg was amputated, and her other leg was rebuilt without a knee, leaving her unable to bend it.  When she returned to Afghanistan as a 9-year-old, the Taliban was starting to take over, and a rocket hit her house, killing her father and two sisters.  Her brothers were forced to try to flee to Pakistan in fear of being drafted or executed by the Taliban, and she hasn’t heard from them since.  Since she and her mother were the only members of her family left, they were forced to flee the Taliban also – we’ve all heard about how the Taliban don’t treat women very well, and women couldn’t even go out in public without men.  This was difficult for Farah and her mother since they didn’t have any men left in their family.  They spent 4 years as refugees in Pakistan until they were finally granted approval into the World Relief’s American Refugee program.  After the long process of applying and finally getting approved, they were waiting to leave for America when September 11, 2001 happened, and their trip was cancelled as no foreigners were being allowed into the country.  Within 6 months however, the program was reinstated, and they came to America.

The book chronicles all the adventures, trials, and tribulations it took for Farah to become the sucessful American citizen she is today.  It was a VERY interesting read; from the details of life in Afghanistan under the Taliban to the struggles of an Afgan widow and her daughter getting used to the American way of life.  In fact, they had been through so much, that when they got to America, they were certain that their American hosts were actually slave owners who were trying to imprison them.  It’s a wonderful story about the triumph of the human spirit, and I recommend the book to anyone who likes learning about different parts of the world, other cultures, or just likes reading a good non-fiction life story.  In fact, her book was published when she entered a Good Morning America contest and became a finalist.  I heard about it because Farah attended the rival high school to the one where I went, so for me, it was interesting to read about the area I grew up in as seen through the eyes of someone who had been through as much as Farah and was seeing the area for the first time as an immigrant.  Check it out!