About Me

I was born in Birmingham, Alabama on December 23, 1971 to Chester and Teresa Leonard.  My Mom was a nursing student and my father was in the military and participated in the Vietnam War.  When my Mother graduated from Nursing School, we relocated to Tuscumbia, Alabama; her hometown. It was in this small town, barely seen on a map that I was raised under the watchful eye of EVERYONE.  Southerners really believe in the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.”

     All of my life my Mother worked and attended university.  She has a BS and MA in Nursing, a BA in Journalism and Political Science, and a PhD in Nursing Education.  She has definitely instilled in me a love for seeking knowledge.  However, I also had a burning desire to travel and learn more about different lands, peoples and  cultures.

     At the age of nineteen, I left Tuscumbia and moved to Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  When I was twenty-four years old I relocated to Anchorage, Alaska. When most people think of Alaska; they think Eskimos and igloos. Alaska is one of the most diverse places I have lived.  It was here in this small melting pot, in 1995 that I became muslim.  Back then, there were not many muslims in Alaska and I had a strong desire to learn the Arabic language and Quran.  So, I decided to move to the nearest American city with a large muslim population. With very little resources, a small used car, clothes and my children; I drove from Anchorage to Seattle, Washington.  This was a four day trip through Canada!!  When I entered Seattle, the first person I met was muslim and he pointed me in the right direction.  Seattle had a high populations of Somalians, Cambodians, Indonesians and Malaysians.  Living in this environment relit the candle of desire to travel and see other parts of the world and learn about its people.

     I began thinking of places I could travel to.  As I lay down a map in my mind; I homeschooled my children and prepared them as much as possible for living in another country.  I did not know exactly where I wanted to go but I knew I wanted to go to an Arabic speaking country.  I taught my children to read Arabic and with the assistance of another sister picked up basic conversation.  I would go on the internet and read about different countries and show the children pictures of people from all over the world. In January of 2000, my seven-year old son Hamza As-Salafy died from injuries from a car accident.  I was the driver.  Somewhere in the midst of my grieving, a new urgency to see the world rose up.  My son Hazmah was much like me in personality and wanted so badly to see another country. But, Allaah had something better for him.  On August 31, 2000, we moved to Cairo, Egypt.

     Living in Egypt for many years taught me many things. We lived in the big city of Cairo, the small metropolis of Tanta, and the ultra small village of Ash-Sheen.  It was in this last mentioned place, that I learned Arabic and memorized Qur’aan.  In this small village, there were only 4 American families and no other foreigners at all.  The acculturation process was amazing. I never thought I could live without the internet and some of the modern conveniences of America. However, I lived without internet , phone or any modern convenience for two years.

     Currently, I live in Omdurman, Sudan where I teach English for Cambridge International.  I write about my experiences traveling, acculturating  to different cultures, homeschooling and self-sufficiency.  I am the author of a small ebook called, “Who Put Worms in the Cheese?: A World Traveler’s Survival Guide”.  I have another book in progress and many more brewing in my mind.

You can purchase the book at
http://www.amazon.com/Fatimah-As-Salafy/e/B00B0S34VS/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0Who Put Worms in the Cheese: A World Traveler’s Survival Guide