ZAWARCI 1 Complete Document Written By Jameela Musa


The room was dimly lit, and *K* lay on the floor, her hunger palpable. Flies buzzed around the space, infesting it like an unkempt restroom. A stream of tears trickled down her cheeks as she silently endured her suffering. With a heavy heart, she mused, “If only I were somewhere else, free from this hunger and filth.” Wiping her tears with the back of her hand, she heard her mother’s voice calling out her name.

“Raihana, didn’t you hear me?” her mother asked, as she stepped into the yard. *K* straightened her clothes and replied, “Yes, Mother, I’m coming.” Her mother chuckled, gently grasping her hand, “You always say you won’t do it.” She then beckoned a boy nearby, instructing him about the payment for the laundry services.

Raihana dutifully began washing her father’s clothes, carefully tending to them before starting on her own. Once she finished washing her hijab, she wrung it out and draped it around her neck before leaving the house.

As she stepped into the community, she was met with jeers and taunts. “Look, it’s the daughter of the hypocrite, the ‘widow’s’ chosen one. Come, sit with us, little mother of the house,” they mocked.

After a brief stop at a shop, she exchanged pleasantries with the shop owner. Requesting some flour, she was met with hesitation. “Please, just a quarter,” she implored. The owner empathized, explaining the difficulty in fulfilling her request. With a sigh, he advised her to be patient.

Undeterred, she stated firmly, “If you can lend it to me, then do so. If not, just tell me, and I won’t bother you.” Greeting those around her, she returned home. Her stepmother, back from the neighborhood, inquired about her whereabouts. Raihana replied and retrieved the flour, intending to store it carefully till morning. Her stepmother’s dismissive words stung, but Raihana retreated to her room, determined to carry on.

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