Drought persists throughout Afghanistan, and Laila and Mariam dig a hole in their yard in an attempt to reach water. The Kabul River is dry, and farmers and villagers regularly abandon their homes to try to find a better life in the city. Mariam is now 40 years old, her missing teeth and rough skin attest to a life of beatings and hard work.In the yard, Zalmai, Laila's young son, chases his sister Aziza. When Zalmai is alone with Laila, he's well behaved, loving, and responsive to her reprimands. With Rasheed, however, Zalmai is a different boy, taking on his father's temper and poutiness. Rasheed spoils Zalmai with gifts they can't afford, including a TV and VCR, both items forbidden by the Taliban but which Rasheed procures on the black market. Six-year-old Aziza has grown into a mature and thoughtful little girl to whom Mariam teaches the Koran.
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