“I’m tired”, she said even before introducing herself to us, It came from her heart and her exhausted features asserted it.
Time has had its toll on her wrinkled face and she looked 100 years old.
Her name is Wedad Nouman, from Tatalia Village, Assiut Governorate.
Wedad leant on the table before her, so as to sit quietly in her chair. Her tired body landed, which gives you the feeling – sitting before her – that the whole world came to rest, especially after the long sigh she uttered.
Down in her heart, there was a lot of pain reflected in her pitch dark clothes, as if she lost a dear one.
Wedad is certainly tired, but her success story is an example to be followed.
Her husband travelled to Iraq at the end of the 1990s and she didn’t hear from him again.
She didn’t know if he was alive or dead, let alone that of course he didn’t send her any money.
This went on for a very long time; for 18 whole years. A lonely woman who – all of a sudden – found herself bearing the responsibility of ten children.
A lot of women around the world are responsible for raising only one child, but she had to care for ten children.
She had every right to put emphasis on her words when she said “I’m tired”. “I pray God that no one sees what I have seen in my days”, said Wedad.
“He came back suddenly as he left suddenly, but he came with a dusty face, messy hair and a beard hanging on his chest.
He looked like a captive in a war won by no one. He looked as if he came all the way from Iraq on foot.
He came back after he has fallen sick, he came back with empty hands for his children, whom he abandoned and returned to find them grown men”.
When her husband left, Wedad did not give up.
She was keen to make her children continue with their education, but also to find them jobs during their schooling and in the summer vacation, so that they provide a source of income, no matter how little.
The girls were no exception, for she educated all of them.
She took part in money pools a long time ago, five years ago.
In the beginning, she participated with five names and got 2,000 pounds.
She took another 2,000 EGP loan and bought a small calf. She cared for it as she cared for her children.
The calf gave birth to two babies. She was so happy with them and took good care of them till they grew up.
She sold one for 12,500 pounds and the other for 8,000 pounds. This was a big wealth for this woman, who cared not only for her children, but for her grandchildren too.
She used this money in renting a small plot of land, to plant and provide food for the calf that produces milk, butter and cheese, that she sells to her neighbors, providing her with another source of income. Her children have grown and became men.
She said with relief, “My son takes care of the crops”. She wished.
she had someone to carry all her burdens. “I’m tired, I’m tired of my heavy burdens.
Even after I helped my daughters get married, I still care for them and their children, hence I’m responsible for my children and my grandchildren”.
As if it’s a chain of endless responsibilities, a chain that shackles her and burdens the exhausted old woman.
“Some people feel for me and others say why is she playing the man? Even when my husband came back from Iraq, he objected to my work”.
But the wise woman, who bore all these responsibilities and overcame all these hardships, managed to tame her husband who came back after long years.
She confronted him calmly and asked him why is he indignant. “I never asked you what happened in Iraq.
You came back sick and I took care of you. I never uttered a word”. “He backed and felt thankful for this faithful woman who waited for him all these long years.
Bit by bit he changed his opinion. When we asked her if he helped her she said “Help? He’s too old and can’t go around like the old days. If he supports himself that would be enough for me.”
“It is not shameful to work, but it is shameful to beg”, she concluded.
“This is what God destined for me”, She is content with all that she experienced and all that she achieved.
She still gives abundantly to her children and grandchildren, in spite of the hard lines time put on her face.