Coast & Culture


This article (edited version) was first published on ‘Travel Log Magazine’ an insert of Standard Newspaper on 9/1/2020

When you travel out of your country, for whatever reason, there will always be expectations imposed on you. Nothing will be said to you directly nor is there an old, smelly manuscript by the ancestors stating what is exactly expected of you. However, they still exist. And the moment you just step down from the airplane, your entire community awaits you.

1. Suddenly, you have become the elite of the community and being elite, comes with a price.

It doesn’t matter whether you went out of the country for studies or business or short holiday, especially when you currently live there, you are a different person of a different status now. And status comes with expectations; ‘when will you build your parents a kahouse at the farm at least they enjoy their old age?’ ‘Your uncle has been very ill. You should chip in in his medical bill.’ ‘Are you going to sponsor one of your siblings’ education now that you live in Australia?’

Now, no one really knows what you are doing there; the struggle, the high cost of living or even your earnings, but apparently, being out there somehow makes you wealthy. It could be so but perhaps not. Who cares to ask anyway?!

2. Your entire extended family and community that sometimes don’t even recognize you, expect gifts.

A few weeks or even months before your awaited arrival, the requests start coming in from your aunty who doesn’t really like you, your old friends you haven’t talked to in a year, your ex-neighbor who once did you a favor decades ago…you name it. Someone wants that designer perfume that isn’t available in Kenya, another wants a blow dryer they saw on TV, another wants a kasmall laptop tu. 

All this while, no one asks you whether you can afford it or not. Whether you have the ability to get the item or whether it will inconvenience you. Si uko ulaya? Haya! Deal with it!

3. Somehow, sometimes, a change of accent is considered betrayal of sorts.

‘So you went to live with the wazungus so now you know better eh? You can’t even speak like us anymore!’

Somehow, maintaining your accent equals to honouring your roots. So doing the opposite get people to gossip how your foreign accent is ‘pretential’ and ‘forced’ even though at their own seclusion, in front of their mirror, they try to imitate ‘your enhanced accent’ wishing they were you.

4. You MUST have adopted some of their mannerisms isn’t it?!

Queer questions will start streaming in, ‘I hear that there is an indigenous community there that eat crows, did you try it out too?’ ‘I heard that in their culture, they believe in unicorns, do you think they really exist?’ ‘There is a new Korean series, did you watch it while there?’

I mean, there MUST be something new you picked from them right?!

5. Come cook us a Turkish meal.

You’ve been in Turkey for how long again? 2 years?! You should prepare us a Turkish cuisine! I mean isn’t that the first thing after language that people learn in a new country?!

6. My friend, if your grandfather, your parent or any other individual was supporting you financially before, your travelling/living abroad cancels that automatically. You are now expected to act like a fully independent and a grown up finally! Your problems no longer exist and someone else definitely deserves the finances. I mean, who lives in Canada while being poor?! (even if you went to work there as a home care taker). You can never be broke. You can be broquè though; the elite, classic kind of lacking money. (It should be added on Modern dictionary!)

7. In fact, you are the loan guy now. You are the first person everyone thinks of when they are in trouble. The first person your reckless cousin calls when caught by the police for over-speeding. The first person to call when someone gets admitted to school. The first person invited to a baby shower or wedding. You are expected to act like a malfunctioning ATM machine.

The expectations come in different shapes and forms but the bottom line is this: for you to be respected, some of these expectations must be fulfilled. Once you gain the respect, no doubt, the entire community will be fond of you. Upon your arrival back home, you will be invited everywhere and be over-fed until you can barely walk on your two feet. You will be treated like a dignified individual even with people who never cared about you prior your ‘life-changing journey’. They will ask you for advice on the new business they want to start or anything else that you entirely have no idea about.

You will be forgiven for your otherwise unacceptable behavior. They will cut you some slack when you confront your elder with a rude tone, something that would otherwise have caused a hefty slap on your face. They will say things like, ‘He has been away for so long, the culture is different there’ and follow it with a moment of painful silence. Your younger cousins will call that privilege. The ones older than you will call it misuse of privilege.

When you are away, people will make video calls. The children will proudly tell their friends at school, ‘I have an aunty in London. Aha!’ That statement will be used as a means to gain friends, appear more likeable, bully other kids or threaten them. Family gatherings will be incomplete without you.

The chief of the mtaa will refer to you in the baraza meetings. Your mother will never refer to you by your name but instead say, ‘Si you know my eldest son? The one in Qatar, working as a manager?’ 

You are the pride of the community. Don’t let them down. Don’t forget your roots huh!


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This article (edited version) was first published on ‘Travel Log Magazine’ an insert of Standard Newspaper on 13/12/19

December is upon us and soon enough, Mombasa will be congested from droves of holidaymakers. It is no secret that we all love Mombasa, because hey! ‘Mombasa raha ama vipi?’ We definitely love our home and love being part of it; the entire thing, the good, the bad and the fun! Now here’s a few pointers for our esteemed guests when they come for holidays:

1. Mombasa is an island, and just like any island, we move in slow, calm waves. We are relaxed people; we know it, and we are totally okay with it. Our pace should not in any way make you think we are in any way lazy or too unbothered or have no worthy place to be at. We on the other hand are not fans of the chaos and wildness of the cities and if you noticed, we are doing very well as we are. No one would want to come to our home if it weren’t for this exact solace and calmness that you sometimes criticize.

2. We know that Mombasa is very hot and even hotter during December season. Please do not worry about our hijabs and buibuis. We have lived here our entire lives and this heat has become part of us, we are okay still wearing black under the scorching sun. You can term us ‘Warriors’ for that, we definitely are!

3. Please understand that Kiswahili, is a very beautiful language and has its deep history originating not just from Mombasa but other parts of the Eastern Coast and even beyond. The Swahili accents differ from place to place and tribe to tribe. Ours is as sweet as our souls and we are proud of our mother tongue. Now, do not in any way think that Kiswahili speakers are in any way less educated, civilized or modern. You’d be surprised how many scholars, educators, established business people we have, who take pride in talking in Kiswahili rather than any other seemingly ‘advanced language’.

4. We are kind people. We value brotherhood and we are always ready to assist anyone. Please note however, that when we decide to show you directions or assist you with water or literally take you on a tour, that that is not a cue for wanting small talk or giving out our phone numbers or wanting any kind of intimacy (unless otherwise clearly stated). We are simply kind people. Please get used to it.

5. Walk anywhere, and I mean ANYWHERE in Mombasa and I can promise you that you’ll find someone doing business there, or marketing or just hustling in whichever way they can. We do have idlers and drug addicts and other vices, just like ANY other town. So please, when you get back home, remember to take the report back home that we are not lazy people as many perceive. Talk of the women you saw very early before dawn, selling those delicious Swahili food. Talk of the many seminars that you saw youth attending. Talk of the protests being done continuously to fight for our rights. Talk of the men going to ‘mjengo’ every morning and returning late at night. Talk of how hard working we really are and be part of breaking the available stereotypes.

6. As Swahili people, we really value our culture and principles. We behave in certain ways, dress in certain ways, talk in certain ways…Of course we can’t hold our visitors as prisoners to our values but please, could you try to at least respect our culture? Could you try to be more sensitive to what you say to the locals, or how you dress when amidst the locals or how you behave when invited in someone’s home? We do understand that people come from very diverse cultures and backgrounds and we function in different ways. But as the common saying goes, ‘When you go to Rome, you do as Romans do.’ This is not a rule but more of a humane expectation. If the Coastal women, for example, refuse to shake hands with the male or drink alcohol or party till late night or anything else we’re not comfortable with, remember to not be prejudicial.  Respect the culture instead.

December is a paradoxical time for the Coastals. We are not huge fans of all the over-crowded beaches and extremely busy roads and places, yet we are happy to receive people and shower them with our warmth and kindness. Not to mention the business opportunities huh! To end this I say, ‘Karibuni sana Mombasa.’

Happy holidays!

Photo Courtesy: Majdermind

Buzz! Buzz! You check your phone for the fiftieth time. You scroll lazily through the messages; Eid Mubarak, Eid Saeed! Each one more similar than the previous. You create a quick broadcast of all close friends, family and colleagues and forward the last message you just received. Okay done, one less thing to worry about. It is almost midnight but the house couldn’t be livelier. The smell of fresh paint, oud and freshly baked cookies choke your throat. Your elder brother is changing the curtains, your mother is still whining about the slightly burnt cake and your teenage brother has made himself the designated taster, picking the well laid snacks one plate after another. The kitchen is a big mess. The sitting room however, is spick and span. If your nosey neighbours were to come as early as 6 a.m. you’d be proud of your little home. We can worry about the kitchen in the morning, everyone suggests. Yet everyone knows that the morning would be more hectic than the last ten days combined.

You try to sleep but your anxious mind wouldn’t let you close your eyes. Did I return the remaining milk in the fridge? Ah, I forgot to send an Eid message to aunty. I should do that first thing in the morning. Now what will we do about the burnt cake? Your eyes finally shut but your mind is still racing with thoughts. Your back is aching from bending over at the traditional ‘mbuzi’, grating several coconuts to prepare mkate wa sinia. You remember your pretty, flowery dress and smile, satisfied. It doesn’t even last you a minute, your mother knocks at your door. ‘Minal aidin!’ she wakes you up. You have barely slept and you have too many reasons to whine about. But it is Eid isn’t it? It is a big day and plus, there’s no time to ask for more time to sleep. So you jump out of bed and kiss your mother, ‘Minal faizeen’.

The entire family is awake for the dawn prayer. Your father and brothers go to the mosque while you, your mother and sisters pray at home. Everyone thereafter disperses to a corner; your brother is ironing his kanzu for the Eid prayer about to happen in almost two hours. Your younger sister is laying out her entire attire from head to toe, ready for a shower while your younger brother is still ‘tasting’. Your father is watching the Eid celebrations in Makkah while your mother is setting up the table. You are in between cleaning the kitchen, checking social media, sharing Eid messages and taking bites here and there.

The table is a beautiful sight. All kind of food is laid out from your slightly burnt cake, to cookies, to donuts, to samosas, to home-made chocolate, to mkate wa sinia to meat pies. Coffee and dates wouldn’t miss either. No one has the time to sit and eat yet so everyone is picking a bite in between doing other things. The phones keep ringing; aunties, friends, cousins, all calling to wish your family Eid Mubarak. The kitchen is finally clean and one by one, each dresses up for the special occasion.

Oud fragrance fills the air and soon enough, we’re all taking photos. The entire family heads to the open-ground where the Eid prayer would be performed. There’s a lot of laughter, hugs, kisses and merry everywhere. Little children are running around in cute dresses and kanzus, greeting almost every elder they meet. It is a reunion; old friends, relatives, all neighbours are there. A beautiful moment. A memorable time. The takbiras can be heard all over the area, people chanting and chorusing, ‘Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, La ilaha illa Llahu. Wa Llahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar wa lillahi Lhamd…’ (Allah is the greatest, Allah is the greatest, there is no god but Allah. And Allah is the greatest, Allah is the greatest and to Allah belongs all praise.)

The prayers are done and a multitude of people walk home together; many white and coloured kanzus and bright buibuis. There’s a heavy traffic jam, cars hooting and lots of smiles on the road.
Back home, your mother sets aside plates with food for the neighbours and your younger brother is tasked to make the deliveries. You’re not sure if the food will arrive safely without him ‘tasting’ some more but you’ve given him enough warning to scare his ever-hungry stomach. You can’t wait for the plates to be brought back from the neighbours’ because they never come back empty. You’re eyeing for the very sweet ‘mkate wa mayai’ and kebabs that mama Zeinab makes.

You now all sit down to officially feast and taste the fruits of your labour, literally! Children soon come knocking on the door asking for ‘Eidi mbarak’ and your mother has all these coins and sweets prepared for them. After the heavy, palatable breakfast, you now have the energy to go visit your relatives one after another.
You decide with your siblings on the map to follow, from house to house. Everywhere you go, you are fed once more and the juices are enough to last you the entire week. Your baby sister is given ‘eidi’ with your aunties and uncles and you see her boasting to other cousins the amount she has received yet. It makes you nostalgic. Gone were the days when you’d be the one receiving the money. Ironically, aren’t you the one needing the money more than your baby sister?! You sigh. Before you drown in your financial crisis thoughts, your mother pulls your baby sister aside and whispers, ‘let me keep the money safely for you. If you need anything you’ll tell me.’ You laugh. You know the trick but your naïve sister hasn’t learnt yet. So she gives out the money not knowing she’ll never see it again. You can’t wait to do that to your own kids someday…just for the culture!

Lunch hour, the extended family gathers at the eldest uncle’s house for his famous biryani. The house is full, the stomachs are fuller and the hearts are fullest. The elders sit together at the sitting room conversing endlessly and laughing loudly. The children are running around. The young adults are confused as usual, trying to be everywhere with everyone.

The afternoon sets in and Eid is never complete without the gwaride. Drums and trumpets blowing loudly within the Old town. The team moves from one household to another in their red, blue and black uniforms and ugly masks. Children and adults altogether following the troupe as the kids jump up and down, singing and chorusing along, ‘twataka leo leo!’ When they’ve had enough of the singing and the troupe has gone further way from home, the children come back.

Your baby sister comes and whispers in your mother’s ears while the other children wait at the door anxiously. They want to go ‘bembeani’ at the famous Makadara grounds. As usual, you and your other cousin who’s your age mate are the allocated baby sitters. You are given some money to spend on your baby sister’s games, play and food. Off you set with your group of naughty kids, babysitting them at home is hectic enough let alone in a public, crowded space. However, you and your age mate have plans to have fun too because who said swings have an age limit?! You just have cross your fingers that you don’t lose any of your ‘ducklings’!

Eid Mubaraaaak!


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I believe Mombasa is one of the best places to live in Kenya. Maybe I’m biased because this is where I come from and home is home right? That aside, the culture here is so beautiful and profound, it gives you warmth. We are a collectivist society which means we mostly do things as a society rather than individuals. This can be depicted in how we conduct our weddings, our funerals, our charity and all kind of activities. There is a strong sense of brotherhood which brings together many different yet similar people from all walks of life. As much as things are not the same as they were in the past and more people have now adopted the private lifestyle, we still are one in many ways.

Nonetheless, in many of the occasions that we connect and stand with one another, we cross lines. It is never intentional and most times, we never even notice that we are doing it. We go beyond limits and over-step despite our pure intentions to help. So I’ll be the bad cop today and point some habits that sometimes aren’t as pleasant as we may think.

Note: I am VERY sure the things I am about to mention happen in other communities as well. But I don’t belong in those other communities and it wouldn’t be right to speak of what I’m not really sure of.
So, people…here we go:

1. New born babies are extremely exciting. Everyone wants to see them, touch them, smell them and hold them. They are pure joy. As soon as a mother gives birth, we rush to the hospital to see the new bundle of joy. I say it again, we mean well. I mean we are family right? So half an hour after a delivery, the hospital room is full of people and laughter and…a VERY exhausted mother. Having to keep smiling for everyone who walks in, trying to silence the new baby, listening to everyone talk. Have you ever thought how this situation is for a new mother? She has just undergone a very painful experience, probably the most painful in her life. It is a new thing. Her hormones are gushing out, milk flowing over, her entire body system is messed up and is trying to adapt to the changes. This new bundle of joy is new to her too, whether it is her first baby or the fifth, it is still a new adjustment for her because every child will be different. Every five minutes, the child is either crying or a new visitor is walking in. Of course, she can’t let her visitors alone. So she wakes up and listens to the endless, often contradicting advice on children. This will go on for days. She probably can’t even remember the last time she slept soundly. She can’t ask people not to come because yes, she does want her family and friends to be happy with her…but she needs rest too. She needs to breathe. She needs a break to make sense of what is happening and adjust appropriately.

I am not saying we shouldn’t visit new mothers, I’m just saying, a text message is good enough on the first days after delivery especially if you are not immediate family or very close to the individual. I am sure your message will be appreciated. Just make a point to inform them that you will visit them once they settle down a bit. Communicating your intention is important. Then visit them after a month or so, when they’ve had a chance to adjust. It doesn’t make you a bad cousin or friend, it makes you empathetic and human.

2. Visiting sick people is a thing for us. Go to Coast general and see the buibuis and kanzus in large numbers visiting their sick relatives. It is a beautiful trait within us; compassion. Often times we are not sure how to support and help our sick relatives which makes us helpless, so we decide to over-stay by their bed side even when we aren’t exactly needed. Sometimes we travel from other countries and stay at the sick person’s place, with the intention of being there for them. However, most often than not, we cause them further discomfort especially if we are not immediate family or very close relatives. Because now, this sick person and whoever is with them, have to worry about one more person; YOU. What will the visitor eat? Will they be okay sleeping in this room? What if they see X (the patient) vomiting or crying in pain? They now become more cautious in their own house. We mean well yes, but there’s always a limit to how much our presence is needed. Visit the sick, stay with them for some little time, pray for them or with them, support them but once you are not needed, kindly give them the space. Of course this differs according to the state of the patient but you get my point right? (I’m sure someone is saying to themselves, we have the over-staying visitors even when no one is sick too!! Yeah, those too…)

3. Newly-weds: Weddings are such an exciting thing here. We invest in them emotionally, physically and mentally. So much so that once the groom has taken his wife, we still want to be updated on every detail of their life. We tactfully visit them every other day to ‘see how they’re doing’. We want to know whether they have adjusted, whether the wife can cook good food, whether they have a fridge, whether they have consummated their marriage?!

Two people have just started a new life together. It is a very big step. They need time to know each other and to adapt. Someone has been living with their parents for perhaps twenty or more good years of their life and now it is a totally different house, with a different person, a different neighbourhood. Yet here we are, knocking on their door, as soon as they tie the knot.

Of course parents and siblings would want to assist in the adjustment and that is fine but that too has limits. And for the distant relatives and friends, we have to be even more careful not to cross the limits.

4. Asking newly-weds when they will have kids, can be very irritating and sometimes humiliating. You can never know what a couple is going through. You can never know whether the lady cries herself to sleep, wishing and praying so hard to have a child. You can never know how many doctors they’ve seen and how long they’ve been trying. It is okay to ask someone whether they have children but totally not okay to ask them why or when or even worse, joke about it. You just never know the pain they could be enduring. Be sensitive to people. You just never know…
Same applies to asking unmarried people when they are planning to get married. Huh, some youth want to end their lives because of that kind of unnecessary pressure. Also take note; there is the kind of asking where someone is genuinely concerned about you and the kind of asking that is just meant to pressurize you. The latter is what bothers everyone who is asked.

5. Funerals: Grief is a very subjective emotion. The way one will deal with a loss will be totally different with another. This includes siblings and family members. We could have undergone the same tremendous loss but one would lock themselves in the room not eating for days while another wouldn’t shed a tear. It doesn’t make either of the experiences less painful. We are just different like that.

Now when someone dies, we come together and show support to those who have lost a loved one. However, we tend to camp at the deceased’s house, forgetting what kind of discomfort we could be causing. Someone just lost her husband, but here she is, even three days after the burial, her house is filled with people. She can’t have a minute to herself because there are people lying around and chit-chatting everyyywhere. She has to think about what the visitors will eat, who will cook, do we even have groceries? Sometimes it is the immediate family of the deceased who go into the kitchen to cook for the visitors, tears streaming from their faces as they cook the stew. How unfair is that? Making someone who is undergoing great amount of pain, push aside their emotions because there are thirty people in the house with empty stomachs. How unfair is it for the widow who hasn’t had a minute to herself to let it sink in, to breathe, to cry without anyone hovering over her shoulder.

We might think that everyone wants to have a crowd patting them on the back and crying with them but that is not true. Often times we need the support at the first instance of the death through to the end of the funeral. After that we just need to be alone or be with someone really close to us.

We definitely should not disregard that the loss is for several people and not just one person or immediate family. Of course death affects many people and it is okay to grieve too. But sometimes it is better that we grieve at our own space and allow the immediate family to grieve their own way.


I love my home and my people. Honestly I do and even more, I love how we are always ready to stand up for each other as a community. Nonetheless there are these instances and several more whereby we need to be wiser on how we deal with situations and people. Let us think of the other parties more. Let us be more empathetic as much as we are compassionate.

P.S This is but my opinion and everyone is entitled to their own. I mean no harm. Thank you.


Amazing Hajj Packages with Muzney Hajj Group. Check out the details in the poster below. May Allah call us to his beloved home and grant us the opportunity to worship in front of the Kaabah. Ameen.

Photos by: Husna Lali (& a few from the Mombasa Toa Donge Lako Page)

There are some things, moments and people you are definitely never going to forget, like beautiful sunsets, the best meal you ever had, laughter until you cried and long-term friendships. It is not about who or what exactly they are but rather what they made you feel and how they changed your perspective on life or maybe just made you take a step back and review your life with new eyes. Charity is one of those things. Your heart swells with joy as you see the the spark in their eyes, as they pull you into their arms for a hug, tears already formed, a half smile and many unspoken words. You see all the emotions mixing on their faces like paint. Perhaps you may never get to understand how big your help is to them, but they do and sometimes even words can’t fully describe emotions. It could be happiness on their side, faith in humanity, hope and gratitude. And on your side it is joy, satisfaction, contentment and food for thought. You have made a difference in someone’s life and that precise moment may never be recaptured in the same exact way ever again.

Last Sunday, 20/5/18, marked a new wonderful experience with the Mombasa Toa Donge Lako community group. We started our trip from Mombasa all the way to the interior most parts of Kilifi, visiting orphanages and mosques that truly deserve help. It was a long trip full of excitement, laughter, extremely silent moments, feeling the saum pangs moments 😀 and fatigue. Yet all one could say at the end of it all is that it was entirely worth it.

This was really an eye-opening experience which exposed me to a world I had only heard about. Children and orphans living in small houses, squeezing themselves in the tiny beds with very thin mattresses or none at all, with leaking roofs, torn clothes and empty stomachs. Children having to walk a distance of around forty five minutes to one hour to school and madrassa every single day. These same children who can’t even afford one uniform to keep them at school. People who have to walk for two hours to get to the nearest clinic. People who don’t even know what three meals are. People who live in very deserted places such that you could have an emergency and die alone in your house without anyone hearing your screams and cries.

I have been to orphanages before but this was different. This was like a different world entirely. Cracked land, brownish water, malnourished children, children parenting other children, children going into the bushes and far distances for firewood every single day. Yet that is their daily life. Many of them probably have no idea of how other people live out there or maybe they do, yet still appreciate their own lives. It is a blessing of some sorts because they are so engrossed in their own livelihoods and their struggles, they barely have time to start comparing themselves with other people or to complain of how they couldn’t afford a tuktuk to Mwembe Tayari from Kibokoni today. Their children carry responsibilities beyond their age and they grow up before their right time. And we wonder how very old grandmas from these areas are still very strong and continue to manage the affairs of their homes…this is because they are a product of struggle, endurance and patience. Indeed God only gives you what you can handle.

Our convoy of vehicles included a Dola Truck, Dreamline bus, Istiqama bus and two personal cars with a total of 94 people, all in the name of humanity. I couldn’t say there’s a better convoy. This was until the Dreamline bus carrying the ladies, broke down after two institutions and unfortunately they had to cut short their trip and go back to Mombasa.

Most people in the Kilifi interior areas keep swapping between religions, switching to what is convenient for their livelihoods. Poverty levels are so high and Islamic faith and knowledge is very little. As such, they confess that most of them change religions according to those who stand by them. When Christian missionaries go and preach and provide food, they become Christians. And when Muslims go to them, they switch again. They are naive and mostly helpless due to their living conditions. They don’t even have electricity poles apart from some few places closer to the Kilifi town itself. Some of these places use lamps during the night and taraweh prayers while some imams have to use phone torches to give them some light.The Muslim women lack modest clothing so they just wear whatever they have, their toilets are in a sad state and the mats in their mosques and madrasas are totally worn out. Some of these places got well wishers who built the masjids and madrasas but most of the times it is a one time thing where they do khairat, finish it then leave. As such, their day to day problems of food shortages and high poverty levels remain the same.

Below are some of the places we visited during the trip:

Markaz Rayyan-Mtondia, Kilifi

Madrasatul SSalam- Mtsanganyiko, Kilifi

Masjid Taqwa- Kazandani

Masjid Sakina-Ganze, Kwakumbo

Masjid Istiqama-Mwapula

Masjid Ali-Mdangarani

And lastly was in Mombasa: Anfaal Intergrated- Bamburi and Island Girls-Bombolulu

During the last places we visited, we were quite in a hurry because of the time and the long way back ahead of us and for that, only a few snaps were captured.

Below is a slideshow of some of these places:

Some of the things I learnt from this trip is:

# There are so many people out there who really deserve our help yet we are even oblivious of their struggles and livelihoods.

#There is a lot that still needs to be done in terms of daawah especially in the villages.

#Appreciation of the people who actually take such long trips just to do charity. It takes a big heart to sacrifice their leisure time to endure a tiresome trip and help other people.

#The rizq that is meant for you will still get to you even if you are at the end of the world.

#God doesn’t give you a problem unless you can handle it.

#Travel to see and appreciate the world.

#If you think you are having the worst life, reach out to more people and see for yourself.

#Gratitude is essential ALWAYS.

#If we want to restore faith in humanity then we need to do charity more often and more sincerely.

#If you don’t focus on someone’s ‘greener side’, you might actually succeed in making your own garden beautiful.

#Breaking the fast in front of a breath-taking sunset (this was at Vipingo while others ate mangoes for iftar 😀 ) is one of the best things.

If you feel you want to take part in such trips and have your own experience, I have good news for you.

27/5/18– Mombasa Toa Donge lako will be heading to the west for the same charity course covering areas ike Jomvu, Miritini, Kaloleni and Mariakani.

3/6/18– The group will be heading to Likoni Mtongwe, Ukunda, Mswambweni, Gasi in Kwale all the way to Wasini Islands.

10/6/18– There will be a grand iftaar where orphans are fed as well.

You don’t really want to miss at least one of these events. It is a very interesting experience with lots of thawabs biidhnillah and since it is Ramadhan, expect more rewards. Ameen.

To participate in the trips or to donate or for inquiries, you can contact Laabied Mohammed Gucharan at 0706 591 911

May Allah bless everyone who facilitated and participated in the trip, those who donated, those who volunteered, those who helped in any way, those who prayed for its success and even those whose hearts wished to be present. May Allah accept our deeds and grant us His Mercy and guidance. Ameen.

P.S Please do include me in your duas!

And please subscribe to my blog as well 🙂

Ramadhan Mubarak 🙂

When I was in university, I’d hear ladies or even men sometimes point out seemingly modest or religious ladies especially when they are fresh students and say, “Watoto wa geti kali wale. Just give them time, they’ll adjust” And by adjusting they mean, unveiling themselves and joining the rest in the typical university lifestyle. These statements used to really break my heart because it made life even more difficult for modest ladies; like they must fit in somehow, like they need to change, like this is the time for ‘freedom’ as most would say. But even more, it used to really scare me because eventually I came to see several sisters and even brothers slowly withdraw from their principles and values and embrace ‘the freedom syndrome’. Some entirely changed their mode of dressing and some discarded the religion as well. All this used to make me question a lot. Are we, as a community supposed to raise children in the ‘geti kali’ conditions or are we to show them the real world whilst giving them the weapons and right mind-set to deal with it?

Geti Kali houses in Mombasa are those homes whereby it is known that the children, especially the ladies are over-protected with strict rules on whom to interact with, talk to, where to go and limited permission to go out unnecessarily. At least that’s how I understand it. In its original sense, the geti kali culture is an innocently protective way for parents to ensure their children don’t go astray or get influenced or taken advantage of. It isn’t out of mistrust (not always), or just to put their children in distress, but just their own way to safeguard their children. Some connect this with religion whereby ladies are encouraged to settle in their homes and avoid unnecessary movements. Fine, but are we educating them on what is really happening outside their homes? The dangers, the kind of people, the rotten mind sets, the scary environment?

It is all good and safe until you take your child to university and poof! A whole new world is exposed to them. It is like taking a kid to Disney world for the first time, you can imagine their reaction. So this teenager or young adult suddenly, out of the blue, so abruptly is exposed to a new environment they totally have no idea about. They know absolutely nothing about. They don’t know how they will adjust to the new culture shock without losing their morals and values that their parents taught them. People who’ve never gone out to the shop by themselves and suddenly you leave them an entire day or semester in a totally foreign environment full of peer pressure. Even when they are not taken to university, these young adults stay at home and are given the phones; bringing the entire world to their rooms. Again, the amusement, the shock, the surprise like ‘All this exists?! Where have I been all along?!

Don’t get me wrong. I know several geti kali families who lead their lives in a modest way and the societal pressure didn’t get to them but what happens to the many others? Again, my question, are we to protect our children or show them the real world but weapon them to face it?

I heard one very dedicated teacher say, “We really have a problem. Sometimes a parent comes to us and asks why her very young daughter came home with a boy’s book. I mean, boys are living in the same world with us. You can’t protect your girl all your life. You need to train her to take care of herself. This is how we know of girls who grew up within very noble and pious families and they are very disciplined themselves, but one year into university, they came back home pregnant.” And this is really happening. It is, and we need to address it as it is; plain and honest.

I write this because I really wish someone else had prepared me enough for university life. Not because I come from a geti kali family but because everyone needs that mental preparation. At an early age, my mother plainly told me that there is a lot of fitna out there and she would frequently tell me on what’s going on around and the real situation and would repeat it to me that she trusts me enough to find my way without being influenced. I wasn’t given freedom per se, I was given a healthy amount of freedom such that sometimes I heard no many times before getting a yes. Despite having some healthy amount of exposure, I still wasn’t psychologically prepared enough to face the challenges. Now imagine someone who has absolutely zero idea how the real world is out there. They have no idea that a boy could pursuit you for a whole year just for one single night just to dump you immediately. They have no idea that many people will encourage you to join them in their filthy activities just because they can’t stand your seemingly upright morals. No one really prepares them for the world out there.

The truth is, eventually, one way or another, they will have to face that real world and what will they use to protect themselves when they don’t exactly know what they are dealing with?

Haven’t we seen people being raised in very good environments, very holy lands, yet still turn out lost? And haven’t we seen people growing up in very rotten societies yet still stand up firm on their principles?
You don’t raise your child in a palace all their childhood and once they become a young adult, you wake them one morning and say, “Son/Daughter…you need to go for war right now”. It is never going to be the same with the child who was raised in a palace yet still was informed about the continuous wars. This child is open-minded and is trained; ready for the war. They can never be the same.

No one is really safe from the whispers of shaitan. Not those in geti kali homes or those given absolute freedom. Don’t point fingers at others or other people’s children whilst you have no idea of how your own are dealing with the intensely influential phase of their lives. We are all fighting the same battles with our souls, we might as well share our notes and help each other in dealing with the problems we are facing. May Allah protect and guide us all. Ameen.

Are you even Coasterian if you don’t have coconut oil on your dressing table? Fresh coconut in the kitchen? Coconut milk and water in the fridge? A ‘goat’ i.e. ‘the Swahili grater’ i.e. mbuzi. Grammar police, don’t attack me just yet. Give me a minute. Aha! Mr google here says that the right word for it is coconut grater 😀 Yes, a typical Swahili home must have the coconut grater. There is also a high probability that there is more than one coconut tree in the vicinity or at least in the neighbourhood in general. We are very much defined by the coconut. Its smell is in our hair, its milk and the coconut itself in our foods and even its water for us to drink. This is because every part of the coconut tree has a benefit in it and be used for different purposes. It has health benefits for different body care i.e. skin care, weight loss, digestion, diabetes, heart health, infections and many other things. You don’t believe me? Try Mr Google.

There is a lot of awareness nowadays on hair care especially using natural products and this is exactly why, the Coasterian MEH wouldn’t talk of any other natural product before the coconut oil.
Are you having problems with falling hair? The dandruff is making your head seem like the beach with all the ‘white sand’ around? Need to nourish your hair? Your weak hair makes you cry? You have problems of anxiety like me and you need to stop worrying and start living? You have financial problems? Your husband wouldn’t let you buy that dress? Problem solved. Natural coconut oil to the rescue 😀 Okay, maybe the last three are a bit exaggerated but when you think deeply, coconut oil can actually come in handy. I mean, did you KNOW? Research shows that stress is associated with hair loss and so is hormone imbalance. Stress triggers inflammation and prematurely induces follicle regression, leading to hair loss. Yet some properties of the coconut oil have a calming effect. No kidding 😀 The anxiety gone yet? As for the financial problems, shouldn’t you be climbing that palm tree nearby and you sell those very much needed coconuts? Your husband wouldn’t let you buy that dress? Cook for him the tastiest ‘Wali wa nazi na samaki wa kupaka’. Don’t they say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach? See what I did there?! *wink wink*
So basically, coconut oil can do wonders generally but when it comes to hair, this is just a few of the things it can do:
* Hair growth stimulation
*Getting rid of dandruff
*Hair Nourishment
*Oily hair prevention
*Stress reduction and hormone balance.

There are some family friends who decided, just like the genius me previously stated, they would use the coconut oil to erase ALLLL their problems (including your hair care). They started their own business that goes by the name of Khaleej Traders and produced 100% natural coconut oil for the hair called Jauz. Now in arabic, coconut is called Jauz al-hind which explains where the name comes from 🙂 They have four different kinds: JAUZ pine, JAUZ Lavender, JAUZ Jasmine and JAUZ Rose.

JAUZ Pine Hair Nourishment Oil: Pine oils can make great natural acne treatments that work fast. And because it can fight bacteria and fungus, pine oil may be useful with a variety of skin conditions, including psoriasis, warts, boils, athlete’s foot, eczema and itching. Being skilfully combined with virgin coconut oil, JAUZ Pine doubles its power for removing dandruff from the scalp and adding shine to hair. JAUZ pine means; healthy scalp, healthy hair.

The trending, Sweet smelling JAUZ Lavender Hair Nourishment Oil is mild and soothing, and can be used for any type of hair. When massaged into the scalp, it can improve blood circulation, prevent hair loss, and promote hair growth.

JAUZ Lavender Hair Nourishment Oil moisturizes the scalp and balances sebum production. It is ideal for people who have a mixed type of scalp, for example, oily near the forehead and at the back of the head, but dry at other parts. Its powerful antiseptic and antimicrobial action makes it excellent for controlling dandruff and scalp acne complicated by fungal or bacterial infections.

JAUZ Lavender Hair Nourishment Oil can also help heal minor injuries on the scalp caused by scratching, especially in children.

JAUZ Lavender
● Prevents Hair Loss
● Promotes Hair Growth

JAUZ Jasmine Hair Nourishment Oil
has been proven to be of effective use in aromatherapies, where the oil is used for hair massage. As it is believed to soothe the nervous system and calm the mind, massaging your hair with JAUZ Jasmine oil creates a conducive condition for hair growth as the oil helps to bust stress- which can drain nutrients from the body.

JAUZ Jasmine Hair Nourishment Oil can be frequently used to tame unruly hair, and is often used by those with frizzy, coarse, curly, dry and Afro-textured hair, although it can be used successfully by any hair type.
The Virgin Coconut Oil present in the formulation of JAUZ Jasmine makes the formula a proven efficiency for hair growth. Along with adding to the volume and length, it gives dry hair a radiant lustre.
Being light and non-greasy in nature, it can also be washed out easily, leaving the hair with a soft, smooth feel and fragrant smell.

Another advantage of applying JAUZ Jasmine Hair Nourishment Oil is that it helps to strengthen hair roots, which in turn ensure each hair strand is tensile, grows long and doesn’t go brittle.
JAUZ Jasmine Oil is also a powerful fungicide with antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, making it an excellent choice to cure scalp ailments.

Applying it on the hair is a good solution against dry and itchy scalp, as the oil is a wonderful moisturizer, locking moisture into the hair and scalp. JAUZ Jasmine Oil’s strong scent can also inhibit the proliferation of head lice and its eggs especially being a formulation that includes VCO as carrier oil.

JAUZ Jasmine:
● Moisturizer
● Natural Conditioner

JAUZ Rose Hair Nourishment Oil is noted for its hydrating and emollient properties. These help moisturize hair and skin and fight any dryness or dehydration.
JAUZ Rose oil also has stimulating, antiseptic, antiviral and bactericidal properties that are beneficial to hair and skin, making it useful as a general scalp tonic.

It constitutes mainly of citronellol, which provides fragrance; phenyl ethanol, which has antimicrobial properties; the natural antioxidant geraniol; and farnesol, an antibacterial that also helps regulate oil production in the skin and scalp.
Jauz Rose:
●With all healthy hair enhancers

If you hate the science bla bla bla like I do and you probably skipped all the jargon just to say, ‘I just want the damn coconut oil’ here you are 😀
For customers around Mombasa and Kilifi, please visit the below places for their products;

100 metres along the Bin Leyl garage street.
Contacts: 0721832982

Bakarani stage
Contacts: 0716740025

Along the mwandoni-kisimani cabro
Near labour coffee junction
Contacts: 0722258230

Opposite Tawakkal Bus Booking Office
Contacts: 0720418895

Near Masjid Noor
Contacts: 0723422822

Guraya – SAADIA
Former Al Farouq Hospital Building
Contacts: 0720970181 or 0731667376


Pwani University
Contacts: 0796660059

If interested in being one of our agents, please contact the sales team at 0708300552 (See? Financial problems I was talking about? Did you just get yourself a new side-job?!)

Photo Courtesy: Good Samaritan

Ask anyone who has lived in Mombasa before moving elsewhere, what they miss most from home (apart from the food of course), in that same list, Jumuah (Friday) would appear. Now Friday is usually a grand day for Muslims all over the world but when it comes to a place like Mombasa, where the area is highly populated with Muslims, it becomes more than the prayer part alone, it becomes a cultural affair.

I love Fridays for many reasons. It’s not just the end of the week. It’s the day homes get busier than usual. The men are choosing their best sparkling clean kanzus before they get ironed, surat kahf is reciting in the room and in the neighbour’s house and the neighbour to the neighbour’s house too. It’s the day everyone cleans up earlier than usual (apart from the earlier working class birds), the smell wafting from the homes is from the strong lovely scents of oud. The men are extra smart in their neat kanzus, trimmed nails and moustaches and well-combed beards. Women are not left behind as they clean themselves and wear their lesos/praying attires and join the friday prayers while some decide to do it at home in their own solitude and privacy. The typical Swahili neighbourhood is all about good perfumes and scents at this moment.

Now maybe that happens in some other places too, but have you seen the groups of men going to the masjid for the prayer? Have you seen the kanzus all over the streets? The restaurants taking extra orders for special biryani and from all corners, voices calling to prayer and preaching can be heard. You go to the shops at 11:55 a.m. and one door is already closed with the attendants hurriedly serving the remaining customers because ‘hallo? don’t you know it’s Friday?!’

Messages of duas and well wishes are not to be missed on this day as people remember one another in their prayers.People who don’t usually pray may appear on this day and sometimes, earlier than usual. The preacher is preaching in a rhythmic, poetic manner and the rewards of this prayer makes it a lot like the best day of the week. Once the prayer is done, see the multitudes of Muslims streaming out of the masjid, greeting one another; big smiles, big hugs, kinda like a weekly reunion.

At home, Friday means a special meal. It means eating biryani, if not, then the nearest to it, many a times, pilau. There is even extra effort to have fruits on the table and salad and kachumbari and fresh juice and hot chilli, I mean, just the sort of meal you’d look forward to every other week.

The children are home earlier than usual and this day becomes the best to invite family and even friends over for meals. There is a lot of togetherness, love and co-existence vivid than any other day of the week. It is in a great way similar to Eid days.

Those who go abroad especially Western countries, sometimes they barely even hear the adhan because masjids are miles apart. Most of the times, families are totally separated which makes it almost impossible to have a wonderful get-together after the Friday prayer. I mean, isn’t it a privilege being at home? In a place where Islam has become a way of life, we don’t have to struggle to get permission from work or school to attend the prayers. It’s a privilege you can put on the qur’an in the office and no one will grumpily shout to you, ‘get yourself some earphones!’ It’s a privilege we get to hear khutbahs in our own mother tongue, Kiswahili. I mean some Muslims out there are listening to khutbahs experiencing language barrier and not understanding one word. It’s a privilege that we are surrounded by mosques all over, we can even choose which one to go to. It’s a privilege we are so close together in our neighbourhoods and livelihoods, we don’t have to hide practicing our beliefs. We don’t have to struggle to have gatherings. I think it’s a privilege to be a Muslim living in Mombasa. Ever thought of it that way?


Sikilizeni kwa makini, mwenzenu nipo matatani…
Kwa mkubwa mtihani, ulonipata duniani…
Na nimekita mawazoni, sijui nifanye nini..
Nimefika njia panda, jamani nifate ipi?

Mimi ni mke nyumbani, na pia mimi ni mama…
Pili nilikua shuleni, na chuo kikuu kusoma..
Kishida nilisoma jamani, kwa juhudi zake mama..
Nimefika njia panda, jamani nifate ipi?

Kwa kupenda Rabana, shahada nikatunikiwa..
Kwa kweli niling’ang’ana, mwishoe nikafanikiwa..
Nikapata wangu bwana, harusi nikafanyiwa..
Nimefika njia panda, jamani nifate ipi?

Sasa nipo kwenye ndoa, mume wangu kakatalia
Amelitia kubwa doa, ndoto zangu kutimia…
Nikimweleza huniondoa, hataki kamwe kusikia…
Nimefika njia panda, jamani nifate ipi?

Hataki nifanye kazi, ataka nikae nyumbani..
Kinyume atakavyo mzazi, niwasaidie mashinani..
Hawana kazi wala bazi, na watoto tele nyumbani…
Nimefika njia panda, jamani nifate ipi?

Nina madada nyumbani, bado wapo masomoni..
Kuwasaidia natamani, ila kweli siwezani…
Imenipa tafshani, nakaa bila amani…
Nimefika njia panda, jamani nifate ipi?

Kando na ya nyumbani, ninazo ndoto zengine…
Uhandisi uwanjani, nifanye kama wengine…
Hunichoma roho ndani, nikashindwa nisinene..
Nimefika njia panda, jamani nifate ipi?

Nawaomba ushauri, njia ipi nifatilie..
Niende zangu kazini, wazazi wafurahie..
Au nikae nyumbani, mume wangu aridhie..
Nimefika njia panda, jamani nifate ipi?


Utu  mkakosa, mkanivunja uti

Mkanilainisha kama poda

Nikawa chakula cha mchwa


Navuma gizani


Majira yakaficha weusi wenu

Mkasihi jumuia isahau


Mkasali kwa sauti gugumizi



Kisu kilichonisafirisha  gizani

Keki chapakua, msimu mtamu tena

Kwa wepesi viuno mwakata

Kinyume cha  rai za nafsi

Mwangwi wa bezo wavuma gizani


Mbaya mimi siko. Mnafuraha?

Mwizi mimi siko. Akiba mnazo?

Simo idadini. Shibe mnayo?

Wageni hawalaumiwi

Utu  haba ni giza.


Burdani ni ua la sumu

Laficha ukweli leo, kesho halimo

Uongo hauna starehe

Kwa miyayo tu, mawimbi yataibua

Uongo mlioficha miongoni.


Navuma gizani, sikio hamna

Vitenge mwajikwatua kote nyajani

Pambio zateleza vinywani

Hatimaye kukaripia ndugu adui

Ndimi. Vumi. Pepo


Ngoma ni tamu, waichezao hawachoki

Wana kiu cha matunda, rangi si hoja

Yawe kijani au manjano

nyayo nyekundu kwa vumbi

zameremeta kama mshale wa moto.


Hatima yangu mwaitamani?

Maficho kwa stesheni

Na chini ya msalaba

Hatimaye kufanywa

Kuni. Kaa. jivu baridi


Je? kama sanda yastiri

Mbona mkanifukia?

Mwaficha nyuso kwa matendo yenu?

Fumbueni macho muone jua

Tiba ni toba


Mtapona lini?

Nasikia nyayo juu ya kifua

Mwakimbiza nani leo?

Jua likitua, mtacheka.

Kesho mtalia.


Shehena ya wivu kinywani

Wakongwe bado wala chumvi



  1. Hili ni shairi huru.
  2. Ritifaa ni sanaa ambayo inahusisha mtu aliyekufa, akiwasiliana na waliohai
  3. Picha kwa hisani ya Inaonyesha mtu mwenye hamaki kipindi cha 2007/2008,ambapo kulitokea ghasia baada ya upigaji kura