I was married at the age of 12. I haven’t experienced even my first mensuration at that time. Since I was born I was overburdened with the responsibilities that were entwined with my female identity. I would do several jobs: Child care (looking after my younger siblings), different household chores, herding, work in fields, and take care of the tasks to be done in our small family hotel in the hills of Gulmi, west Nepal . Yes, I was an uneducated village girl. I could then hardly read and write. At that time, girls were not sent to schools. I wanted to study. I wanted to be a responsible educated citizen. Though I would work hard from early morning till late night, my contribution was invisible. I had a desire to make it visible. My desire of becoming literate washed away with my ‘child marriage’. I was married to a nearby village with a Nepali Indian soldier. From all respects including age, we were wide apart. He came to have a look of me, liked me, and choose me as his wife. Since there was no question of going against the proposal made by my family I accepted him as my husband. My responsibilities doubled when my status changed from daughter to daughter-in-law. After marriage, my husband went back to India to resume his service. I was left back looking after the house, fields and in-laws. He would visit us on his vacations once in a blue moon. The days were hard for me. My little hands and stature would work hard, but it would hardly get acknowledged. After a couple of years I got the chance to travel to India with my husband. My friends were of similar age as that of mine: immature wives of Nepali Indian soldiers. I remember we were more like kids than mature married women. I became the mother of a little girl at an age of 16. My husband’s and my happiness was boundless and we shared it by distributing dozens of ladoos to our fellow comrades. With the birth of my baby, a dream started to take shape inside me; a dream of educating my child. Travel to the Indian territories with my husband provided me the opportune exposure to the wider world than I’d known. I got acquainted with several new things: People, places, language, culture, discipline, and also leisure times. However, life within camp boundaries (though easy on several strands) was no different than living inside the boundaries of my house and village back in Nepal. It offered me both gains and setbacks. As a wife of a soldier, I always lived in anxiety. My husband would be off-away for days, months and sometimes we would apart for years. Furthermore, raising four children alone was not easy. By the age of 24, I was a mother of 4 kids: 3 daughters, and a son. I was a strong woman raising four children all alone. The biggest gain from my temporary migration to the camps of India was the opportunity to educate my children which presumably would not have been possible if I would have lived in the remote village of Nepal. With scarce resources it is difficult to educate four kids. Army service in those years would provide you abundant services but not savings. Even retirement from the service didn’t bring enough relief. By the time, my husband got retired our kid’s education was unfinished. Returning back to Nepal didn’t seem a fine option then. I insisted in staying back for a few more years. My husband took another job after his retirement and I looked after our kids in a rented space (far off army camps and its facilities). Those who belong to army background would apparently figure out the hardships off-camp once anyone is out of military service. With meager means of survival it wasn’t a small decision, however, I was determined not to return unless all my kids attain necessary education and we did it. I am 50 years old now. I am still illiterate but not literally. Though I’m an uneducated blind, I have four highly educated sticks to lean on. I hear a saying these days that if we educate a woman, we educate a whole family and ultimately a nation. I am proud that, I have produced four literate nationals (3 women and 1 man). Finally, I made a visible contribution. Can you see my contribution? Finally, despite that I’m uneducated; I’m able to make you read my voice. I am thankful to my husband who made my desire to educate all my four kids realistic. I am thankful to all my kids who worked hard and made me a proud mother. I’m honored that all my kids have respectable profession and their contribution to the family, society and nation is visible. To my kids, I am sorry for; I couldn’t go with you for any programs, meetings, admissions, transfers, I couldn’t be any help with your homework and exams. I am sorry that I couldn’t read your mark sheets and praise you for your good grades. I am sorry for all the hardships you’ve faced because of your ignorant mother. But believe me, I did my best to raise all of you as a responsible educated citizen, so that you can raise and educate your own child in a much better way than your mother.

Comment on this Post

Comments

I an dumbfounded.

I JUST LOVE YOU. OH I LOVE YOU.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale Founder/Project Coordinator Star of Hope Transformation Centre 512 Road F Close Festac Town Lagos-Nigeria https:

It is an honor to meet you. Your work for life is far more valuable than anything I can think of right now. I am so impressed by your huble attitude and your beautiful heart!

Thanks for coming to World Pulse and make us part of your life.

Write more! We want to hear it all!

Love,

Jackie

Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva Tarija - Bolivia South America www.jap21.wordpress.com

This is just a wonderful story and I am so thankful you told it for your mother. Illiterate and uneducated do NOT equate ignorant and backwards. Although your mother couldn't read, she understood what was important and essential. I just lifted a quote from a friend's facebook page....

"The most important thing that parents can teach their children is how to get along without them." ~ Frank A. Clark

Your mother taught all of you MUCH!

R

Gitta, this is such a touching story. You and your siblings must be proud of your mother for being so persevering in making sure you all have a good education...and your father for lettingQ her achieve her dream for you all. Please congratulate her for me for doing such a great job. And thank you for sharing this wonderful story.

Lylin

Gitta, you mother is adorable! I love her strength and dedication to see all of you grow, not only physically but struggled to see you all educated. I believe you will do more than her because she struggled at her level, you may not go through the hills and valleys in educating your children and those that you will want to educate like your mother's. Hug her for me! tell her that I have learned from her and will carry on from my end. Tell her that she is one of the change makers this world needs. I love your mother. Thank you for sharing her story.

I believe everybody has the potential to live a better life. Given the Opportunity, Education and Motivation ANYONE can become someone admirable. Nobody is a NOBODY, everybody is SOMEBODY.