Simon & Schuster|2005|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-1-4169-1837-0
Farah Ahmedi’s poignant tale of survival chronicles her journey from war to peace. Equal part tragedy and hope, determination and daring. Ahmedi’s memoir delivers a remarkably vivid portrait of her girlhood in Kabul, where the sound of gunfire and the sight of falling bombs shaped her life and stole her family. She herself narrowly escapes death when she steps on a land mine. Eventually the war forces her to flee, first over the mountains to refugee camps across the border, and finally to America. Ahmedi proves that even in the direst circumstances, not only can the human heart endure, it can thrive. The Other Side of the Sky is a remarkable journey, and Farah Ahmedi inspires us all.
Farah was seven-years-old and had overslept one morning. Worried that she was late for school she decided to take a short-cut through a field, saving her two or three minutes but little did Farah know that decision would turn out to be the worst of her life. Sadly, Farah stepped on a land mine! Quickly a crowd gathered around her but no one seemed to know what to do until a neighbour came along, hailed a taxi and put Farah onto the back seat and delivered her to the hospital. Farah was in so much pain that every time they had to move her leg or change bandages, she would scream. The pain, needless to say, was excruciating.
The hospital in Afghanistan was ill-equipped to deal with injuries as devastating as Farah’s and all they could offer her were bandage changes and most of the time didn’t even have them at the hospital, it was up to her family to run around the city buying bandages from wherever they could.
Once a month a group of doctors came from Germany to choose seriously injured children to fly back to Germany for treatment. Thankfully, Farah was chosen to go but at seven years of age, she had to go alone, no family or friends would be allowed to travel with her.
Once in the German hospital where Farah remained for two years, she learned she lost her right knee and “…some of the bone just above and below the joint, and they fused my thighbone to my shinbone, holding them together with a metal rod that extends six or seven inches into both bones.” Farah can no longer bend her right knee as she doesn’t have one and can only move her foot up and down as her ankle joints are intact. Sadly, her entire left leg was amputated.
At age twelve, Farah and her mother were living in a refugee camp in Quetta, Pakistan. It is now winter and Farah’s mother is suffering frequent bouts with her asthma from living in an unheated tent in the cold and wind. Farah has become her mother’s caretaker at the age of twelve.
Farah exhibits such maturity beyond her years in age. She is a studious and intelligent girl who stood up for her and her mother’s rights. In dealing with some under-handed people, they thought, Farah, at age thirteen, was too young and ignorant to know any better about adult decisions, but they were sadly mistaken.
Farah is an inspiration to all of us that even in the direst of circumstances and pain that we can survive and endure. It takes a deep faith and commitment to deal with what Farah did but she is now a beacon of light for many.
This was an amazing memoir which I would recommend to anyone and you’ll be amazed at what Farah and her mother went through after Farah’s two year hospital stay in Germany. Well done!!