Another colour

By Hasina Raoufi

“Wake up Sama! It’s now 10am,”  her mother called out.As usual Sama did not want to get up.Sleeping or being awake was the same for her.The only thing she knew well for the past 16 years she had lived was darkness.


She was a young girl that lived in Herat,a city on the west side of Afghanistan,and she was  the third daughter of doctor Samim and teacher Khadije, she had two elder brothers too. They were a good family and she didn’t have any special problem in her life except ,she had congenital blindness,a disability that affect on all over her life.


She could smell, she could hear sounds.She could touch and taste. The most extraordinary thing her was the imagination.The unique ability to know the world from the beginning,a world her eyes had never set eyes upon.She had imagined everything that she could not see and this gave her a chance to have her own definition of words. The moon was a big cake in the middle of the sky because she knew the shape of a circle with cake and  she thought that when the rains fall ,the skies would be full of cotton,It was what  her mind made up according to her mother’s speech about the similarity between cotton , clouds and snow. To make it more realistic for her, Sama had been told that clouds were cotton that could be melted. She knew that wasn’t true but it helped her know the world better . Her imaginations had become her escape route from her mother’s anger episodes as part of her believed that her mother,no matter how upset she was, would always smile at her.  That was a great blessing for her but in the last few years she achieved a great motivation to go ahead and know more, and that was books she could read! That was amazing for her!

She couldn’t see but she could still touch so she could read with the help of her fingertips. Reading helped her acquire information about the world,now her mother and her ideologies were not the only source for her. Now she was more curious about life and things that she couldn’t see, the world was so bigger than she thought.


She would stand in the light of sun and feel the wind blustering through her skin pores, a subtle reminder that the world was not as dark as she presumed in her imaginations, she could create different  colours, it was rueful for her that she could not see the colours so she relied on spoken word her mother often shared with her.  When others spoke about yellow, she would be thinking  about  the sun , red was like being warm next to a heater in a cold winter or pink was her mother’s hug.she had other definitions for other colours and even for different emotions she chose a color to attach them  too.These were  her  thoughts world before school,every morning before having a chance to see what the world had for her for that particular day. She always thought that being blind is a weak point that made her ‘useless’ and she could not do something others her,blindness was a weak point. It made her feel useless in many ways. Being blind was a huge bar that separated her from other people, even from her siblings.


School changed her mind, she could read , count and she could  be independent one day!! At least that gave her that hope .A whole new world opened its doors for her, but she had missed two years of school. They said that it is because she is a girl. Culturally that is how things were done. Girls we not allowed to start school until a certain age.At least she had not lost essence of a new color,a colour of hope, independence, success.

“Sama .. don’t want to wake up”

Yes she did not want to wake up. The only colour that made sense in her life was black. The only thing she felt every morning she woke up was darkness. Whispers of hope reminded her that she was not alone. She was not the only one who wanted to experience a new color. She knew she had to find a new color , on her own.


Sama had to break boundaries. She had to walk into the unknown until she reached gates of pure hope and happiness. A type of happiness only she could understand. Her breaking point came when a local library reopened. She found herself soaked in Braille literature.


A new dawn broke.


‘I am here mom . I am awake … More awake than ever I was…’

23 March, 2023