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Anya K.1

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Review for High Atlas Foundation, New York, NY, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

Obscure and Marvelous Possibility
Anya Karaman
HAF Intern, UVA Student

“EVERYONE IS THE SAME.” Lalla Fadma, the eldest woman in the village, kept repeating this phrase to me in Arabic the whole way up the mountain. Just moments before, I turned my back to the valley—where we spent what felt like an unthinkably stretched amount of time at—to walk back up the mountain trail. Her hand, still clutching mine so tightly, moved from her chest to the space in front of her. To the world around her. “Everyone is the same,” Fadma echoed, pulsing our hands in rhythm with the words. “Everyone is the same,” I kept thinking. Really? After getting into a momentary existential crisis with myself about essential goodness and nature versus nurture, I wondered, How many times do I need to repeat this phrase until the tick that is my incessant need to establish identity politics and uncrossable barriers between marginalized and centralized groups in conversation stops? Not as many as I thought. Something about being down in the valley with all the girls, from the village and from our group, was profoundly unifying. Maybe it was the circumstances. We were all young women—and yes, with Lalla Fadma tugging at my hand by the time we got to the top of the mountain trail I certainly count her as one sprightly, youthful woman. Is it not inevitable that we felt an unspeakable unity amongst ourselves? Is it—not to be dramatic—not the most awe-inspiring thing to see women of all races, ethnicities, education levels, religions, and socio-economic backgrounds just enjoy each other’s company at the bottom of a valley? Truly, the number of young women gathered with the purpose of reconvening in a mountainous valley felt epic and vast. Perhaps there were thirty of us total, but it felt infinite. And as I looked around at the towering mountains, the nursery way off in the distance, and the crystal-clear stream flowing right through my fingers, I knew that this was a land of obscure and marvelous possibility. Only time can tell us how much longer we have left until a feminist revolution occurs. One is imminent, anyways. With all the young women gathered there during those two days, learning about feminine health, cooperative building, business strategy, and internal growth, the phrase, “Everyone is the same,” doesn’t seem like such a hollow farce now.

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