Living in dark caves close to the famous Buddha statues in the provincial capital, the impoverished individuals complained no government institution, charity or well-off had extended them assistance.
The modern-day troglodytes prepare their Sehri (pre-dawn meal) by cooking the vegetables they grew. They have to be content with eating bread and sipping tea in Iftar time (breaking the fast).
Amir Bigam, a woman who has been living in one of the caves with a six-member family, came to the hillside dwelling last year from Baghlan province. She has no other option but to live in the cave.
“We have no place to live in. This cave is not suitable either for living. However, we have no option. The government often warns us to leave the cave. However, we have no other place to live in,” she said.
Her children are too small to work and she shoulders responsibility for feeding her family. The culture of alms had weakened, as little sympathy was shown to the needy, the deplored woman, who did not know what to do.
Amir Begum said after her husband went missing in Pul-i-Khumri, she decided to shift to Bamyan along with her family. But there was no work in Bamyan, she explained, fearing she could lose her children under the circumstances.
Maryam, another caveperson, grumbled about passing through painful times. “The cave we live in is also home to snakes, scorpions and other poisonous insects,” she said.
Their problems have increased with the arrival of Ramazan when most of them have to eat vegetables and bread. Around 3,000 caves exist in the mountain around the fabled Buddha statues, where some 250 families live.
Abdul Rahman Ahmadi, the governor’s spokesman, said they had no budget to fund a Ramazan relief package. However, he added, efforts were underway to convince charities to help the cave-dwellers.