Wednesday, 15 March 2017

What has your loved one taught you?

My dear friends,

I have been thinking a lot about my mother.  Her knee is causing her tremendous pain, and she is due for surgery soon.  It worries me that I am not with her, helping her, cleaning for her, fetching things for her.

I think of how much she means to me; I think of all the times I'd taken her for granted.

I've been going through, in my mind, the things she's taught me, the skills that have helped me.  I'd simply never thought about them in detail. They'd just felt like air...always there.

I've made a list.

Here are just a few of the things she's taught me:

Be early, be on time
Call people to see how they're doing
Clean my home
Cook
Crotchet
Do acts of kindness not for favours but to help others
Do the taxes
Embroider
Keep a notebook of daily doings for reference, especially business stuff
Keep files of documents and keep copies
Fold the laundry
Like African music
Look after business
Love books
Make a poultice
Make a To-Do list
Make coconut oil
Make my bed
People-watch for fun
Pray
Read & count
Remember to say, "Thank you, God"
Respect the people I work with even if I don't like them
Sew
Sing
Take a small gift when I visit someone
Take care of plants
Visit the old and sick



Making coconut oil



















Though this is just a small list, it's made me realise how much we take for granted the skills our loved ones have given to us.

Unfortunately, going through this list has made me miss my mother even more.

In Guyana, it is okay to say this...that you miss your parents. I don't know what it is like in other places, but no-one here laughs at me. They agree and say, "You ain't must?" [meaning yes, they understand, it's a given that I should miss her.]

Two weeks ago, I telephoned a wheelchair-bound mother in village to ask her how she was doing.  She told me that her son, married with children, visits her three or four times a week.  She says he kisses her face, her hands, sometimes her feet even.

What a lucky chap!

In my culture, we say, heaven lies at the feet of your mother.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Mother & daughter.

Dear Everyone,

I know dis gon sound weird but!

Every morning...

...every single blessed, gracious morning, me and my mother got a tradition going.  We call up each other to see how the other is doing. Just a li'l half hour talk.

I call cos she does worry about how I do, being mostly alone here.  I call cos, as she say, "I love to hear your voice." (Not that I am that special of all she children...she love to hear all o' their voices).  I call cos it make she happy.

I does have to tell she every scrap of news going on here. Sometimes, she reminisce about the old days.  Sometimes, she give me tons of advice.

One day I say, "Mummy, how about if I start a blog for you and you write down all them things you tell me?"

She say, "Suppose I tell you and you write it down."

So...that is what ah doing now. Ah putting into a series of book my experiences with my mother, the stories she tell me too.  I don't want it to be like typical novel-book though. I want it to have the chatty, casual feel of conversations.

I better go pick up my clothes in the verandah, I see a bird landing on one line!!!


Monday, 6 February 2017

Dear Readers,

I been struggling with what to do wid de Guyana blog for quite some time.  Ever since it come to me notice dat people use it for research for book and papers without even giving me a li'l credit. 

Yes.

Credit.

I know it sound greedy and all o' that, but when you writing and want to publish and sell you' writing, a li'l bit o' credit does go a nice way. 

So...the plan is to make the writing there, on de Guyana blog private, so I can dig into it, pick from it it, water it, reap it.

And I gon be writing on this blog, I'migrant, which is actually how I feel right now...in-between here and other places

Cheers xxx
Greetings from my home to yours xx

Monday, 13 June 2016

I'm so sorry, Orlando.

To all of you gleefully saying that it was a "Muslim" who did the shooting in Orlando, and are poking fun at Muslims now, please remember why Muhammad Ali refused to go to war.

There are about 1.something billion Muslims in the world. You want to tell me that all these 1.something billion people are violent?

What about you? Have you looked within yourself, have you examined your own actions, words? Do you see the violence you've committed against those close to you, your own blood?

No. Of course not.

Because it makes you feel self-righteous to go on about the vile acts of others than to face your wrong-doing.

Are you ashamed of the killing in Orlando?

Why do Muslims have to be ashamed then?

The killing in Orlando grieves me as much as the murders of the innocent in Syria, Yemen, Palestine, Israel, Sudan, CAR, in my own country and elsewhere. I think about the grief of the families. I've had a relative murdered and the killer was never caught.

Every morning before dawn I pray for peace. Yes, I am a Muslim. Go on, laugh at me and call me corny and sentimental for wanting ALL of us to be peaceful with each other.

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Whose moonlight...?

Moon over Florida.
"Look, Shafi, look! The moon," I called to my 4-year-old nephew as we stepped outdoors on Christmas Eve.

The light poured through a dark web of branches and leaves, and I twisted and turned to see all of the moon.

"Shalikum, moon," my little nephew said, meaning, Assalamualaikum, moon. Peace to you in the name of God, moon.

I thought of the many on social media who had been excited about the Christmas moon, and the news saying it was rare, and for a short while, I too had bought their thrill and had believed it was indeed a Christmas moon.

I got to thinking how Guyanese-American Muslims were posting on FB, and emailing, Christmas messages of peace and love, seeming unaware that on Christmas Eve, the Muslims in Guyana were celebrating the birthday of the prophet of Islam. A journalist in Guyana, Romel Roopnarine, remarked on FB that the birthdays of Muhammed (peace be upon him) and of Jesus (peace be upon him) were being celebrated one day after the other.

And I thought about the moon being full on the night of Youman Nabi, the birthday of Muhammed (peace), which coincided with Christmas Eve this year...I'm not sure how often this has happened before as his birth date changes year to year on our calendar, being calculated according to the lunar calendar. 

"How could anyone say it's a Christmas moon?" I asked myself.  "Whose moon can it be? How can anyone stake claim when it was created for all? What drives us to always stake ownership, to grab, to clutch?"

In the darkness of my room that night, the realisation came to me that this moon which has sailed across centuries, shining on heroes and cowards alike, long-gone and living today; the same moon that has lit upon peace and war; drought and flood and grief and joy, on this night, was showing us the link between two brothers, separated by eras but united by light.

Monday, 14 December 2015

Off to Florida!

Guyana, Dec. 6. 2015...

Morning, Guyana


...stretch, yawwwn, switch on de Dinosaur TV (no, dat ain't a brand)...

...de man with de funny hairstyle is saying something about banning Muslims going to America.

"He can't be serious! America can lose money," I think, then I suck my teeth in one amused, dismissive way and continue packing. Huh! Not even dat man can diminish my excitement as I try to decide what to wear to travel...

Hand-and-machine stitched denim skirt


...something warm but it shouldn't make me sweat. I ain't know what kinda weather gon hang around with me in Florida, I got to pack light (see de light across de patchwork denim skirt?)...I'm only going for a few weeks...


Closer to de travel date though, my imagination creeps up like one o' dem scary scenes in a horror movie, duum-duum-duum, a cold hand squeezes my heart and pushes it up into my throat. Aiyyy, hold me before ah faint, my legs feel weak, ah want to lie down, aiy, mamma, my stomach churns like if I am on a Disney ride...not that I ever been on one, and Annie been pestering me that I *should* go, "you can't go to Florida and not go to Disney," she says in dis hot, aggravated manner that she got, and I argue back saying that I always prefer to see nature whenever I visit Florida.

"Psst, psst," my wutliss (wicked) imagination whispers, "Dem immigration people gon hold you in a cold, white, sterile room where voices and feet echo and metal chairs scrape and rattle. Your family gon fret in de waiting area, not knowing what happen to you..."

I know dis gon sound mighty frivolous but...

...I chuck all o' that aside and, while packing, I think how I might go shopping for round, retro, 70s style eye-wear...