Ramadan 2017-Day 4

Today’s post will be an easy one unlike my day fasting. To spare you the negativity of my day, I will instead enlighten you with some photos of a day spend with three amazing women during my trip to Cape Verde.

It was a women’s day out where we enjoyed traditional Cape Verdean cuisine and most importantly no kids involved. The day was spent with three magnificent women where I have the privilege of calling my grandmother, aunt and best friend a.ka. cousin.

I can still remember how my cousin and I would explain our relationship to people, it went something like this, “we are not just cousins or best friends, we are more than sisters.”

 

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aunt of the left and cousin on the right (but you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference)

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my grandmother with her favorite grandchildren

My grandmother is a beaut, her youth is transmitted not only from the outside but on the inside as well. She is an almost 4 time great grandma but people have mistaken my father for being her husband. I hope I have some of her youthful genes in me.

 

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This place is called Calhau in the interior of the island of Sao Vicente. It has very little population but it is a gem of the Island. It is surround by inactive volcanoes and rough beaches.

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Cape Verde is known for having these fishing boats all over the islands.

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I just had to exhibit this beauty. From an early age she had always been invited to be a model. She has such a sweet heart that even at age 12 she would refuse the opportunities of modeling because she didn’t want to end up shallow and egocentric.

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So much strength in these women

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A little bit about my aunt, she battled against polio at a very young age which led her to be handicap. She went through countless surgeries and procedures but none of these obstacles prevented her from leaving her life to the fullest.  She is one of the most toughest, stylist, creative, artistic and trouble maker, I’ve come across.

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I have to end this post with the tenderness of my grandmother. Since little, I remember spending hours in the company of this woman and never feel bored. I would always watch every step that she made with so much admiration. I would observe the way she would dress, walk, apply her red lipstick and embroil her linen sheets. She would often put me in a tough stop when she would ask me who I loved more, her or my mother.

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Ramadan 2017 Series-Day 3

Before every Ramadan I get nervous thinking about fasting. For some reason, I always feel like I will not be able to fast and that I will give into temptation. My first Ramadan after converting to Islam was the worst. I didn’t really know what I was doing. I converted very quickly upon researching about Islam but I knew this was the path I was suppose to follow. At the time of my conversion I just had moved away from home and transferred to a knew school. I didn’t have much of guidance during my conversion and I was still very shy and insecure letting people know I was a Muslim.

Ramadan was very knew to me and at times brought feelings of sadness and loneliness. My family was very aggressive towards their feelings of my conversion which lead to distancing and isolating even more from my family and friends.

Every Ramadan after that, has been better and better and I have been blessed every time. For this reason I resorted to fast this Ramadan because I know that the sacrifice of fasting does not attain to the amount of blessings. Therefore, I never saw Ramadan as a sacrifice. I see it instead as a blessing, it’s a month dedicated to getting closer to our Creator. A month where we not only clean our bodies but clean our souls and prioritize our mind to what’s really important in this life.

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BACK TO MY PREGNANCY UPDATE DURING RAMADAN;

I finally went out of the house and I must say it was refreshing. I thought I would get tired but it gave me energy instead. I tried to be out of the sun while out and did not stay outside for more than 2 hours. I have to take baby steps. I know it sounds silly that I would take so much precaution but Egypt right now is super hot and sunny and any healthy person despite being pregnant or not would get exhausted by walking outside for too long.

 

Ramadan 2017 Series-Day 2

Today was very difficult to fast. For some reason I was not able to sleep during the night. I am not sure if I got an indigestion due to my late snack or the reason for not being sleepy was caused by my late nap. I also think I have a lot of energy after my dinner and should have done some light exercises.

Despite how difficult today was, I was able to sustain my fast. However, today’s post will not be about my challenging fast while pregnant but about something that I have stuck on my mind. Ramadan is a perfect opportunity to break bad habits but yet right after time to break the fast people quickly fill up the coffee house (or whatever they are called).

These coffee shops that men frequent so much here in Egypt is still a mystery to me. It just baffles me how men waste so much time in these coffee places, playing games, smoking shisha and cigarettes. I can’t stop and wonder where are the women married to these men. The obvious answer is that they are home but I can’t fathom conforming with the idea of my husband spending his time at coffee shops while I at home taking care of domestic work.

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Image result for coffee shops in egypt

It is a very strong tradition here in Egypt and I believe it goes back to pre-Islamic times. It is the biggest entertainment for men. In fact there are numerous reasons why men frequent coffee houses, such as;

  • A quick meet up with friends. The coffee place is  perfect for a quick chatter and catching up with a friend without having to host him in the house. Egyptian men are very protective of their wives and even close friends would hardly frequent a married man’s house unless he is bring his wife and kids and the whole nigh yards.
  • It’s a place where men often talk about business, work related topics and politics
  • To enjoy a cup of coffee and tea before or after anything. For example, going to work, let me drink a cup of tea even though I just had one at home. Coming out of the Friday prayer, one might think, “Oh that was a profound sermon, let me grab a cup of tea and ponder about it”. You get my point
  • In some cases people are plain addicted to the shisha and games that these coffee places offer to men.
  • To watch a popular football game

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Before you wonder how unfair it is for the Egyptian women, I must tell you that there are coffee places for mixed gender where a women can enjoy a cuppa tea or coffee and even some shisha. The demand for these coffee shops are mainly shaped by the men.

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During the holy month of Ramadan your deeds and sins are doubled and I wonder if it ever ponders in these men’s heads that what they are doing should be avoided especially during Ramadan. Since good deeds are counted as doubled, the time wasted at the coffee shops could have been used to spending time with family, helping the wives around the house. Where bad deeds such as hurting your self and wasting time in meaningless games will be counted as doubled as well.

These men stubbornness to frequent the coffee houses even in the holy month makes me question their intentions during Ramadan. Sometimes, I feel that Islam is infused in their culture so much so that most people can’t distinguish what is Islam and what is culture unless one remains engaged with his religion and builds a constant knowledge in Islam.

Nevertheless to say, I hope you are having a wonderful Ramadan and that God will accept you fast, prayers, good intentions and good deeds. I hope God will make us an unbreakable and strong community. May this month be a blessed one for you and may it bring you closer to your Creator.