A woman in Algiers

A woman in Algiers

A Story by KSKhoury

Story of a young woman in post civil war Algiers , fighting to survive, to secure 'loqmet el aish' - her daily bread.

Atiqa was a poor woman, who had to rely on the kindness of strangers to secure her daily shelter, in the big city that was Algiers.
It was not always that way - before, she had to sleep in the street, hoping that no one would bother her, be it passers by, or brother and sisters sharing the same fate, due to poor parents, who neither had the skills nor education to support their children and resorted to irresolute depression or dubious behavior  setting off their children's sense of responsibility at a very early age.
Braving nature's changes and living face to face with the harsh status of weather - be it cold or warm, humid or dry - was not one of her choices.  She always dreamt of a warm abode and why not with a nice companion who would keep her warm, whom she would eventually have children with .. but that was a distant wish which she knew wouldn't come true without hard work and patience - after she would survive these endless nights sleeping in front of mosques, sometimes begging for food, learning that nothing is given for free, at least not in her case.
Atiqa grew up in Algiers, during the time of the Algerian civil war, born in the mid seventies, when Algeria was not yet at the beginning of turmoil, and when some Algerians would attest to have lived their best moments, going out, partying, socialising, swimming and dancing .. but that was not for the girls .. 
To be continued ..    
Atiqa at least could rely on herself these days, offering her good services to needy clients, clients who had to have their homes clean and tidy, who had to have a meal on their table but didn't have the skill or time to cook, and she did her best to accommodate each and every one.. 
A great many thought of her as a homeless person, whom they would, if at all they did, think of employing after a great deal of consideration.  Only those with kind hearts would take her into their homes or workplace so she could help them organize or clean or do whatever they had to do to keep their house in order.  Charitable people were warned by their non emotional counterparts of the conditional nature of their undertaking.  'Be careful' they would say to their more sensitive, giving compatriots or building mates.
Granted Atiqa was exposed to the elements and that came as a consequence of her being unable to afford a roof one her head.  Therefore she was also familiar with cruelty displayed towards her by roaming street dwellers, drunkards and unsympathetic fellows, who also thought the street wasn't too big for the both of them.  Atiqa's arm displayed traces of burn.
Her living quarters were, at present, the one bedroom apartment of a kind man, who was outside the country and who had donated his home to her temporarily, but it was far away from her clients' homes, however she did not have a choice. 
One thing Atiqa had was a cellular phone, .. and the power to be able to work.
Only in this town she rarely trusted anyone, and so she carried with her a razor that she would place on the counter of each kitchen .. just in case ...
So her cellular was her connection to other members of her family who lived in Europe, and who had their own family to support.. she would call them almost every day.

© 2012 KSKhoury

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Added on November 15, 2011
Last Updated on December 3, 2012
Tags: The world, Bouteflika, Civil war, Algiers, North Africa, Revolution, poverty, hopeless, hope, misery, perseverance



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