It was the summer of 1989 and Bushra began having contractions in the middle of the hot, hot night. She woke up her husband, Sameer, who helped her into the bedroom from the yard. During the summer months, everyone slept in their enclosed yards. The humidity that built up in all of the rooms during the day was too much to bear at night. Sameer made sure Bushra was comfortable before lighting an oil lamp and leaving to find Zulayqa. Zulayqa was the woman that all of the women in the village relied upon to help them through back pains and headaches with massages. And when they were pregnant, the women called upon her to be their midwife.
Zulayqa entered the home just ten minutes after Sameer found her. She gathered water from the water pump, pulled down some old rags and a towel hanging up on the wire in the yard, and grabbed a knife from the kitchen. Zulayqa thought hard for a minute and then decided to light a fire. She put a huge pot over the cemented outline of the fire pit and poured some water into it to heat up. Zulayqa gathered everything else and entered the room that was pulsating with Bushra’s heavy breathing. Sameer, meanwhile, went to his father’s house to find his mother and sister to keep Bushra company. He would stand waiting in the yard for the next three hours.
Just as the morning call to prayer began to echo throughout the sky, the faint cry of a baby daughter emanated from behind the closed door.
Sidra was born.