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New Face, New Life

Aesha Mohammadzai’s face tells a story.

Her Taliban husband and in-laws disfigured her and left her for dead in Afghanistan.  Her forehead is the size of a baseball and flesh protrudes from where her nose once was.  The woman’s ears have also been cut off.  Six months into multistage reconstructive surgery, her new face hints at a path of hope and change.

“I don’t care.  Everybody has some kind of problem,” said Mohammadzai, with the help of a translator.  “At the beginning I was very scared…But now I’m not scared anymore.”

Mohammadzai did not celebrate birthdays while growing up, but she believes she is 21 or 22 years old.  She is being treated by doctors at Walter Reed National Military Center in Bethesda, Maryland.  She is scheduled to undergo her fourth surgery on Monday.  The surgery may take eight hours.  If the procedure goes as planned, she will be closer to having the nose she wants.

Mohammadzai has lived in the United States for more than two years now.  She lives with Mati Arsala, his wife Jamila Rasouli-Arsala and her 15-year-old daughter Miena Ahmadzai.

She has lived with them for over a year.  With their help, she has become more at peace and she realizes that she is not alone.

“What happened, it’s part of me, part of my life and it’s all the time in my mind and with me,” said Mohammadzai.  “But I have to live, and I have to love.”

 

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