Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What's wrong with this pic??

En route to the bus stop every evening, I walk pass this building. Can you spot what's wrong here??

Come on...... I know you see what I see :D

Sunday, July 25, 2010

If you believed that one person............

.... couldn't make a difference. Then you hadn't met Dalilah Tamrin / Raden Galoh!

I started blogging just over two years ago and Dalilah's blog was one of the first I stumbled on. This courageous woman was the epitome of strength and perseverance! Every post she wrote brought to the fore every emotion you could think of. But what struck me the most was her faith, her strong sense of belief that whatever came her way were Allah's blessings. The more He tested her, the more she pulled closer to Him.

Dalilah had been diagnosed with breast cancer in her thirties. Not one to let her situation get the better of her, she set about educating those around her. She did this by means of her blog, motivational speaking at various universities and seminars, and later publishing her book recording her journey fighting the big C.

When I visited KL last year, one of the highlights of my trip was meeting Dalilah face to face. She had the most endearing smile. As I look through my pix of her and those posted by fellow bloggers, that's what stands out most. She had touched each person differently, all the blog posts written after her passing bears testament to that.

I had been texting Sis D during her Umrah to the Holy cities. She wasn't doing too well and was eventually confined to a wheelchair for the rest of her visit. I was glad that her husband had decided to take the journey with her. Though her health was deteriorating, when asked how she was doing, 'Alghumdulillah', would always be her reply. No complaints whatsoever!

The weekend before her passing I had this unsettling feeling that I just couldn't shake. I had just come home from visiting my mom and was standing in the kitchen. From the corner of my eye I caught a glimpse of a lady wearing hijab. It happened so quickly, like these incidents do and nearly scared me half to death in the process. The unsettling feeling grew with intensity and as I crawled into bed I hoped that sleep would come.

But I tossed and turned the whole night not getting any shut eye. Around 3:30am local time I received a text message from Yani. I knew before I opened the message what news it would relay. You have no idea how much I wanted to be in KL at that very moment! But all I could do was say a du'a and cry.

And cry I did, when I saw the tributes pouring in on Sis D's blog, her FB page and the status' of mutual friends. That one person could have such an effect on those they made contact with, no matter how brief, was just miraculous. I was so moved, I don't think I've seen anything like it! Sis D had certainly raised the bar. May Allah have mercy on her soul and may she be placed amongst the pious, Insha-Allah Ameen!

I shall miss you terribly!


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Just when I thought I was an Anuar Zain fan......

....... I happened upon this video on youtube. My kids were so tired of me listening to Lelaki ini that when they saw this video they kept wanting to watch it. She's so adorable and the facial expressions are priceless!


Friday, March 12, 2010

I have been tagged.....

by Naz and since I've never been tagged before I thought I'd give it a go! So here goes.....

The rule:

  • 1. Go to your photo files… select the 8th photo folder
  • 2. Select the 8th photo in that folder
  • 3. Post that photo along with the story behind it
  • 4. Then challenge 8 blogging friends to do the same.

As fate would have it, the picture I have chosen is this one!! Strangely enough, it's also a scenic pic.

It was taken one afternoon after leaving the office. I walk through the Company Gardens every afternoon to the bus terminal. I love the walk because I get my fix of the awesome sight of Table Mountain! Not that I can't see it from any other point, it's quite hard to miss, hehehe.

Being one to always have my camera in my bag, I couldn't miss the opportunity of catching a pic of this landmark in all it's glory, being covered by a 'tablecloth.' It's truly a remarkable sight to behold. A travel to the top of the mountain by cable car is a must for anyone visiting CT.

During summer one can see the car windows glistening in the sun as many people queue to take a ride on the cable car. The cable car rotates a full 360 degrees as it makes it's way to the top of the mountain. The view is mesmerizing and there's nothing like it!

These are the bloggers I am tagging:

  • Yani
  • KT
  • Shaheema
  • Tina
  • Dalilah
  • Elisa
  • Ida
  • Saya
Have fun!!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The passing of an angel

I received the text message Sunday afternoon just before Asr prayers. When I saw her name on my screen I didn't think the message would deliver bad news. I was expecting, "Hey, when are you going to pay me a visit??"

But as the message opened, the words on the screen screamed at me! It took some time for my brain to register, but the look of disbelief on my face said it all! I burst into tears. My mom looked at me, completely taken by surprise, "What's wrong?"

NH's five year old son had passed on to Raghmatullah. Z had been diagnosed at the age of 2 with a rare form of cancer. Shocked by the news, NH and hubby took everything in their stride. Z attended regular visits for the next 2 years at the Red Cross Children's Hospital. Z's ill health prompted NH to give up her job to look after him full time.

He recovered fully until late last year when the tumors returned. Sadly, this time, the tumors were spread throughout his body. NH kept this news to herself until about a week ago. Perhaps it was her way of making peace with the fact that her son was dying, I don't know. What I do know, is that as a mother myself, I would not have the strength to bury a child. The loss would send me over the edge into an abyss of sadness.

I am in awe of her strength, her acceptance and her patience. What was even more amazing for me was that her patience had spilled over to Z. He accepted his condition with such maturity. Mother and son would never complain and it was as if they were in-sync with one another. She never left him alone and would see to his every need.

One thing NH remembers very fondly was that Z loved the way his mom smelled. He would often tease her by saying, "I love the way you smell mommy, I'm going to eat you up." And NH would offer in return, "But then you won't have a mommy any longer." Z would then say, "Then I'll just have to have one bite!"

Z died in his mother's arms just after Thuhr prayers on 7 March 2010. May Allah have mercy on his soul Ameen!


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

In my attempt to highlight...........

the abuse and atrocities children face at the hand of adults, I'd like to share this poem with you. It was sent to me by a friend just days after I had first visited the foster home. Strange thing is, she didn't know of my visit when she sent it!

Daddy.... It hurts.

My name is Chris, I am three.
My eyes are swollen, I cannot see.
I must be stupid, I must be bad.
What else could have made my daddy so mad??

I wish I were better, I wish I weren't ugly.
Then maybe my mommy would still want to hug me.
I can't do a wrong, I can't speak at all.
Or else I am locked up all day long.

When I'm awake, I'm all alone.
The house is dark, my folks aren't home.
When my mom does come home, I'll try and be nice.
So maybe I'll just get one whipping tonight.

I just heard a car,
My daddy is back from Charlie's bar
I hear him curse, my name is called.
I press myself against the wall.

I tried to hide from his evil eyes.
I'm so afraid now, I'm starting to cry.
He finds me weeping, calls me ugly words.
He says it's my fault he suffers at work.

He slaps and hits me, and yells at me more.
I finally get free and run to the door.
He's already locked it, and I start to bawl.
He takes me and throws me, against the hard wall.

I fall to the floor, with my bones nearly broken.
And my daddy continues, with more bad words spoken.
'I'm sorry!' , I scream, but it's now much too late
His face has been twisted, into an unimaginable shape.

The hurt and the pain, again and again.
Oh please God have mercy! Oh please let it end!
And he finally stops and heads for the door.
While I lay there motionless, sprawled on the floor.

My name is Chris, I am three.
Tonight my daddy murdered me.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Here goes........ Part 3

Cooking some cuppies in the microwave went very quickly. But because they weren't being supported in a muffin tray, the dough spread the paper cup out wide. We ended up with big, flat cuppies, hehehe. But the texture and taste were there!

I also baked some in the mini oven, which was a bit of a mission because I had to turn the thermostat up and down so the cuppies wouldn't burn. I made on the chocolate butter icing in the meanwhile.

While we were waiting for the cakes to cool down the kids set up a party table with sweets, chips, cold drinks and biscuits. It's amazing how excited they were just to get the party started. The looks on their faces said it all! A reminder to all of us who take these little things for granted!

Everyone gathered in the living room. Once all the children were settled down, AH asked the birthday boy to stand up and everyone joined in singing him a happy birthday. Now they could get down to the nitty gritty, EATING! The children concurred that the cuppies tasted YUMMEH! The look of accomplishment on their faces was enough to make me realize that I had to come back and do some baking activities with them at least twice a month.

It was then that A and AH started talking of some of the children's circumstances and how they came to be residents at the foster home. My apprehension returned with a vengeance! As I sat there listening to AH recount the horrendous stories (I shall not divulge any stories here as they were told in confidence and I feel that our society has become desensitized by all the reports in the media. Sad to say that abuse has become an every day occurrence!) my mind struggled to comprehend what was being relayed.

Oh God, how I fought the tears burning my lids, but I could not relent. I personally know so many females who have been victims of molestation or sexual abuse and each one had a different way of dealing with the humiliation and degradation. Most, if not all of them had suffered at the hands of a family member.

Twenty years ago these tales were not spoken of because it was a taboo subject. Victims were not afforded support, the deed was never spoken of and everything was swept under the carpet so to speak.

On one occasion I happened to be present when a family member confronted her daughter's abuser. He was a minor (16 years old) at the time, so his parents were present as well. The reaction of the boy's mother eluded to the mentality of yesteryear.

Narrow minded.

Her words: "If it were my daughter, I would have said nothing!" I had to restrain myself from reacting in a very physical way!

The questions I ask is: 'Where does it end??'

How many more children are to suffer??

Is this the sign of things to come??

Is it going to get worse before it gets better??

Do we realize what kind of legacy we're leaving behind for the next generation??

What scares me most is that we are supposed to be evolving as a specie, yet everywhere are signs of the times of Jaahiliyah??

That afternoon as I left the children behind to go home, my mind wandered endlessly. A and MS helped me carry the baking apparatus to my door. I greeted and hugged them before they made their way to their respective homes.

As I closed the door behind me, I finally relented to the tears.........

I cried for the children's pain...... I cried for the innocence lost......... and I cried for the many more who are still to suffer!


Friday, February 19, 2010

Here goes........ Part 2

The home is situated in Eerste Rivier. I'm familiar with the location as my dad resided in the vicinity before moving to JHB. My sis and I had traveled to the station every day to take a train to school. Some memories came flashing back.

A's words brought me out of my reverie, "We're here. Just look at their faces!!" As I looked up, the children who were playing in front of the house spotted A's car and made their way to the gate. The expression on their faces were of pure joy!

A didn't have a chance to get out of the car properly. The children swarmed her, all vying for her attention. She hugged and kissed every one of them. I stood one side, trying to be inconspicuous and trying very hard not to cry. Yeah, I know, I'm such a wuss! At that moment I felt a soft touch on my leg. As I looked down, I looked into these big, beautiful, fragile brown eyes. With her arms outstretched, the little girl beckoned me to pick her up.

I leaned over and scooped her up. She was as light as a feather, dressed in pink pants and striped pink and white sweater. Her hair was beautifully braided. I hugged her fiercely and pecked her on the cheek. "Hello my darling. What's your name??" I said. "Her name's Whitney," said A. "Say hello to Aunty Shahieda," A coaxed her. Whitney just gave me a shy smile.

Whitney with Mercia Lee and Bernie, a volunteer at the home

I tried putting Whitney down to help MS take the goodies out of the car but she wouldn't let me. The other boys were so eager to help MS so I let them do their thing and walked to the entrance of the house. I was introduced to the foster mom, AP. And the other volunteers who came to lend a hand were busy in the kitchen. Aunty A is a granny who comes in to help AP with the washing of the children's laundry. During the whole time I was there she was busy with laundry! Imagine the amount of school clothes that needs to be washed for 16 children?? Where she got the energy from, God knows!

AP in red, AA in navy blue and another volunteer.

I was shown to an area where I could conduct the baking session. The children were so excited, all of them were falling over their feet to help set up. I decided to make a double batch of chocolate cuppies seeing that we were celebrating a birthday as well. I asked one of the bigger girls to help me start off and she began breaking the eggs into a bowl. Then a little boy helped measure the sugar. Another measured the flour for me, and another measured the cocoa, then the baking powder and so forth. Until all the ingredients needed for the cuppies were ready to be used.

Me doing my thing

The Congolese girl enjoyed herself thoroughly!!

The little boy in blue who also wanted to mix!

A younger Congolese girl started beating the eggs and the sugar till it was pale and thick. I explained what she was doing as she went along. The children were enthralled! A little boy touched me on the arm and asked if he could get a chance to mix, hehehehe, I acquiesced his request.

It's so chocolaty!!

As I added the dry ingredients to the egg mixture, there were squeals of delight! I explained that the dry ingredients were to be added slowly and the mixture was not to be beaten very much. The mixture started changing color at this point and the children shouted with glee! They noted how chocolaty it was, licking their lips at the same time! Clearly, they were enjoying the demonstration. And so was I, so much so, that I had forgotten my apprehension.

I then asked for a few tablespoons and fetched the cupcake holders. I had brought along the silicone ones I had bought in KL and the paper ones I had bought earlier at the supermarket. All the children gathered around the table as I gave each one a cup to fill. There were giggles and squeals as the dough was scooped and how messy it was too!! But that was part of the fun! Even Whitney wanted to get in on the action! MS' helped her onto the table where she helped herself to some dough.

All the kids scooping dough into the cuppies!!

Cousin MS helping Whitney with her cuppie

I retreated to the kitchen to switch on the oven. A had brought along her brother's mini oven because the stove at the home was not working. Ten minutes were spent trying to figure out how it worked, hahahaha. I also realized that my muffin tins were wayyyy too big to place in the oven. I prayed hard that the cuppies didn't flop as I wanted to see the children's faces when they saw the fruits of their labor. I also decided to place some of the cups in the microwave to save some time.

Hmmmm, me can't wait! Messy innit??!

I could hear the commotion from the kitchen still. Apparently some of the kids were already eating of the cuppies because they couldn't wait long enough for it to bake finish, hehehe. AP was scolding at them in a playful way. "If you're going to eat the dough now, there'll be nothing left to bake and we won't be able to have a birthday party," she told them. This revelation was enough to stop the children from finishing the dough off all together!!

Still to come: The birthday party and my reaction when I was told how some of the children came to be at the home.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Here goes...........

About two years back I had an epiphany with regards to upliftment in the community. I thought that I could offer baking lessons / demonstrations to those who wanted to learn. As one gets older, the need arises to want to give back to the community.

Orphanages came to mind, children are quite impressionable and willing to learn.

Two weeks ago I met A (albeit virtually), who is a FB contact of MS. I told A what I had in mind and she mentioned that she knew of a home where I could give the baking sessions. You can just imagine my excitement!! A and I exchanged contact details and arranged a time and date to get the project going. Fortunately for me, one of the children would be celebrating his birthday on the first session! Even more excitement!

The day dawned cool and full of promise. I wasn't feeling very well, as I had been walking around the whole week with wet hair. I felt like I had a huge frog in my throat. My swimming sessions were doing me a world of good but I needed to get a waterproof cap to swim in. Not wanting to disappoint the kids, I popped some meds and made my way to the mall for some baking goodies. A would fetch me in the next hour.

A had twisted MS' arm into joining us. So she would pick him up first, then me. I called A to find out what goodies she had bought already, not wanting to duplicate anything. During our conversation I heard the words safe house / foster home. The warning bells in my head were ringing like mad!!

I kept thinking "How did I miss that??" Surely I would have noted that it was a safe house / foster home and NOT an orphanage. A home for abused children. My mind was racing, I couldn't pull out now, even if I wanted to.

This bit of information changed everything.

This bit of information opened doors to dark places I would rather not visit!

Breathing in deeply and trying to stay calm, I focused on getting out of the shopping mall and made my way home. I packed in all the goodies I would need for the baking session. By this time I was working on autopilot. This is what normally happens when the walls go up. It's my only means of shielding myself emotionally. A had arrived, MS helped me with the goodies to the car. I hugged and greeted A, jumped into the front seat and off we went.

My apprehension dissipated a bit as A started speaking about the outstanding work being done at the home. The foster mother is a remarkable woman who often uses her own money (just over R1500.00) to care for the children left in her care. Majority of them have been abandoned and sexually abused by family members.

Yes, I did say family members! This includes mothers, fathers and grandparents!

To be continued..............

Monday, February 15, 2010

Soothing my soul

I need to blog about my weekend experience to get it out of my system and make peace with it, but for now I just wish to soothe my emotions with this song by Kenny G. Those who know me very well, will know that I am out of sorts when I start listening to his music constantly.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

“Why are you hiding your body??”

B asked while we were getting coffee before returning to my desk. The common question was normally:

“Why do you wear a headscarf??” or

“Why do you cover up?”

This was the first time someone used the word ‘hiding.’

“What makes you think I’m hiding my body??” I asked with a smile. “Well, you’re slim and such a beautiful woman, if I were you I wouldn’t hide my body at all!!” B said. “But I don’t see the need to expose myself, I feel comfortable with what I am wearing and I love wearing my headscarf. Its part of who I am, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder no?? Ultimately, it’s a personal choice one makes.” was my response.

“To be quite honest, I wouldn’t feel comfortable wearing short dresses, short skirts or tight pants. “Neither would I feel comfortable wearing garments that have no sleeves at all, unless I wear something underneath,” I went on explaining.

“And furthermore, it’s an extension of my religion to dress modestly. Only males who are closely related to me, will see me without my headscarf and that pertains to being indoors only,” I added.

Ever since I was a young girl, I wore hijab. My dad was adamant with regards to this. The moment I walked out the door I had to make sure that my scarf was on my head and that my body was covered. I do not regret it for one moment! Being the oldest child in the family, I had to set an example.

My mother says a woman wearing hijab is at her most beautiful. It doesn’t matter what race, color or creed, wearing it sets her apart. While visiting KL, I fell in love with the tudung. It’s such a simple, yet beautiful headdress. All you have to do is slip it on and off you go!

My favorite tudung!

There was a time in my life when I discarded the wearing of hijab, it was just after the divorce. I felt quite rebellious, wanting to place blame for a marriage gone wrong! Astaghfirullah! May Allah forgive me for my shortcomings! But that phase soon passed when I started attracting too much attention from the male species. The wolf whistles and comments were enough to stop me in my tracks. Grrrrrrrr!

While looking through some photos I had on my camera, B spied one of me not wearing hijab. “Oh my gosh, that’s you without your headscarf!” she exclaimed. With a look of total astonishment she said, “I understand now why you cover up, you’ll get yourself into a whole lot of trouble if you didn’t!”

B was obviously being very dramatic, but she was right, I would get myself into a whole lot of trouble with Him!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Please accept my humble apologies!

Before I continue updating my blog with regards to my trip to Malaysia, I’d like to clear up a misunderstanding with my SA family and friends.

It has come to my attention that there is some confusion with regards to my use of the bahasa word ‘Kak.’ Please let me explain.

The full word in bahasa is ‘kakak’ which means sister, in short ‘kak’ meaning sis. During my stay in Malaysia, I was very hesitant and still am, to vocalize the word amongst my Malaysian friends. My hesitancy is / was not out of disrespect but more out of offending the next person.

Why you may ask??

Because the word ‘kak’ in Afrikaans is actually a profanity! LOL! And use of the word would raise more than just an eyebrow! So, on this side of the world I would be cursing should I use it. You can just imagine the look of disdain on my kids’ faces when they found me reading ‘Kak Teh’s’ blog.

“Mummy, why are you reading that lady’s blog??”

“The Aunty’s name has a swear word in it!”

And so, mummy had to explain. After explaining what the word actually meant, the kids finally relented. After the first few days of learning the ‘new’ word, whenever their cousins would visit they’d go into a whole descriptive analysis of the word itself. And this would end with a whole bang lot of kids giggling.

So, to my SA readers, please forgive me if I have offended you in any way. That was surely not my intention. It serves me right I suppose, I should have explained beforehand.

And to my Malaysian friends, please do not feel offended if I do not address you as you should be.

It’s a catch 22 situation innit??

Thursday, January 14, 2010

First blog entry for 2010

I have been threatening to blog since my return from KL, but haven't had the time to until now, that is. With the kids who started school earlier this week, me having to return to normalcy at work, you can just imagine what a mission that has been. I had hardly set foot on Capetonian soil when my phone started ringing for cake once again!!

My stay in KL was an awesome one!! Made memorable by the many bloggers, Facebook friends and Sayang of course. I had no idea I would meet up and network with so many. And the Malaysian hospitality was out of this world.

My first few days there saw me being taken around by Faridah,
shopping for tudungs and various other goodies, attending a book launch at the Marriott Hotel,
the wedding reception of Kak Teh's nephew
and dinner at Yani's home. Thereafter, I was invited to the Lake Club for dinner by Kak Puteri. Chinese cuisine was on the menu and I had my first try of tofu. Man, it was good!

After dinner we made our way to a karaoke session. No, I cannot sing to save my life, hehehe!! But did Kak Puteri sing! She has an amazing voice.
After leaving the Lake Club, Yani and husband decided to take me to Petaling street. Here you can find all branded goods at the fraction of the cost. Unfortunately by the time we arrived most of the stalls were being packed up.

To be continued..........................