There you are…silent, withdrawn…a wall covering you from the outside world.

Beloved…I know this world has been cruel to you. You’ve been mishandled, mistreated and abused in a way that the world is not the same in your eyes. You’ve been shown in more ways than you thought possible, how more ruthless life can be- people can be. You’ve been hurt so much you find no other way to survive but slide back into your shell, your own bubble, your safety net. Somehow along the way, you came to a conclusion that the only way to make it through is by separating yourself from the world. That way, circumstances and people have little chance to hurt you. But they still do, don’t they?

Life and people have this ability to make things worse. They invade spaces. Turn the world upside down. Make your life more miserable. More detestable. Make you question whether you really should be here.

I know that you barely came across kindness, even when you needed it the most. Even when you gave it out the most. So you sit in your silence and take in whatever silence has to offer. Whether it is dark memoirs of the past, distressing thoughts of the present or the anxiety-inducing possibilities of the future. You don’t really want to let anyone into your bubble because well, they never will get it, will they? What are the chances that someone will see the battle scene that your soul is and still choose to sit with you until you’re ready to stand up once again? Be gentle with you, and your scarred soul. Be patient with you as you lick your wounds and find yourself once again. Seems impossible right?

Yet I am here to tell you that it is quite possible to find good, pure souls, with no strings attached, no ulterior motives whatsoever, who’d be willing to hold your hand and be there for you. Help you, guide you, be there for you. Where are they, you ask? Well, perhaps you need to first break that wall surrounding you don’t you think? Open the door, and allow people to be there for you. Accept help when it is offered. Ask for help when you need it. Embrace vulnerability- don’t stick to the thought that independence is what will protect you from the cruelty of this world. It just causes burnout most of the time.

I understand that shutting down and being in your bubble is your only protection-your coping mechanism, but you’ll never understand the beauty of deep friendship and love and intimacy unless you break that wall. See yourself from the eyes of those who care about you. Allow yourself to learn and grow from your own experiences and the experiences of the people around you. Accept that the trauma you faced has affected how you view the world and perhaps be open to view it from the lenses of others.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you forget the hard-learnt lessons you’ve gained thus far, but rather, making the choice to not allow yourself to drown in the what-ifs, could-haves and would-haves. No one can take away your story, and what impact it had on you. No one can underestimate what life did to you. It remains to be your story, yet you’re the one to decide what to do with it.

One of my favourite quotes in my book ‘The Striving Soul’ is, ‘Everyone has a struggle. Make yours count.’ And I like it because I do believe that regardless of the obstacles we face in life, we do have some choice on which way to handle the present and the future. Your struggle could be greater than a lot of other people yet that only means you have a greater ability to shine and thrive. Greater resilience. Greater strength. Because if anyone else was in your shoes, perhaps they wouldn’t have made it to where you are right now. All you have to do now is use that pain to create something wonderful for yourself.

I know this life has not been easy on you. But please take the risk. Don’t allow the fear to cripple you. Sometimes the only thing separating you from greater greatness is you stepping out of your bubble. Perhaps it will be better than you ever imagined. Perhaps it will be all you will ever need to become the best version of YOU.

Beloved, I pray you heal. I pray the world becomes kinder and gentler with you.

To read part 1, click the following link: https://lubnah.me.ke/31-hours-part-1/

Our view is still the same restaurant we had been at from the previous night 3 a.m.
It is now past 3 p.m. and you could vividly see all our energy had been sucked out of us.

“You know, at some point, during this journey, I thought of Nabii Yunus and the boat he was on,” I say loudly.
“Why,” my sister asks.
“Perhaps there is someone weighing us down and jinxing this entire trip. Who should we be kicking out of the car?”
They all burst out laughing.
“Saeed, I didn’t see you at the masjid for I’sha. Did you really pray?” Farouq jokes.
“I was late for masjid but I actually did pray.”
“Ehh, maanake this is not normal,” I say.
“So we write down our names in small pieces of paper too and choose randomly who is to be kicked out,” someone says. And we laugh again.

Asr prayer soon arrives. We went for prayers then went to eat at another restaurant across the road. Chips soaked in oil nonetheless. We eat reluctantly as we entertain ourselves with nothing and everything. We then see a matatu drive into the previous restaurant we were at. Our help had finally arrived. Finally, we thought.

My brother in law Ali had come with two other men, a driver and a conductor for extra help. We take the car to the mechanic and fix a towing bar ( a metal bar on the back of a vehicle that is used for towing a vehicle) between the two cars and off we set.

My sister and I sat comfortably at the car seat, set our chairs back and closed our eyes. We were barely three minutes away from the mechanic, the towing bar falls off from our car and screeches loudly. We both open our eyes,
“Oh what now?” I say with a sigh.
The mechanic rushes to us and checks our car.
“Reverse the car. We have to fix this again,” he says.

So we reverse back and it takes another moment to fix the towing bar. We set off again and as we cross the road towards Mombasa, guess what? It falls off again. All the men come out of the car and somehow fix it. We set off AGAIN. At this point I am so convinced that this entire trip is jinxed.

For a while we drive at a good speed with no complications. In fact, at some point, Farouq who was now the one driving the matatu, was over taking other cars.
“We are now over-confident huh?” I said to my brother who was in the car with us.
He laughs while I went back to sleep.

Close to dusk, I woke up and started taking videos of the forest and images of the sunset. I even got to see a deer and a giraffe huh! Silver lining πŸ˜€ At this point, we believe that we are fine and we will totally make it home with no further complications.

In between my short naps and taking videos, another loud screech woke us up. All men hopped out of the two vehicles, fixed it again and embarked on our journey. It was already dark now and just a few vehicles on the road with us.

As if testing our patience, the towing bar now kept falling off almost after every 10-20 minutes. Whenever this would happen,I would imagine the car losing entire control and perhaps roll off to our devastating end. Despite this happening too many times already, I would still wake up with a hand on my chest, screaming ‘bismillah’ like this might just be it. The last trip of our lives. Mind you, this trip happened just a few days before eidul adh-ha. I never thought we would live to see it.

Past midnight, we stopped at a petrol station with a cool, posh, cute restaurant beside it.
“Is she asleep?” my brother asks about our sister.
“Yeah,” I say as I gaze at her. She’s been asleep for a while now. And I kept wondering how she wasn’t hearing all that commotion in the dead night with no one but us on the road.

I wake her up to ask whether she needed to use the washroom.
“You’ve slept quite a while. Weren’t you hearing the constant commotions?” I ask her.
“I took my pills remember? They make me drowsy and sleepy.”
“Makes sense.”

We walk to the restaurant. The setting was beautiful and the toilets were CLEAN and neat. Do you know how important that is when you have a break down in the wilderness?!!!
“I wish our car had broken down here,” my sister says. Yeah, same sis. Same. We laugh.
We come back from the washroom and find all the men standing between the two vehicles. Two of them were hitting the bumper of our car with a huge rock.

“What’s happening?” we ask as we wear our jackets. It is pretty cold now.
“The bumper is becoming loose. It can no longer handle the pull of the towing bar. We have to remove it entirely and connect the towing bar directly to the metals of the car below the bonnet,” my brother explains.

“Do you know how suspicious we look right now?” I say. Five men and two women, in the middle of the night, damaging what seems like a perfect car. The sound of the rock echoes in the very silent petrol station. No one from there asks anything though. The bumper is finally removed and kept inside the matatu. They attach a rope and the metal bar between the matatu and our bumper-less car and each one of us takes our places in the respective vehicles. We take off.

“We are lucky we took this trip at night you know. If it were during the day it would be way more difficult with other cars on the road and traffic police,” my brother says. Lucky indeed πŸ˜€

You’d expect with the bumper being out our trip wouldn’t have any other issue right? You couldn’t be more wrong. The car still kept on freeing itself. And as fast and efficient as possible, the guys would hop out, fix it and we’d move on. They were becoming too good at the job, with no complaints even πŸ˜€

At this point it was like we were at a state of delirium. Whenever we’d close our eyes and open them again, we’d see someone else driving our car. The guys were taking turns in driving the two vehicles. My brother Saeed and brother in law Ali are now at the car with us.

“I am sleepy,” Ali says as he drives.
To make our trip more interesting, Saeed starts telling us of another road trip with a friend who left him driving the entire night while he slept.
“The silence just makes it worse. I was literally fighting with the sleep. I couldn’t keep my eyes fully open,” he says as we listen.

At this time, almost all our phones were off. Had we died, it would have taken a while for our families to be contacted. Okay, not the time for bad thoughts.

Saeed starts eating the mabuyu that we had at the beginning our trip. My sister is back to sleep.
“Are these mabuyu nice ama ni njaa niko nayo?” (or am I just hungry)
“You are hungry,” Ali and I laugh.

I close my eyes again for another moment before we had the loudest screech yet. Both my sister and I woke at the sight of our car moving to the extreme left down a slope, the matatu moved towards the right while the towing bar screeched loudly. I screamed something, my sister’s eyes were popping. We all held our breath, our mouths agape, horror written all over our faces as the car moved fast towards the edge of the road. We could now see the ocean below us; imagining us plummeting and dropping like feathers to the ocean below. The car then came to a slow stop. We were at ‘Dongokundu highway’. The streets totally empty and the ocean almost daring us. There was a moment of deep silence as the men alighted once again. If there was any moment we felt terror to the extent of finding it tangible, this was it. Imagine waking up to find yourself almost falling off a highway into the ocean? I don’t think words can ever precisely describe the horror we experienced at this point. Maybe we should turn this into a movie so you can vividly experience the terror alongside the characters. From this point, no one dared to go back to sleep. Even my sister with her sleep-inducing pills. We had lost all the appetite for it.

‘What if our car fell off into the deadly waters?!’ I kept thinking to myself.

We were right at the road when a trailer drove past us at a super high speed, startling the guys away to the side. It was a close brush!

“Why do you keep being scared whenever the bar falls off?” my brother asks me after they were back in the car.
“I keep imagining the car losing control and driving us to our demise.”
“That can’t happen. Despite the engine being dead, we are still controlling the car…unless God wills of course.”
“Oh…” I say with relief. How comforting to know πŸ˜€

We finally drive past Changamwe into Mombasa. Wow, that came with an excitement of its own, ‘we are close enough to home!! Alhamdulilah’ Only that home is in Mtwapa and we’d need another hour or so to get there with this constantly falling metal bar.

As we drive past Bamburi cement, we stop again. The men hop out as usual. But this time, we have an audience. The bodaboda guys start speculating us closely. One of them is seemingly drunk and starts threatening the men to report them.
I’m at the back of the car and I don’t get it.’Report us for what?’
The bodaboda guy then signals to his fellow to note down our plate numbers and I think to call the police or something like that.
He is shouting loudly at the guys, throwing insults at a time.
“What is wrong with this guy urgh!’ I say.
“And why are you agitated?” my sister asks.
“Because these guys have been driving the entire night, and he is pushing their buttons. People are exhausted! We don’t need any more problems bana!”
As I had guessed, Ali and Farouq starts answering him back. Not on full blown angry mode but you can see they are REALLY trying to ignore him.

Suddenly we see a police car drive by. We all freeze for a second. But the police just slow down a bit to peep what we were and they went on with their way.

The guys come back to the car. Farouq comes back and joins us as Ali takes up driving the matatu.
“What was the bodaboda guy threatening about?” I ask.
“He was assuming we had caused an accident thus the missing bumper,” Farouq replies.

Saeed drives the car past Borabora and we are thrilled.
“Getting home soon in shaa Allah,” Saeed says.
“Hehe not yet. We are yet to be stopped by the police,” Farouq laughs.
“Don’t jinx it,” we urge him.

We drop the matatu driver and conductor at some point around Shanzu.

We get to Mtwapa bridge and just as we cross, guess what? The police stop us.
Ali explains it to them that before coming with the Matatu to pick us from Mtito, he had talked to their head about it and had approved.
The police became agitated.

“Are you teaching us our job?” They were around four or five of them.
“No but why do you want to hold us back while we got the approval from your boss,” Ali is officially pissed.
“Kuna leo na kesho,”one of the policeman says.

And we all know what that means in Kenya. You could find yourself in a very muddy situation you were never really in.

Saeed and Farouq take Ali aside then talked to the policemen, trying to calm them down. They apologize on his behalf. They say it has been a long journey and bargain with them. They fold a note into one of the hands and finally let us go.

Broken system. How sad.

“That was close,” one of us says.
“Si mimi nlisema,” Farouq laughs. (Didn’t I say we’d be stopped by the police?)
“You’re the one who’s been jinxing us Farouq,” we all say as we laugh at him.
“I am not going to be excited anymore till we are finally INSIDE our home,” I say as we get closer and closer.

“You’ve had a lifetime adventure you will never forget,” Farouq says, “Mwanzo, have you guys ever been on such an adventure?”

“Of course not πŸ˜€ We can rejoice about the adventure AFTER it is over,” I say.

We can now see our home at the vicinity and I still say, “I am NOT going to be happy till I am inside. No less. No more.” This is the kind of trip you think, ‘Oh I am finally home. Nothing bad can happen now. I am safe.’ Only for robbers to appear in front of you with pangas. Okay maybe that is too movie-ish but can you blame me at this point for thinking of the worst?

I see my dad waiting for us at the door. I quickly alight and head towards the door. Guess what happened?!

Nothing. Relax. πŸ˜€ I just hugged him. Never felt happier to be home. Alhamdulilah.

I rush into my room and my younger sister is startled from her sleep.
“Oh you’re back?!”

“I am baaackkk!! Alhamdulilah!! You won’t believe what happened oh my God. Very long story. Will tell you tomorrow in shaa Allah.”

It is past 3 a.m., closer to 4 a.m. I rush to the washroom, clean up and repay my missed prayers. I am thrilled to be home. So excited. All the while during that terrible journey yet thrilling adventure, I couldn’t stop thinking, ‘Wait till this over! I can’t wait to write about it!’ To date, I believe I was meant to experience that adventure because I love adventures despite them wrecking my nervous system πŸ˜€ At least I can boast that I survived the thrill without having a mental breakdown πŸ˜€

Next morning everyone at home is asking for details of the trip. What exactly happened.

“Just wait till I write about it!!”

They’ve been waiting for too long! πŸ˜€

Thank you for stopping by! Kindly share and subscribe if you haven’t already πŸ™‚

Photo Courtesy: https://kiss100.s3.amazonaws.com

When I was studying journalism, I really looked up to John Allan Namu and Mohammed Ali for the investigative journalism they were doing. Their work was commendable! I think it is because I have a drive for solving mysteries, a keen eye for details and finding out the truth. But then I am also an anxious-wreck, and that’s just the most paradoxical combination ever. The time I realize how right I was to not pursue that adrenaline thrill is when terrorist attacks happen. I panic. People get sad. People get angry. People get frustrated. People get killed. I panic. Now I remember when the West gate attack happened, one of my classmates joked about how i’d die without being shot if I ever were in a terrorist attack. Die because of the horror rather than any other kind of harm. Maybe get a cardiac arrest then boom! I’m gone (God forbid). Now imagine if I were covering such a horrible event, I would probably end up being the journalist -not the victim-who ended up with PTSD (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder). How ironic would that be? Going to a therapist all sad and petrified and she asks me gently, ‘where exactly were you when the incident happened?’
‘Oh me? I wasn’t inside the building. I was in the neighbourhood covering the story.’
‘Did you get hurt?’
‘Did you get to see any of the terrorists?’
‘Did you know anyone who was inside?’
She stops scribbling, tilts her head and looks at me from above her specs.
‘Well that doesn’t make sense.’
‘Exactly my point.’
Then we’d have a moment of awkward silence as she contemplates this journalist, really urged to ask whether she was forced into the profession.

It’s always about the thoughts though. Always. Because when a terrorist attack happens, my mind races to picture the people who are in there. I imagine a couple walking in with their travel bags, hand in hand, big smiles on their faces. The lady giggles at something the husband said as they get to the reception to check in. The receptionist asks them how long they’d be in there and they say two weeks. It won’t get to the end of the day.
I imagine a lady in an office swirling in her chair, laughing with Grace who is directly opposite her. They are gossiping about their boss who has been coming with the same clothes the entire week.
I imagine a father on the phone, telling his wife he’d be late so she has to pick the children from school. An argument starts up between them. He slams his phone on the desk.
I imagine a young man running up and down the office trying to impress his soon-to-be bosses. If he does well in his internship, they’d hire him permanently. He wanted the job so badly so he runs and pants like a dog. He will get the job at any cost. Even if it means surviving a terrorist attack.
I imagine two high school friends planning a meet-ups for ages of which they always postpone or cancel. Then one fine day they decide, today we will meet. Today we must meet. Then they start discussing the venue. Then they weigh their options. The closest place for both of them but also a nice place to hang out with a very close friend. Finally they choose their place. The place of their death.
I imagine someone having a bad day, being all grumpy and moody. He turns to his mate and says, ‘I just can’t wait for this day to end’. But the day is just about to begin.

It is strange isn’t it? That on a very random day, some people make their way to a trap, having no idea whatsoever that their lives will be changed forever. Busy working, busy talking, enjoying their meals as terrorists are seated somewhere watching them and pitying these poor people who don’t know what’s about to go down on them. But these terrorists…how do they choose venues? How do they choose the dates? How do they just decide that today, the angel of death will have a party. Do they have any remorse in them? Is there any one of them who is a bit hesitant and says ‘maybe we don’t have to kill them. We could just frighten them.’ And then the colleague asks, ‘Are you chickening out?’ Is there any part of the planning where they think of cancelling or maybe it dawns on them that it isn’t worth it? Do they ever watch the targeted place and see a pregnant woman with a young boy walking through the gates and they hesitate a bit? Or see a man carrying a bag of pampers and think ‘that’s probably a good father he doesn’t deserve to die’? Don’t tell me they are just cold blooded murderers with no emotion at all. Everyone has something that causes a pinch in the heart. Even if it something very tiny that would trigger their emotions and maybe, just maybe make them or just one of them think twice. Or maybe that’s all they are; cold blooded murderers with no affection or compassion whatsoever. Because how else do they go on a shooting spree on very random, normal people?

I remember an Iftar event that I attended some years back and I happened to sit with a lady who was a victim at the Garissa university attack. Well I didn’t know this until a riot started right outside where the iftar was taking place. I could see how uneasy she got. Of course everyone was restless but she was terrified. And then she told me that she was at the university when the attack happened and somehow she survived. By then, quite some months had passed after the attack, but there she was, re-living the nightmare. I can’t imagine how disturbing and horrifying it is for anyone who has experienced such incidents. It is true some heal and move on, but some will forever be looking behind them whenever they walk. Put three locks on their doors. Avoid going outside unless necessary. Avoid popular places. Avoid public places entirely. Never take taxis or ubers. And it is so so sad how a piece of someone’s life and peace of mind will forever be gone.

What’s more sad is when innocent Muslims and Somalis have to pay the price of others’ wrongdoings. The issue of Islamophobia has been going on for quite a while now and just when we think we are making progress in killing the stereotype, terrorists surprise with another heart-breaking event. It is so unfair that other people have to continue to prove their innocence and justify their existence as if they are ‘natural criminals’.

Sincere condolences to all those who lost their loved ones (May their souls rest in peace), and praying a quick recovery to all those who were injured during the recent Riverside attack in Nairobi, Kenya. We shouldn’t forget to thank and pray for all those who helped in any way during the attack; the police, the ambulance personell, Red cross, blood donors and all other unnamed heroes who assisted in any way. Indeed it is only God who can repay them for their bravery and courage.

May God protect our country and our people. May God turn away any human being with evil intentions for us or our people. May we all stay safe. Ameen.

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

Apart from the Uhuru-Joho and #UhuruChallenge fuss, people like me consider the foot bridge to be a great blessing. And when I say people like me I mean the paranoid, the hysterical, the psychotic freaks, the ones suffering from agyrophobia (fear of streets or crossing the street); yep, the people who see a car rushing right into them, crashing all their bones when crossing a busy road.

So years back when I started uni, I was quite overwhelmed with the highway. I would always stand for moments and moments again before actually crossing the road. I would stand close by to the next person beside me and follow them right when they cross. If I am to die I wouldn’t die alone right? I mean, who wants to die alone? πŸ˜€ But then we do die alone so while standing next to the person, I would go their left side or right side according to which side the cars are appearing from. If the cars are coming from the right side, I would go to the left side. If we are to be knocked down, the person is to die first. It sounds so selfish nah? So I decided I should stop being selfish and take care of my paranoid self. I decided to use the underground pathway-under the bridge πŸ˜€

Now there is something about the Buxton underground bridge. It is dark and scary. It is old and smelly. And most of all, it is not the place for me to walk into. Once I was down the stairs, I would hold my bag firmly.
Phone stashed away-check
Money hidden in a paperbag, inside a zipped smaller bag, inside a smaller smaller bag-check.
Karate move-Urgh, I should have watched the karate kid more.
Walking steps-Fast, FASTER THAN FASTEST.
But then remains one problem, what if this bridge falls on my head?!

This is precisely what happens when you watch too much of final destination πŸ™

Oh my God, I should have written a will. My diary should be taken by Husna, my best friend after ‘the tragic incident of underground bridge collapsing’. But who will tell my mum that I love her more than I love my phone and laptop? πŸ™
Which is worse though? Bridge Collapsing or someone attacking you in this dark hole? Rape, murder or kidnap?
Oh my God, I don’t even have a daughter to share this tiny sweet paranoic love portions with ;( No no, enough is enough. Where is the highway route again? So I decided to go back to innocently stalking people crossing the road.

God heard my cry and sent me a blessing πŸ˜€ I had some lovely classmates who would always accompany me to the stage. Yeah, sometimes I would be grasping one of their hands because a car from the farthest end is approaching. They would wait until the childish me was inside a matatu before they left their ways. You know, just to ensure I don’t get kidnapped or robbed or have my intestines scattered on the highway floor after a tragic accident. So on the days one of them or more wouldn’t come to class, I would have a mini-attack.
“Where are youuu? Why haven’t you come to class?!” *weeping emoji*
“Ah siji leo, mwalimu aboesha (I am not coming today, the teacher is boring)
*Weeping emoji, weeeeeeping emoji* “I am going home alone today” *weeping emoji again*
“You will be okay” *laughing emoji*
*weeping emoji is even tired of crying*

Then comes a bully or more bullies, “You going home alone today πŸ˜€ ” But then some bullies are friendly bullies, so they’d escort me and wait until I am gone. No wonder one of my friends told me I was always walking around with bodyguards πŸ˜€

Right now when I think of those moments and now with the foot bridge up I’m like, “If this highway was to be speak, it would be proud of how terrified I was of it.” Not to mention that one night I almost got knocked down for real and in my pursuit to evade the car, one of my legs ended up in one of those uncovered holes. Don’t even ask me how I got home that day πŸ˜€

May the credit for whoever built the bridge reach them because one of my 2017 goals (ameen) is to walk on that bridge, take a perfect selfie and caption it like, “Well well well, guess who survived the highway πŸ˜€ Oh! and the underground too!” πŸ˜€ πŸ˜‰

By: Haadya A.

Photo Courtesy:Β http://img15.deviantart.net/


Shadows of the battles we fight,

It’s memories keeping us up at night,

The sky now is never bright.


Blame in folded knots,

Hammering our hearts like nuts and bolts.


Fear of expression

Our souls dying with depression


Courage blown like an autumn leaf,

Happiness fading like our once vast coral reef.


We have forgotten to care

All we do is nod and stare


We are like dying roots of the big tree

We are trapped in our own battles and can never be free


It has been a long while

Since we last saw a real smile


We lose seconds of reality

Our actions are now done silently


If we could all go back to our heart

We can make another beautiful start.


We are but oblivious things

We’ve lost the title of human beings.

Photo Courtesy: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/

Can you feel what am feeling?

Like insects on my skin are walking

i can feel in me the chill

of the cold blood being spilt

This is for the small kid in Gaza wondering,

what’s happening? They must be figuring
All they see are the lifeless bodies
and all they see is that death is calling..
Then who are the real terrorists??
The instigators,the war catalysts?
Its those tears that break my heart
their small smiles that pain hides
When will freedom come??
When can they finally call home-sweet home? </3
#FreePalestine #FreeGaza

#Whoever you are,Wherever you please pray for these innocent souls all over the world! Allahuma nsurhum ya Rab!