Friday, November 09, 2007

spoof news

I came across this story and it made me laugh enjoy ;)

METROPOLITAN Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair has refused to resign despite setting fire to a tramp in central London.

Sir Ian said he was too important to the fight against terrorism to be forced from his post by people who were sentimental about vagrants.

He faced down his critics after the Independent Police Complaints Commission pin-pointed a series of management failings which led to Sir Ian torching an anonymous hobo under a railway arch near Vauxhall tube station.

Sir Ian said: "There is nothing in this report to suggest that a future Metropolitan Police Commissioner, faced with the same set of circumstances, would not set fire to a tramp.

"A senior policeman who has finished work for the day, is a bit bored and is looking for someone to set fire to is just one of the many risks we now face.

"I deeply regret the chain of events which led to me setting fire to that tramp, but I have to tell you I would not hesitate to do it again."

Sir Ian stressed that the tramp in question was not English, adding: "Throughout this inquiry I have made it clear that he looked and sounded foreign. If I had to guess, I would say he was Scottish.

"Are we really going to hand a victory to Al-Qaeda because I set fire to some random Scotsman?"

Thursday, November 08, 2007


Mona D has flown the nest and i have a driving lesson after work who would have thought it eh? Life doth continue

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


My older sister just sent me a text to say that she has finally booked her ticket to Dubai as she is relocating! Who does these things? just ups and leaves everyone and everything to work and live in a different continent because you fancy a change . Honestly this is what happens when parents give their children too much freedom.

Its only finally starting to register that i will be losing my older sister! We have always been incredibly close although there is a 5 year gap, she has always looked after me emotionally and financially am sure over half of the things i actually own she has paid for at one time or the other. I don't need her financially anymore but how do i replace the emotional support, there is nothing quiet liking discussing something with an older sister for a different respective!

I am finally going to have my own bedroom since ifrah has gone to university and muna is relocating. I can't believe i ever thought having my own room would be great! Who will listen to my nightly pondering, its going to be just me, my lamp and a book how sad

Subhanallah this is already difficult and emotional its going to be like when ifrah (my younger sister) went to university but at least we knew she would return every other weekend. I am going to have to book a ticket to Dubai for Easter now just so that i KNOW when i will see her again. Why do siblings grow up and decided to make their own way in life

Friday, October 19, 2007

Boycott list (there you go AYA)

Here is a list of the worst of the bunch (from

3 Mobile
for being on Free Burma UK's list of companies with investments in Burma. Contact Burma Campaign UK for a full list or ring 020 7324 4710

Aviation is the fastest-growing source of climate change causing greenhouse gas emissions.
Contact Flight Pledge Union or send an email

for using kangaroo skin to make some types of football boots.
Contact Viva tel 0117 944 1000

Altria (previously Philip Morris)
for giving the fifth largest donations to the Republican party in the period 2002-2006
See Boycott Bush campaign
Ethical Consumer magazine (issue 108, September/October 2007) has also called for a boycoptt of Altria becuase it has funded groups which claim that global warming is a "myth" or “uneconomic” to address.

Asda and Wal-Mart
for being on Ethical Consumer's list of top donors to the Republican Party. See BoycottBush for more information.

for continuing to use its Cuban origins in its marketing despite being active in anti-Cuba lobby groups in the US.
Contact: Rock around the Blockade on 020 7837 1688
Buy instead: Rum buyers' guide available online to Ethiscore subscribers. The report can also be found in issue 87 of the magazine, price £3.50.

CorporateWatch has called for a boycott of Barclays due to its financing of the Narmada Dam in India (and the Trans Thai-Malaysia gas pipeline). The Narmada dam (or rather a series of 30 large dams) would flood one of India's most productive agricultural regions and forcibly displace two million people.
Buy instead: Bank buyers' guide available online to Ethiscore subscribers.

Body Shop
Since L'Oreal (26% owned by Nestlé) bought out the Body Shop earlier in the year, campaigns have brought together concerns about animal testing, relations with the Majority World, human rights, discrimination in the UK and the environment.
Contact: Boycott Body Shop or 01452 539 916
Naturewatch (01242 252 871) have a long-standing boycott of L'Oreal due to animal testing, and have extended this to cover the Body Shop.

for forcing the Gana and Bwi Bushmen out of their land in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve
Contact: Survival International on 020 7687 8700

British Heart Foundation
for conducting animal testing in order to find out about a human condition.
Buy instead: The boycott is called by PETA whose British Heartless Foundation website contains a list of health charities which do not test on animals.
Contact: PETA on 020 7357 9229

is ruled by one of the world's most brutal regimes and has used forced labour to prepare the country for tourism. Burma Campaign UK has a list of companies operating in Burma.
Contact: Burma Campaign UK, 28 Charles Square, London N1 6HT,
Tel: 020 7324 4710 or email

Bush and the Republican party
Take a look at our Boycott Bush site for the main corporate donors to the Republican party.
Buy instead: see the Brand List on the Boycott Bush website.

for the government-subsidised slaughter of nearly one million seals over the last three years. Campaigners are also calling for a boycott of Canadian fish and seafood, as exports to the UK earn five times more for Canada than the landed seal hunt in Newfoundland.
Contact: Respect for Animals 0115 952 5440
Humane Society of the USA
International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) 020 7587 6700

for selling bulldozers to Israel in full knowledge that they will be armoured and used to destroy Palestinian homes, infrastructure and agriculture in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. These abuses are detailed in War on Want's alternative company report on Caterpillar.
Contact: War on Want, Fenner Brockway House, 37-39 Great Guildford Street London SE1 OES
Tel: 0845 193 1952

For dumping billions of gallons of toxic waste in the Ecuadorian Amazon and failing to clean it up.

for its continued human rights abuses and for its occupation of Tibet
Contact: Boycottmadeinchina, email

for its repression of trade union activity in Colombia and its depletion of groundwater resources in India.
Contact: Colombia Solidarity Campaign, UK arm of campaign on 07743 743041 or email.
Websites: Colombia's Food and Drink Workers' Union SinalTrainal, who called the boycott on 22nd July 2003, Killer Coke, and Coke Watch
In India, Coca Cola has caused severe water shortages, polluted groundwater and soil around its bottling plant, distributed its toxic waste as "fertiliser" to local farmers and sold drinks with extremely high levels of pesticides.
Website: India Resource Centre

as part of a boycott of the products of companies which still test on animals. The focus of the boycott is the testing of household goods and their ingredients.
Website: BUAV on 0207 700 4888

Daewoo International Corporation
for involvement in the development of gas projects off the coast of Arakan State in Western Burma. Contact SCHWE Gas Movement

De Beers
for supporting the Botswanan government’s efforts to forcibly remove Bushmen from their ancestral lands to resettlement camps.
Contact Survival International on 020 7687 8700

Dolce & Gabbana
for using a chimpanzee in an advert.
Contact: Animal Defenders International on 020 8846 9777.

Donna Karan
to hold the clothing company accountable for sweatshop conditions in its suppliers' factories. The Ain't I A Woman campaign is sponsored by National Mobilisation Against Sweatshops and the Chinese Staff and Workers Association.

for doing more than any other company to sabotage international action on climate change, and for being a top donor to George W. Bush. Find out why you should Boycott Bush or contact Greenpeace at 020 7865 8100.

Gecko's Adventures
for being on Free Burma UK's list of companies offering tours to Burma. Contact Burma Campaign UK for a full list or ring 020 7324 4710

Iams (owned by Procter & Gamble)
for unnecessary animal testing. It is estimated Procter & Gambles is responsible for the deaths of 50,000 animals each year.
Contact: Uncaged Campaigns, 9 Bailey Lane, Sheffield S1 4EG tel: 0114 272 2220,
See also Procter & Gamble.

following 'decades of refusal to abide by UN resolutions, International Humanitarian law and the Fourth Geneva Convention.' Click here to find out more about the boycott of Israeli products.
Film-makers, musicians, performers and academics have also added their voices, and are calling on their colleagues not to visit, exhibit or perform in Israel.
Websites: Boycott Israeli Goods or Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Box BM PSA, London WC1N 3XX tel: 020 7700 6192. See the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel and the British Committee for Universities of Palestine (BRICUP) for information on cultural boycotts. BRICUP can be contacted on 0207 712 1709 and

due to whale hunting for "scientific" reasons in a protected whale sactuary around Antartica. This year, Japan may also start hunting endangered humpback whales. See Boycott Japan for more information.
The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) on 020 7587 6708 is also campaigning for the conservation and protection of whales and co-ordinates letter writing campaigns to the Icelandic, Norwegion and Japanese governments.

Joseph Ltd
for selling coats and other products made from animal fur.for selling boots made from rabbit fur. Contact the Campaign Against the Fur Trade Tel: 0845 330 7955

due to selling Indonesian merbau flooring despite confirming that it is of unknown source. Without guarantees of the wood's origin, it's likely that merbau wood flooring could have come from Indonesia's last remaining rainforests.
Contact Environmental Investigation Agency for more information or ring 020 7324 4710.

due to selling Indonesian merbau flooring despite confirming that it is of unknown source. Without guarantees of the wood's origin, it's likely that merbau wood flooring could have come from Indonesia's last remaining rainforests.
Contact Environmental Investigation Agency for more information or ring 020 7324 4710.

Kurt Geiger
for selling boots made from rabbit fur. Contact the Campaign Against the Fur Trade Tel: 0845 330 7955

Let's Go
for being on the Free Burma UK's list of companies publishing travel guide books with information on travel in Burma. Strong evidence exists that tourist facilities, roads and other constructino programmes in Burma have used forced labour and involved severe human rights abuses.
Contact Burma Campaign UK for a full list or ring 020 7324 4710.

Liberty Apparel
to hold the clothing company accountable for sweatshop conditions in its suppliers' factories. The Ain't I A Woman campaign is sponsored by National Mobilisation Against Sweatshops and the Chinese Staff and Workers Association.

Lonely Planet Guides
for being on the Free Burma UK's list of companies publishing travel guide books with information on travel in Burma. Strong evidence exists that tourist facilities, roads and other constructino programmes in Burma have used forced labour and involved severe human rights abuses.
Contact Burma Campaign UK for a full list (tel: 020 7324 4710)
or Tourism Concern on 020 7753 3330 or email

Naturewatch has a long-standing boycott of L'Oreal due to its continued use of animal testing for cosmetics. The French multinational uses ingredients that have been tested on animals, despite public statements to the contrary. It has also been criticised for lobbying against an EU ban on animal testing for cosmetics.
Contact: Naturewatch on 01242 252 871

Lucozade (owned by GlaxoSmithKline)
for being on Ethical Consumer's list of top donors to the Republican Party. See BoycottBush for more information.

for being on Ethical Consumer's list of top donors to the Republican Party. See BoycottBush for more information.

for being on Ethical Consumer's list of top donors to the Republican Party. See BoycottBush for more information.

for its irresponsible marketing of baby milk formula which infringes the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes.
Contact: Baby Milk Action, 23 St Andrews St, Cambridge CB2 3AX, 01223 464420

Nouvelle recycled toilet paper
Boycott called by Ethical Consumer magazine, issue 108 (September/October 2007). Brand owners Koch Industries, also makes toilet tissue from virgin forests, was the main US importer of wood from Indonesia and came bottom in a recent World Wildlife Fund comparison of toilet tissue companies. It has also been part of a team advising George Bush on “conservative environmentalism,” or in short, deregulation. See toilet roll report in issue 107 for alternatives.

Pakistan International Airlines
The International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) have launched a consumer boycott of PIA, acting on behalf of eight trade unions to pressurise the Pakistani government to stop the victimisation of aviation workers. For more information contact ITF +44(0)20 7940 9260.

for moving production from the UK to France and low-wage Slovakia. Contact Amicus and T&G unions for more information or ring 020 7611 2500

Procter and Gamble
for its continued use of animal testing for cosmetics, household products and pet food. Brands made by P&G include Always, Ariel, Bold, Camay, Clearasil, Crest, Daz, Dreft, Fairy, Flash, Head and Shoulders, Insignia, Milton, Napisan, Oil of Ulay, Old Spice, Pampers, Sinex, Tide, Viakal, Vidal Sassoon, Vortex and Zest.
Contact: BUAV, 16a Crane Grove, London N7 8LB (0207 700 4888)
and: Uncaged Campaigns, 9 Bailey Lane, Sheffield S1 4EG
tel: 0114 272 2220,

Reckitt Benckiser
as part of a boycott of products of companies which still test household goods and their ingredients on animals.
Contact: BUAV on 0207 700 4888

for being on Free Burma UK's list of companies with investments in Burma. Contact Burma Campaign UK for a full list or ring 020 7324 4710

Altria (formerly Philip Morris) has a substantial shareholding in SABMiller, which also owns Appletiser, Peroni Nastro Azzuro and Pilsner Urquell. See above for details of the Altria boycott
For alternative mainstream beer brands, Ethical Consumer magazine gives the best scores to Budvar (13.5) and Grolsch (12.5).

SC Johnson
as part of a boycott of products of companies which still test household goods and their ingredients on animals.
Contact: BUAV on 0207 700 4888

until the peoples of the Ogoni region in Nigeria receive a fair share of profits from oil extraction, and are able to live in better environmental conditions.
Contact: MOSOP-UK (Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People), Suite 3-4, Albion Place, Galena Rd, Hammersmith, London W6 0LT, 020 8563 8614

because for every cup of coffee that it sells, farmers in coffee-growing countries such as Ethiopia earn about 2p. It has also been accused by the Industrial Workers of the World union of 'retaliatory firing' of four union organisers in the US
Contact US Organic Consumer's Association for information on the campaign for fairer terms for Ethiopian coffee farmers. More information on how to support the union can be found on by visiting the National Lawyers Guild website or telephoning (001) 212 679 5100.

Singapore Airlines
in protest against threats of government repression during the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) Annual Meeting. The Singapore Government had issued a warning that it was prepared to cane or imprison protestors who committed "violent crimes" during the meeting meetings, but Friends of the Earth International argued that it was very difficult to identify violent offenders in crowds.

for being on Free Burma UK's list of companies with investments in Burma. The connection is via Superdrug's parent company Cheung Kong Holdings.
Contact Burma Campaign UK for a full list or ring 020 7324 4710

for being on Free Burma UK's list of companies with investments in Burma.
Contact Burma Campaign UK for a full list or ring 020 7324 4710

due to refusing to provide evidence to prove the legal source of their merbau flooring. Without guarantees of the wood?s origin, it?s likely that merbau wood flooring could have come from Indonesia?s last remaining rainforests.
Contact Environmental Investigation Agency for more information or ring 020 7324 4710.

due to its escalating use of Radio Frequency identification. The tiy computer chips embedded in products or packaging allow monitoring of items which consumers normally consider private, like clothing, wallets and backpacks. Contact CASPIAN (Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering)
also due to the sale of live turtles, tortoises and frogs in their Chinese stores. China currently has no animal welfare laws. Contact Care for the Wild International Tel. 01306 627900

as part of a boycott of the products of companies which still test on animals. The focus of the boycott is on the testing of household products and their ingredients.
Contact: BUAV on 0207 700 4888

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Going Green Ramadan and beyond

Now that we are at the end of Ramadan I have been looking for something that I can implement from now on. Allah loves that which is small but consistent we all know this but I am not sure I have been implementing it practically. Acts of worship are one things but Islam is comprehensive so I have decided a mix and match philosophy is needed! Something that is practical but inshallah has the sincere intentions of doing good, bettering the lives of others and generally making a stand against the things which I rage about but that I have not yet managed to do anything about.

Where is all this leading?.... well I walked into Shared Earth a fair trade shop in Manchester and I browsed brought a few things and in the process discovered a book entitled “do the right things!” a practical guide to ethical living. Finally I can do more then just have an emotional reaction to trade injustice or boycott an item or two. Now I can actually find out companies ethical or rather unethical labour polices and make a stand with my fellow “third worlders” ( how I loath that term)!!

So my after Ramadan resolution is to inshallah not only strive to worship my lord in acts of ibadah but to also make conscious choices about what I buy and to email and write to companies that immorally place profit over justice. The little Bleeeeps

As Benjamin Zephaniah puts it “The seas will rise, the rivers will flood, the air shall be heavy, darkness and famine shall be upon the land, and a man in a suit will genetically modify –if you let him.”

I am turning into a little hippie, person-centred counselling, fair-trade and ethical living now I need to move out of the city and grow my own vegetables as I live on a hill top (sounds rather appealing).

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

How to earn less but feel much richer

This morning I was reading an article in the independent called “how to earn less but feel much richer” At the end of my stay in Egypt I had already decided to study further and I was wrestling with the choice between 2 courses. One would almost guarantee a job and a very healthy annual salary the other would cost me more to study whilst offering less job security but a greater potential for personal growth.

Ultimately it because a choice between idealism and reality until I realised that a major part of reality is living and if the option is there we should always choose the option which is more likely to enrich our lives as a whole and not just financially. Happiness and a satisfied soul should come above financial gain. So after the istikhara I made my choice. Counselling it is.

My dearest friend graduated this year and instead of making the most out of her degree financially speaking she has chosen to take a job with Islamic relief which will mean that she will be struggling financially but the elusive satisfied soul that we are all in search of will be attainable more readily here.

So when I read this article about people giving up there high-powered jobs for jobs which would get them out of the rat race and read their experiences it made me think is this the beginning of a trend? Is the 20plus generation looking for more then just a healthy bank balance or is it as symptom of this society ills. I read somewhere earlier on this year that by 2020 the second biggest killer in the western world will be depression. Maybe we are starting to recognise that there is more to happiness then the values championed by capitalism.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Du'a of a fasting person

Once Moosa (AS) asked Allah Taala: O Allah ! you have granted me the
honour and privilege of talking to you directly, Have you given this
privilege to any other person?

Allah Taala replied, O Moosa during the
last period I am going to send an ummat, who will be the Ummat of Mohammed
(SAW) with dry lips , parched tongues, emaciated body with eyes sunken deep
into their sockets, with livers dry and stomachs suffering the pangs of
hunger- call out to me (in dua) they will be much much closer to me
than you

O Moosa! while you speak to me there are 70000 veils between you and
me but at the time of iftaar there will not be a single veil between me
and he fasting Ummati of Mohammed (SAW) O moosa I have taken upon
myself the responsibility that at the time of iftaar I will never
refuse the dua of a fasting person!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Sunday, September 02, 2007

moment of truth

It’s finally here! I have my counselling course interview this Wednesday although the course starts in September. Talk about last minute but I had to rearrange my July interview because I had the flu. So here I am waiting for a life changing decision for the first time in a long time I actually REALLY want to do something so please lots of du’as this way and inshallah khayr.

Monday, July 30, 2007

2 weeks on

I have been back in my own room, sleeping in my own bed, eating my mummys food, socialising with friends i have not seen for a long time and ones who came to Egypt, Evertheidealist wedding came and went. I am supposed to be job haunting but honestly i have not yet activiely tried am too busy enjoying the rain in manchester there is such a thing as getting too much sun.

To add to it all i have been having a long-term sleep over with newbie in my room as her manchester home is being renovated by the land-lord. Shukri had a girlie party on saturday, and i have another party to go to in two weeks time. Any excuse for food, music and all girlie fun.It it really any wonder that i have not been job haunting.

For the first time ever in one of these bring a dish parties i actually cooked and didn't just pop to a supermarket an hour or two before. I was so proud ;)

This weekend am going to sheffield to visit family. I am really looking forward to that. Eventually i will have to get on with some reading for the up coming counselling career!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

I am back

Yep am back in rainy ole manchester, alhamdulilah couldn't be better family, friends and my beloved rain. i have arrived

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

when things go wrong

The girls have been here for two weeks and a bit now and the non beautiful highlights of the trip are

1)The girls arrived a day earlier then I had planned for and where stranded in luxor airport (which by the way is so much cheaper and you can fly directly from Manchester airport only takes 5hours)

2) The travel agent messed up my ticket changing my surname to HUSSEIN but I still managed to fly from Aswan to cairo as Nhussein domestic flight eh…am not sure how I feel about that, or how save these domestic flights are especially as people who are not who they claim to be can board, but I was grateful I made it to cairo.

3) A taxi driver tryed to drop us of on street corner in Cairo at 2am because we wouldn’t go to his overly priced hotel. His reasoning was that he was going home to his wife the little ******** and to his thinking it was okay to leave a group of females on a deserted street corner. I have never felt so angry in my life and the brother knows about it the little…..

4) Katrina, Asia and I where in a taxi when a man threw what looked like a piece of rubbish into Asia’s window. The girls start shouting at him when Asia unravels the piece of paper and we realise it’s his mobile number and name…MEN!

5)Katrina and Amina lost their digital cameras so we went to the police to report it, then the consulate only to be told they need 350 L.E to translate each statement and verify it. I wonder just how helpful they would be in a real emergency. Pathetic

6)Three of the girls got mild food poisoning (from a kofta sandwich), I stayed with them and we all missed Mount Sinai poor loves.

7) Some of us missed the train to Alex and had to catch the Superjet which although is rather luxurious simply doesn’t give you enough room, take the train every time.

8)In Luxor Sarah (aka newbie) called my name and within second the whole market was chanting my name…weird I tell you.

9) A group of the girls got locked in a hotel room, the handle broke and they where stranded. All this happened on our first night of arrive and the hotel staff had to break the handle and get the girls to throw down the key from the 7floor.

10) I had a mini breakdown in the first week where I walked of and left the girls in a market in Aswan because I couldn’t handle so many differing voice and the indecisions and simply taking so many into account. Talk about need to be reintroduced to society. I wondered around Aswan to re-centreJ

11) Beenish had her phone stolen 2hours before leaving for the airport!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

luxor,Aswan and now cairo

Dear lord

am sooo old and the longer this crazy trek continues the more i realise that Newbie and i are old beyond our time. Any given opportunity we find a cafe and have a tea fix!The girls have so much energy and are so much fun alhamdulilah that sometimes we just don't realise were the time has gone.

After level 3 i needed sometime to just let loose and this has certainly been it. You can imagine how excitable 9 girls all makes me laugh alhamdulilha

I have a lot of tails to tell but its past 2am and i have a 6 hour bus ride to sinai and then a climb so am going to go to sleep and see just how fit i am now as compared to 2 years ago when i got to the top by foot.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

trying 48 hours

There are testy days and then there are trying days, the 25-26 of June was an incredibly trying 48hours . First we had to go and extend Newbies visa which was of course a barrel of joy especially as the day before we had been lying side by side on make shift hospital beds (a.k.a hotel room) taking turns to visit the bathroom with threat of vomiting hanging over our heads. There is nothing quite like standing around while you feel like your dying

We asked our parents to put money into sarah’s account (I lost my card a while ago..AGAIN) the past week we shopped and just generally used up our flight to luxor reserves because we had money. So went to the HSBC as other cash machines kept rejecting Newbies card (should have been the first sign that not all was well)

Anyho we walked in, used the cash machine except it also rejected her card, then we went to take it out as a point of sale and nope! Her card had been rejected by the issuer (bloody HSBC) so after about an hour of trying to sort the situation out the hard fact was we where stranded in Alex with 4oo LE between us!

I have to say though we took it exceptionally well and even laughed about it and joked about how if worst came to worst we could trade Newbie for a few camels On a serious note though we saw a young boy looking through bins for food and that definitely put things into perspective we went home and prayed the prostration of thanks.

Then I got a text saying "salam we are here" from a UK mobile number, Dear lord!!! My little sister and her friend arrived a day earlier then I had booked the pick up from the airport and the hotel for! I have to say I was really panicked the money thing I took in my stride but the girls being stuck in luxor undid me. Older sister responsibilities came flooding through the gate that had been locked for almost 6 months.

I got on the phone and for some reason the lady who sent for the pick up sent the man to the national airport as she thought they were arriving from Somalia, They had been waiting for about an hour and a half now, by the time they were picked up they had been hanging around the airport for over 2 hours!

Newbie called the bank and as she had neglected to tell them she was coming to Egypt they had put a stop on her card incase of fraud so alhamdulilah we have money again.
Oh and to top of our glorious day just as the Aadan for fajr was called our electricity died ( just our room and the room next door) which went we couldn’t see anything and the airconditioning had gone, a not so fine layer of sweat was now our companion. Newbie opened the door and there was a beautiful breaze but then we were woken up again as the sun coming through our balcony had burned our feet!!

Then we missed our train to cairo and when i tried to buy another ticket the man told me that they were all booked. But alhamdulilah he found two tickets on the next train and we jumped on that. Got to liz's in cairo stayed up with her and then 3.30am we hailed a taxi put all our luggage on and the taxi broke down! But alhamdulilah the taxi after a lot of dua it re-started and we jumped on the plane

We are now in luxor ( all 10 of us) phew....

Friday, June 22, 2007

General update

By god its getting hot now! although i can't complain too much its topping up on my tan like nothing i have ever seen. For the first time a few days ago someone asked me if i was Aswani :) that fulfilled on my long sought after ambitions here in egypt!

i have 5 more days before i complete my level 3 and then start travelling around egypt with 8 girls including me. How these trips get so big i have no idea but since i now know its extortionate to go with a tour company i have take it on my self and sarah to lead this tour.

i have been planning the itinerary, the hotels and a flight from aswan to cairo so inshallah its should be smooth but if its not then its part of the experience.

I know its premature and am not home yet but i have been trying to evaluate the crazy girl who came to egypt not knowing a soul to the woman who is now leaving! some of the changes are obvious and am aware of but some i guess only time and the people who know me well will tell.

But taking on this tour is one of the many changes that has taken place. I would never have taken on such a task before but know that i have developed a no nonsense attitute am not actually apprehensive about the possibilities.

All in all am looking forward to just partying with the girls level 3 has been hard on me and incredibly intense so letting loose and just sipping minute tea sounds wonderful.

Monday, June 11, 2007

youml jumm'a wa suratul kahf

Another jumm’a has come and gone and since reading surah Al-kahf on jumm’a is recommended I thought I would become reacquainted with this surah so there I am reading it from my copy the qur’an that combines the English translation with the Arabic text side by side (courtesy of native female, May allah never cease to reward her)

Near the end the surah talks about Musa (AS) meeting with khidr whom Musa asks to go travelling with because of his knowledge. The first thing that Khidr does Musa (as) is shocked by because it appears to the deliberate damaging of someone’s boat. Then it gets worse when they meet a boy along the way and Khidr kills him! Then finally before they part, they come to a town, asked for food but the people refused. They then came to a wall about to collapse and Khidr set it straight when Musa (As) said surely you could have taken wages for that. At this point they parted ways because Musa( As) could not be patient with Khidr and what he was doing.

Khidr revealed to Musa (As) the wisdom behind what seemed like abhorrent acts.

1) In the case of the boat it belong to a miskeen (poor person) working in the sea so he defected it as there was a king who was seizing all the boats by force so as to make it undesirable to the king enabling the miskeen to repair it and continue with his source of lively hood. (Subhanallah I can imagine that from the miskeens point of view this would have seemed like a major disaster, his only source of lively hood was now damaged, what was he going to do, was his life not hard enough etc etc. But inactual fact allah loved him and was saving his means for him and in fact what seemed like a disaster was a mercy.)

2) And as for the boy, his parents were believers and we feared that he should oppress them by rebellion and disbelief so we intended that their lord should change him for them for one better in righteousness and nearer to mercy. (Subhanallah, I can’t imagine anything worse then losing a child and the pain and grieve that must accompany that, Yet the all mighty who gives life and take life only wanted to spare these believing parents long-term suffering but was also going to replace that which he took with something better and more comforting for them. What ordinary person would consider the death of their child a mercy or a blessing but that is what it was.

3) As for the wall, it belong to two orphaned boys in the town; and there was under it a treasure belonging to them and their father was a righteous man, and your lord intended that they should attain their age of full strength and take out their treasure. (subhanallah but here were two orphans seemingly without any protection but they had the greatest of protector looking after their interests and regulating their affairs)

So all in all what seemed like calamities were in fact Allah bestowing his mercy and blessing upon these people and when we make du’a for Allah to grant us the best of this world and the next do we really understand that what is best for us in this word and what will gain us the best of all prizes in the next world may not always appear to be good and may infact appar to be a disaster?!

I guess the true manifestation of “allah is the best disposer of affairs” to be thankful and pleased with your lord even when it would appear that all is lost or that something terrible has happened to you. So be it the loss of your job or the loss of a child or the loss of our parents allah is truly the best of all providers.

May he make us of those who are continuously patient and thankful….Ameen

Monday, June 04, 2007

Visa madness

I was speaking to one of the girls from the institute a couple of days ago and she was telling me about the horrors of extending her visa here in alex. Which reminded me of my fateful morning when i happily walked to the “al-jawaazaat” to extend my visa. Now I have to admit that I was a tad late and was prepared for a slap on the wrist fine for flout Egyptian law etc but what I did not expect was the 3 hours ahead of me. In fact It was so bad that I dug my pen and pad out of my bag and kept a note of the preceding for the intention of blogging but never got around to it so here is my experience.

I walked into the building asked the guy sat next to the door where I needed to go, he looked at my passport and directed me upstairs. i had to pass a crazy number of booths mostly with French and Arabic words on top ( the Arabic looks like a scribble so that’s no help)

I asked a guard when I went upstairs where I needed to go next he directed me to window number 7 entitled “Resident Touristique” so I bobbed along happily, gave the woman one of my ecstatic smiles (which usually makes people so much more amiable) only to be met by a hard unsmiling, scowl wearing face of an elderlish woman. The next 3 hours proceeded like this.

1) window number 7 ( most unfriendly woman I have ever met)
2) sent to window number 10 ( to buy 2 stamps and a form)
3) sent back to window number 7 ( was told to fill in form, proceeded to fill the form in, was told by the hellion to move off her window and fill in my form across the room, how rude)
4) filled in the form, returned to window number 7 ( were she practically took my arm off whilst trying to take the form from me, at this point I was forced to raise an eye brow)
5) She then sent me to window number bloody 10 to get another stamp, at this point I had a 100 note was the woman at window number 10 was getting irritated with me but a smile and a sorry was enough to restore her humour (normal human there then)
6) Back to window number 7 except she is not there, I had to stand there for 15 mins while she held a rather heated conversation with one of her colleagues ( bless the poor man)
7) She returned, snapped a few words of ammiya far beyond my grasps at me, at this point am contemplating if prison would be more pleasant. She throws my form back at me and sends me to window number 8
8) Window number 8 is now occupied by the man she had that scathing argument with ( oh joy) so I stand there and try a smile, old man isn’t affected by my attempt at civility but he doesn’t swear at me so am thankful (she conditioned me to expect abuse in under an hour)
9) Window number 8 the man takes my papers and picture, I brought two but they only need one. He had read over my details and asked me if my mum was Egyptian, then I try and joke with him by responding with “if I say yes will it speed up the process”. He said nothing and continues scribbling on my form ( note: never smile or joke with a government official)
10) Then its back to window number 10 to buy more stamps
11) To window number 8 again to be handed a letter and was told to take it, go downstairs and pay my fine then return.
12) As I am descending i ask a man which window I needed to go to pay my fine, he points to a window entitled “cassie” window number 6.
13) I paid and was then told to go back up, a return to window number 8 and was told to go and photocopy the receipt and the letter he gave me. ( by now am ready to punch the first non- government official to cross me)
14) There is a convenient photocopy guy just outside the building (praise the lord) so I stand there queuing like a polite Brit when people start pushing in front of me ( wrong day) so now am telling people to move out of my way! And when the photocopy guy took the papers of the guy behind me I took a step towards him, I must have looked really angry because he took my papers from me and copied them promptly J
15) Then I return to window number 8, he scribbles a few more things and then sends me to
16) window number 7 ( at this point she is the one who is met by a scowling non-smiling face, serves the wench right )
17) She hands me my growing papers and tells me to get the “Captain” to sign them, she directs me to a room, I turn up and find the captain, give him my wad of papers he asks me a few things, I look blank, he shouts for a Hasan (by now am not contemplating the merits of prison over this ordeal, the captain looked like he could pull of all ten of my toe nails without flinching once)
18) I go back to window number 7, she tell me to return in an hour without any explanation as to why so I stand there demanding why and she says to collect your visa and passport. At which point I mutter a strained shukran and exit.
19) Found the nearest coffee place and grabbed some well deserved tea passed my time there, regain control of my temper.
20) Returned! Took my passport with my visa and left the place ( alhamdulilah)

For the love of all that is good if this is the system is Cairo as well anyone thinking of staying in Egypt for longer then a month please get your visa from your home country, it’s a matter of downloading a form and posting it!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Rage against the institute

Today I learnt what it means to be a professional in Egypt and although I had long ago learnt that a junior doctor earns at 250 egyptian junay I couldn’t understand how they managed to live on it, and the person I am closest to I know has been saving for an apartment along with her husband so they can finally move in together what I didn’t realise was what she was earning.

I assumed all was financially well as she was working in a international school and I paid in euros not even in the standard dollars! So when yesterday my lump sum tuition fees ran out we started to talk about Egypt and the current situation when I asked her how much she earns an hour. She looked really uncomfortable and being even more curious now I got her to tell me.

Honestly I was not prepared for the shock its ludicrous, and she doesn’t even get paid for holidays or sick leave. I am royally peed to say the least. It been me and sara for 4 months now, I don’t see anyone else from the institute nor do I have any contact with them, nor do they enrich my life in anyway so where my money is going I don’t know but its not going to the one person it should.

I am considering pulling out of the school now since my 4months advance payment has run out. I do have my level 3 wad sitting around but the payment system is soooo unjust that there is no way am going to contribute to it and I don’t give a toss what that may mean for my Arabic while am here!!!

Monday, May 28, 2007

farewell shari khalid ibn al-walid

I have had the craziest week since packing my bag and heading for Alexandria. The best bit being that it feels like half of Manchester is here. I had a beautiful two days with sarah and liz in my ex-flat and met mariam and salma two of sarah travelling buddies.

The stressors of the week were being almost homeless, the flat I had planned to move into to with sarah fell through mainly because someone went back on our agreement this is were it helps to have a man doing your bidding again! The poor girls had to help me move to bangles and Md’s old hotel with the famous ‘adil.

While all this was going on I had my end of level exam to revise for but I had to put school on hold. I have never revised in so many different places before, on trains, in cafes, at tourist attraction sites and so forth.

But Alhamdulilah and as I write this am sat in my hotel room about to go in search of breakfast/lunch since I slept in. I just found out who does the laundry and cleans the rooms, they are both really sweet elderly man which is totally crap as I can’t deal with the idea of someone in there sunset years cleaning up after me! Looks like its lundary in the institute as usual and keeping my room incredibly tidy.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Amina and Alex

Amina had been here since last Saturday, a total of 10 days and its been greeting having her, she is one of those amazing house guest that you hope could just stay on. We didn't know each other all the well so it a lovely experience spending some quality time together. The following are the highlights of trip.

On the night she arrived we went out to dinner at Balba this amazing Syrian restaurant which in the middle of a very ordinary looking area but my is it amazing, you are served at least 10 starts before you even order, definitely a must experience in alex. We had a beautiful meal and the waiter could tell from Amina’s Arabic that she wasn’t Egyptian and asked the usual question “where are you from” which then lead to the debate of whether Somali is an arab country and the linguist classification of Somali.

Then we left and walked around to explore a hijab shop when a man stumbled out of an alleyway next to the shop amina and i were in, clutching his stomach because he was dripping blood, it looked like he had been stabbed! The Egyptian ladies looked horrified as we did but I have to admit there reactions were a little more animated then ours, it was all over in a split second and a taxi took him to the hospital but what an experience on your night of arrival especially as I had been telling her how ridiculously save alex is and how nothing happens and people are out with their families in the wee hours of the morning, but there is nothing like an incident like that to make you doubt.

Then the day after we went to discover the zoological gardens at somuha, I have never been a fan of zoo’s I think its unnatural to cage wild animals for our pleasure but I have never had a crazy urge to either cry or run around the zoo unlocking doors whilst shouting, be free be free.But that’s just what I felt there so Never again I say

Then because I had breakfast at 7am by out 4pm I was really low on sugar and needed food. I got my food first took my tray and found a place for us to sit, when I amina approached I tried to stand up so I could move my bag and I have no idea what happened but my tray tipped and one minute my food was on the plate and then next I was wearing it. I stood there with rice and chicken covering half of my upper body and lap thinking “oh joy” then I grabbed my napkin and started to wipe it of when amina realised what had happened, the miskeena walahi she looked sooo embarrassed and quickly ushered us away from the scene of the crime then I had to walk all the way back to the Chinese food outlet and re-order the exact same meal whilst covered in it and left amina to wait for it while I walked into the bathroom to sort myself out.

I walked into the bathroom and the first girl to see me looked horrified and then she looked at me with concern and pity, which made me wonder if I should be embarrassed but the strange thing was I wasn’t fussed at all. When my skirt was semi dried (all the layers I wear certainly came in handy) from the hand drier I went out, ate my meal and then we moved across to Cilantro and carried on as normal. Maybe I should have felt a twinge of something but nope. Hmm is that healthy to be so unconcerned especially when amina and random strangers were embarrassed on my behalf.

We managed to do Islamic and pharaohnic cairo in one day, needless to say when we made it back to alex just before midnight we both collapsed and woke up at 12pm the next day. Definitely an experience and now we know it doable if somewhat unhinged.

I have been revising for the end of my level 2 exam but amina being so resourceful got in touch with her emiratie school mates and managed to see the whole of alex. It turns out that in my time here I have broken sooo many Egyptian etiquettes and have frequented the dodgiest of place. Etiquettes such as girls do not go to the beach by themselves…opps am planning on still doing that. And apparently montazah gardens after sunset are a place were ladies of the night frequent toting for business…Astagfirallah but I have to say the sunset is incredible there. And Ibrahimya where I shop for tops and shoes and things is apparently not the safest of area. I am I planning on changing my ways..hmmmm

Thursday, May 10, 2007

kitchens and accidents

So there I am exploring my culinary skills!....okay I was making beef stir-fry from my beginners cook book but it was the first time I marinated anything so leaving the beef in a concoction to marinate was a colossal achievement. 30 minutes later I completed the stir-fry and saying Its scrumptious is an apt description. This explains why at the point of my little accident I was skipping around my tiny kitchen putting things away.

I retrieved a plate from a cabinet and went to the sink to run some water over it while singing along to cat stevens “oh very young” in a tone deaf, rhythmically challenged, no one should ever be subjected to kind of voice when the plate slipped out of my hand fell on the edge of the sink and slit my wrist opened (or so it felt like at the time)

After staring at my wrist for a life time I had to turn down the rice I had boiling, try and shove a top over my head and don a hijab all with one hand whilst trying to stop the bleeding with a bit of paper towel, put some shoes on, grab my keys and purse and went to the pharmacy downstairs.

Only to be met by a lady on the phone who seems content for me to bleed all over her counter while she conducted her very lively and amusing conversation. By the time I was ready to break the glass on her counter and grab some plasters myself she turns around to me with a beaming smile and asks me what I wanted, Arggh so short of assaulting her I showed her my gaping wound and she looked at it in that nonchalant Egyptian ma-lesh kind of way. Which made me want to throttle her, she then offered me the only size plasters she had which were ridiculously small for the size of my injury. I also had to grab so cleaning solution and some cotton wool which I was informed was 100% Egyptian cotton, at this point who cares am about to lose a limp.

So I come up find that my rice is surprising cooked and the plasters she gave me actually fit my wound while the 100% Egyptian cotton felt rather nice. Ah well ….

Sunday, May 06, 2007


The need for solitude has always been very short lived with me. I am at my best in a social setting, I am when of 7 so from as long as I can conceivably remember I have always been surrounded by noise, tears, arguments, discussions, but mostly laughter and I grew up associating laughter and happiness with people. So I have to admit living alone in a foreign country in the beginning was difficult and I did what I do best, make several arrangements to go out and meet with friends and work on new ones.

But being alone as strange and silent and avoidable as I wanted to make it it was most noticeable and present at night and more so at the early hours of the morning, especially at Fajr. When you’re in a large flat by yourself the presence of your lord is almost tangible, it’s special and there is a bare vulnerability that radiates from you that the world normally masks with all its noise and crazy commotion.

When all that is striped away you have the opportunity to look at the core of you, with all that makes you, the beauty, the imperfections, the failings, the success. An insight such as that forces you to take a fresh look within yourself in a way that if you choose to will allow you to illuminate the good and work on the bad. Essentially you become truly re-acquainted with yourself and what a canvas to work with the human soul is.

The cave of Hira was the sanctuary of the Rasul (saw) and I have come to internalise that we all need a place where we can simply BE in the presence of the creator.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Venezuela quits IMF and World Bank

I just had to share this story, Hugo boy makes my day everytime. Here are snipts of the Guardian article.

The Venezuelan president, Hugo Chávez, today severed ties with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. In doing so he distanced Caracas further from what he described as Washington-dominated institutions.

The populist leader, (popular indeed, i would vote for him if i could) who took office pledging to pursue radical political reform and an economic "third way", said yesterday that Venezuela no longer needed institutions "dominated by US imperialism". (true true)

Venezuela has been loosening its ties to the IMF and the World Bank since Mr Chávez took office in 1999. Venezuela recently repaid its debts to the World Bank five years ahead of schedule. In doing so it saved $8m (£3.99m) and cleared all its debts to the IMF shortly after Mr Chávez was elected. ( Can you imagine the positive effect this would have on the world if every country followed suite)

Mr Chávez said the takeover marked the end of an era of Washington-dictated policies and returned Venezuelan resources to national control.
"The wheel has turned full circle," he said. (way to put it Hugo, now lets just replicate this world wide)

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Pomp and amusement

I had Tajweed this morning and sara and I have started to sit on a green mat usually probed against a corner of the room. We thought we would imagine ourselves sat in a Qur’an Halaqa studying with the Asshaba. Sara informed me that it was an old MD (mari) practice when she was here last summer. I can see why there is something so much more spiritually uplifting reciting the Qur’an and practicing the rule on the ground with your legs crossed then sat on a chair.

I had a really precious moment when I was practicing a rule called qalqala I was concentrating on the repeating sound when sara made me repeat the ayat again and suddenly I stopped in the middle of the ayat because I realised I understood it. Subhanallah but I understood it. It’s the ayat in which Allah was ordering musa (AS) to go to Fir’aun, he has transgressed. It reads roughly ihba ila fir’auna innahu daqaa (verse 15 surah 79).

Almost 3months of studying and I understood one ayat but to me it was infinitely so much more, it’s what that one ayat represents. The misery of getting up at 6am to be in work for 8 am in the height of winter were despite all my layers I had never felt such penetrating cold but this memory has been supersede by the memory of this morning. Subhanallah but it was worth it for that ayat alone.

My father when I was young used to say to me that the worth of something that you have been give and the worth of something that you have worked hard for can never be of comparative value, one will always out live the other in your memory. It took me 23 years to "get" it , may allah grant him jannatul firdaws.

I was reminded of when allah asks the inhabitants of jannah if they experienced any hardship on earth and they say not for one moment oh lord ( or something therein) Am also reminded of the ayat that says "And the life of this world is only a deceiving enjoyment"

Then I came home and crashed out in front of the sofa and switched on the tv which went automatically to the Qur’an channel which was at this point playing surah yusuf with the English translation running at the bottom of the screen. It was on the bit when the woman of that town heard about the wife of Al-Aziz’s failed seduction of Yusuf (As) so she invited them to a banquet and gave them knives. Then called him out and because of his beauty they cut themselves and stated that he couldn’t be a mortal and he must in fact be an angle.

She then says admitted her intentions towards Yusuf , tells about his refusal and goes on to say that he will be punished and imprisoned hence being disgraced.While Yusuf says "oh my lord prison is dearer to be then that which they invite me to" When I had moment of realisation that his concept of being disgraced is disobeying allah , hence being akhiyra orientated while her concept of disgrace is a prison on earth thus being dunaya orientated. Subhanallah!

Being from the west it struck me just what Yusus (AS) was refusing, the attentions of one of the most beautiful woman of his time and more so of the entire woman in his area yet today we are so used to men being defined as a stud because of the number of woman he has been with, and it struck me the difference in thinking, how many men of our time faced with such temptation, a beautiful women or prison would turn to his lord and say

" oh my lord prison is dearer to be then that which they invite me to"!

Monday, April 23, 2007

A no is a no

A certain someone’s mother has marked Thursdays and Mondays in her diary as shock NM into speechlessness days. Last Thursday I thought would remain in my memory as the most unexpected day in Alexandria. This Monday however managed to supersede even that.
The lady in question called me to say that she has sent me an email for the engagement details and that she wanted my dad’s number and email address! Oh my god was just no were near expressing the horror of that moment! Huh!!

On the pervious Friday I thought I made it clear that I was only in Egypt to study Arabic and had a home and family to go back to. But the insistent lady asked me to pray the istikhara, I was also under the impression the prayer was for moments of confusion except for once am anything but confused!! It is hard to be insistent back with a 50 plus year old woman without sounding rude so I said I will get back to her.

3 days later the lady is sending me my engagement details and asking for my dad’s details! Like hell am going to give her my dad’s number, does the woman not realise my dad would be on the first plane out of Manchester to come collect me! In this email the lady is also giving me details of my dowry! like i can be brought! am getting really annoyed,stressed and even panicky now

Walahi its times like this I realise the need for a mahrem, clearly am perceived as not being able to make my own decisions, but if this was my dad or my brother I bet the first NO would have been the end of it!

As I write this I need a massive does of galaxy chocolate, a cup of tea and if I wasn’t Muslim something that would come from a boy on a bicycle from moss side!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Living alone

The choice of living with the two Romanian bintaan or staying in the flat all by my lonesome has vanished because the ladies are not satisfied with there flat so are also planning on moving and are currently searching for somewhere more to there liking and having seen that place and its proximity to the school (a 30minute walk ) and its proximity from the sea ( one has to take a taxi) I too am disheartened with the prospect.

So the question remains why the girls can not just move in to my flat since am exponentially satisfied with my dwelling. (2 minutes from the institute and the sea) Unfortunately my dwelling will quadruple in rental price in June meaning that even with the strength of the sterling I will also have to move.

So as things remain I am living by my lonesome till am joined by my fellow mancunian sisters. So how have I been occupying myself? Well I have become rather house proud mainly due to watching on satellite a British show called “ Anthea Turners’s perfect housewife” the title does of course not relate to me but she does have some amazing cleaning tips as well as being a very amusing showing although am not that’s its intent.

Cooking for one and eating alone is no joy so for a while I seized to cook at all and lived on take-aways a.k.a. utter crap till I started to feel rather weak and realised I had hit another phase of anaemia so am back to popping iron pills and cooking.

But first I had to go to the local supermarket and actually buy some food, why on earth do supermarket managers move things around. Just when you think you have got a handle on shopping efficiently they change things around. Shopping is such a chore if Fathalah had internet shopping I would jump at the chance but instead I had to contend with starting one end of the shop floor to the other end because I could not phantom the arrangements literally walking the whole supermarket floor.

When I finally made it home I was really excited to try this carrot, potato and ginger soup and it was an absolute success, just delicious except I do not have a food processor so it’s a little lumpier then it should be but the proof is in the tasting. I then continued to make myself some biryani and some bolognaise sauce for when the need for paste over takes me. So not only is the flat sparkling but my fridge is full of food, it’s like an outer body experience am turning into a domestic dream my mother will not recognise me.

Friday, April 20, 2007


If your wondering what happend to my "what on earth" rant let me tell you, late at night i remembered that the sister of the brother concerned has my blog address to my horror so i had to take it off!

But its save to say that i didn't hide away all day as i had intended, although i didnt' really address the issue either but eh. The lady wants me to pray the istikhara, guess its the least i can do then in a weeks time i will just say " am sorry it wasn't meant to be"

end of issue inshallah

Monday, April 16, 2007

An egyptian family

The first person I met at Risala was Iman, she took me under her wing and showed me around, making sure that I got to know everyone I needed to know and visa versa. She brought me into her social circle until I ended up with a mass of Egyptian girlfriends. For some unknown reason I was on her engagement party list although it was relatively small.

Her mum has learnt from Iman that I am all alone and families less here in Egypt and has invited me to dinner on a very regular basis. After my first dinner at their house, we retired to the living room and watched the end of an Egyptian soap opera, then we watched an Amr khalid’s show with Iman translating while her mother made us the most delicious mint tea. It was so homely and I was awe struck with just how at home I felt there. It was a lovely experience after being out of a family atmosphere for so long.

My other point of family contact is Nad’s Qur’an teacher Khalah Hana who is an incredibly lovely woman, She too invites me to dinner every Wednesday and I have the joy of playing with her 7 year old Ula. She is the one who introduced me to the Seerah circle and now that I have purchased my copy of“sealed nectar” I feel so much more ready to soak up the teacher’s wisdom.

Truly I am constantly amazed and awed by the warmth I receive from others, people who I am a complete stranger to and all that binds us is that we greet each other with Salaam. The instant love, trust and protectiveness that people who I have only known for a short time show me. When they say if you ever need anything let me know I KNOW they mean it and know I have unconditional support if I ever needed it.

I have known the Prophets (saw) sayings that the Ummah is like one body but until know I have never come close to understanding the love that is and should be between the believers!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Thus far

Its been awhile and a lot has happened I have been so busy though that I really just couldn’t bring myself to blog so here is another general update in a somewhat chronological order.

1) I made it to Cairo a day late to pick up the girls and bring them to the flat, I booked them a 2rooms in a hotel called the Berlin hotel in Cairo listed in my rough guide which is a tad old I guess because according to the girls it’s an utter dump. They said it made our flat look like a palace oops!

2) They had raised a total of 10,000 LE for the orphanage project at Risala. I set up a meeting with the orphanage projects designated donations collector at the time I was teaching so I missed the look on his face but I guess he was elated for the children.

3) I am officially teaching English to a group of students, I have a soft. Low voice and I kept being asked to raise my voice, my handwriting has gone down the tube, I found myself trying to explain things in Arabic, and the students spoke to each other in Arabic alots so I had to implement a no Arabic inside the class room rule, looks like sara’s teaching habits are rubbing of ! They want me concentrate on pronunciation so by the time I leave am going to leave behind a bunch of northern accented Egyptians.I have yet to start my conversational Arabic classes with a girl called Iven (strange name I know)

4) The banker and I spent the whole of Tuesday together as quality time, since we both hate shopping instead of completing our shopping list we spent most of the day in food outlets, sipping tea. She left her bag in the food court of san Stefano and only remembered when we were in the taxi. We asked the security guide and he asked us to describe it and then just pulled it out from a box behind him. This then made the banker feel like she needed another break so we discovered a Cilantro just at the bottom of the stairs, walked in and oh my lord I was home! They had a massive circular bookshelf in the middle of the store, I saw 2boys with books sprawled all over their table and a man on his laptop, they have wifi and the most amazing mocha’s. Guess were I am going to be studying now! I had so missed café life

5) I have taken up Ahadith and when Sara put me straight on to level two i felt rather panicky and was I right! It’s hard-core Arabic non of this level two Arabic which I am on now, they know am almost illiterate and all the vocabulary caters for that while in Ahadith....oh boy. The first hadith in the book was that in which Omar ibn aby salamah is taught my the prophet (saw) that we should start eating with Bismillah , eat from the portion of food nearest to us and with out right hand. Sara wants to explain the hadith in Arabic in tomorrow’s lesson; I can really see that happening.

6) My remaining house mate is leaving on the 12th of April, which officially means I am going to have a 3bedroom flat to my little self, unless I move to Qortoba accommodation and share with 2 German/Romanian girls who are looking into Islam ( no pressure there then)

7) My sister and the Twins have officially left and the house is soooo much quieter now! Almost eerie. Its difficult to comprehend how 2weeks can pass so quickly.There is nothing quite like seeing family again, I really miss my bunch, makes you realise just how much you love them.
8) Oh and i went to my first Egyptian engagment and i was even able to upload the pictures!!!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Ma'asalam ya atr

Come get us from the airport I was told and althought I did point out that it would be liking going from manchester to heathrow to pick up 3 seasoned travellers especially when am the baby of the group! But because my big sister requested ever so politely that i pick them up i went to the station and brought a ticket yesterday and when the time came today jumped on a taxi and asked him to take me to station ramleh!

we got there and I looked at him blankely. I asked why we had brought me to the tram station instead of the train station, he says, you asked for sation ramleh! Thats when it dawned on me, damn!! but i wanted station sidi gaber which is actually a train station and not a tram station, this is clearly what happens when you grown over confident!

So dispondently ask him to take me to the nearest train station and he took me to masr station, we pulled up in front of a massive non-familiar station and i jump out having paid him and ran around looking for my train, shockingly enough i missed it. Then when i tried to buy a ticket for the next train at 8pm I was informed it was full then I asked about the one at 10 and joyeously that was also full so I had to buy a ticket for first thing in the morning and sadily go home.

While I was in the taxi i had to change the rooms reservation and book a pick up from the airport so now there will inshallah be an egptian man holding up as sign with the bankers name on it instead of me (so sad) I stopped at mo'men (sandwish place) and grabbed a beautiful sandwich, which brings me to the need to rant.

Why is it that when we give in charity its always a measly amount, There is this old, frail man who stands in front of mo'men and when ever we are there we along with others give him some money but walahi it never equals what the sandwich and chips combo cost!! So feeling a little ashamed i asked him if he wanted to eat something and he look at me suprised and a little sad so i asked him to wait ( not that he was going anywhere really) and a brought two meals one for him and one for me. I gave him is bag (noticing that he his right hand was miss shapen, may allah love him) and he looked so suprised and humbled which ticked me off royally because it means he has got used to people giving him measly amounts and two it means ever so clearly that we don't love for our brothers what we love for ourselves.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


when my contact (who I met in a restaurant in cairo :)) gave me Risala's number I was under the impression it was an orphanage. Let me tell you how wrong I was, it in fact has an orphanage programme, a blind project, a deaf project, a special needs centre, a homeless programme and poverty project.I have not yet found out how it’s financed but I know the large bulk of its income in self generated through links with the community and several income generating projects such as work shop.

Its mainly staffed by volunteers and they seemed genuinely delighted that I would want to come and help. I was an instant hit with the children (mainly because I came with a 2kg box of sweets!)

My English is in demand by all the different projects and programmes, I already have 2jobs

1) Teaching English to the staff
2) Creating a database (although I havn’t done one since 1st year of uni)

I really want to do something with the orphans but they are up2 two years of age so am not sure what I can do with them other then play with them I guess. They encourage a mentoring scheme, were an adult becomes a brother or a sister to one of the baby orphans. I am not sure what that entails yet although it sounds interesting.

Iman (a beautiful woman who spoke fluent English) took me around to each department and introduce me to the project leader. I have not been hugged and kissed by so many people other then after Eid prayer and I loved every minute of it, the genuine instant affection never fails to warm my heart. The most heart wrenching moment was when Fatima a 7month old orphan was handed to me, Subhanllah she looked so000 Adorable, serene and unaware of her situation.

My mother was orphaned when her mother was 6months pregnant with her so she never met her father and then again when her mother passed away when she was 6years old. So from her stories I can guess how insecure and lonely Fatima will find this world! My mother was lucky enough to have an extended family but Fatima has no one. God I wanted to take her home, from today onwards inshallah she will become my sponsored orphan.

Oh and when I told the family I was going to be working at Risala I didn’t think it would results in anything but the banker, subhallah older sisters, there in an finite wisdom that no matter how old you become they still seem to have insight and resourcefulness that you wouldn’t even contemplate.The crazy woman sent me a text to say she has started a collection for the orphage and has collected £260 from Didsbury masjid and will be holding another appeal at the MYF before she arrives on Saturday. So far that’s 2860 Egyptian Junay what a sister!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

23rd Birthday

I turned 23 today so in order to mark the occassion i have been working on producing a personal mission statment that i can live by and here it is:

Personal mission statement

1) Always be sincere and honest with myself and my creator (including my intentions, motives and drives)
2) Know that victory comes with patience, relief with affliction and ease with hardship.
Priorities my family. Aim to make my whole being an enrichment and blessing upon my parents. And my time on earth a source of comfort and unwavering support to my siblings.
3) Nurture my friendships, give without expectations, seek to understand and then be understood
4) Excel in counselling ( Person-centred approach integrated with a Islamic perspective, attain the Islamic knowledge and wisdom that this will require)
5) Sponsor an orphan/s
6) Allah loves that which is small but consistent, set up a standing order with Islamic relief.
7) Fluency in Arabic, beauty in Tilawa, Eloquence in Speech and memorisation of the Qur’an.
8) Explore Allah’s world (Frequent, responsible and earth friendly travel)
9) Learn at least one new skill a year
10) Eradicate at least one bad habit a year
11) Be debt free always.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

General update

1) I just completed my level one exam and i got ...92% YAY alhamdulilah! Level two here i come then just 8more till fluency inshallah;)

2) I have descovered the Alex club and for 25 gunay (2.50 sterling) I can go horse riding. I think i should mention at am scared of horses, well riding them at least they are such powerful creatures, capable of neck breaking speed and there is always the possibility of getting trampled on but fear shouldn't be disabling so i have decided to over come it! ( last time i rode a horse for 20mins in luxor I spent the whole time reciting Ayatul-kursi i was so scared) wish me luck, i hope they have helmets and a bit of body armier would be reassuring too.

3) I have seen the error of my ways via a flat mates current sheer disregard for keeping her space clean. At home i used to leave my dish at the sink, leave my cups of tea where ever i was at the time i finished drinking it, bring my lundary down but never actually put them in the washing machine. Never cooked and would ask who ever was in the kitchen got me a plate of food! Now that i see someone else behaving like this am rather ashamed of my own past slobbiness and have vowed never to return to that state! I am suprised my mother didn't through me out!!

4) I have heard about a ma'had that teaches islamic course in english so am going to check it out this week and i have decided if they have a woman and islam course am going to enrol,
i can live up to my feminist way, woman aren't allowed in the masjid arghhh

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Mass exodus from Alexandria

How quickly things change, subhanallah sometimes it’s almost at breath taking speed. In the space of a week the following has happened

1)Amel my flat mates in getting married (yes to an Egyptian) from Cairo and is thus leaving us this Sunday!!

2) This morning as I came back from my class and walked into our building the mother of the family who I blogged about last time told me that her and the children are leaving today, out moving permanently. I give her my telephone number here and my number and address in the UK. She tried to shake my hand as a farewell (I was thinking .. er…no that’s not how we say salam) so I dragged her into a bear hug and we both parted looking a little tearful then I had to find the kids, its sooo SAD. I really loved that family they always greeted me with a genuine smile of affection and tried to converse with me in Arabic and the kids called my name as I walked in from class (probably because they new I had chocolate for them ..but still) they made me feel at home.

3)The British girls who I met at the school from Birmingham will be returning home this Saturday too!

Now the building will lose that homely feel and our flat with be colder (literally body heat is our only source of heating) and we won’t be able to go out in a big group or go around to the British lots flat for tea!

That’s it I really need to find an Egyptian family with NO sons, lots of daughters my age, who speak fusha and want to make a foreigner feel a little bit more at home now that practically everyone I now is deserting Alexandria.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Home sick

Shukri came and left like a breeze! we had a blast and i loved having her here but it all came to a sudden end and it made me remember that there is no place like home. Its official am homesick i miss everything.

i miss my family

i miss my mums cooking

i miss my crazy friends

i miss just been around people who know me

I was having a fantastic time till shukri reminded me what i was missing! Oh and my teacher is a slave driver, she had me purchase a book for grammar,a book for verbs ( i have hit the past and command) a book for writing short stories.

Short stories, my jaw dropped i even asked her if she was joking i haven't even completed level one yet!!!!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

First visitor

My first visitor is almost here in the shape of Shukri, she arrives on Wednesday and I am so excited, the first familiar face for almost a month. She lands In Cairo and I have taken Thursday of school so I can have a long weekend in Cairo with her. Inshallah if all goes this is the itinerary I have put together for her and I complete with a hired driver for the 2days and a half.

Pick her up from the airport and check into the hotel.

Thurday :
Salah a-Din’s Citadel followed by Ahmed Ibn Tulun masjid and
Sultan Hasan masjid as it’s around the corner, completing the day with the breathtaking
Azhar park, Pray maghrib and isha here before going back to the hotel.

Pyramids and Sphinx (part way by car then taking a camel or a horse the rest of the way, how nomadic..ahh). Then to Atab market, followed by Khan al-Khalili for a spot of shopping, Azhar masjid then Amr Ibn Aaas Masjid and the Nilometer.

I hear Ahzar university is open to the public on Saturday but if not we will just have to form a rapid friendship with an Ahzari student whom will smuggle us in, what can be more exciting then the highest seat of sunni learning…. Then its on a train to Alexandria. I am so excited i have an incredible burst of energy.

Note: she doesn't read blogger and its a suprise so no telling her ladies :)

Say it with words

I am finally starting to speak Arabic outside of the classroom, but it’s beyond broken, its just a string of words. Such as when am coming back home in a taxi, I will tell him how to get to my house with the following string of words

Name of the road
Coffee shop Abu Hassan
Shimel (left)
Wahid Shari Yamin
Kam? (Give him the money)
Ma’ Asalama
And my other favourite scenario is when I go shopping for food, I am currently having a love a fair with fresh grilled fish.I walk in and I ask for quarter of a kilo of grilled mullet but this is how I do it

Asalamu alaikum
Rubu' (quarter)
Samak (fish)
Boori (mullet)
Meshwi (grilled)
Kam? (give him the money
During the whole interaction I stand there with the broad grin because it’s hilarious, who speaks in words. I find it so entertaining that I can go on for hours in this manner. Before I had a fear of speaking at all, now it’s just with words and soon inshallah it will be in full blown sentences.

Oh and i just got my results for my first written exam and i got 6 out of 40 wrong which is 85% rather pleased with that but the words galore

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Love in Egypt

Today as we took a usual walk up the corniche I saw a man sitting on a wall. I made eye contact with him and walahi something twinkled in his eyes although the sea was rough and it was windy and he looked cold. He just sat there looking so serene and content. It was instant, it was powerful and I just wanted to take him home.

He was at least 70, barely had teeth and sells shell jewellery for a living. People get to an age where they should be at home while there family provide for them. I welled up with emotional and brought one of his strange creations and gave him a note. Walahi I just wanted to give him the contents of my purse but he looked too proud. It’s incomprehensible for any Egyptian to reject a present so I told him it was a hadiya.

He then started giving me an array of necklaces back as a hadiya! Subhanallah I have got so used to being continuously ripped of here that his integrity made my throat constrict with emotion even more! I want to know things about him like where are his family, where does he live, how many hours a day does he work? Would he have tea with me!I love him, I really do, it was as instant as it was potent.

In every apartment block there is a family who oversee the running of things, well ours have 3 little children and the little girl makes a visit to every flat at least once a day to collect the rubbish. I find it difficult to give her our rubbish, she looks about 8 and should be at school! I give her and her siblings sweets when I see them but how rotting there teeth is going to improve there situation I don’t know I am just not sure what I can do. I feel imprisoned by my inability to communicate. I love these children and I can’t help but compare the age of my niece with the ages of these children and how they are literally living in different worlds.

I go to the majid for Isha prayer and I pray with this little old woman who can barely stand but without fail is there and she is there before me, she sits on a chair during sujood but the rest o the time she stands feet to feet with me and I want to ask her about her life and any children she might have, how long she has been using this masjid and how she manages to be there every Isha without fail. I want to take her goodies too and show her my album and share my little world with her, but as things stand we share a smile and part ways. Tonight I just wanted to hug her and tell her I love her and that I admire her.

Egptian and their famous charm eh, well so far I have lost my heart to and old teeth less man, a frail woman and 3 beautiful children may Allah love them.

Monday, February 12, 2007

The washing saga

I had almost run out of clothes to wear so washing had become a dire need. The institute has a washing facility so I look a bag of clothes to my class. I had painfully looked through every label to make that I didn’t have any disaster so feeling very worldly I walked to my class.

The first snag is the works began after I loaded the washing machine. I had no idea how to work it, where were the instructions? So when my teacher came I asked her and she got one of the brothers to work it. It did occur to me that maybe I should explain the general content so we would know what type of cycle to use but I wasn’t prepared to have this discussion so I just let him go his merry way.

After my extended class of Arabic and Tajweed (Oh my goodness but is Tajweed Hard, I have been putting my tongue into crevices in my mouth it has never been before and discovering the sheer flexibility of my jaw. I was feeling mentally taxed by the end of the lesson and just wanted to grab my clothes and go home.

When I unloaded my clothes into my bag I realised just how HEAVY damp clothes are! My poor wrists as I was also carrying my text and exercise books too! So there I was struggling down the steps when I remembered I had to go and pay for it! Only to go to the office and discover what looked like the entire male staff of Qortoba in there! Damn!!

So I had to knock, walk in, deposit my great load, give Adil the money, grab my bags and heave them out of the office all the while praying that nothing embarrassing would fall out.
I left and started the walk home when for some known reason the man who’s number I asked for (previous blog of humiliation) was sat outside his shop with a bunch of his male friend! I had to endure the longer then usual walk as I was struggling to carry everything. It didn’t help that they were all looking as I walked past.

Only to then finally make in to the lift, after the door had whacked me, struggled into the flat, that door hit there me too. To finally walk towards the balcony to start hanging my smalls when in the middle of holding one very embarrassing item the man in the opposite building decided to come out and collect his dried clothes.

I was so embarrassed I just kept holding the item, When I was able to function again I practically ran back into the flat! I refuse to hang clothes out EVER during the day light! Oh man I am going to go and bury my head somewhere.

Sunday, February 11, 2007


Today i learnt the word for numers (raqam and mobile) then Sara asked me to put it into a sentence so i came up can i have your mobile number in arabic. The phrase stuck in my head for some unknown reason.

I left the lesson went to our corner shop to grab some essentials i though i would put my broken arabic into use, so i asked for milk, chocolate and bread, i wanted to ask who many pieces of bread there where in the pack so i tried to construct a sentence with the word for number in.

He looked at me confused and i looked at him thinking, yeah how many pieces dude till it dawned on me! I just asked for him mobile number TWICE I am sooooo embarrassed I tried to explain but he just kept smiling .

So i am sat here in the internet cafe absolutely red faced i don't now why i just didn't go home, my first reaction was to do a u-turn taking me back to the internet cafe! Now i have to walk past his shop again. Knowing my luck i will probably trip right outside his shop and break an ankle or something


Armed with my Egypt rough guide (courtesy of madcow) I went out with my flat mate to discover all the must sees in Alexandria. In particular the Bibliotheca Alexanderia, its an incredible building the guide describes it as a "A giant discus embedded in the ground at an angle, representing a second sun rising beside the Mediterranean…" Truly it’s a sight to be hold, it is the second biggest library in the world so I am told. If you love books and architecture it certainly is a must see. The only thing that marred the experience was the lack of prayer room, there goes the barka then

We went to Midan Tahrir which is erm…interesting! I did get some wool though and I have started a knitting evening in the flat especially as our TV has decided to take a vacation!

We also went to San Stefano which is basically an indoor mall with a cinema complex so Nads and I thought that as a testament to our new Egyptian way of life we should see a film. All was well until halfway through the film the screen blackened out! We were disgruntled at the disruption and waited patiently for someone to fix the problem. When people started making phone calls, streaming out of the room and the room was light we became really annoyed and on the verge of going to the reception area to ask for our money back when a couple leisurely strolled back in with popcorn.

I looked at them puzzlingly, they looked back puzzled so I was forced to ask what was going on they smiled and said it’s the BREAK! Boy did we laugh at ourselves, I had images of myself complaining in very very broken Arabic and being told to calm down its only a break!
Then around 12 when the film finished we left feeling Hungary and went to Mo’men (Egyptian fast food place).we got home at 2am ( No telling my mum and dad people) I have to say in my defence Egyptians don’t sleep till late so wondering around at 2am is akin to wondering around at 7pm.All in all a truly satisfying Saturday.

Oh and am starting Tajweed tomorrow which is going to be a killer my teacher has wanted to address my british accent since i started and now am giving her the opportunity to! She was rubbing her hand with glee when she was give my updated time table. I can foresee leaving with a headache, a jaw ache and general eye strain at the end of the lesson

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

A True Swot

I have just come out of my sixth lesson with a massive smile on my face, a spring in my step and huge dose of utter elation. Why? Well I have self actualised to my true geeky nature (spectacles and mismatched clothes included).

I have been seriously swotting at home, I get enough homework to keep me sat at the desk for hours anyway but I have been making flash cards, yellow for noun, pink for verbs and green for adjective. I have turned them into card games and I have been playing with them. (lol, they have been providing me with hours of joy)

Nads is being sucked into to my word games too but Amel stays elusive as she is too advance.

Anyho today in my lesson, I excelled and I wasn’t shying away from using all i had learnt, Ustadha Sara is a woman who likes to challenge me and I rose to the challenge, I got every single one of my pre-lesson tests right including constructing some sentences which had her in hysterics for half of the lessons all correct too I might add.

Ahhhhhhhh I feel so satisfied alhamdulilah! I am enjoying being reacquainted with this goal driven Naima, the poor love was dormant and searching for a goal for awhile but then something clicked into place and of she went.

(My teacher is fascinated by his fact that I sometime talk about myself in the third person, am sure lots of people does it)

Guest Part 2

Well well! I knew that something was odd about the amount of energy that went into welcoming "a friend and her children" someone forgot to mention that one of her children is a 20 something Egyptian male who is clearly besotted with my youngest flat mate. The glances her way, the sheer number of times he said her name, the way he insisted on talking to her in Arabic so that hers would improve..hmm!

Half away through dinner it dawned on me that our little flat was the setting for something straight out of pride and prejudice Egyptian style. When I finally got her into the kitchen on her own I asked her "so when is the wedding" teasingly. She giggled in the sweetest way and said, You’re so blunt, I will tell you about it all tonight.

His mother is also openly trying to set up the Amel with one of her husband’s friends, once again with an egptian. My goodness, before long I might be the only Somali female in the flat who hasn’t fallen for an Egyptian. I am seriously starting to think there might be something to this infamous Egyptian charm..

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Guest part 1

There have been scenes of frazzled nervous, frenzied cleaning, frantic furniture re-arrangements, furious arguments about which condiments go with which type of meat! This has officially been a very entertaining day in our little shared flat and none of it had a wit to do with me.

My roomies have guest staying over for the weekend (we now have an established unspoken rule in the house that guest are welcome). The poor ladies have been at it since last night, I have of course tried to pitch in and continuously asked if my assistance was required but mainly I have entertained myself by getting lost a few times as I went out on a mini-venture, swept a room and did half the bathroom as well as making a fruit salad.

The Egyptian guests are still nowhere to be seen and as I write this the clock is hitting 11.30pm. There is an immaculately laid out table and enough food in the chicken to keep us going for at least a week. All this has made me reflect upon the way a guest should be treated, when should a person cease being a guest and become a intimate friend you can eat pizza straight out of the box with. Should one ever lose their guest status? Or is it a perpetual right?

For me the places I feel the most comfortable and my true self are the homes in which I can walk into the kitchen and make myself a cup of tea or where I am able to wash my cup and no one has a panic attack, they are the places I return to. I am of course aware that there moment in which the whole ceremonial pomp, finest crystal, delicate china and the clothes that can only be worn once are premed and pressed are necessary (so I here) but the true mark of friendship is when you can truly show yourself, eat that which you normally eat, frequent the places you hold dear, when you can laugh without artifice and share of yourself that which is at your core.

Just so you guys know when you visit I will of course invite you to clean presentable flat, I will even cook for you, I will offer you cups of tea but I will show you how I live and take you to the beach and show you my favourite seat , watch the sunset. I will take you to my favourite restaurants and point out humorous things that might have happened along the way we might even visit my new friend the sweet 60year old and buy food from him, If its possible I will arrange for you to attend one of my lesson and introduce you to the teachers at the school. I will feel joy and excitement at your impending arrival rather then stress and strains.


I have finally made it to the beach (which isn’t much of an achievement for someone who has lived 5minutes walk away from it for almost a week now). The sea is rather rough as its winter ( winter my foot am walking around with a mere two layers compared to the Egyptians daily wear of gloves, hats, scarves must make them think I have a certain fondness for cold related illness.

You have to buy a minimum of a cup of tea to sit on the seats strategically placed around the beach which is no hardship as sipping a cup of tea by the sea with my mp3 is ideal (I have to date brought 6varieties of tea). The sun was causing the water to shimmer and the crashing waters of blue to sooth my slightly home sick soul.

Before I left all I heard was keep safe, not come back married, no catching taxi’s on your own, don’t loose track of time and so forth. So with all that in mind it’s safe to say I have been more cautious then I would normally be, I have chosen to venture out in groups only But as nothing happens here and its incredibly safe I have decided to enjoy my time here and go discover Alexandria.

So I went on a long walk on and around Shari Khalid bin waleed ( nicked named the street that never sleeps) I wondered around looking,taking in the sights and scents, sharing smiles with woman and children, window shopping and now again stopping to make sure I was aware of the way back home. This included several u-turns and talking to myself just to confirm where I had come from when I realised I was headed into some uncharted area (am doing this systematically). I had a lovely conversation with an elderly Egyptian who reminded me of my daddy. He spoke in gestures and I murmured phrases from my phrase book and tried to use what I have learnt so far but there is only so far a few verbs (which am not yet able to conjugate) along with a list of nouns and a variety of sentences involving those nouns and verbs can aid you in a conversation.

I think we charmed each other equally and in the end he made me a chicken sandwich set me of on my travels with a long dua, very sweet mashallah. All is honky dory here and since getting my Egyptian sim I feel rather settled.