Hijabi in Cape Verde

I have finally came out of a long blogger’s block and I cannot wait to share all the content I have planned to bombard you with. My only problem is finding the time to sit down properly sipping on ginger tea (because that’s how I like to write on my blog, by the way for a relaxing tea recipe, click here) and actually write a post.

This post will be a quick update on my travel to Cape Verde in 2017. It’s not going to be however, a traveling post, although I will share some photos, instead I will share with you my experience of going to Cape Verde for the first time with a hijab (scarf) on.

One of my biggest fears when I converted and especially when I decided to put on the hijab was the reaction of my family. Although, to some aspect my family embraced me with open arms, I still went through rough times trying to proof to my family that this was a valid decision and not just a phase. To some extent I was lucky because most of my family lived abroad, so I was able to be free to choose what I wanted to wear without any ridicule. However, I was not able to hide in my cave forever and I had to pack my bags and face my family abroad. In 2010, roughly 1 year of my conversion, I had to go and visit my family in Cape Verde and Portugal. I remember having anxiety on the days leading to the trip and not being able to sleep with doubts of whether or not I should take the hijab off. I knew that if I would go with the hijab, I would have to be an ambassador of Islam which I was still very much a newbie and lacked the confidence to back up my decision for my conversion. I didn’t want to take on a very important role when I was not fit for it at the time, so I decided to take it off. Having said that, I still kept my clothe very modest, wearing a scarf around me to cover my chest and never wore a “traditional” bathing suit to the beach.

One thing I noticed through my decision to take my hijab off, was that I was becoming less confident and unintentionally confirming to the people around me that my conversion was indeed just a phase. From there on something had to change in me, I knew that Islam is the faith that I wanted to practice, I believe in the aspect of being modest and having to wear the hijab but now I had to show it to others. I know that I will not be a scholar in the religion but at least I had to try my best to represent it through actions if I am not able to do it through words just yet.

The stepping stone towards confidence in my hijab happened when I had my children. I am no longer just responsible for myself and I have to try to be the best role model that I can for my children. That was the setting factor for me, I no longer cared for what other people thought of me, even if those people are my family but my main purpose is trying to set an example for my kids. Even if I fail in everything in life at least I want my kids to acquire courage, confidence, compassion and love from God that they witness from their mother growing up. I want them to know that despite having a mother whose family are not Muslim, that I never let that have an affect towards my decision. That whatever my kids set their minds towards that they can achieve it through resistance, resilience, passion and love. If you want to know what I think about my hijab, I wrote a post, click here.

Enough writing and lets get into the fun part which are the pictures. If you want to see photos from my previous trips to Cape Verde, click here, here and here.

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Fun fact: I grew up with this car, this is my grandparents car and it’s older than I am.
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This is in the Island of Sao Vicente, in a village called Calhau
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Typical fishing boats

 

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My happiest memories are in the arms of these two. How gorgeous are they, I’ve never seen anything like it.
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My heart belongs wherever there is water
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Island of Santiago, Praia
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Cape Verde is a prominent Christian country with a very few minority practicing Islam. Most Muslim in Cape Verde are from continental African countries and some are Cape Verde converts.

 

 

 

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Hidden Gem in Al Maadi, Cairo

If you are an expat family living in the old area of Maadi, one of the things that you might notice right away, is the difficulties of finding any public playgrounds for kids to play.  One of the hardest transitions for me, has been the lack of public green spaces for kids to burn off their energy.  Everything here seems to be privatized, where you need to pay an expensive membership in order to belong to any sporting clubs. There are a couple of public places where you have to pay a small fee but it might not be in the best of conditions and/or safe for kids to play in. Egypt does not have many public green spaces but in old Maadi you can find areas with gorgeous villas surrounded by exotic and local plants, trees and a couple of facilities that offer play areas for kids.

I found this literally hidden gem (since there are no signs at the door) online while searching for kid’s friendly coffee places. I came across Osana Family Welness or what I like to call “the pink door” or “the place” and fell absolutely in love with the place.

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The Osana Family center is a facility that focuses on holistic approaches to health, mainly through many types of yoga, massages, acupuncture, facial and they even take care of your psychological health with couple therapy and many more. On their website, under their vision statement Osana said;

Osana aims to take holistic living to new horizons within the local community. By facilitating wellness in all its forms, we promote a lifestyle that exists beyond its walls and hope to assist those pursuing a wholesome life in achieving it.

This place also has great, fresh, organic, healthy food all made from a chef in house but most importantly they sell one of the best coffees in the area.

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My favorite part about Osana is the openness, it is surrounded by greenery and various spaces to sit and chill with a playground and a sand pit where kids can play away. To top it off, you don’t have to pay any entrance fee which is so rare around this area and the security guy at the gate is the most genuine and helpful person I’ve met at a working place thus far. Osana has a great working culture where all employees are qualified and trained to deal with customers with respect and in a polite way.

This is a truly special place and  no wonder why it is gaining it’s popularity and success through word of mouth. I can go on and on, talking wonders about this place that you would think I am getting payed for. The truth is, I have all the respect for a business that carters towards the overall well being of its community.

If you are in the area than come by and see all the hype for yourself. Make sure you check out their website Osana Welness Center. If you think they don’t offer what you want, at bare minimal, it is a place where you are literally chill, read a book and enjoy nature in this chaotic, brick jungle.

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.