Saturday, March 18, 2017

So here's what's been going on...



Assalam Aleykum Warahmatullahy Wabarakatuh
Hello Everyone!


I’m not sure how I got here exactly, for those who read my beginning of the year post, you know that we didn’t quite start off on the right foot. However, at the moment I’m actually in quite a different place; a happier place. I feel less angsty and anxious, we could even say I’m calm (which is a rare treat for me as I’m always worrying about the next little thing) not collected though, just calm. I also feel excited and most especially positive. So rather than me spilling my guts on here about what’s been going on and how my life took this abrupt turn for the better, I thought I would make things interesting by taking stock because let’s face it, we all need to pause and reflect from time to time.

Currently: nursing a serious flu that literally came out of nowhere. It’s basically 1000 degrees in Mombasa and here I am on bed rest, drinking loads of fluids because I have a cold? Oh well, atleast now I have an excuse to lazy around and binge on some of my favourite shows to watch at the moment. Also, as a Muslim the idea of illness is actually quite profound because it is generally seen as a sort of cleansing and healing phase, in that when a Muslim is sick his sins fall from him as leaves shed from trees.

Hadith - Muslim & Bukhari
Abu Sa'id al-Khudri r.a. reported that the Prophet said: Whenever a Muslim is afflicted with a hardship, sickness, sadness, worry, harm, or depression --even a thorn's prick, Allah expiates his sins because of it.
So basically it’s a win win for me!

Drinking:  Tea! Loads and loads of Kericho gold’s Green Tea in Passion and Jasmine flavour. It has an amazing aroma and I love the fact that it’s a local product which I’m all up to support.

Wondering: when will I ever get my sleeping pattern together and actually develop a functioning Morning routine because I can’t keep on living like this anymore!!!!!!Help me😖

Loving: Making Youtube videos!!!I honestly didn’t think I would enjoy myself this much but Alhamdulillah it’s such a great feeling!If you haven’t subscribed to my channel yet please do so here!

Watching: Too much Youtube! However I’ve been especially loving videos by Lucy Moon (as always), vlogs by Lily Melrose who I’ve always loved, and this new channel by Anna called thereshegoes. She does a lot of thrifting videos which as you guys know speak to me because I love to thrift too. But what I love most about her channel is her genuine nature and authenticity. Moreover, I absolutely love her Bohemian and free spirit aesthetic which I really gravitate to.

Listening: to Ella Mai’s Time EP a tad bit too much. It’s a very explicit EP but I genuinely love how it makes me feel like such a badass lol.I also stumbled upon some great new artists recently: Tatiana Manaois, Astrid S and Daya.Check them out when you can!

Reading: Heather Awad’s The Lovely Brush poetry Collection which I downloaded for free from Noise Trade. This year I want to read books that I genuinely enjoy and want to read. Normally, for the sake of ‘this year I want to read more books’ I would pick up a book and feel that I had to complete the whole book even when I realized a few chapters into the book that I was not interested in it anymore. The book simply doesn’t speak to me. This year instead of staying stagnant trying to finish a book I deep down know I won’t, I’m going to read what speaks to me.

Waiting: To be done with my driving classes!!!I have my exam next Wednesday in shaa Allah and I’m kind of lowkey freaking out but I know I’m going to do well bi’idhnillah.

Looking: forward to the next few months to be honest.I never thought I would even be in this state of mind considering my I hate 2017 post but Alhamdulillah, it does get better.

Enjoying: my life at the moment! My time is basically split between my driving classes, blogging, Youtube, Job hunting and… chores. Luckily I do have some help around the house at the moment so I can atleast afford to work on my goals. However, I genuinely love where I’m at right now including the pace and path I’m on Alhamdulillah.

Feeling: happy, slightly freaked out but all in all confident and grateful.

Thinking: about the lengths people are willing to go to so as to find success. I definitely do understand the need and pressure to make it and be successful; however there is definitely a level of moral degradation in the society where we’re normalizing situations that should not be normalized at all, all for the sake of money, fame and this fallacy that happiness equals to money and fame. However I do feel that there is so much more to life and so much for us to learn and appreciate, without compromising our values and ourselves in the process *note to self.

Hoping: for the best in everything, and that you’re having a fantastic time wherever you are.

So that’s basically the 411, I hope you’re weekend is going super lovely so far. As always, I love hearing from you guys! xoxo

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Art in the Streets of Nairobi!



Assalam Aleykum Warahmatullahy Wabarakatuh!
Hey Guys!

When my best friend told me about the Pawa Street Festival, I wasn't sure it was worth the extra trouble. I mean I was already grounded and she was basically on the verge of being grounded, but this was actually the moment when I realized how important it is to have friends who will convince you into making the best (or worst😟) decisions in your life, and also drag you to events that you didn't even know existed. Despite the odds being against us, this event was one that we knew for sure we did not want to miss. I had never heard of anything like it before and the idea of blocking an entire street at the heart of Nairobi to bring the best of East Africa’s music, art and film was simply genius to me! 



However, it seemed that we had been late to the party. The first ever Pawa Street art Festival was first held on the 20th of December 2015 along Koinange Street which is at the heart of the CBD. The festival is intended to provide a platform for artists all over East Africa to showcase their talents and creativity through visual and performing arts. Furthermore, It also aims to connect the artists and the public by bringing the art straight to the public and also inspire undiscovered artists to be bold and brave enough to hone and share their talents with the rest of the world.

 

The vibrant event that was held on the 18th of December 2016 was organized by Pawa 254, which is a community organization in Nairobi,Kenya that provides a platform for creatives to meet,network, share and collaborate on social projects that are geared towards creating social change in the society. The event  featured art exhibitions, crafts, dance performances, exhibition stalls, food courts and more.But because we had to leave early (due to curfews of course😒) we only got the opportunity to experience a few performances as the concert was meant to begin after 6pm. However before that we got to explore most of what the stalls and exhibitions had to offer!

 

 


As we walked around, I wasn't quite sure what I was doing with my camera to be honest. First off the battery was dying then we had to switch memory cards and it was all so dramatic for no reason. Meanwhile we were still trying to enjoy ourselves without looking out of place while vlogging.It was honestly quite surprising to me when I realized I actually had enough footage for a vlog and actually snapped some fairly good pictures.Better yet we also got the chance to do some shopping!To be honest its not the actual shopping that excites me, but its the idea of actually having money to spend purchasing new stuff!I mean as a young person on the grind, those are moments you cherish because they don't come that often!😏


Pawa Festival / Me ni Mzalendo Shirt - @pawa254
Mothalnd Shirt - Instagram@Mothlnd



 Rings - Instagram@BEADZBYSHE


 Kiondo Bag - Instagram@the_fashion_trance /@okapubags
PomPom Via Instagram @forevertrendy22_


Check them: http://www.pawafestival.com/

All in all, I had an amazing time at the festival. The entire event was quite the experience and I can't wait to see Pawa254 will have planned for the next Festival. 

  

Turn up😏

Make sure you check out the Pawa Festival Vlog if you haven't already!Don't forget to like, subscribe and share!As always, I love hearing from you guys!xoxo


Sunday, February 19, 2017

When Lions learn to write.



Assalam Aleykum Warahmatullahy Wabarakatuh
Hello everyone!😄

'Until the Lion learns to write, every story will glorify the hunter.' 
African Proverb

When I came up with the idea of filming Changing the Narrative, I was adamant on presenting to the world the Africa that I had come to love, adore and appreciate. I have not always been proud of Africa the way I am today. In fact, before I started my course on International Relations, I was one of the many Africans who saw this continent as one that was beyond repair. I genuinely saw it as a dark continent. If you were to ask me who my favourite authors were, you would notice that all the names came from the Western part of the globe. And not that there’s anything wrong with that, but in my situation, I genuinely thought that African authors had nothing to offer and that western authors always had something genuine to say and so a better way for me to spend my time. That being said, it wasn’t that I preferred western literature to African literature, it was that I completely dismissed African literature even before giving it a chance. I would think to myself, ‘what do they know about this issue, they’re from Africa just like me, they probably have nothing of value to add.’

And it didn’t stop there. My travel and shopping list was full of countries and items from the west; Paris, America, The UK. These were the places I aspired to travel to, because what did Africa have to offer other than famine, hunger and political instability. What was there to see that I hadn’t already seen in my own country? No. To dream of travelling around Africa was to dream small. It’s like wanting to see your neighbour’s house when it looks exactly like yours! ‘Dream big’ we were always told. However to me for some reason, that meant aspiring to Western heights.

I remember in my last year of high school as the concept of University drew closer, I was extremely focused on getting into an American University or one in the UK, because what’s better than that? Even when my teachers spoke of great Kenyan Universities, I would simply think to myself, that’s not for me, that’s simply not dreaming big enough. In my mind I was completely brainwashed to believe that West was best. I even dismissed my own culture and heritage. For the longest time, I was completely against learning my ethnic languages because I simply felt that that was taking a step back from civilization. Even dressing in my cultural attire was a huge problem for me because I had such a negative perception towards it.

But boy was I wrong. The irony of my University experience is that I actually ended up going to the United States International University of Africa, to which I was completely against the idea. Not because it was not a University in the West, but because at that moment I genuinely wanted to attend a Kenyan University, and in my mind, this University wasn’t Kenyan enough. (I know, I’m so confusing but let’s just roll with it). However, little did I know that this decision would be one of the most important and pivotal of my life.

Through my university experience, I blossomed in all aspects of my life. I experienced a paradigm shift in terms of how I saw the world and in turn how I saw Africa. I go to meet different people from all over Africa and the rest of the world, and experience various cultures that really opened my eyes to how beautiful and rich this continent is. It made me appreciate my heritage and culture, my kinky hair and melanated skin. It made me appreciate my roots and history and gave me a new found respect for where I come from.

Me embracing my culture at my Uni's culture week :)

Granted that Africa does experience a myriad of challenges, it is also where calm and chaos live side by side. I have definitely found a love for this continent that I never knew was in me and I feel responsible to share this new found appreciation with the rest of the world. Because I know for a fact that I’m not the only one who was chained to this fallacy of Africa as darkness and hopelessness. In my opinion, young people in Kenya today definitely have some level of awareness about Kenya and even Africa. But I doubt they understand how important and essential it is for them to learn about their history, heritage and culture and be proud of who they are and where they come from.And so I hope that this short film can inspire Africans and non Africans to learn about all that Africa has to offer, and dismiss all these false narratives that we as a people keep being bombarded with. I hope that this can be our first step to changing the narrative.

Ps. If you haven't watched the short film, make sure you do!As always I love hearing from you guys!xoxo


 

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Aren't you hot in that? ||WorldHijabDay||



Assalam Aleykum Warahmatullahy Wabarakatuh!
Hi Guys!😀

Favourite Stranger

World Hijab Day comes every February 1st to celebrate the strength and courage of women who choose to wear the hijab, in a society that is constantly bashing the symbol of the scarf and the decision of Muslim women to wear it.
  
Growing up in Mombasa, the coastal town of Kenya where majority of the people are Muslim, It never crossed my mind that people could have any negative perceptions of the hijab. It was only when I went to high school in Nairobi that it dawned on me that not everyone understood our way of life. Before that, I was completely unaware of the fact that the Muslim community is actually a minority in Kenya, with Islam taking about 10% of the country’s population.

Initially I found it annoying and inconsiderate when people asked me questions about the hijab. Questions I considered to be sarcastic, bizarre and obvious. However when even my close non- Muslim friends started asking me these questions about the hijab, it dawned on me that people genuinely did not know about it and were simply asking in order for them to understand. They were honestly innocently ignorant. And so after that I realized that there was a need to educate and invite people to learn more about Islam and what it entails. Because how could a person have lived in a country with Muslims for their whole lives and simply not know anything about Muslims? So in honor of World Hijab day I wanted to share some of the weird,and interesting questions I’ve received as a hijabi and share my response to them as a way of educating others.

Do you sleep in it?
No we do not sleep in it. The hijab is meant to be worn in the presence of males who can essentially marry you, so within the comforts of your home and in the absence of such males, you are not required to wear it. Also I can’t Imagine sleeping in a scarf especially with all the hijab pins stuck in it to secure it in place, not to mention the deadly heat that is currently plaguing Mombasa. I mean c’mon guys!However if a girl loves her hijab so much that she wants to sleep in it, by all means!

Do you shower in it?
Do you shower in your clothes?

Aren’t you hot in that?
Yes,yes I am. Especially now that I’m in Mombasa and temperatures are through the roof, I’m basically melting. But that’s natural, even people wearing bralettes and booty shorts get hot but that doesn’t mean we should then remove our clothes and walk around butt naked right? Atleast I don’t think so. So then just because it’s hot doesn’t mean I’m going to abandon something that I hold so dear to me.

How long must it stay on your head?
Well whenever you are in the presence of the category of males I previously mentioned, you should be covered up. However if you are never in such a gathering and you’re always around women then you basically never need to cover up. It simply depends on the context so there’s not a time limit to how long you wear the hijab or a schedule to the best times to wear it as such.

At what age do you start wearing it?
There’s honestly not a particular age when a girl should start wearing the scarf. Majority of the times the decision lies with the parents especially mothers. Some parents introduce their children to hijab as early as 5 or 6 just so they can get comfortable with it from a young age; whereas other parents introduce the hijab to their girls during puberty and others leave the decision to the girls themselves. So then you have girls deciding to wear the hijab at 24 or 18 and others as early as 5 or 6. Moreover, you sometimes have women converting to Islam at a later age in life and when they do, they start wearing the hijab at that later age too. Whatever age a girl starts wearing the hijab, it’s cool, no one is better than the other. We are all hijabis.

Do you have to wear it and why?
The donning of hijab is a mandatory obligation in the religion of Islam. Therefore every Muslim woman must wear the hijab. However people come from different backgrounds, circumstances and lifestyles and thus there are some women who choose not to wear the hijab, and for these women, we should not judge or condemn them. Islam teaches us that there is no compulsion in matters of the religion. Hence you cannot force anyone to do something they do not want to do. Just like you cannot force someone to be Muslim, you cannot force the hijab on an individual. In Islam, we are taught that one’s actions are rewarded according to one’s intentions. And because Muslim women cover up to obey God and to make Him happy, forcing one to wear it would mean that their intention is corrupt because they are not taking that decision willingly, they have not made the conscious decision to walk that journey.

That being said, the journey of hijab is definitely one between a woman and her Lord and that decision has to come from a place of sincerity and honesty. Thus whatever path a Muslim woman decides to take it should be noted that she is going through a personal journey just like we all are. And so whether her journey to hijab takes longer than yours did, we should always encourage and build each other up because the hijab is not just the physical but also the internal; it is the sisterhood, the kindness, the respect and the love that it inspires in each and every one of us.

What kind of weird, funny, interesting questions have you hijabis ever been asked? Also do any of my non Muslim readers have questions about the hijab because I would love to hear your thoughts! I hope you benefited from this and as always, I love hearing from you! xoxo