Since escaping the terror of the Taliban, their thoughts were always with their families and the struggles they would face back home. We spoke to Karima and Zargona, two of the recent arrivals to Galway, to learn about their experience.
Escaping the Taliban
On 15th August Karima left with six others to go to the airport. Unfortunately, on their arrival there was an explosion, meaning they all had to return home and wait another week. Then came a long wait. Karima had to wait 35 days for her flight to Mazar, confined in a small room of 15 people. Before she was allowed to board her flight, the Taliban demanded $1000.
Reflecting on Home
Ascend athletes were made the main priority when it came to evacuating. Sadly, husbands, children and siblings had to be left behind. For all of the Ascend athletes, leaving their loved ones behind was incredibly challenging. The girls have spent many nights crying themselves to sleep, wondering how their families would survive without the basics of human needs.
The Ascend athletes are very aware that things will probably get worse before they get better in Kabul. They know their families will cope better knowing they are well and settling into their new lives.
“I told my family that when I got to Ireland I would start working and send home money as soon as possible so they could eat”, said Karima, “it’s so hard to be happy when I’m scared for my family”.
In a recent gathering of the Galway contingent, Anne McNamara addressed the girls. “You are here now and you are safe. You cannot control what is going on in your home, only what you cando here. In this country you have no limitations. You can be victims or you can be the powerful women that you are. It’s your choice, as is everything from now on”.
“We know we are strong women and it will get better” said Zargona, “We must show our family we are strong and not make things more difficult for them while they struggle. Together we will get through this”.
The 20 Ascend immigrants face their ongoing challenges away from home but are making / continue to make huge strides daily in adapting to their new lives in Ireland.
“Our families are Hazara and the Taliban are after them, it scares me all the time. They are not safe!”