She is an 85 years old woman of my family. She lives a happy life with no medical problems whatsoever. The only problem she has is being illiterate!


This lady got married when she was 15 years old, she did not have the chance to study due to some social barriers at that time. Despite this, she decided to succeed in another social field. She determined to be the best wife and mother no matter what. After World War II she travelled with her businessman husband to Iraq to start a new business. “I was part of his success” she always says, “I was famous as the best cook in Baghdad, Adnan (her husband) used to invite Iraqi businessmen to seal their deals over dinner at home”.
Nihad (this old lady) has four boys and two girls. She used to encourage them to study by saying: “Education is the best weapon in life, it is the key for your future”. She taught them that school is their beehive and books are the nectar flowers. Saeed, her first son, is now an architect. Samer, the second, was one of the top students in Baghdad. Now he is a plastic surgeon. The rest of the children are a biologist, a lawyer, and two businessmen. “I made them. I taught them. I am proud of them” she used to say with no fear that people would comment on her illiteracy.
She was not only the best wife and mother; she was the centre of love among her community. Spreading peace and tranquility was her charm. One day I was tired and feeling down, I met her at my in-laws’ when she started telling me about her daily morning routine : “I wake up every day at 5.30 a.m., I pray to God and make two cups of coffee for Adnan and myself. We drink our coffee on the balcony in summer and behind the window in winter. I watch the sunrise and enjoy birds singing. Then when the gardener comes and starts watering trees in the park across from our house, I spend some time watching him messaging the leaves of the trees while whistling some tunes. I always pray to God to bestow His blessings on us and let us enjoy Paradise in the Hereafter”. Her words changed the way I look at life. She is an illiterate old woman who spends most of her time doing housework and socializing with her neighbours, but enjoys life more than young people.
Nihad’s only misfortune is that she cannot read or write. When she needs to call the butcher to order some meat, she opens her telephone book and looks for the drawing of meat next to the butcher’s phone number! Her favorite TV programs are documentaries and news bulletins. When she sees Hillary Clinton on TV she always says: “If I were literate, I would have been better than Clinton; but unfortunately, I am not”.
This lady is the centre of her society, the tutor of her children, the love of her husband and the joy of humanity. Life was her school and love was her career. God bless Nihad the mother of human innocence.

Failure in one side of life is not the end, but rather the beginning of success on the other end.

Mohanned Qassar

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