in the dead of winter, I fell ill and was bed-ridden for several
days. I had run out of food and money a week before this
and hadn't paid my rent in months.
As I lay in my bed of beaten earth, I saw Irfan's mother
and my landlord's wife open the door to my tiny room bearing
my daily bowl of steaming soup and,
to help me through this difficult moment, a purse filled with
coins that they had collected from their co-workers at the
nearby shoe factory. I
was deeply touched by this gesture of compassion by these
women who were, themselves, poor.