Author

Lubnah Abdulhalim

Browsing

Photo Courtesy: http://www.wesleyacademy.org/

Laptops, laptops, laptops!! It’s a brand new year again and for the children joining class one, this is going to be the best year in their school lives maybe. I can imagine how much they are anticipating this great action by the present government. We will surely be seeing public schools being flooded with new admissions into the school, after all, who doesn’t want a laptop?

It isn’t a surprise why any child would like the idea to join school in this year; you can’t blame them! Some never even had a touch of a pen and a book and maybe, they saw how their parents struggled to buy for their older siblings, the school stationeries. I bet even the older teenagers in the rural areas who have always rejected school and opted for agriculture and being shepherds, would want to join school this time. Maybe Kenya is really heading to the technological era of learning whereby students will be taught ‘B is for Bluetooth’ and ‘L is for Laptops’ instead of the ball and ladder we grew up hearing. Who knows? That could be vision 2020 for Kenyans!

The irony of this entire story is that while the government is planning on the laptop project, there are students in Turkana who don’t even have a place to call a school. They have their lessons under the trees, with no shelter to protect them from severe sun rays, with no desks to sit on and not even books to write on. For people like these, what effect do the laptops have on them? Is there any effect expected when they are promised such things when they don’t even have electricity? This sad story isn’t only in Turkana but in many other places in Kenya.

Apart from that is the fact that some of the teachers don’t even know how to operate the laptops let alone the children. They will learn, some of us will say. It is true; time is enough for everyone to learn new things but what of the consistent problem of teachers not being paid their salaries? Some people may agree with me that this is a more important issue to be dealt with rather than the laptop project. Many are still debating whether this is the right project to be done during this time in Kenya whereby problems are overwhelming.

For the class one children and their parents of course, this is hurrah for them. It is definitely a new year, with new resolutions and new goodies! I definitely wish to join you in your joy or maybe, it isn’t all that a bad idea that I should start class one again too. Now that I don’t have any sibling going to class one, this could be a brilliant idea to get myself a laptop! Apart from all that; to the beautiful children of Kenya, I say, congratulations for the coming laptops!

Photo Courtesy: https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/

I have a dream. Just so-big a dream that would make you stagger because of its weight, if I handed it over to you. It is what makes me wake up each morning with new hope, new faith and new dedication. There’s always something special about living your dream. It is what drives you to wake up cheerfully and ignore the Monday blues, the over-load of work on your desk or that your cat actually drunk your milk that was for breakfast. There is something more to it, some power…it is all hope that your bright day will soon come. It’s about having focus on what you want to do, being dedicated and putting in a lot of hard work. I met so many talented people in my life, people who actually sleep on what God has bestowed on them and expect just one day a miracle will happen and they will have all they ever wanted. Maybe they seize to realize that miracles ended with prophet hood or maybe they still live in the fantasy of that song we sang at kindergarten whereby the farmer luckily digs out some diamond: “Bwana Tumbo mwenye shamba alipanda viazi, akachimba chimba chimba akaona almasi! Lo! Lo! Bahati kwa mtu mwenye shamba!” is that so??

What makes a dreamer an achiever is the passion one has towards what they do, however difficult it may seem or how monotonous it may be, without complaining, but instead, doing it to their best. It is just like that stubborn maths sum that doesn’t want to be solved yet and X doesn’t seem to appear on your way but you keep trying till you succeed. This just reminds me of a regular quote by someone very special, my mum: ‘for you to succeed, you must try and try and try’ and yeah after all, nothing comes on a silver platter!

Photo Courtesy: Salem_Beliegraphy

 

If given a choice, majority of people would choose never to die and want to live forever. As for the rest few who would choose death, then it is probably the holy ones for believe they have a chance to meet their Lord and probably the ones who are facing so much misery in their lives and they think that death would be a relief to them. But maybe we should take a minute and picture our lives without death. Many would like the idea of such a life; all of us with our families living happily ever after, right? This is the first thought that would come to mind but there is definitely more to it.Death is one of the most dreaded and hated things in life. We all don’t want our loved ones to part away from us and we all wish we could have our parents for as long as possible. But death was never predictable, whereas the old woman whom everyone thought would die in a few days, lived longer while the teen just got involved in an accident and passed away. That’s how unpromising tomorrow is because it may never come. Many tend to live in fear on how death would come to them. Would they suffer cancer, diabetes, AIDS or maybe a stroke would be the reason of their death? Or would their death be sudden like someone just slept and never woke up or he had an unexpected accident or he slipped down the stairs and died? We all wish we could know how our end would be and maybe prevent ourselves as much as possible from what is to cause our death.

If death never existed, that means that we would all be living with our fathers and grandfathers and great grandfathers and our forefathers! Just imagine the chaos that would be there. Father is suffering from cancer, grandfather is blind, great grandfather has Alzheimer; all in one house. Your father needs to be taken to hospital, grandfather needs you as his support around the house, great grandfather keeps forgetting and you need to change his elderly diapers. Not forgetting that your wife still needs you to provide a meal on the table and your children need to be picked from school.

Our forefathers would be walking in the streets like zombies with so much amazement and shock. The noise, the many cars going to and fro, the very tall buildings will all make them feel dizzy. But that’s not all, they see everyone talking with this gadget they call the cell phone and they imagine everyone is going crazy. Since our forefathers are expected to be almost like monkeys in the evolution theory, journalists would surround them in frenzy and the light from the cameras would make them panic a bit more. They would want to interview them day in day out to know how life really was during their prime ages.

More children are born every day and we are so occupied not knowing whether to tend to the new born baby or the fore fathers who need you too. If we are living in billions right now in the world, then definitely statistics would be filled until people get tired and decide to record the numbers of people as ‘to infinity’.

People like Hitler too would still be alive and maybe we would by now have had our ‘world war 102’ and the difference would be that no one dies in the wars, just injuries and defeat. Terrorists would all be busy trying to terrorize the whole world and the previous presidents would be flocking to vie for the presidential seat again; so probably the late president Kenyatta would still be alive and maybe he would have gone against his own son in the elections. How interesting!

Maybe death is really important and needed in our lives because the wisdom behind it is quite great. In the life of no end and no return, lies more misery than when we encounter death.

Photo Courtesy: http://www.doctorwellgood.com/

Dyslexia is characterized by difficulty with learning to read fluently and with accurate comprehension despite normal or above average intelligence. It is the most common learning difficulty and most recognized reading disorder. There are three subtypes of dyslexia, ‘auditory, visual and attention’. Although dyslexia is the result of a neurological disorder, it is not an intellectual disability and it occurs at all levels of intelligence: average, above average and highly gifted.Have you ever heard of a disability yet it is at several times considered a gift? Yes, dyslexia it is; one of the common yet not known disabilities that have miraculously led to many being outstanding in the society.

Among’st the symptoms of dyslexia are:

  • Delay in speech in early childhood
  • Letter reversal or mirror writing
  • Difficulty knowing right from left and directions
  • Easily distracted by noise
  • Difficulty identifying rhyming words
  • Very poor spellings
  • Difficulty in blending sounds into words

Adolescent and adult dyslexics may have trouble with summarizing a story, memorizing, reading aloud and learning a foreign language. Adult dyslexics tend to be slower in reading even when they have good comprehension.

There is no cure for dyslexia but the victims can learn to read and write with appropriate education or treatment. Several special education and therapies approaches have been developed for students with dyslexia. Adaptive technology such as specialized computer software is used. There are controversial treatments such as nutritional supplements, special diets, and homeopathy and osteopathy manipulation.

The most interesting part of this all is that quite a large number of our stars, role models, musicians, artists, actors, scientists, athletes and many more were victims of dyslexia and yet they were able to overcome it and achieved what many non-dyslexic couldn’t. Amongst the famous victims examples that are always going to be remembered are as follows:

Agatha Christie- was the world’s bestselling book writer of all times equaled by Shakespeare. Her books sold approximately 4 billion copies worldwide even though she suffered from dyslexia. This in no way stopped her from being creative and learning how to write and her mystery novels have always been some of the most captivating of all times.

Albert Einstein- was one of the most known scientists and inventor of all times. He suffered from dyslexia mainly because of his bad memory, his constant failure to memorize the simplest of things, his inability to even tie his shoelaces properly and even not remembering the months of the year yet his scientific contributions and theories still have a great impact in our science knowledge today.

Hans Christian Andersen- he was an author of children’s fantasy books such as ‘the emperor’s clothes, the princess and the pie, Thumbelina, the snow queen, the ugly duckling and the little mermaid. He was a victim of dyslexia and showed the world that when you want something, nothing can stop you from obtaining it. His books have been translated into many languages and are distributed worldwide in millions of copies.

Walt Disney- Walter Elias Disney was an American film producer, screen writer, voice actor, animator, entrepreneur and philanthropist. He was known to have dyslexia, a learning disorder characterized with reading difficulties but yet still, he emerged as one of the most influential and innovative figures in the field of entertainment during the twentieth century.

Tom Cruise- the famous American actor and film producer was also a dyslexic which partly led him to be abused as a child. His father went hard on him when something went wrong and was also a victim of bullying at school. He had gone through fifteen schools in twelve years but yet still emerged to be appreciated by the society by his work.

Other famous individuals who were victims of dyslexia are: Orlando Bloom-actor, Pierre curie-physicist, Thomas Edison, Michael faraday- scientists and inventors, Leonardo da Vinci-artists/designer/architect, Pablo Picasso, Cher- Musician, Muhammad Ali-boxer, Steven Spielberg- Film maker and Abhishek bachan-actor

These individuals and all the others not mentioned here have proved beyond doubt that disability is NOT inability. When life offers us challenges then let us make the best use of them to emerge stronger that the challenge itself and thus, become outstanding in the community.

 

 

Photo Courtesy: http://photos.state.gov/

The beauty of it all is that we have other options to bring ourselves back at our feet. God has given each one of us a talent or an outstanding skill that could get us independent in our own way. It could be that you have a golden touch when it comes to art or that you can design clothes and much more. Whereas many underestimate jobs like hawking but some people have that outstanding skill and they could sell much within a few moments. Your personal skill or talent could be a good source of a business idea so make the best use of what you’ve been gifted with.In this era where hustling is the order of the day, we need more ideas to draw the youth away from idleness and joblessness that has been a challenge for quite a long time. Many have studied to far extents in universities and colleges and yet still suffer from the widespread disease known as ‘hakuna kazi.’ Our government does have a part of the blame for not creating job opportunities for the youth but if we are all going to sit down and wait for some rich firm to miraculously realize your great capabilities and offer you a job, then we would all be jobless in our homes. Many people who are diploma and even degree holders ended up doing totally different jobs from what they studied. While some ended up digging in their shambas at their homelands, others were left with no other option but to sell water around and much more else could be mentioned.

 

You don’t have to be extremely rich to start a small business of your own. The first step is to identify a business idea. Check around your environment, what business would be suitable according to the conditions there? If you notice that people are lacking hardware nearby and have to go far to get the stuff then that could be something to start with or maybe it could be that there isn’t any saloon around. If you have a good hand in designing clothes then you could start a tailoring shop somewhere. Make sure not to go for very common things like opening a shop while five steps from your house there is another shop too. Think big and wide. Let your mind wonder around.

 

The second step is sourcing this new business idea. Acquiring the money could be one of the most difficult steps in entrepreneurship but nowadays things have been made easier for us. We have so many banks and youth groups that help the youth fund their new businesses and projects. It just needs a determined person to take the risk and go ahead with the plan.

The next step is putting the plan into action and starting the business right away. Organize the required resources and ensure that you are good to go.

 

Always remember to be patient for there will be many challenges on the way. It will obviously take some time before people start appreciating your work and be regular customers. Learn the tactics of luring your customers into your business by giving them the best customer care possible. Remember, without them (your customers) you indeed have nothing.

 

Competition will eventually come your way but you must be brave enough and innovative to ensure that your business never goes down.

 

There will be times you may undergo failure but that is a phase all business persons go through so never give up and yet instead, come up with new ideas; better than before! So the time is now; don’t take all the time in the world thinking again and again on what to do. Invest and let yourself grow!

 

Photo Courtesy: Salem_Beliegraphy

 

With the very tight school programs we have today, children only get to play during the P.E lessons or games but that is all for them. At home, there is a lot of homework to be done, washing and ironing of uniforms and before the child realizes, it is already sunset and they can no longer go out to play. Unlike the olden times where there was sufficient time to do everything and the children had so much merry. They would go to school only half a day and the entire evening, you would see them everywhere in the compounds playing football, hide and seek and many other games that disappeared with time. Right now all what children have are the video games and the ones available in mobile phones. It is very monotonous and this is why the current generations are not fit like the children of previous generations.Going back into the memory lane of the past where our parents, grandparents and great grandparents belonged, we find a lot of interesting things that never lived to our times. For sure, times have really changed and they keep on changing day in day out which makes us wonder how lives would be for the generations yet to come. It is assumed that maybe in the future generations, cars would not be using petrol and diesel anymore, phones would be of no use anymore, and everything will be machine based with advanced technology and a lot more theories are being told. Well, only God knows what’s yet to come but what is gone will always be missed.

Gone were the days where gold could be bought at three or four hundred shillings and a building stone was at two shillings whereas now, gold goes at thousands and a single stone; at forty to fifty shillings. It is even funny to know that school fees were just at eleven shillings and furthermore, books and milk were provided for each student. A full house grocery for a day could be bought at just one shilling and a person could build a house from his three thousand shillings salary which at those times was very big money! A person who had five shillings as pocket money was regarded wealthy enough while nowadays; even a class one child would whine and complain if given the ten shillings as their break. Those are just but a few examples of how cheap the old generation economy was.

Those were the days where grandparents, parents, siblings and all their children would live in one big house or same neighbourhood and would cook and eat all together in the same platter. That is when family really held big meaning and people would live together in both happy and sad times. Right now, every couple and their children live in their own different and sometimes far apartments. Families have become more of strangers and the current generations don’t even know the family tree and their ties with other people.

Days seemed so long and people would do so many things in one day. There was time to do everything whilst for now, time seems so limited and squeezed with no time to even rest. People long ago neither had the many diseases nor the stress most people have now. The entertainment of those days was cinema where families would flood in to watch movies. Others explored into novels and others would watch the white and black programs being brought at the huge television sets. They used refrigerators being conducted by paraffin and things like blenders never existed. They would take hours grinding cereals using mortar and pestle. It was such a tough life but that is what made them be stronger than what we are.

The lives of the old may have been of humble and poor backgrounds but for sure, they had much happiness than we of the current generations do. And as they say it, ‘those were the days my friend…we thought they will never end.’

Photo Courtesy: Unknown

Eid is the happy day. The day we go meet our families and have a get together for the day. It is the day we value each other as brothers and sisters, and as family, and enjoy our time together. It is also the day we make time to visit the sick in the hospitals and go to the orphanages to give charity to the less able so that they may as well have a chance to eat and wear well and be happy on this particular day.

Every child anticipates the wearing of a new dress or cloth for the event and not only the children, but the adults as well. Majority of the people save money for this special occasion and ensure they have beautiful clothes and accessories to wear. But there is always a limit to everything and God doesn’t like the spendthrifts. Some people go to the extents of getting big loans for the occasion and yet they know very well it will be difficult to pay back the amount. You can still celebrate and be happy just as simple as you are.

More on this festive season, most people organize parties with friends or families to celebrate. But are we doing it the right way? Are we going to have fun and have the limits as per God wants from us or are we going to start doing all those acts that annoy God. Are we going to forget that just the previous days we were crying humbly so we may be granted the mercy and forgiveness of God and now just two days after, we are back to our old ways as if the God of Ramadhan is not the same God of all the other months?

Muslims should work to ensure they celebrate the right way. There are a lot of good deeds one can still do in this festive season. Apart from what I previously mentioned, Muslims can go to the graveyards and make a dua for their dead relatives so God may have mercy on them. Muslims shouldn’t get too engrossed in the eid excitement and forget to pay zakatul fitr to the needy which is to be paid before swalatul Eid.

Eid does not, and I emphasis, does NOT mark the return to our old bad, evil habits which we restrained from during the month of Ramadhan. It does not mark the day for the ladies to start walking around with their over worn make up, fancy hair styles exposed and meeting with boys and men who are non mahram in secrecy. This day neither marks the day for anyone to start chewing miraa again or get their lose tongue into action or anything else. We are not celebrating the return of Shaitan, are we?? Because if this is what we do, then we are definitely making him a welcome back home party!The end of Ramadhan is always a saddening moment, since we are forced to wave it goodbye till next year if God wills but God gave us a joyful event to mark the end of it so we may be happy for the completion of the holy month. Eid comes with its own anticipation and excitement, with everyone having their own way and plans to celebrate the grand day, but the important question is, do we do it the right way?

Remember, sinning on the day of eid is like sinning on yaumul waeed (yaumul qiyamah), so, are we going to risk it to sin on such a day really?? This is food for thought for everyone. Wishing you all a happy festive season and in sha Allah we all try to fast the six days of Shawwal for more blessings. May Allah guide us always, ameen. As for Ramadhan, we will be anxiously awaiting for your next visit and we hope to live and see you again in shaa Allah!

Photo Courtesy: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/

To commemorate the completion of my one year at Coast this Week, I’d like to make this edition a special dedication to all my fans and all the amazing writers that read our paper each week.

Take a tight grip on the pen,

Have ready a paper that is plain,

This is not just about the pain,

But about all your dreams to have you claim.

Let the ink pour its magic,

The story full of tragic,

With so well painted a tactic

Gently, without being much frantic.

Oh what’s a pen and paper without emotion?

Word by word with so much precaution,

It could be about that devastating explosion,

Or perhaps your inner most expression!

Keep the words flowing,

And your memory, loading,

Touch the heart of the one mourning,

And one who is always frowning.

All you have to do is create happiness,

In this world, full of madness,

Let your words bring the brightness,

To celebrate all world’s greatness.

Venture into the puzzling history,

The things that were always a mystery,

Or maybe of the grand victory,

Of that incredible outstanding missy.

Let your mind wander far and wide,

Into the open and what’s in hide,

Could be of the runaway bride,

Or of the downfall of manly pride.

Imagine, imagine, imagine

Let your ink fill between your margins,

Narrate of the famous assassin

And even in politics be sure to indulge in.

Go capture that inside story,

Even if it means going up the storey,

Or maybe even to the quarry,

Can’t you do that much for your own glory?

Be sure to be nothing but the best,

All people’s attention ensure you arrest,

You just have to keep away the haste,

And continue with the spirit of great zest.

A hand I give to all those who think,

Who take a risk to be on a new story’s brink,

Whom we always want to mimic,

With a drop of their magic ink!

To all the aspiring writers reading this, I salute you all!

Photo Courtesy: Salem_Beliegraphy

 

It has been weeks since Lamu has been under attack and yet till now, insecurity still prevails in the area. Many have died, many have been injured, the rest are all living in fear of when will we be attacked again? Different villages in the area have had threats and have been attacked by unknown terrorists groups while some decided to evacuate the place to run for their lives. But this is not the only place in Kenya facing insecurity. Trailing back in history, Kenya has been in utmost tense atmosphere since the Westgate siege where many died and others injured. Many insecurity cases have followed after that and yet our leaders have had an epic fail in making our country as peaceful as before. While many of our leaders are not taking proper action on getting hold of the people involved, it is the innocent people who face the court for no good reason. Injustice is what is taking over our country and fear too, and it has reached to an extent whereby when we see a van with policemen, our hearts skip a bit; what is happening?Humanity…talking of humanity that barely exists in the present world and I keep wondering where are we heading to? All that is filling our news feed and news rooms are the heart breaking news from all over the world starting with Lamu where every single day news on fresh attacks and threats are reported, of the random unexpected deaths of different people in our country, shootouts, attacks, deaths, the escalating numbers of death tolls and injuries in Gaza in Palestine, the Syria, Nigeria, Lebanon, Iraq, Burma, Afghanistan, CAR and many other countries facing war.

 

The genocide taking place in Gaza at the moment has also brought a lot of angry emotions amongst the citizens of the world as they protest in different areas in the world to stop the Israel government on more attacks on Gaza. There’s a quote by Hitler that caught my attention whereby he said, ‘tomorrow’s history about me will be incorrect. They will call me a dictator and responsible for the genocide of millions of Jews. A day will come, the world will realize what I did was correct. I destroyed 90% of the Jews, and leaving 10% of them for the world to understand why I killed them.’ Seeing this just makes me say, ‘Yes Mr. Hitler, unfortunately, you were right! Because what the Jews are now doing is exactly what you did to them.’ At the moment, Israel government has asked the Palestinians to evacuate their homes and water supply has just been cut off. The photos going viral in all social networks have brought quite a sort of solidarity in many people around the world which is rather impressive. It just shows how humanity can bring rise to unity. Gaza is now under siege with Israel army surrounding them from all corners, they don’t even have weapons. This can’t be termed as war, it is genocide. The neighbouring Arab countries have ignoring the issue and many other leaders around the world too apart from the very few who condemned the mission and call for peace. Nelson Mandela was very right when he said, ‘We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.’

 

It is rather sad and heart breaking, how our leaders only take action and speak up when their selfish needs are involved but then it is upon the citizens of the world, to unite and bring humanity back to life. Don’t just sit and whine about the scratch on your car, the burnt food, the too low shoes, the boring job you have…remember, right at this moment people in places like Lamu, Gaza and many other places in the world have been left homeless, no food, no water, no shoes, no family. We have no right to complain at all!

 

Lets all take a moment from our busy lives to pray for all the oppressed people in the world. Let’s not be posting it in our social media to show the world we are with them yet in the next moment we have already forgotten about them. Its true life has to move on but then let’s not be pretentious to show the world we care yet we don’t. Let’s do this more often; let’s protest, hold hands, cry out to the world, let’s write about it, let’s condemn the attacks but most importantly let’s pray for them. We can’t be there to fight with them or give a hand of help, but we can pray! Let’s take a moment in each of our daily lives to remember them…even when the media doesn’t cover the real suffering. Let’s pray for those we are aware of and even those that we are not aware of. Let’s keep praying again and again. It’s not a matter of religion or blood ties, it is a matter of humanity!

The village elder of Mtopanga area by the name of Mwanajuma Suleiman has a story yet to be told. She runs an orphanage with a total number of 38 children;18 boys and 20 girls whereby the oldest child is Hussein who is 21 years and the youngest is Mwanajuma who is just 3 and a half years. The children live in a house that is just temporarily given to them but the owner may come claim his house any time. The children don’t have the priviledge to go to school and only obtain education from the teaching trainees who come and volunteer to teach them. Mwanajuma explains that the children are from different parts as far as Tana river. The classrooms are turned into bedrooms at night where the 18 boys stay. The girls are taken by Mwanajuma to her house where they sleep with her family. The state of the house is sympathetic and Mwanajuma can’t do anything about it since she only depends on good Samaritans to support her in feeding and clothing the children. Mwanajuma is doing a noble job as a leader and deserves to be imitated by the more well off leaders. To contact Bi Mwanajuma or send your contribution or help,you may get her through this number: 0729020972