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Diary of Saudi Girl by Joe Richman
 

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  • 3 years ago, Radio Diaries and NPR launched a worldwide contest on Cowbird to find a teenager who would record an audio diary about their life for our ongoing series, Teenage Diaries. We got almost 1000 submissions. You can see all the sprouts from our seed here.

    Our idea was to find an unexpected story, one that we would never have come across on our own...and that's exactly what happened. The winner was Majd Abdulghani, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. This was her Cowbird story.


    I am 18 years old.
    My mother deemed me old enough to marry when I turned 16.
    She does not, however, think I'm mature enough to go out with my friends. Even though they're all girls!
    (God forbid I should speak to a boy unless absolutely necessary.)
    "18 is an emotionally-unstable age," she said as she folded my dad's shirt into a neat square. "It's very easy to make wrong choices."
    Right, because getting married at 16 to a guy 8 years older is a right choice.
    Her too-young-to-go-out-with-friends-but-old-enough-to marry policy confuses (and frustrates) me to no end, and I'm constantly worrying whether I am classified as young or old or somewhere in between and why she can't just decide.

    Maybe it's because I haven't.


    We sent Majd a tape recorder, and on her 19th birthday, she started documenting her life with a microphone. She continued for two years. On Tuesday, May 31, her audio diary airs on NPR’s All Things Considered and The Radio Diaries Podcast.

    Thanks, Cowbird, for helping us find Majd.
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