Saturday, June 30, 2018

Lamu Museum-A lesson in Lamu's history.

The beautiful entry to the museum.

Museums are one of my happy places because there is so much about a place and it's people that you will learn by visiting one.

The Lamu museum provides a lesson in the history of the island,its people and the culture.The Museum is organised into categories and the different rooms tell different aspects about Lamu. I loved the fact that it tells all the important things about the town and even shares other historical sites and monuments one should visit to learn more about the Island's history.

This museum is so full of history that if you visited Lamu and the only two things you did was see the sea and visit the museum your visit will be 75% complete.The other 25% will have to be, you eating all things that are edible in the Island 😅😅.

These are the things at the museum that stood out the most for me;

Lamu and it's trade routes.

High school history anyone?
This map at the entry of the museum that sums up all the trade routes that were used in the old days and the items that were traded then.It seems that the Chinese were as tricky then as they are now because they brought China plates to Lamu and exchanged them for things that were far more valuable.

The doors of Lamu.

All the door types in one place just in case you wanted to be an expert on door types
Lamu amongst many other things is famous for its doors.The Museum has information on all the types of doors in the Island,their origin and what differentiates them from each other complete with pictures.

Visit the museum as soon as you are in Lamu,so that when you walk along the streets you know which doors are from where and what their style is.

The Kofias.

The caps are made from scratch by people from Lamu.All the details on them are made using a needle and thread.It takes about a month to make one of them.
Do you know/remember the kofias  Miguna Miguna always has on? They are made in Lamu and aren't exactly cheap.One goes for between 20,000 and 30,000 KES depending on the patterns and size.So maybe a lifestyle audit on M.M so that he can tell us how he can afford to have many of these 😅😅.

They are hand made, the skill of making them has been passed down through the generations and it takes quite a bit of time to make one.It would be great if they could find a way to make them faster hence mass production so that they could be affordable to more people.

The communities that live in Lamu.

The Pokomo's  of Lamu.
The Boni people have held on tight to their traditions and upto date are mostly hunters and gatherers!

There is a whole section of the museum dedicated to the different communities that live in Lamu.Their traditional houses,dress,jewellery,ceremonies and what they originally did for income.I only recently learnt of the Boni people and was so happy that they have a whole wall on them and their history.

Swahili architecture and home decor.

A swahili bed.

The Swahili's of the past clearly knew a lot about home decor.
Beautiful Swahili wall finishes that are still done even today in most of the houses on the Island.
Lamu town has the feel of an ancient town and is the best preserved Swahili settlement in East Africa hence it being a UNESCO world heritage site.It's people have done so well in maintaining their architecture such that the museum looks like a lot of the homes in the Island.The bathrooms in most of the homes are the same as what is displayed in the museum and I am yet to see a modern staircase in Lamu's old town.

The Museum is located in Lamu old town and it costs only 100 KES as an entrance fee. A visit to Lamu isn't complete without time spent at the museum just make sure you allocate a good amount of time to this visit.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Taking Stock Q2 2018

It's June already!!!! where does time go.

December last year with all it's shenanigans is so fresh in my memory that if there were no calendars I would think it was last week. The person that invented the calendar and the concept of time sure did us wrong because without these I would be a nineteen year old with the wisdom of a much older person aka kijana mwenye akili za mzee and the time would always be festive seasons.We all know this is impossible because life is such an irony; when you are young and 'foolish' you have all the energy in the world and most of the time you waste it.When you are old/older and wiser you have such little energy to implement all the great ideas you have.What better way to remind yourself of the quick passage of time than taking stock time.

Making:lists and more lists.On my phone,goals book,gratitude journal ,excel planner,pinterest.Right now my life is full of lists.I hope this means I will forget less things and be more productive.

Cooking: trying to learn how to bake and make home made baked muesli.So far I fixed my oven,downloaded cake recipes and got some baking equipment.Scariest thing is the amount of oil,flour sugar and margarine/butter needed to make cake.Clearly cake and especially one with cream is 80% fat and sugar 😭😭. I have made different forms of muesli and each time it came out really delicious.All you need at minimum is jumbo oats, nuts you love or mixed nuts and seeds like sunflowers seeds or chia seeds to make  a stock of healthy breakfast option.If you decide to bake it you will need coconut milk and honey. If you haven't tried making your own muesli what are you doing?!. 

Ginger Ale and coke by the sea.

Drinking:All of kinds of juices and sodas.I know what you are thinking unhealthy much but these past few months I have been doing this hotel living thing and the temptation is real.You guys I struggle through a mug of green tea.Me who could drink a whole jug at home.
Reading: Lean In.I just began reading it and the first two chapters have been really insightful.
Wanting: To make the most of all the opportunities I get so as to not have regrets in the words of Mark Twain Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did.So throw off the bowlines.Sail away from the safe harbor.Catch the trade winds in your sails.Explore.Dream.Discover.

Playing: Everything is love.Despite what a lot of people are saying I honestly think Jay-Z dropped a lot of good lines in the album.I especially love the songs Boss and Friends.
Wasting:No time in putting the lessons I have learnt from some of the books I have read this year into practice.
Sewing: In my heart I want to get a sewing machine and be those people who make their own clothes.The reality though is I don't know how to use one and even if I learnt and got one it might just collect dust at a corner as I might not have the drive to use it often. Despite knowing this I am very envious when I see people who have sewing machines at home,know how to use them and actually use them.

Wishing: And trying hard to be a good muslim and one who does all things to please Allah.I was watching this Nouman Khan video about how if we owe someone a lot we always want to please them and do all they ask us to do.Allah has given all of us so much blessings and yet those that have been blessed the most are the once who do the least worship.

Enjoying: All the time that I get to spend by the sea. 

The maasai market on the beach.

Beach camels.
Liking: swahili furniture and home decor.They have the most intricate and beautiful designs on their wood furniture.

Loving: Commencement speeches on YT.I know,I might be a little bit too old for them because it is advise given to 20-23 year olds as they graduate from college but increasingly I find myself watching them.

Hoping:That I become more disciplined in what I eat because really it will take a lot more discipline for me to take exercising seriously.So in the spirit of doing the easy thing I will try and eat better and less 😅😅.

Marveling: At how beautiful county 001 is.No one ever says just how much this place can grow on you.It's the perfect mix of beach and city that would have one seriously thinking of what it would take to start living here.It's true kuingia rahisi,kutoka ngumu.

Needing: To get a good research topic for school because having three topics rejected can make one really want to do bad things to their supervisor.
Smelling: Clean crisp morning air.

Wearing:Always wearing a baati.Always.

Following: People/influencers who hang out in the same circles on Instagram.Yaani this past week most of them were at AirGikosh (I still don't know what this was about) and a brunch hosted by one famous Mulunda at Tigoni House.At this point I am one of them and even know when one rewinds her shoes too often.This is to say I might need to be off IG for sometime maybe or start following new pages.

Noticing: that understanding your struggles,fears and insecurities is very important.This because you interpret situations based on your past experience and biases.There is this story I once read about a lady who always told her husband that her neighbours were dirty and didn't wash their clothes well.One day the husband decides to indulge her and checks out the neighbour's clothes hanging on the lines.He realises that it's their window that is dirty and asks the wife to clean it.What do you know next time she looked at her neighbours laundry it was super clean! So before making any conclusions about people or situations always ask yourself if your window is dirty.

This person is living all of our dreams house by the beach.
Knowing: that if there was a way I could bottle the smell and the feel of the breeze along the sea I would.There are these people in Nyali who have houses along the sea.Imagine how much happiness the location of their residence brings them.A lot of happiness I think.Money cannot buy happiness is a lie, because it can buy you a house by the beach and that is the same thing.

Thinking: At this point the ladies in WAGs Miami are pretty much family to me 🙈🙈. It has to be the most watched show on my very short list of watched shows .Don't judge until you see how reality TV can be addictive. A hot cup of tea,WAGs and incense sticks are the ultimate self care for me.

Feeling: like I need to work really hard because there is so much expected of me.The people I work with think so highly of me that honestly sometimes I get scared.

Bookmarking: Downloading loads of cake recipes lets hope I actually make some of them.

Vegetable samosas.

Pancakes my one true love.
Opening: myself up to adventures in all its forms mainly food.So far, all my yeses have paid off with great memories and sadly extra kilos but such is life. 

Giggling:At what alcohol can do.There is this old man I work with he even has grand daughters but the moment he touches alcohol he transforms into a break dancer and just dances in front of all of us.Sometimes I see him sober,all serious and I have to stiffle my laughter.

How is your year so far? those resolutions we all made how are you doing on them? If like me it's a mix of some are going well and some not so well.Its mid-year and a good time to re-strategize. 

Saturday, June 16, 2018

#GIRLBOSS-Book Review

''This book will teach you how to learn from your own mistakes and from other people’s (like mine). It will teach you when to quit and when to ask for more. It will teach you to ask questions and take nothing at face value, to know when to follow the rules and when to rewrite them. It will help you to identify your weaknesses and play to your strengths. It will show you that there’s a certain amount of irony to life.'-#GIRLBOSS.

Remember that new year's resolution I made to read two books a month well so far 50% achieved. Which tells me it is only realistically possible for me to read one book a month. Also this year I am making a conscious decision to read books written by female authors.This because I feel that we have different struggles and men are so very privileged by the societal and cultural norms(in my culture men are kings). Very few men would understand why Shonda Rhimes talks about the need and usefulness of a help at home to make sure you don't loose it by having too many balls in the air or why in Lean In the issues of women underestimating their abilities,blaming themselves for failure and not seeing themselves in leadership positions is talked about.

Enough about my book reading goals now lets talk about book five of the year which is Sophia Amoruso's #GIRLBOSS.It is a book that aims to teach girls/women how to be girl bosses in whatever fields they are in.Sophia tells the story of how she built her multi-billionare dollar business from scratch by doing what she loves(sell of vintage clothes),lessons she learnt as her company grew and what she wishes she knew when she was younger.She invites different girl bosses to tell their stories and experiences in some of the chapters.

I honestly think this book would make a wonderful gift for any young lady just out of college or in her last year of school.Its so full of life lessons and an easy read.So if you have such a person in your life don't say I didn't inform you about this good gift idea 😊.

Here are the top 5 lessons I picked from the book.

Hardwork and patience

''To be, in a word, unborable. . . . It is the key to modern life. If you are immune to boredom, there is literally nothing you cannot accomplish''-David Foster Wallace

Sophia tells the story of how she had to do jobs she didn't like just to pay bills and she even took one job because it had medical insurance and she needed a surgery.How she was at every vintage sale earlier than other buyers,how she curated her eBay page to ensure the pictures were excellent and how she spent time marketing her company using Myspace.All this to make sure she was winning at her business which before all the success was a lot of struggle.

Sometimes Most times life doesn't give you what you want on a platter.The perfect analogy to explain this is you pray for cake and you get eggs,flour,sugar,oil and baking powder.A lot of people would think that their prayer wasn't answered.The lesson here is be patient and power through all your 'boring' jobs/tasks and soon enough it will all pay off.


'When I’m not working, I’m still working. I’m always observing, I’m taking photos of patterns and colors I see on the streets, I’m jotting down ideas, I’m meeting new people, connecting the dots, researching my craft, trying out new products, giving my friends manicures, working on my website, updating my social media accounts, working on my own products, on collaborative projects, putting together inspiration boards or sketching new ideas. I’m working on my craft and my business not because I feel obligated, but because I love it.''-#GIRLBOSS.

If you want to be the best at what you do you have to stay hungry and this book emphasis this The way to beat the competition is to become the master of what you do,humility,honesty, politeness and always keeping in mind where you came from.Passion and a little good manners go a long way in helping one achieve their dreams.

Live within your means

'There is no dignity quite so impressive, and no independence quite so important, as living within your means'-Calvin Coolidge.

This books talks a lot about money specifically how to make it but what I love the most is that it also speaks about saving money and why it's important to not keep up with anyone.A lesson I believe is invaluable to everyone and especially the young-ins who are more likely to spend as a result of peer pressure.


' I treat my Internet passwords as modern-day sigils, embedding them with wishes or promises to me, or even financial goals for the company. (Hey, I never made any claims to be normal here.) That way, every time I go to log in anywhere, I’m subtly reminding myself of what I’m working for. This kind of intention setting has worked for me. Dozens of times a day, as I tap out a few strokes on the keyboard, I’m reminding myself of the bigger picture. This ensures that when I’m bogged down with day-to-day bureaucracy and details, I don’t lose sight of what I really want.'-#GIRLBOSS.

How many times do you log in onto something during the day? I am guessing many times and what passwords do you use? if you are like me its a standard one for all the sites and platforms and it is not anything special.Now imagine if your passwords were your goals.To log in to your email the password is Alhamdullilah,to log in to blogger it is-don't waste time......................wouldn't this be useful in reminding you of things that are important to you.I am applying this and hopefully it acts as a constant reminder of what is important to me.You should do it too 😊. 

Love your self

It sounds incredibly platitudinal, but no one will ever be able to love you if you don’t love yourself. What’s beautiful about it is that if you love yourself enough, you don’t need the validation from anyone else.

We live in a world where people crave validation from other people.You are as good as the number of likes on your IG posts or views on your posts or followers you have.This book encourages you to love yourself,follow your passion,put in the work needed and to be patient while waiting for the success.

What books are you reading? How are your reading goals so far? I would love to know.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Foreigness and Swahili Iftars.

The sea at Ishakani village in Lamu one of the last villages in Kenya before crossing into Somalia's Ras Kamboni.
 “At the end of the day, it isn’t where I came from. Maybe home is somewhere I’m going and never have been before.”-Warsan Shire.

The civil war in Somalia has led to the Somalis fleeing their country, this is no news I am sure.As a result Somalis are conquering and running the world.Allow me to jog your memory about famous Somalis-my love Warsan Shire,British marathoner Mo Farah,Canadian model Sabrina Dhowre and beauty icon and model Iman to mention but a few 😂😂.

Thing is Somalis are a resilient people with an unmatched business acumen that is why they own and run Eastleigh and unapolegitically so.They care so little for Swahili or blending in for that matter and this part of the city has had to change to accommodate them.Vendors,touts, generally anyone who has a business in Isli now speaks a bit of Somali.This is how much power they wield because they have CASH and we all know cash is king.It is rumoured that they do not bargain for stuff and so if they move into any estate in the city the place automatically becomes expensive.

There are Somalis who unfortunately do not rule the places they have migrated to.An example is those that are from Kismayu and have moved to Lamu's Kiunga island.They are a minority living amongst the Bajuni community.Their hosts have welcomed them with both hands and they co-exist peacefully but what a cultural contrast between the two communities.They don't do the same thing for income,they don't dress the same,they don't speak the same language and even live differently with the Bajunis being the more liberal community of the two.

War forces you to do hard things like blend in where you would never have even thought about it.Now the Somalis fish for a livelihood,speak swahili (coastal swahili) at that and there is even intermarriage between them and the Bajunis.

The Bajunis on the other hand have learnt about the Somali sea bounties and are now increasingly going to fish in the Somali waters that they say is so rich that fish catches are only measured in tonnes.They wear deras,travel to shop in Kismayu which they say is much cheaper that Lamu or Mombasa and even wear jilbabs more.

Iftar set up 😊 #myhappyplace
Food forms a big part of the Swahili culture,yaani these people can cook and if you live amongst them you will inevitably pick up one or two things about food. For Iftar they have a somewhat standard list of dishes that could be eaten which are;bhajias,fish samosas, fried fish,chapatis,viazi vya rojo,dafu,black tea,tamarind juice and tambi.They sometimes switch it up and include viazi vya nazi,mhogo wa chumvi,mahamri na baazi za nazi.If I was a man I would seriously consider marrying a Swahili solely for her cooking skills.

Dafu to break your fast.
Fish samosas to be eaten before maghrib as part of what is known as kifungua mwadhini

Chapatis to be eaten after Maghrib mainly eaten with viazi vya rojo or maharagwe za nazi.
Deep fried fish to be eaten at any time between after Maghrib salah and before the next day's fast.
Somalis on the other hand are less elaborate with food and are a meat and milk people but those in Kiunga Yo! are learning fast and turning into Somali-Bajunis real quick.

From my little escapades outside home I have learnt being a foreigner is hard and this is for me who has the comfort of knowing I am going back home in a few days or weeks.I sometimes think how hard it is for people who are forced to leave everything behind and move to new places to start new lives.In most cases in lands so different from theirs.May Allah give us peace and making it very easy for everyone struggling through foreigness.

Have you been to a place where you felt distinctly foreign? where? and what was the experience like?