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It is 3:47 a.m. I am lying in a twist such that my upper body is facing a different direction from my lower part. Yogis would call that the supine twist. I am staring at the shadow of the circling fan on the right wall. I am gazing into the nothingness; blank space. It reminds me of my own brain; tabula rasa. A clean slate. Back to square one. I pick up my phone and reply some messages. In the morning, one would ask, ‘But what keeps you awake at 3:47?’ Uncertainty… This part of my life is called, uncertainty.

I have been here before; this uncertainty phase. It always finds a way to catch up with me. But maybe this is what makes my life interesting. The uncertainty. The not knowing of where you are headed to or even what you want. It reminds me of this famous gif on uncertainty. I smile.

My boss had said, ‘We are caging this bird. We need to let her fly and grow her own wings’ referring to me. This is the only permanent workplace I have worked for nine months. If it was a marriage, I would be having a baby. But I don’t have a baby. It was a comfortable place, perhaps too comfortable for me to have any baby by the end of it all. Then the other day, just on an impulse, I walked in to my boss and said, “I feel confined. I need to grow.” I am not good with confined spaces. Must be the claustrophobia. But I can’t really say I just acted on a whim, I had thought about it for almost two months yet it still feels like a reckless move. My manager sat me down for that ‘goodbye pep talk’ and I asked, ‘so how long do I have?’ She said, ‘One week.’

One week. I remember when it got to the seventh month, I thought to myself, ‘wow…am I really doing this?’


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‘I have no plan.’ I was talking to myself more than I was, to her.
‘I absolutely have no plan.’ And suddenly, I could feel the heat at the pit of my stomach. For the first time I was terrified of my action. How was I going to learn how to start flying within a week without leading myself to starvation? Uncertainty.

It is also just two days ago that I realized my side business was an NGO in disguise. We were doing charity instead of business. I need to go back to the drawing board…this means back to square one. Did I just throw away my last straw keeping me afloat on a stormy night? I curl up in my bed. Uncertainty.

A mentor recently told me, ‘You are already successful, you just haven’t realized it yet.’ And I said, ‘There’s something i’m looking for that I haven’t found. I don’t know what it is but when I find it i’ll recognize it. I still lack utmost satisfaction in me.’ Then he said, ‘That’s where our different definitions of success comes in. Everyone has their own.’


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I now lie flat staring at the ceiling. I am not sure whether I am abnormal, too ambitious or simply living an illusion.A friend told me, ‘You can’t just make an abrupt decision. You need a contingency plan.’ But a contingency plan never existed in my dictionary. So ironic for an over-thinker I know but then not having a plan always pushed me to the edge. So the plan has always been ‘not having a plan’ and i’d just spend hours over-thinking my lack of a plan. Nonetheless, this made me explore all fields I could get myself into. It seems like an adventure and I love adventures. There’s the thrill and excitement that comes with it every time I tried something new. It’s terrifying. So terrifying. The uncertainty. Not knowing where life is pushing you into.

Sigh. Perhaps i’m in the wrong planet or perhaps i’m taking longer strides than my legs can stretch?

I have known failure far too many times to not know the feeling of uncertainty that comes with it. But I never regretted any impulsive action I ever took. Like the times I cancelled contracts just because my clients or bosses were crushing my self-esteem . Who does that really? But my peace of mind is my priority and I just decided i’ll stick to that even when i’m starving to death. If you can trust me with your vision then you might as well trust my abilities. Or the times I started new courses without really thinking ahead or even whether I had the time and resources to do it. My best friend says I’m becoming a risk taker. Risk taker sounds good. I’ll gladly take the title.


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I’m uncertain of what i’m doing, or what I want or where i’m headed to. I just know I have big dreams and goals bigger than myself. I am back at the starting point and doing this all over again but what’s the worse that could happen? Me staring at the ceiling at 3:47 a.m. Not so bad. This too shall pass.

I am still staring at the white ceiling and for a moment, I assume the wall is life. And I say, ‘Surprise Me.’ Life has never disappointed with surprises and the electric shocks that awaken us. But so does God. He never disappoints. My eyes are getting heavier now. I slowly drift back to slumber land. I still have one more week to plan my new adventure…

I still haven’t found what i’m looking for…


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Read part 1 at: http://lubnah.me.ke/my-other-half/

Photo Courtesy: Salem_Beliegraphy

It’s been exactly…wait, lemme count…from February 10th, 2015 to date; 11th of May 2017, how many days are those? 1,2,3…Ah too bad I am terrible with math. Anyway, it’s been all those many days since I first wrote to you. Ages right? I knowww! I almost forgot you ‘somehow exist’. Lol, i’m kidding. *silly grin* I’ve mostly been pursuing my dreams; both the daydreams and the literal ones 😀 But I’ve been planning to get back to you..and *drums rolling* here I am!

There’s just been something in my mind lately and I thought of talking it to you. By the way, talking to you almost seems like monologue or like me talking to the wall or some ghost in the room because your existence at the moment is delusional but we can always talk about that when you become a reality right? in shaa Allah 😉

So back to our topic, oh wait, speech alert: This is going to be a long monologue :p

A friend of mine posted this a few days ago:
{“The thing about hitting rock bottom is that the only way to go is up.” I’m having a slight problem with this statement. Okay yeah sure maybe, but what if rock bottom is as wide as the Sahara and before you go up you’re gonna spend a heck of a long time moving sideways? Some people hit rock bottom, and stay rock bottom, and move sideways for the rest of their lives. How miserable.} Those are the ramblings of an insomniac and well what do you expect from an insomniac than a critical out-of-the-world thinking?! But then ever since I came across this, I’ve been thinking about it a lot.

For a matter of fact, I do know several people who hit rock bottom, stayed there for as long as the memory lane can go down and died just right there; at the bottom. Now for a perfectionist and an empath with anxiety, hitting the rock bottom is beyond normal. It is a norm. And as much as it scares me that I might stay down there forever, it scares me more that I might never live up to the expectations of coming right back up.

You know, there are just some days you can’t really be the hero or someone anymore and you just need to survive. And survival is what all of us are working for. But also, survival has always been for the fittest, and sometimes, being in the least bit fit let alone being the fittest is totally out of the dictionary. There are days you wake up you can barely breathe, your heart is heavy, all aspects of failure are rubbing on your face but mostly, its like sand paper being scrubbed on your fragile beaten-up heart. They say the scrub only makes you shine brighter but in the meanwhile, it hurts, and it will hurt a lot more.

What I got to learn is that you can never really be prepared enough to face anything or armed enough for a war. They’ll always be a lesson to be learnt in between the cracks of your heart. You can protect yourself all you can but the day you let down your guard for one single second is the day world war 3 happens; when all hell breaks loose and when you have to fight for your own survival. This kind of reminds me the story of Nabii Musa and Firaun. See how God downplays the best twists?! Firaun demands all male children to be killed after being foretold that a boy will be born and takeover his kingdom. But when his wife Asiya (R.A.A) picks Nabii Musa (A.S) from the river, she is able to convince Firaun that the boy could be beneficial and a son to them. Yet he turns out to be the one to takeover the kingdom. He protected himself from every boy he considered a threat, yet he welcomed the threat with his own two hands. Yes…fate. You can do all you want in this world; you can build walls around yourself, you can be vigilant and firm, you can be superman for all you wish, yet if you are meant to hit the rock bottom, you’ll just go right down there; for as many times as it’s written for you. But the thing is, everyone hits rock bottom, and the real test is how everyone finds their own way to get back up or stay below forever. People will put the blame on you for taking up the wrong choices, for making mistakes, for not working hard enough…yet they forget, it only happens for a reason.


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I’m still finding my way up and i’ll tell you this, it’s tough and really rough. Plus being a millennial only makes it harder. Sometimes I feel I was born in the wrong Century for not relating to my peers. They say i’m an old soul. And when you are an introvert you just have no option but to turn to books and tv, to get out of your world. Some friends the other day were joking that people like us, ‘the outcasts’ should start a group and call it ‘chama cha wanyonge’ 😀 😀 Idiots! or I know someone else who would call it ‘chama cha washokaji’ Not wachokaji, WASHOKAJI. Hilarious how the world views us; the introverts, the artists, the weird, the empaths…right? But maybe i’ll one day really start the group, but of course with a fancy name dah! Or maybe it could be a movement, and we could help people move from rock bottom 😀 Or maybe that’s where i’ll meet you who knows 😛

I’m not sure if you really do exist or maybe you don’t. They say soulmates don’t always occur in this life, maybe in the next…but if you don’t, I have a plan B of going to live up the cave. I would say I will be with my 60 cats like its always the assumption with people but pets scare me (The introverts will disown me for this). So maybe I will be with my scarier dolls like Chucky from Child’s play or Annabelle from The Conjuring filling up the entire house. Plus I got this brilliant idea from a meme of writing it on the wall outside: COME SEE MY DOLLS..and that’s how the horror movie begins *silly grin*

Well, I said what I needed to say. Thank you for being a wonderful listener. Plus please do remember to pray for me; to rise like the phoenix from the ashes. Ameen? I really don’t want to stay rock bottom, who wants anyway?!

P.S. You are the hope i’m waiting for 🙂

Until God decides our fate, take care.


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Photo Courtesy: https://c1.staticflickr.com

Tell me your dreams,
Tell me what makes you tick.
Tell me what makes you stay awake late at night,
Tell me what takes you to cloud nine and what makes the stars shine a bit brighter.
Tell me your dreams…I will show you people who’ve mastered the art of dreaming

Perhaps the best thing about my career is meeting new people. But then this is quite ironic for an introvert because meeting people is such a struggle for me. I have to contemplate the whole thing a million times before I finally make up my mind to meet the person i’m to meet. Yet when I think of it, coming out of my shell and my comfort zone has rarely ever made me regret. All I ever had to do was filter their objectives, my objectives, their agenda, my agenda and for those I did eventually meet, I learnt a lot. My perspective has really changed a great deal from listening to people, to their stories, to their dreams…oh, their dreams, you see the spark in their eyes as they tell you their goals and it is just amazing. I met such a lady yesterday and not even my words, can explain the enthusiasm in her voice as she narrates her dreams.

Amina Yusuf is the typical Nairobi Muslim lady; learned, focused, super-ambitious, determined and brave. While she was leading a comfortable life in Nairobi with her three children and husband, in her own home, with a good career, she decided to leave it all to come to Mombasa. The main aim of the migration was to get her children into tahfidhul qur’an and give her children an ideal childhood in Islamic neighbourhood. Upon arriving here, she joined madrasa for one year and up’d her education. It was while she was in madrasa that she noticed how the girl child in the neighbourhood were being left behind; uneducated, child labour, poverty issues, family issues, neglected orphans…and she decided she must make a move.

Without over-thinking, she decided to start an education centre by the name Al Reyhan girls education centre with the little amount she had. She went for shopping and started buying the basic necessities she would need for herself and the girls. She had a special target on which girls she needed to join her centre so she would personally move from one house to another, interacting with family members, befriending them without anyone knowing her intention. It was only after weighing each family’s situation is when she’d recruit the girls; orphaned girls, neglected girls, girls from very needy families who can’t afford to take their children to school, girls who live with their old grandparents with no one to take care of their education needs…until the number of girls got to 97, 52 of which are boarders.

The school system is such that, the entire morning the girls are taught tahfidh and basic Islamic knowledge then in the afternoon, they have the secular subjects. Amina wasn’t going to let her girls feel any less than fellow girls in academies. She would fish for money in her own ways and buy them books, stationary, colours, pads for the older girls, she’d cover the books herself, ensure they eat good food with a fruit at least each day and meat once a week. She’d take them to outings occasionally, give them pep talks, go play with them at the beach early mornings, interact with them and at these times, she says, is when you get to know of the deepest secrets of the children.

 

“I want to mould and shape these girls into ambitious educated women. I want it that some day, the girls at my centre can have quality education such that there is no difference between them and the students at Light Academy. I even told my thirteen year old daughter about my dream and my goal; that if I die like right now, I want her to continue with my legacy because this is the legacy I want to leave behind,” Amina says.

“It’s been tough for us here. I run this place entirely by myself and by God’s grace. Sometimes I push family and friends to chip in but otherwise we have no other way of income. I have rented these two buildings; each having three rooms. I stay in one of the rooms with my three children too. We currently just have three beds, the rest we just lay mattresses in this one room and the girls sleep here. It gets too hot and stuffy sometimes, but what can we do…we need to survive here until we get a bigger place.”

One room being her own and for her three children, the other two being classrooms in one house. The other house which also has three rooms; one belongs to the caretaker and teachers who help around, the other room contains the three beds while the last room is the classroom during morning hours and the place to sleep in the night. I can’t even come to think of how these 52 girls fit into the two tiny rooms.

“We’ve had pretty bad days too. We once had a tv, we had to sell it at some point. There was a time we were all locked inside the house because we had really delayed with rent. The agents wouldn’t let us out. I had to frantically start calling friends and family for help, but alhamdulilah some good group of friends managed to raise the amount in good time and saved us. And sometimes, we have good Samaritans coming by to greet us or bring us some things; sometimes it is university student groups, sometimes just individuals or charity groups. We really appreciate it but then sometimes we have nowhere to store the things. Like someone may bring two cartons of milk and we have no freezer to store. Sometimes I go to neighbours and leave a few in different homes but then it gets to a point I feel burdened to ask that from them anymore. I can’t keep doing that forever. Sometimes people don’t say they are fed up but you can feel it yourself that you can’t ask for favours everyday. So I end up sharing it to the day scholars too so that the milk doesn’t spoil. Or sometimes someone brings a goat, we slaughter and have a feast for lunch and dinner, but since I fear that what remains may get bad, I choose the most needy of families and give them it.”

With all this, Amina still strives to make her centre better and greater.
“As much as I use 8-4-4 system to teach the girls, I decided to give them extra life skills that would help them when they grow up. We have cooking classes at least once a month, tailoring classes, sometimes we make juice, sometimes I come with my small laptop and show them how to use. We have very limited resources but with such a fast developing world, I wouldn’t want them to remain unaware of what is happening around them. I teach them how to be as ladies; the etiquette and manners. I discourage them from going outside past maghrib times (sunset) and sometimes parents come to complain why i’m making the girls be disobedient by refusing to go outside past sunset but I tell them about matters of time and how we need to protect them. I also teach them about women in Islam; the history and of modern world (like Yasmin Mogahed) because if European girls are empowered why not do that for ourselves too? So I give them history lessons of how Muslim women impacted the society. We even have our library we call it ‘maktabatul Aisha’ (Aisha’s library) since she is one of the most educated women in history. We call our sports section ‘Nusaiba’ since she was a brave warrior during the prophet’s time. We call our accounts section ‘khazinatu Khadija’ for she was a successful business woman. And the point of all this is for them to realize the power and importance of a woman in the society. They too can become these women.”

In both two buildings, only three rooms are used for studies. One is the class for toddlers and KG 1. The other room is for KG 2, 3 and class 1. The third room has class 2 to class 6. Every teacher hurdled in a corner with her numbered girls. It is hectic no doubt. Imagine having three teachers teaching different classes, all in the same room. And here, it is like ‘whatever will be will be’. They teach regardless of the limited space to comfortably talk to the girls or for them to bend down to take some notes.

“It’s been 9 months now and I thank God that we have survived until now. Sometimes I sit with these girls and just talk to them. I ask them what they want to become when they grow up and you’d hear one say, ‘I want to get married’. When you ask her ‘why so?’ She says, ‘My family already planned for me to get married to my cousin.’ And this is just a thirteen year old girl. She has no focus, no goals whatsoever because she, the girl child, wasn’t given the knowledge to understand what she is capable of. We have very young children nowadays, as young as 3 who will tell you that they want to be a doctor or a pilot or a teacher. Why then would some girls have such goals in life at such tender ages while other lack any goal at all?”

As we move around and Amina shows me the students of each class, I notice a big girl at KG 3. Immediately Amina says this is class one, I see her quickly sink down and bow her head not to be seen. She is ashamed, I notice.
“What’s her story?”
“Long story. She lives with her step-mum who’s been mistreating her. Sometimes she comes here and slaps her for maybe some minor she hasn’t done or something like that. She’s been neglected, with no education…and she’s been working as a house girl. I didn’t even know that that was her step-mum until lately. Currently, i’m trying to transfer her into our boarding here, so she can study well with a peace of mind. She is just 13 but talk to her and she sounds like 35. She speaks like an adult…”
“That’s what tough life does to you…”
“And there are more of these girls. They need help. They need somewhere safe to go to. There is this young girl here, she’s just four years old but she’s seen a lot. Her mother is a divorcee and a drug addict, she uses bogizi. The young girl has both asthma and sinus. She keeps getting the attacks regularly but the mother is never around or very high…so she stays here with me at boarding. All I want is for her and others like her to have a good life…But I can’t take any more here. I don’t have space for more. We need a bigger place and reach out to more girls.”

Most of the girls come from families with very huge baggage. 60% of the girls are orphans, 30% are needy, 10% are abled. The 10% are the only ones who pay fees which is 1700/= per month. But it is more than worth it because Amina feeds them and provide stationary for them too. We even have break time tea twice a week and porridge three times. Because the aim here isn’t business, it’s to give the students a chance like other children have. So from what the abled students pay is what helps in paying teachers and catering for other needs. By ‘abled’ we don’t mean ABLED. We just mean students who are a bit better than the rest.

I look at Amina and say to myself, ‘This human being right her; she is making a difference.’ I look at her eyes sparkle as she talks of how much she wants to do for the girls, of the sighs between her sentences like she is desperate to reach her goal, of the endless ‘Thank God’…I look at her and marvel. We have made idols and role models from people on social media who do nothing other than make noise, have aimless posts, put up many photos of themselves then call them ‘influential people’. But how did they really influence us? In what did they influence us? Was it ever something meaningful? I doubt. Then there are people like Amina, who’ve sacrificed their good peaceful lives where they could live happily without a worry just to make a difference and bring change in other people’s lives. These are the unsung heroes. The very few who do something great not so as to look great but to create some other great thing. And here now I call for your help to help Amina achieve her dream…

On the 2nd of April, Amina is organizing for a fundraiser food bazaar. She is calling for people to assist her in any way possible. You may donate some food that will be sold, or you may sell your own food on that day then share the profit, or you may just volunteer to help around making the event successful or even come sell any of your other businesses and agree on how to share the profit. The aim of the fundraising is to get money to buy a freezer which is quite necessary for them right now. But there are so many other needs for them.
The girls at boarding sometimes are to go home and they refuse with the say, “Ustadha, at home I can’t have pads. I will just be told to use a piece of clothe.”
So yes, these girls come from very desperate situations you don’t want to imagine. They also need a bigger space/home of their own to move to because that is what will ease a huge burden of rent and congestion. Donate with whatever you can. Volunteer. Or even share this post as widely as possible. Let us make her dream come true. Let us make a difference in these children’s’ lives. The event is also going to a fun day at the same time i.e. a food bazaar plus fun day for children. Entrance is free. Kindly avail yourselves and make this work in shaa Allah.

If you want to assist in any way and would like to talk to Amina, here’s her contact:0797641346/0733341574. God bless you!!

Special thanks to my best friend, Husna, for supporting me in all my projects. God bless your soul always 🙂

Tell me your dreams, I will show you people who have mastered the art of dreaming

By: Abdulqadir Mahmoud via http://selfcharge.blogspot.co.ke/

Photo Courtesy: Pexels

 

I used to believe in love.

Now, am not so sure.

Recording…

“It’s been uumm…it’s been a while since I talked to anyone…even a longer while since everyone disappeared…The last person I remember talking to was uuh, was a traveler. He was part of a small group I stumbled upon. He had to leave. The others followed soon after. Something about surviving this wave. Kinda like what am trying to do right now, with all this, in all this. And frankly I don’t know if am doing a good enough job, you know… It’s been so long ever since; I’ve lost track of time. It’s been so long I think I might be losing it, I mean, what’s real, anymore? I can barely tell what’s right from wrong, whether to feel or numb…I don’t know when I am myself anymore, like falling in and out of consciousness but with life, and what happens in it. Everything’s a blur now. Time is but a word, a reason, an excuse for me to say day, night, because none of them make sense to me now; a mere black or white as life passes by, numb, soundless. And every day I watch myself slowly fade, some part of me, of who I am, disintegrating like the floating dust as it mingles with the air, dispersing, disappearing, leaving me emptier with every dawn of day. Maybe it wants to help. Maybe it has hope of bringing them back. Maybe, just maybe, this part of me believes…Maybe. I do not know, of it, of me, I do not know.

We used to be so close my friends and I, hanging out, having fun, forgetting the world in those moments as we made our own, and just for those split precious moments, we lived in it…I remember we used to have these inside jokes that whenever we were in class, or a room and we would hear them, we’d look for each other among the crowds and just giggle or laugh when our eyes met, and we would savor that moment because it was just us who knew what they meant, in our little small world…It was perfect, until that day when the advert aired.

I wasn’t interested at first. It was like one of those promos you’d see on billboards and newspapers when going back home or surfing the analogue way (1). Promos like those never stuck around for long. They’d usually be replaced by some other advert for towels and children all in one picture, probably for a super market promo. But this one, this one never left. Its image grew on us as time went by. We’d even joke around with its catch phrase. ‘Let’s Change together’, it said. Within no time it was everywhere. Kids, teenagers, adults, everyone wanted one. It became the new toy, the new Black, the smart choice….They said it had the ability to transform the world…yeah, for once the adverts actually were true to their word. But no one knew how much…

We all had heard about how my neighbor’s aunt used this technology to do incredible things, how she’d make an interaction in a split second that normally would take days or even weeks to make. It was unbelievable. It was amazing. It was impossible, she said. And now it was our turn to rock the new Black. With a few mummers, requests and a lot of aunties, we finally got ours. Everyone was excited for the other. We had all these new techs in our hands, I mean, we were living the dream. The cool kids, you now. It was awesome; the attention, the wonder in others, the super workload lifting, we could use it to do almost everything, all we had to do was a few taps and swipes of the finger and, voila…we were transforming the world,our world…Then it all begun….

I couldn’t figure why I felt lost, at first. Why my life felt like an act, a pretense, a routine; planned and laid out for me to follow. I couldn’t understand what was it I liked in humor, in heart, in taste, in others. I couldn’t remember what deserved to be felt, be understood, what was okay or absurd, what needed my attention and what could wait. I had no idea of how to feel anymore, how to judge, when to judge, who to judge, should I be judged? I could feel myself scare. I could feel the confusion, the anger, the rage, the breath living my lungs without flowing back in. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t understand. My friends seemed fine. They were fine. Why wasn’t I? What was happening to me? Why am I feeling all this…this darkness…this rage? Why was I in so much pain? Bleeding….weeping….

Then I saw.

Everyone was leaving. Up and leaving. Leaving everything behind. Leaving their families behind. Just like that. They told me to come with them. They told me People were coming. They told me the smart people, the uh, the scientists had abandoned them. They told me Humans were dying. Dying a cold death in Life. Dying to be reborn into People, into a specie of no depth, of no emotion, no lives; into a specie of pretense, of confusion, of rage; into a specie of loneliness…and their Humanity, their Humanity dies with them. They told me to run, for the technology  the scientists granted upon us has unleashed a pandemic so deadly it corrupted their Norm, our Norm, and we Humans are paying for it, paying for it with our lives, our selves, our souls…we Humans are paying for it with our essence…with our Humanity…and being turned into monsters, into slaves of a corrupted Norm, a whole book of it as we slowly, but surely, sell our souls to it so my boy, Run! Run and save yourself! Because we all know, there is nothing anyone of us, can do for the other. Run!

You can imagine how shocked I was. I didn’t believe them because no, my friends were alright. No, my friends seemed fine so it can’t be true…I screamed in their faces, begged for their attention, tried for their care; but they were gone. It was too late for them…I was too late for them…and now,I was alone…now I am alone…And you know what is the most painful thing of all? Watching them fade away whilst their eyes cry for help, until they don’t.

One might think this place am in is a ghost town. Well it’s not. It’s full of People who follow what they are told to be right, believe what they are told to be true. It is filled with People who laugh by cue, live by routine; a planned schedule of day and night. This place is filled with People who call life by what they are given and like in it what they are told is likeable, hate what they are told to, no choices, no questions. This is indeed a ghost town; one bereaved of Humans, and filled with People. This is why I am here right now, talking to this screen. Hoping. Hoping that this will reach someone; reach anyone…Hoping that maybe they aren’t too far gone…Hoping that their eyes open their minds and free their bodies…hoping….hoping….

And now, here I am. Alone. Fading away, like them. Sometimes I wish I had their fate. Not ideal really, I know, but still free from all this, the pain, the sorrow, the helplessness…the loneliness…I don’t think I’ll last for long after this anyways, because, without any other Human around, I’m slowly giving up hope…giving in to the silence. There was a time I used to believe in friendship, in the unbreakable bond; in people…Before all this, I used to believe in Love.

Now, am not so sure….”

STOP.

Key

1. Reading the Newspapers.

By: Anonymous

Photo Courtesy: pinterest.com

Dear future hubby,

Assalam aleykum, how are you doing? Ok to clear the air, this letter is not meant to make you show up earlier, you can take your time. Besides, we have heard enough weddings recently already. People need a break, let weddings be out of fashion then we can bring it back to fashion with our wedding 😉

I am not going to narrate to you how our married life is going to be or how I would like it to be. The truth is that, there is no really knowing what to expect when it comes to marriage and I know nothing about marriage coz obviously I have never been married before. I am not sure about you; with the number of proposals I have been getting for second wife position, I have reasons to think you might know something about marriage. Anyway I will tell you something about being single. Being single is fun, freeing, finding yourself, less responsibility and much less consequences and duties; but it gets lonely sometimes and you find yourself writing letters to some virtual unknown individual.

After reading loads of wattpad muslim romantic story; I have thought of you in differect perfect ways. But then I just realized, perfect and imperfect don’t suit each other, don’t look good together and also I really want to get married to a human not a robot. (Though robots aint perfect either, they are ugly and have robot hands). And now I think of you as you. I have been trying this technic of seeing you in me. I try picturing you with my imperfections, which you may or may not posses and I have concluded if I can live with me, then I can definitely live with you. I can live with a pool of water all over then sink and dirty laundry carpeting my bedroom, I think. Coz I have seen many happy marriages and what they will tell you is you learn to accept the others faults that can’t be changed.

So it will be a learning process. I will learn to love you, to accept you and to care for you in the best way possible. And I can only pray that you will do the same for me. The phrase being used too often is, marriage is not a walk in the park. As I can totally understand that living with another human being from a different back ground can be challenging, I like to believe that marriage is not like climbing Mt. Everest in slippers. In our single lives we have challenges that we deal with every day, some which may be harder than living with a stranger; that is life. We are constantly being tested and facing challenges; thus I don’t expect my marriage to be any different. There will be tests in different forms and shapes, I hope every difficult will bring us much closer as oppose to drawing us apart. I pray that the challenges, just as they make you stronger in life, will make our marriage bond stronger.

I always joke about getting married to a tall guy. And the other day the optician told me I should consider someone who does not use glasses if I don’t want to end up with blind kids. Now the latter one is of concern. My point being, physical attraction is important in marital relationship but there are far much important things to look at. So I hope you are a struggling muslim like I. Someone struggling to know Allah and constantly finding ways to get closer and closer to Him. To earn His love, His pleasure, His Jannah in shaa Allah. That is what will make me be attracted to you the most before your height. Height is just a bonus.

Well I don’t remember again why I was writing to you, may be just to let you know that someone is constantly praying for you to show up so that she can have a best friend of her own, someone to share her dreams, hopes, fears and laughter with. Whether near or far, may you reach me at the right time, through the right channels in shaa Allah. I will be writing you more letters when I get to know who you are, I just love being old school.

Signed with love,

Your future wife.

By: Husna Lali

 

Dear mini-halfies,

Due to contigency purposes, I felt the need to address certain issues that are not too ephemeral to be discussed and analysed in accordance to the “parenting book.”

You need to know, if Twitter and Facebook still exists or maybe new social networks of your time have the ‘trend’ thingy, you will suffer the ordeal of trending #growingupwithstrictparents. See your aunts (your uncles’wives) say am the strict one. In my defence, I wanted your then little cousins to grow up true to themselves. This pretty much lets you know that if I was strict then, you guys stand absolutely no chance of having it easy.

Not to scare you guys or ‘hate’ on me for that matter, but to make you realize what you’re really made of.

I want you guys to grow up morally stable, have buckets full of self esteem and have complete faith on what you can be up against.I mean I would take kindness over smart any day any time, but that doesn’t mean I won’t be hard on you so you can be able to realize when someone needs you and when someone  uses you to accrue their needs. I would love for you guys to grow up with your own definition of personality and not what society makes you, because trust me when I tell you from my experience that she is one hypocritical and double standard bitch. She’ll tell you to be yourself and then judge you for it. So I want you to do what your gut and what your Deen says is right. (Praying hard I do good by you when it comes to your Deen and its teachings)

 

I will base this entire letter to you for when you’re a teenager to young adult period because it is the hardest of all phases of growth and development. I remember this one time your aunts,uncles and I pissed off dad so much while we were under his care so he went “Amma give each one of you an equal share of the estate and what you do with it will be non of my concern and do not look for me when you’re sucked dry.” So you get how serious shit becomes when we’re there.

 

I wanna raise you guys equally, without favoring any of you according to gender. And am not talking feminism, am talking equal chances and belief that you can pull of whatever you’re supposed to. Of course I will always be there to help out.

 

I wanna be there for you, you know how people say they wanna be bestfriends with their kids? I wanna be that too, but that does not mean I will let you do stuff just because you’ll  be mad at me. I wanna be that friend who’s older…I reckon you know how that works. I will not be upset that you find it easier to talk to your friend or even your dad (God bless that poor soul). I just want you to know that I will always be there for you…at all times.

 

Dear XY, you know how they say guys should man up…I don’t want you to hold back stuff just because you feel its a guy thing. There is no such thing as a guy thing when it comes to feelings, whether positive or negative. I want you to feel with every fibre of your being and act on them as wisely as it should be (Again, friendly reminder that I will always be there to help you sort out on your own terms with alittle help…two heads are better than one…or this case three…supposing your dad needs to be involved.)

 

I know we’d fight…and we’d fight alot because when you turn 13 or so and that voice of yours breaks and becomes the ugliest of all bass notes and your shoulders go all broad, you’d think for yourself that ‘you’re the man’. I want you to keep in mind that to me you’re still that little boy I spent nights nursing because dammit you lots’ immunity is as low whatever you can take for a simile…and if need be amma scruff you by your collar like a cat does it’s kitten and lead you back to your room so you figure your shit out and set it straight. You will not get an upper hand or the advantage over your sister(s) and that just because you’re male, you dominate the household or will have an excess of the freedom allowed. I will try my best to raise you and your sisters to be equally responsible to your actions.

I know I cannot talk much about you, because norms depict that you’re your dad’s responsibility. I, however would like to tell you that you can come to me when something is off and not working out. Like I said before about manning up. I don’t care what ‘the male code’ dictates…I want you to talk to me about how Math and Physics are not your favorite subjects and how painting or writing gives you the serenity your heart and soul needs. I want to be there for you when that girl you like friend zones you or she breaks your heart by cheating on you. (I pray I would’ve done good by you so you know your priorities…but this is an unavoidable phase you’ll pass anyway.) And when this phase reaches, I want you to tell your testosterone levels to take down a notch. I would not want to find out you played someone’s daughter and made her literally feel like someone is shovelling out her heart. I would want you to honour girls….because reflect on where you came from. I wanna instil in you the knowledge that a lady is far more superior to you in all aspects except perhaps BMR and body builds. I want to teach you to be humble and not be lied to by the fact that gender is basing you superior. I want to teach you nobility and load you with respect to anyone and everyone. I want you to be the  son and the brother your sibling(s), your dad and I will be proud of. I want you to grow up being able to act wisely and use your brain and sometimes heart where need be. Trust me when I say you will clash alot with your dad, and probably feel misunderstood; and out of rage and spite you’d want to get back at him. My brothers used to keep their hair to weird levels or go shave weird and dad would be so mad he would tell mum “zungumza na mwanao, mwambie staki kumuona ndani ya nyumba yangu with that haircut.”(😂😂😂) See that’s our predicament. Us women are that unlucky…when you guys turn out good…you’re your dad’s boys…and when it’s the other way around…it’s the mother’s boys and fault the boys turned that way. I want you to know how to work on the issues…I am 80% sure you’d not want to discuss stuff with me because “moooom it’s gross.” I just need you to know you can talk to me about it. I will try giving you a hint here…if you’re  probably too embarrassed to ask…just ask anyway…instead use a third party or ask in hypothetical sense. Or find another way to ask me to talk to you about it. ( I know you’re a smart kid, and you will get the message delivered.) I do not want to overtake your dad’s responsibility or share on how to teach you stuff. I just want you to know that I will help you whenever there’s a fog of tension between you two. I promise to sit us both down and talk and smooth issues over. No judgements no blaming whatsoever. We would both accept and own up to our mistakes and apologize where necessary.

 

Dear XX, apparently norm and culture has it that you’re to be raised in an uptight lifestyle. I hope and pray that I would’ve done good by you on Deen too so you know when and when not to act impulsively. I will tell you one thing, Your grandfather, we grew up almost unable to differentiate whether it was respect or fear we had for him. Am not saying he was a bad person, he was sooo great I spent half the time wishing and praying I got a husband like him (No offence XY snr if you didn’t turn out like him…you’re probably greater than him.) My dad, he used to be strict and very opinionated sometimes, like he would say he’s letting you speak up your terms when you argue about something, but do what he feels like because it’s right. I know in his perspective it was, and so help us God it could be he was right and I was wrong, but I promise I would back you up on what we agree to agree on or agree to disagree on. Again about equal chances with your brother(s)….I will try hard to keep my word. I will not judge you by “your dressing is immoral because your bra strap is showing or your head scarf is off the scale and let his boxer be seen because he decided he’ll pull his trouser ‘a little down’ or put on a t-shirt sooo tight it makes his chest cavity suffocated….(none of you are doing this under my watch btw, or whatever would be trappily trendy in your generation) Or let him have a girlfriend and then be up my sleeve when you have a crush on this cute guy from school or Madrasa and want to pursue him. (Again I pray that I would’ve done good by you when it comes to Deen. May Allah make it easy for both of us)

 

Sometimes I feel bad for you because your grandmother and I were soo close. We would talk from boys to life, to how I felt that she was being mean or hard on me . (This does not mean there were times we did not have heated arguments that lead to me shutting the door and blast my phone high up on  music.) You know how you have an argument and when it’s over you wish you should’ve said something ‘better’ as a comeback? She used to come back waaaaay after the “war” was over and start from A. Sometimes you just let her talk, vent out…so you just say ‘ma…sema audhubillah…or sometimes I would go with ‘oe cheki ma, me naenda zangu…ukijiskia ushacool call me’ and that automatically shut her up. When we didn’t get along (for one reason or another) I complained alot to my late aunty Zou (‘O Allaah, forgive and have mercy upon her, excuse her and pardon her, and make honorable her reception. Expand her entry, and cleanse her with water, snow, and ice, and purify her of sin as a white robe is purified of filth. Exchange her home for a better home, and her family for a better family, and her spouse for a better spouse. Admit her into the Garden, protect her from the punishment of the grave and the torment of the Fire.’ Ameen) and she used to tell me mzoee/muelewe mama…she’s getting old…and she used to tell me stories of how she felt way back on how mom treated her because she was basically raised by her; and she would tell me that it was for my own good because “look how great I turned into” Enough about the bad sides yeah? Because if I am to count, the best of my memories includ mom in them. And I love her alot for her existence. I pray I become a better mother to you.

 

I know there is going to be a time your friends will seem to understand you more than any one of us in the house. You will probably have fights with me. It could be something as trivial as not leaving the dirty clothes in the laundry basket, or as huge as you skipping classes because your favourite artist is in town. (I hope we never get there.) We could fight endlessly but at the end of the day I want to be the one you wanna talk it out with. There are probably times when you’re all grown up and start falling for guys. I will not judge you for it, because it’s a normal thing. I know you’d go lengths to pursue your feelings. Fine too but please be cautious. I know you’d deny it when I will confront you about it, for reasons you know best. (I know it could be because you’re afraid am gonna take away your electronics or stalk you or whatever method parents will be using then but i want you to know, I will be there for you. P.S I know I will totally disapprove you getting into a relationship, I don’t even need to sugar coat it but we will work it out together and resolve it to the best way possible) When it happens and doesn’t work out as planned, say this guy you sort of like did something to hurt you and you’re too proud to talk to me because you know I will obviously hit you with the mother of all I TOLD YOU SO’s…I want you to know that I will not let you cry yourself to sleep. I will let you cry, but I will also be there ready to take you out for ice-cream or whatever junk that will make you feel better.

I know you’ll have friends, and you will probably have get togethers or need to ‘chill’ and get those squad selfies because squad goals? Yeah… I want you to know that there are times I will tell you no, and I would expect you to accept and cooperate. Okay? If you ask me why I will not tell you it’s because you’ve gone out alot lately, but you will have to have earned the permission. Take it like positive and negative conditioning….where one gets rewarded for something or gets their rewards taken away for a wrong they did or a right they did not do. Again I know we will fight alot here but it is what it is. Hail Sigmund Freud! (Don’t worry, this will serve both you and XY)

Still on the fights between you and I, I want us both, after a time out and each of us has had their clarity and sanity back to face and own up to our mistakes. We would both or one of us say something hurtful to the other. I want us to work it out together. Please do not walk out on me when we’re in between an argument. Please lets consider and reverse the situations. I know I will give you the chance to speak out your mind and we can even point out each others mistakes (Tactics on the how to will come when the need be.) I want us to have a family where no ones opinion is undermined or stepped on or considered irrelevant. There are times I am probably going to be the hugest pain in the butt and even my breathing near you would be so annoying, I want you to know those are just hormones. You’d probably be wondering why I am stressing so much on fights…this is because I have had a share of living with my parents, and when I complained because I felt misunderstood Fatma( I hope and pray you get to meet her…amazing lady…God bless her) would tell me after giving birth to your own child, you get to see life in your mom’s eyes and you’d never wish to say or do anything to hurt her feelings. This sort of seeped through and I tried hard when we argued with mom to try to understand her…but sometimes shit happens and you just get out of control. I wanna let you know that you would not know this by then and God knows I did not know anything about mothering when I wrote you this letter, but I hope our fights will not escalate to points where you’d wanna leave and be somewhere without your family. Because I love you that much. Even if I did not say it when we were fighting. I would not want to make you cry or you me…because I am not sure if there’s ever coming back from that. I remember one day mum said/did something that I felt so hurt by it I ended up saying wallahy sikusamehi…I immediately regretted saying that because there was that pained look on her face. It was soooo down and deep it made me want to turn back time and take back my words but Alas! God knows she probably would’ve given anything for me to say I didn’t mean it and by God I did(mean it at that moment); but it was too little too late. So yes…I would like for us to measure our words and be cautious of what we throw at each other.

 

I wanna teach you both to live by your Deen and follow rasoul’s teachings. I don’t know alot of stuff but I know some stuff…and I would want you to learn from me and your dad. I wanna be the mother you mini-halfies would be proud to have. I wanna teach you so many things that if I were to count I would probably bore you to the core, but I want us to teach us all the things and everything we know. But most of all I wanna teach you to be your true self.  This lady on Instagram (@nikitagill) I like once wrote about colors and she went ahead and wrote “This world isn’t made of shades of gray. It is made of colors like azure and coral and emerald and marigold, but it insists on painting everything in black and white and fitting it into boxes that it understands. Do not do that to yourself. Paint your personality a million different colors. Leave them scratching their heads, unsure of how to handle the magic that you are.” It is okay to be weird or odd or depressed or schizoic or introverted,to be happy, sensitive, meek and all other adjectives that are deemed unnormal by society because it means you’re human and a classic one because the rest are all basic. It means you can feel and that is all that is important and matters. I will tell you while growing up I was different. I still am but that did not make me live up to people’s expectations, because at the end of the day they will still judge you; and since that b#$ch judges your character and personality by your parents-and not considering in mind that you guys probably spend many hours away from us-I give you guys permission to be whatever you want. I want you to be shy but bold, to be quiet but at the same time speak up, to be feeble but by all means courageous all the way and to never let any muģgle put you dow; because darlings, you’re the incomprehendable galaxy in the universe that is my life. I wanna teach you guys all the rhymes, read books to you (doesn’t matter religious or otherwise)play board games or weird games I got on TV shows like ‘Pictionary’ or ‘I spy with my little eye’. I know there is a time you guys will grow up and everything we used to do together will feel childish, but I want you to remember that it is what brought us together in the first place. I do not want you kids to drift away from me your dad and among yourselves and seek solace in friends and get safe havens that do not include me and/or your dad and sibling(s). I mean I get why you would want friends…but I want you to know that I will always be there when you come back from that rough phase you had to encounter and I promise to work it out together. I love you. I have loved you even before I was sure I was gonna have you, but that’s not the point. I want this letter to be a reminder to me too. I want it to be a reminder of how I longed for you. I want it to be a reminder for me, for when I am about to give up on you guys.( I pray we don’t get there…Allahumma Ameen). I want it to be a reminder to you, that if we ever have a fight and you wanna give up on me…remember I thought of this way before I even met the guy you call dad and wrote you this way before I got married to the guy you call dad. I want you to know that I was once your age…and I probably went through this phase rougher than you because I perhaps never got to work things out with my parents. I want you to know that I was afraid for you. Still am. It is a maternal feeling and I sort of know this because God let me witness what parenting is all about with your cousins before I got to have you guys. I want to let you know that there is nothing I won’t do to see you happy (obviously you misbehaving while at it doesn’t count). And last but not least…and probably the most important of all things, I wanna leave you with this hadith

ﺃﻛﺜﺮ ﻣﺎ ﻳﺪﺧﻞ ﺍﻟﺠﻨﺔ ﺗﻘﻮﻯ ﺍﻟﻠﻪ ﻭﺣﺴﻦ ﺍﻟﺨﻠﻖ

I want you to live by this hadith…or at least try your very best to live up to this hadith…because Jannah is our final destination. May Allah re-unite us all in Jannah.

 

 

Lots of Love,

MOM

(Yeah I know at this age you’d probably be tired of all my “nagging and constant rants” you’d be calling me “birthgiver” well guess what….I am okay with whatever makes you feel great about yourself 😂)

P.S I love you alot and may Allah be with you throughout😍😍😍

By: Hanan Barre

As a child, the world was a simple place. Everything was in black and white, and a distinct line in between. The good and the bad. Two distinct groups. No in-between. The villain would always be obvious, he’d be defeated by the hero and the world a safe place again. Happily ever after was possible and good would always triumph. Faith ran high. 

As I grew up, that line blurred and  the world greyed. The villain could be staring me right in the face and I wouldn’t know it. The “heroes” were subjective to personal opinion. My “hero” could be your villain. Everyone was fighting their own battle and the only victory anyone cared about was their own.

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Unity and working for the good of the community became pretty non existent. My faith in the world waned. I came to terms with the fact that my prior beliefs in humanity and working for a greater good were delusions, and my dream of a better world fantasy. There was no hero in this story,just different levels of villainy. Everyone working towards their own end with no care for who got caught in the crossfires. 

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A human life was no longer sacred. Millions would die and we wouldn’t bat an eyelash. Heaven forbid ,some food be stolen by a hungry orphan, watch the backlash as all the people scrambled to uphold the so-called laws and the integrity of the judicial system. “No ‘criminal’ will escape the law.” I wonder where that law went when millions died fighting for a cause they knew nothing of. I wonder where that law went when women were raped and the rapists escaped Scot free,sometimes even provided justifications for their actions. I wonder where that law went then. Is this the world many died trying to build? Is this world people died fighting for? If so , there sacrifice was really for nothing. 

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And now, now I hope. I hope that this isn’t the reality our forefathers dreamed of. I hope that things have just hit an all time low and the we’ll bounce back from it stronger. Because it’s the only thing saving me from insanity , the only thing that gets me out of my bed in the morning. The reason I want to raise awareness, the reason I want to fight, the reason I want to change the world,the reason I want to dedicate my life to not only my own benefit but to that of my people.

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 I’m not crazy for dreaming of a better world for my off spring. I’m not mad for thinking ,with the right moves, this world can be as beautiful as my childhood fairy tales.

                                         

Photo Courtesy: Salem_Beliegraphy

Rashid sat by the window as his fellow passengers continued boarding the bus. It was already getting dark and his mind was far off. The smile on his face was clear even with the dimness of the lights at the crowded bus stage. He was finally heading to fulfill his dream and it was only his introverted nature that made him to not scream out of excitement. A young boy of about twelve was roaming around the bus restlessly, his lips looked so dry and his kinky hair seemed to have not touched water in ages. He finally found his way to Rashid’s window and very sadly, he extended his hand. Rashid looked at the hand for a while; debating with himself. His mother had always discouraged him to give beggars money. ‘They are just manipulative conmen‘ she would say. If someone heard her rather dis likable comments about the beggars, you would think she is just an arrogant lady with wealth and thus doesn’t know what struggle is. Totally opposite to that, Rashid’s mother had raised him singlehandedly. She worked tirelessly to ensure Rashid had a comfortable life but to this stage where Rashid was now going to university, it sounded like a miracle. She would always tell him how ugly it is for a human being to beg while they have limbs to use and a brain that is functional. It all made sense to him but even as he looked at that small hand still stretched out to him, his heart gave him a pinch.
“Shikamoo…chakula…chakula” The small untidy boy repeated the statement thrice; staring directly at Rashid.
‘I’ll just do it for today, he thought…it’s my best day anyway’ He searched in his pockets and gave him his last coins. His smile had now broadened. He felt accomplished; satisfied. He had restored humanity.

The boy was now smiling too as he moved away from the bus towards the one at the back. Rashid went back to his day dreaming as his face beamed happiness. There were just a few more passengers remaining to board before the bus would leave to Nairobi. This seemed like an unrealistic dream. Once he arrives at Nairobi, he was going to get a plane to UK for a scholarship program. ‘UK? Unbelievable!!’ he remarked to himself. Just a few days before he had given up that he will ever get to university and here he was…‘It is cause of mummy’s prayers, i’m sure’. He smiled once again and he seemed so confident that nothing; absolutely NOTHING would spoil his night.

Suddenly there was chaos from the bus behind them and some men were cursing in Kiswahili. Everyone in the bus was now peeping from their windows as a crowd formed. “Mtoto mkorofi!” someone shouted as several other people asked, “what is going on?”
Rashid stuck his head out, peeping over people’s heads. A man came out from the crowd and Rashid quickly asked, “Kuna nini?”
“Some young boy here stole a passengers wallet after he refused to help him and insulted him on his bad behaviour of begging,” he answered in kiswahili.
“Did you see the boy who stole? How does he look like?” Rashid quickly asked.
“He was a begger; a bit short. Looked really untidy,” he said with disgust.
Rashid immediately knew that it was the same boy who had come to him. He bit his lower lip hardly as he felt a cocktail of emotions. First it was rage; ‘perhaps what mummy said was right. They are just thieves and conmen at the end of the day.’ Then came the pity and guilt; ‘perhaps if I gave him enough money to eat he wouldn’t have stolen.’

Another yell interrupted him. It seemed like he was the one who had just been robbed off his wallet.
“Sasa mimi nitasafiri vipi?!” Rashid clicked. Whom is he asking that? But in Mombasa you never miss the sympathizers. A few people came in and handed him some money to take him through his journey. ‘Ironic right? He was no any much different from the beggar boy now. They both needed help and both of them had gotten money from other people. They were now equals. He definitely has no right to talk about the beggar boy anymore. Perhaps if he had helped him, all this wouldn’t have happened.’ Rashid snapped loudly. The old man seated next to him looked at him strangely, maybe wondering what this young man could be so angry about.

His phone was beeping in his pocket. He took it and glanced at the name on the screen ‘mama’…‘She must be calling to ask whether I already left.’
“Yes mama?”
“Have you left already?”
“Not yet…but about to.”
“You have to come back.”
“What do you mean?” Rashid sat upright.
“You have to come back immediately. Your father needs you…he is on his dying bed.”
“Father…which father?!” His tone rose.
“Your father… I lied to you. He is not dead.”
“Mama…what do you mean?!”
“Just come back home son. Right away.”
The phone went off. His hands were shaking now. He waited for a moment on his seat; as if comprehending the whole conversation. He took out his passport and the ticket and stared at them for a while. His dream had just been shattered. By whom? By a father he had never met. He ran his fingers through the ticket once again and cursed in a whisper. The old man turned to look at him once again, only this time it was a glare. Rashid ignored him, pulled out his bag and alighted from the bus.

He walked slowly and his shoulders weighed down. All he could see now were the blurred lights of the streets. The more he walked. the more his steps became more of a stagger. He met a few more beggars seated by the road with empty plastic containers. He opened his bag and pulled out the appetizing dinner that his mother had made him for the journey. When she first gave them to him, he was too delighted. There were several samosas, kebabs and ‘mkate wa sinia’. She had packed so many of them with the claim ‘you will stay for so long without tasting these special delicacies by your mum so make sure to eat them all’. But now it didn’t matter anymore; he was going back home and will get to eat them forever. He approached the old ladies seated by the roadside with their children and gave them the lunch box. They were now all crowding towards him and for a moment, Rashid thought they would get into a fight out of excitement for the food. This time he did not feel accomplished or even satisfied. It felt no different than throwing away the food in the dustbin…

Right ahead of him was their home. His cheeks still round in a frown, he stared at their house like it was the first time he was seeing it. Time had witnessed a lot of struggle in that house. Time was the only living proof of the mud house that was about to fall down at it’s own weight. The house was nearly swept off by rain more than once. And while everyone stayed safe in their homes from the floods, he and his mum were not saved from it. They would sit by their tiny table and float like in a boat; busy fetching the mad water from the floor and pouring it of the house. Only God knows how they survived. Only God knows how they lived through hunger and poverty for days. Rashid sighed and moved towards the open door.

Upon entering the house, he saw a few familiar faces seated next to the bed. It was a bit crowded and could barely see the faces clearly. Their living room was also their bedroom and everything they ever had. Every night he would spread some two to three cotton blankets on the floor to avoid the hard touch of the stony floor. His mother would sleep on the bed; the only bed. His eyes narrowed as he recognized his two paternal aunts and three uncles. He hadn’t seen them since he was very young. It was almost that same time when his father disappeared and his mum had told him then that his father had gone to heaven.

“What is happening?” Rashid broke the silence. He dropped his bag and took the small diminishing candle that was lit near the door. He moved closer to the bed and raised it high to see the face of a very frail, old man lying on his mother’s bed.

“I asked what is happening. Who is this?” The silence was loud. “And where is my mother?”
“My son…” the old man started.
“Rashid!” His mother made a quick entrance into the room. She was carrying some herbs which she dropped on the table before pulling Rashid outside the house.
“Rashid..my dear son…I will explain everything. Please don’t be angry. Just listen to what he has to say.”
“Why now? Just when I was about to kick off my studies. When else will I get such an opportunity?!” He said slowly yet in a firm voice.
“And when else will you get a chance to meet your father? Your dying father? He just has a few days left. Please come in…” she pulled him back inside before he could say one more word.

At the bedside, Rashid sat next to his father. They were on the same bed yet so distant. Everyone else had gone out, leaving them alone. The candle lit in a feeble way as their shadows displayed on the old curtains. The old man stretched his hand and placed it slowly on Rashid’s hand. Rashid pulled back his hand without a word but the old man was not about to give up. He held his hand again; firmly this time. As firm as his weak shaky hands would allow him.
“My son…”he started.
“Don’t start it now. Stop ‘sonning’ me. I am only listening to you because mum asked me to.”
“I…you have every right to be angry at me. I have been a bad father. And a bad husband too…but life teaches us the greatest lessons…”he stopped to cough. It was a painful cough. More of a groan.
“When I married your mother, she was that kind of woman who sacrificed her entire world to create our own small world of me, you and her. But I betrayed her. I was still young and started getting rich. Money deceived me. I remarried and left your mother. But I was still so young my son. I was very young to know that money has it’s end too… My second wife empowered me to continue building my empire. I forgot all the sacrifices your mother made to get me there. It is only after I was filthy rich when my second wife did the same thing I did to your mother. She left me. But she didn’t just leave me; she left me penniless. She made me richer than ever so that she can have the entire kingdom to herself afterwards…” he breathed loudly and Rashid could almost feel how slow his heartbeat was.

He paused a bit to catch his breath.
“And where were you all this time after she left you? Didn’t you regret? Why didn’t you come back to us?” Rashid said in a bitter tone.
“Kwa uso gani?…how could I come back to your mother after all that I had done? After hurting her so badly?…how could I face you after you already knew I was dead?…I was poor once again and nothing to offer to you two.”
“You are still poor. Why did you come back now? Today precisely?! Just when I was leaving to UK?! Do you know what it meant to me? That scholarship?!” He snapped.
“Please forgive me my son. I came back so that I can see you, see how you’ve grown and…apologize to both you and your mum. I have countable days remaining…”

Photo Courtesy: http://feelgrafix.com/

By: Ahmed Shayo

Dear wife,,

How are u doing? It has been quite a while since i felt the familiar pleasure of watching the sun dance in the brown of your eyes. As you can tell, I miss u dearly, so much that I spend my days hear at work loosing myself in the gravity of thoughts that always lead me to you. I pray you are doing fine & well.

I must confess, it is rather unorthodox for me to write a letter, not because there exists a new technology that’s easier & simpler & faster to use than the internet, but because the last time i did this in primary school it turned out to be quite an embarrassing experience for me 😅. Then again, since u got out of your way to write down one for me, i’d say I’m obligated return the favor, tat for the tit right? *wink* [no pun intended] 😉

So where do I begin? Ironical how you think about someone for so long but when it comes down to putting words to the thought it all goes away. Then again, its always been the effect that you had on me. It should come as no surprise that my love for you seems to supercede the extent of what I can comprehend. Like color, its indescribable how a simple pigment pulls the attention of the eye to the detail it describes,, like the pink on your lips… Or the brown on your skin.. Or the light in your smile. It just is. And i cherish that, not coz i wanna sound like a love lorn Romeo in this letter,, but because they are the 1st things that made me attracted to you. [ps: i still do] 😊

As a husband, i find it difficult to adjust to this life of commitment & mutual understanding. Before you came into my life, I ate irregularly, slept in a 1 bed-roomed apartment & rarely stayed home. Being a bachelor back then [a very eligible one i might add] has been a lifestyle i easily & naturally adopted to. Now I’m married with kids & am thinking, damn! I grew up too fast. But I have different priorities now. I have someone I can sacrifice my pleasures for. I have someone that waits for me to get home & when I do, she’s always complaining that i should avoid getting in the house past 10 pm. But hey, a man’s gotta do what he must, and since u decided to steal my heart I gotta work out how am gonna take care of u [i am not complaining by the way so you can relax]. So i’ll do what I can, keep u warm.. Satisfy u to the limits of my abilities [except during soccer matches, hapo itabidi umezee roho safi hadi game iishe 😌]

You know, now that I think about it, I am actually proud that I got quite the exquisite taste in choosing a wife. Then again, my dad did have the same taste too so i figure it runs in the family. You are beautiful, so much that I wanna show u out to the world for a brief moment then hide u kabla mafisi wachangamke. That said, I expect u to maintain your dignity, not as a wife.. but as my wife. Ur the epitome of my pride, and if I loose that then I loose my worth. So take care of yourself in as much the same way that u’d take care of me. And i don’t need another wife and have to juggle in between sleeping in separate houses and satisfying both of y’all at the same time. Juzi tayari u almost bit my head off coz nilisahau kukuchukulia slippers kwa fundi 😂😂😂

So anyway, I don’t really have a lot of standards. & thus letter wasn’t written just so I tell you how to be a wife and behave like one. You are matured. Am sure you have it all under control. This letter was simply to send out a declaration – everything i do, will do, and will never get tired of is keeping u happy. That’s all that matters to me, because as a husband, i believe that should be my top priority. The things we do for love right? You are lucky you married a luhya, cheki vili unatunzwa hapa 😜

Am signing out now. These bills won’t go away even if I kiss them like I kiss you *wink*. I love you gorgeous. Take care.

Yours eternally,
Ahmed

Photo Courtesy: www.ayeina.com

By: Husna Mohammed Lali

Dear Husband

Please notice that I refrained from using the term future because let’s face it, you were my husband ever since our fate was sealed by The Sealer of all Fates. Cool? Okay.

So lately there has been a brawl about future husbands and wives and space and marriage life; I tell you the cycle is vicious. I thought about it and decided, let me give him a heads up on the load of weird and a spicy amount of old-fashion he is about to spend his entire life with.

First things first, or last. Who cares? Spontaneous and flexibility is paramount…as one of my friends keeps it. I am not sure if this is true but my mother always has us like “the way to a man’s heart is his stomach.” Either Biology went wrong here or mother nature is a freak. Again, who cares? I am not as good a cook as your mother or mine is simply because my mother’s recipes do not have exact measurements of the ingredients. She puts everything together and it comes out a nice aromatic pile of edible stuff. Don’t get me wrong. I have done a fair amount of cooking (my ungrateful brothers once said my cabbage stew tasted like weeds). I usually like to think that they were being realest…you know criticising me on my face and praising me behind my back. Either way what I cook has never caused them any food poisoning. So yeeeey!! You know the statement “Cooking isn’t obligatory for the wife. It’s a favor”. I just want to let you know that I am so honored to do you that favor and I promise that in between our careers and job schedules we’ll have at least 2 home-made-by-me meals. I might need help sometimes, please make it easier for me and be considerate when need be.

Guys’ Time?? You have it. I have learnt from my brothers that watching football by yourself doesn’t give you the thrill. Yeah, go watch it with your buddies but I will totally need a payback (before or after…just to make me feel ‘not less important. Heads up…that large container of ice-cream or a weekend get away or even a little help with something in the house would soften me up 😉 ). Since we’re on this subject, please do not feel bad or abandoned when I say I am going to spend time with luby or the girls or even mum. I think that is a fair tat for the tit. In short do not make me feel guilty or have to choose between them and what you love to do with your buddies.

Emotions Sheet?? They say marriage is not a bed of roses. We’re probably going to have rough days and nights. Argue about stuff that may seem silly to either one of us. One or two things I would like from you.
1) we will not do it in front of the kids.
2) we will not take for granted the other’s side/perspective and or thoughts.
3) we will be clear and precise on what is needed to be discussed
4) we will not go to bed angry at the other. (Just in case it’s a huge mess up..dude, I am so taking the bed)
I am going to be honest with you here. I usually have my temper and emotions in check. Learnt it from my old man and brothers. I will be the water when you’re the fire but please do not make me so angry that I end up comparing you to them or wishing I still lived with them.

I am very choosy when it comes to talking about my feelings; especially when I am having a meltdown. I have been known to be bricky. I go silent or rather low-key for a while, it is not your fault, that is usually how I recharge my system. My best friend usually has a hard time getting me to talk about such stuff. My mother, my big brother and her, are among or rather the fewest who know what my mind thinks of or wanders to. Just in case I will lose any of them in the process, please be there to fill in their shoes, or most importantly, take over their place when I am living with you. I have, on several occasions been told that I am good listener and a mood lightner. So if you’re having a stressful day with your workmates, I promise I will be there to talk about it. Or if it’s stuff from work that had to be finished at home, I will help you with that, even if it just means sitting quietly across the table or floor as you work. All in all I wanna be that person whom you can’t wait to tell what happened when we were not together.

Family?? This is one thing I am most afraid of. You know how girls feel threatened by mothers and sisters in law? I have a history of really not caring what people say about me. My mother for example has tried to change me to wearing and acting like a girly girl because I am not like the others or that is not what is expected of me. I like to do things my way. My comfortable way. I am not going to disregard whatever they are going to advise me. But please let it be just that. Advice. Which I am entirely free to choose to follow or not. I am going to defend your honor in front of my family, please do so in yours. I know it might seem like I am asking you to pick my side, but it is not. I am simply asking you to put yourself in my shoes when it comes to such situations and act wisely. I will accept faults when due. I will not accept you siding with your mother or sisters just because “they know you better”. While I am not known to be violent, I am known to be cold and calculating when it comes to proving a point. P.S Your mother and sisters can come over anytime they want. They just shouldn’t interfere with how am raising you and the kids.

Social life?? I do not like people. That is one thing you should know. But when forced to interact, I charm people at it. I am not a fan of huge crowds, so on most occasions where I have the liberty to choose between going to events and staying at home. Home is the definite answer. I like staying at home and having an alone time, but I promise if it’s a work event, or your friend’s or work mate’s wedding, I will definitely be your plus one. I like to think myself as adventurous. Please have a hint of that. I am talking road trips (even if it means going to your mother’s place.), long lazy walks, sight seeing, trying out new risky stuff like bungee jumping (I will never do this…but I suppose I should trust you enough with my life to do this with you because am not even kidding you when I tell you I would NOT do it with my brothers. This is because I learnt my lesson when I let one of them put me in his bicycle’s ‘basket’ and we ended up rolling down some hilly/unleveled grounds.) Though me and Lubnah have stuff in our bucket list, if it’s not accomplished then or she gets a very strict husband who wouldn’t let her or do it with her, please make this bucket full by supporting me/us (you get the point here.)

And now to the most delicate most unappreciated and most sensitive subject. Co-wifing??
This is settled, though my sisters and married friends say it’s hard and that they cannot handle it. I would like to say otherwise. I don’t see it big of a deal that I have a lady whom I share a husband with. Let’s be realistic here and try not to use hearts to think. See, the ratio of men to women is a little unbalanced and kind of favors us more.Fortunately or unfortunately. So I think I would rather you married her so she gets a better life than either letting her suffer or you commit zinaa. I know it’s going to sound ridiculous to the girls, but yeah..that’s just it. Buuuuuut….just because I said this doesn’t mean you do it out of sheer spite or the fun of it. Do it if you feel you must and when you know you can be just with both of us. I mean I will obviously be jealous of her or you and her but I promise I will not be malicious. If I am going to be a co-wife I wanna be the kind where she is comfortable enough to leave her kids with me and know that they’re in good hands. Before we wrap it up, just in case it wasn’t clear, I wanna be the first wife, not for superiority reasons, but just in case she’s not as cool with it as I am. I do not want to be hated for ‘stealing someone’s spot in their husband’s life’.

I think we’re great for now. Just in case you need clarification or I was vague about it. I am not going to be a housewife. I did not just spend at least 22 years of my life getting up and going to school and trying my best just so you let me waste away. That is not fair. To me, my parents and siblings, who’ve always had my back when they weren’t holding my hand. I don’t wanna be that brick in your wall of life. I wanna be the cement that’s holding it together as you build our empire. Do not make me choose you over this. Because trust me, I will not hesitate choosing the latter and I will have nothing to lose in thee process.

On a completely different yet relatable subject. I love reading can we please have a space where I can consider it my personal library?? Also if J.K. Rowling or John Green releases new books. Please get me a copy? Yeah thank you. And I love you for this

Thank you in advance. Feel free to be awed, intrigued, threatened or all at once. See you in a while.

With love,
Your wife who has her priorities and visions set straight.