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Trapped emotions: Survival of courage

Young nurse in uniform - my mom

In 1945, a child named Aminath Rasheeda was born. She was the first child of Fathmadidi, at age 26 and the sixth child of Jaufar, aged 46, from his last marriage. Anthrashida grew up in a small 3 bedroom house with the kitchen at the back separated from the main house with no electricity. Well water was used and clay vessels with rainwater were buried to keep the water cool for drinking. Huge breadfruit trees in the yard provided food and shade for the kids to play. She shared this house with her 7 siblings, a cousins, 3 aunts and her parents. It seems as an ordinary household.

It was a household of fear. Anthrashida and her 4 siblings grew up in extreme fear. The youngest brother died a month after birth turning blue, 2 sisters died of fever and diarrhoea at age 8 and 1. Their mother beat the kids with an 'iloshi fathi' (a broom made of coconut palm leaves) for non-obedience. I asked her, “Did your father know about the beatings?” “ He should know” was the short reply and then she tells me in those times, men worked mostly away from home. With a casual laugh she comments, “I should not remember that now. It is the past, there is no purpose.”

The kids have to recite in the mornings before they can have breakfast. The hunger and yearning for their father to return home distracted the kids from recitation. This lead to severe beatings. “I remember waiting desperately at the door for father to return home; sometimes it will be long after 10:00am.” She continued, “ some days for breakfast we get a “faaroshi” (dried bun) and a cup of black tea. I put the faaroshi on the saucer and pour tea over it, then wait and watch until it soaks and grows bigger in hope it will be filling, even then, I still feel hungry.” She adds involuntarily that “we get breakfast only after recitation.”

After a moment I asked what made her live at her aunts place. She said “...for father, it was hard to feed everyone and I was sent to my aunt's, one less to feed... at aunt’s place it was worse I didn't know even to move, you know, I cried and pleaded with father to take me home when he visited one day.” I sensed sadness and pain in her voice even in the casual manner she was telling me. The recalling of the memories was not easy as she states “What is the use of remembering?”

She also had only two pieces of clothing-one to wear and the other to be washed and cleaned. If she was lucky she may get two dresses a year from her aunt. Even though she was well aware of the hardship, sadness and disappointment as a child it was evident when she said, “Father never got us clothes. It was the aunt who gave us clothes.”

In Maldives, there was no tradition of sending girls to school. The ward leaders visited house by house begging to send the girls to school. At age 9, Anthrashida went to the ward school and subjects such as mathematics, religion and health were taught. She said “When I went to school they did not teach English and girls went to school at night from 7 -9pm and boys in the morning.”

Anthrashida joined the first batch of nurses in the Maldives in 1959, at age 14. There was only one doctor at any given time and he trained the nurses on the job. She also said “Operations were done only in emergencies and it would be the one doctor who would act as a surgeon and anaesthetist.” She was not scared but she said “it was hard to find the veins when giving IV.”

She expressed with pride “father who took me to learn English at a friend’s place. I even learned the abcs while I was working as a nurse.” It was only after working for 5 years that she got 1 year training and a Nurse Aid Certificate was awarded.

Married in 1965 and had her first child in 1967-me, Amei. My Dad was not happy leaving me with my grandparents. My mother could not work night-shifts and look after me during the day without sleep and rest. She said “ I did not feel anything at the time when I left the job.”

Anthrashida's father passed away, leaving 3 kids. As the eldest, she felt responsible to look after her siblings and her mother. Her husband promised to look after the siblings and insisted she should not take up nursing again. My mother expressed that at times the financial difficulties “I wish I did not give up my job”. She bought things for credit from the corner shop.

With her husband’s support, she said it was much easier for her to fight the challenges. She said “I had nothing to complain he never questioned what I did.” Anthrashida started to work as a dressmaker and enjoyed making dresses. She rented a sewing machine until her sister bought one. I liked making dresses.” This reminds me, when I was little, mother was sewing until past midnight and she was still there in the morning. I wonder whether my mother ever sleeps, or whether she was a Jini. She kept assisting women who were adamant to give birth at home and also did community work. She provided for her five kids, three siblings, and built her own house.

Ainthrashida, now, work as a land lady renting apartments. Financial security today makes her less worried and clam, knowing that she does not have to depend on her children. I sense guilt, sadness and anxiousness through her words. She expressed conflicting emotions. While she is grateful to be financially independent, she is afraid of loosing it and being depended on her children, but content and thankful where she is in her life.

This article is part of a writing assignment for Voices of Our Future, which is providing rigorous web 2.0 and new media training for 30 emerging women leaders. We are speaking out for social change from some of the most unheard regions of the world.

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Comments

vivian's picture

Congratulation Amie, am happy

Congratulation Amie, am happy to read your post. Hope you are happy now and have filled it what was missing in the draft. The tone of your writing is cool and inspiring with passion for the ones you love so much. Well done

Vivian

''Every woman have a story at every stage of Life''

Amei's picture

Thank you Vivian

It was not easy :-) thank you for your comment

Amei

Potter's picture

Beautiful!

This is a lovely and loving tribute to your mother. She raised a strong, wise woman...you!

Amei's picture

:-) thank you

I could not think of any other women to write... This is not just her story... this is a story that reflects what a lot of women goes through in Maldives without due credit. Mother's do not ask for credit or talk about their sacrifices... She is a wonderful mother :-) and I am blessed.

Thank you. Very happy :-)
Amei

Potter's picture

Has she seen your profile?

She will be proud and happy!

Amei's picture

Sad :-(

No, Potter .... she have not seen my profile yet. next time I visit Maldives maybe I will show her my profile. I printed out this article and posted it to her. I am waiting anxiously to hear her response. I hope and pray that she will be.... !

Season greetings... wishing you a wonderful festive season ans great year ahead.

Cheers, Amei

Ruun Abdi's picture

Congratulations dear Amei,

Congratulations dear Amei, this post is so lovely what a wonderful parents you have got. A dad who took care all of you, a mother who never stopped working hard and grandparents who did their best to raise their kids in the best way they could... Its really inspiring post, well done dear.

Warmest regards,
Ruun

Amei's picture

She is a wonderful mother!

Thanks so much,

Have a great day :-)
Amei

Farona's picture

Can't find an apt word !

Amei my dear !

I can't commend you enough for choosing to write about your own mother, a beautiful and courageous women.
I could sense her pain when she said "what is the use of remembering?" -

I would love to know how she felt when she read her post ? I send my love, my tribute and my appreciation for all she has done in her life. Her story is now listened, pondered and praised across pulsewire !

My wholehearted love to her ;- )

Amei's picture

Hey Farona...

It was a challenging task and as my mother is not well versed the internet. I printed and mailed with the comments included. I hope she gets it as a new year gift. I am relying on the snail mail :-)

I am anxious to hear what she thinks too. It was your comment that provoked me into the thinking that I should share with her what I have submitted...i contemplated for weeks before sanding it to her... it is a mysterious relationship i have with my mother and I am slowly trying to unravel... Thanks so much for your comment.

I could not reply to you until I have addressed the key point you raised .... I am really happy for you and I pray to God to keep you safe and happy.

Wish you wonderful year ahead :-)

with love
Amei

Farona's picture

Awww…Amei that’s a good thing

Awww…Amei that’s a good thing you did ! I am so glad you’re exploring your mysterious relationship with your mom !
Sometimes we realize so little we know about our own mother despite being so close –it’s nice to just sit and listen to what she says !

What a wonderful gift idea for new year !
We express our love to so many people yet sometimes we feel hesitate or fail to express our love for our mother who deserves the most …….insha’Allah she’ll feel absolutely LOVED when she reads this !
My thoughts and prayers are with you

I am plunging into the river of my next assignment, so excited but nervous too :S :S once again will switch on my ‘confusion’button about what to write about !

Happy new Year to you, too !

I will keep in touch !

With Love and Joy

olakitike's picture

Inspiring

I am truly inspired by your mother's story.She is an amazing woman who has braved the storms of her life with courage and grace.Well done.
Cheers

Amei's picture

Thank you Olakitike :-)

Thank you for reading my mother's story and for the lovely comment.

Wishing you a wonderful year ahead :-

Cheers, Amei

emillam's picture

Great story!

Your story is truly inspiring, Amei! Your mother has been an amazing woman and she has raised an amazing daughter as well who has the same courage to stand up and be counted among the women of leadership in the world! Your writing is well done, written with such authenticity, and lets the reader know some of the power of speaking out.

Good for you!

Elaine R. Millam

Amei's picture

Thank you

With a mentor like you anything is possible :-) Thank you for the continuous encouragement and believing in me when I doubted my self. Thank you for the prompt replies while handling your self and busy time of Christmas.

May God keep you safe and happy with your family. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas with your family and friends.

I am truly blessed to have you as my mentor :-)

With gratitude
Amei

lajone72's picture

Great piece

Amei:

There is truly something special when we get to take the opportunity to honor our mothers. So many times, they go feeling as though they are unnoticed or that there stories don't matter to us. You have done a great tribute to your mother and the others who have walked in her shoes. Thank you so much for your offering.

In peace,
LeTonia

Peace and Love!

Amei's picture

Thank you :-)

You are right, some parents hard work, sacrifices and love goes unnoticed and sometimes blamed for...sadly some children do not understand and try to put no effort to understand why parents did what they did. I have heard so many stories of mothers being blamed for what they could not do for their children.... and I feel it so unfair. As you said, we must put ourselves in their shoes.....

I hope this is a beginning of a new mission to reach for peace in our own thoughts and become better people.

Thank you so much for adding to the confirmations that I done the right thing.

Happy New Year :-) Wish you all the best LeTonia.

With love
Amei

mrbeckbeck's picture

Very well done

Amei, what a great job! I really enjoyed reading your profile piece. I can only imagine what a process it was to interview your mother and write her story. In many ways, it's your story, your history...I commend you on facing the challenge with such grace!

You've done a wonderful job in showcasing her life-- challenges, sacrifices, successes, joys and sorrows-- she would be proud! I can see how this profile could be so many women's story, but your heartfelt presentation makes it unique and allows us a personal connection. Thank you for sharing it here, and for the world to see.

I look forward to reading your work in the rest of the program! Happy New Year!
Scott

Scott Beck
World Pulse Online Community Volunteer

Amei's picture

Thanks Scott

I sent her printed copy of the article as new year gift. She was pleased. It was challenging and I had to slowly introduce her to the idea of being interviewed.

Thanks for the lovely comments.

I have formulated my second assignment in my head and it is also another issue very close to my heart. I am hopeful :-)

with appreciation
Amei

Rudzanimbilu's picture

Hello my dearest sister...

Its been a while and I am sorry that I am responding to your first assignment now. I read the first draft and this one twice and I loved every minute of it. Now I know where you get your strength and understanding from...your mother is my heroine, she a strong and brilliant woman who suffered a lot and yet she survived. She gave up so much for others too and towards the end I cried because she doesn't want any of her children to suffer and she is independent. I love your mother so much and she is a great human being whose story deserves to be told. Thank you for telling her story my sister and for being there always, checking out on everyone without expecting anything in return. Having you as a friend and a sister is a gift.

Rudzanimbilu Muthambi

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