The Girl in the Chilli Fields
“Hurry up, beti (daughter), it is time to pick,” calls Zainab’s mother as she wakes her up before the break of dawn. Zainab knows that it is going to be a long day because she and her family would work until late evening to get the harvesting done on time.
Zainab, aged 10, a fifth grade student at TCF’s Keti Bander Campus in Sindh is going out to the fields before school, yanking chilies from their plants and dropping them into a cloth bag tied around her waist.
“We grow different crops in different times of the year. Sometimes I have to pick chilies, sometimes melons, corn or onions. It is hard, but not so much. My cousins and I also play while we work, Zainab tells with a grin.
When it is time, she runs back to change and sets off to school – a place where she learns, laughs, and discovers.
While Zainab’s parents, both farmers, want their daughter to become a teacher, Zainab wants to be a scientist.
“Science is so full of wonders. Do you know there is “Behr-e-Murdar” (the Dead Sea) in this world where people don’t sink because of high salt in its water? My teacher told me this. I learn so many things about the world and science at my school.”
When it is harvesting time, Zainab stays back to complete her homework right after school.
“We work long hours harvesting crop. I find it too difficult to finish my homework after we return, so I do it in the school. This way I also get to sleep on time, waking up early again.” Zainab reveals.