They call her “the old woman.” She is one of several widows in charge of “women’s needs” in an camp for thousands of displaced people on the western outskirts of Kabul.
On average Ren Bebe, 50, oversees a birth a day and is one of the only people women can talk to about pregnancy, birth, birth control and illness. These things are the business of women alone. Men are rarely involved.
“This place is not a home,” she said while walking among the maze of mud and tent homes built over the past 5 years to house those escaping violence or searching for work. “Babies die. Women bleed. They have no milk because they have no food.”
When there are complications, she takes women to nearby female doctors who run private clinics from their homes. But this service is not free. And the women in the camp, removed from their farmlands and relatives, are among Afghanistan’s poorest.