Thursday, January 24, 2013


This is a poem I wrote while sitting reflecting at work.

Fatimah Abdulmalik


Pain: sometimes it runs so deep that the only coping mechanism is a tear.  This tear, if dripped in the ocean would contaminate it, for it is toxic.


This tear is the sum total of wrongs not righted, inequitable tilting of the scales to the side of the unjust, oppression and words left unspoken.


What else can be done when a pain hits you that would have knocked most unconscious but you are still left standing, shaking because of the strength of the earthquake?  What else can be cone when the tragedies you have faced that would have driven some made and left some medicated leaves you in a stark cold reality?  BUT, SHED A TEAR!!


Death of a son, pain unmatched; a tear.

Miscarriage of an awaited love one; a tear.

Molestation hidden and then suddenly revealed; a tear.

Abuse; verbal and physical; a tear.


Tears; relief from life's unspeakable!!!


Do the tears solve the problems; in part yes.

Emotions unexpressed can kill the one who they possess.

After the tears come relief, clarity and motivation to move through the adversity and like Stella, get a groove back.


Rushing from a tear isn't always easy.

People would prefer to see you out for the count.

Because all resurrections end in victory but also in defeat.

Being victorious over adversaries is what haters loathe

and so they prefer to throw things your way to keep you down in a hole.


Laugh at the tears, go right ahead.

But know that soon, I will rise from it all

Answer my call

Putting an end to it all

Rising nevermore to tall.

Ending standing TALL

From a tear.




Tuesday, August 16, 2011

My Ramadan Experiences


The fasting in the month of Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islaam.  Millions of muslims all over the world worship Allaah in this manner from dawn to sunset for 29-30 days.  The manner in which the fast is broken and the food that is eaten after the fast are different from country to country.

When I first became muslim, I spent my first Ramadan in Seattle, Washington, USA.  Seattle is very multi-cultural.  The mosque I attended had people from all over the world.  I would go to the mosque at the time of Maghrib and break fast, pray and eat.   I loved the experience of socializing with muslims in this way.  I had never experienced this kind of unity and love before. Little did I know, that my travels in later years would give me a level of unity greater than this.

My first fast outside of America took place in Egypt.  One of the best feelings I have ever had is fasting in a small village in Egypt called Ash-Sheen.  I felt like the whole world was fasting. The nights were filled with the recitation of Quran.  Everyone knows that some of the best recitors in the world come from Egypt.  All of the mosques would have their loud speakers on during Taraaweeh.  It was so beautiful.  Many of my neighbors would send food over during Maghrib.  They were constantly expressing love to me and my family.

Allaah talks about small deeds in Surah Ma’un.  I have always loved this Surah.  Now, living in Sudan, I see these small kindnesses and deeds practiced on a daily basis.  We are blessed to be in the month of Ramadaan again.  I am constantly amazed by the dedication displayed during fasting hours.  The days here are long and hot.  But, I am always greeted with a smile and hospitality.  The later part of Asr, you can see tables being set up, chairs, blankets in some spots; preparations for Iftar.  Neighbors exchange dishes.  If you were to walk the streets after Salatul maghrib, you would see people sitting, laying, laughing together, some eating, some relaxing.  Knowing a person is not a requirement. The haves and the have nots come together. People sat and have true fellowship together. This is a beautiful way for the homeless to be able to break their fast and get a good meal during Ramadaan.  My experience here in Sudan has been one of constant family and unity: a level I have NEVER known.

The people of Sudan are full of traditions, many of which fall in line with the teachings of Islam. I will list some of these wonderful traditions that make the Sudanese people unique:

·         When a neighbor sends a dish; never send the dish back empty.

·         Never ask for anything, but always be very quick to give.

·         Never let your neighbor see you frown.

·         Always show your concern for others.

Although in my country the only thing I ever heard about Sudan was negative, my experiences definitely have been the opposite and the above stated traditions keeps me here.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Why Our Children Hate Us

It seems that more than any other time in the past, these days we find many children who hate and despise their parents. Although we as parents are not perfect and we make mistakes in our efforts to raise them to be productive adults; are there things we are doing to warrant their hatred?  What did the parents of yesterday have that the parents of today seem to be missing?
Whether you believe it or not, children expect and respect boundaries set down for them.  Many of the parents today allow their children to do what they want.  You will find time and time again on television programs and talk shows parents who are begging someone, ANYONE, to help them with their disrespectful, out-of-control children.  They, the parents, failed to say no when it needed to be said, backed down , or just let them run the show.  We are supposed to be the first examples of authority for our children. How are they suppose to respect the authority of the parent if there has never been established any guidelines, instructions or rules?  When they go out in to society they will become bitter, angry and rebellious to any one in a position over them and they will point their finger back at you.  You have heard the stories; “When I was growing up, my Mom allowed me to have my boyfriend to sleep over night, my parents bought me everything that I wanted.  They never said no.”   You find them boldly strutting onto the stages of mainstream talk shows stating that they feel they should always get their way.  The people around them hate to see them coming; even you the parents.  And they have no comprehension of why they are hated.
Another thing that has broken down the family unit is the separatist attitude we have adopted.  In the past families ate together and prayed together.  Parents sat down with their children and helped them with their homework and asked about their daily affairs.  They also monitored their children’s activities with a stern but loving eye.  Today everyone is doing his own thing.  The parents work from sun up to sun down.  They come home and order fast food delivery or pop a TV dinner into the oven and sit in front of the television exhausted.  The children pick something from the fridge, throw on a headset and carelessly, eat, dance and do homework all at the same time. Sometimes they simply hang out and eat with friends.
Our children hate us because we are liars and we teach them to lie.  We have become a “do as I say not as I do” type of people.  It is astonishing the expectations some people have for their children while not living up to these expectations ourselves.  How do we lie and teach them to lie?  Here are a few examples:
·        Tell them I’m not home now sweetie.
·        Smoking is bad: DON’T SMOKE, when you actually smoke yourself.  The message you sent is, “I’m a hypocritical liar and smoking is ok.”
·        Santa Claus, Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, and Cupid: FOR REAL???!!!
We have the audacity to turn around after teaching them all of this and expect them to be truthful; NOT!!!!
Over the years as we have striven to obtain better materialistic lifestyles for our children; we have neglected sound upbringing.  We are so far from our children that we ourselves can’t teach them anything.  He’s having trouble in school; he goes to the school psychologist.  He can’t read well, he goes to the reading specialist.  He wants to have sex and is only ten; he goes to the sex therapist. Do we sit down and actually teach our children anything?  We must take the time out to sit with our children, teach them, express our love, listen to them and also befriend them. We must lay our children’s foundation right.  We must lay this foundation down with good sound morals and consistent quality upbringing.  The way we treat our children today will determine who they will be tomorrow.  The commitment or non-commitment we make in their lives will determine if they will grow to hate us.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Please Mr. Hedgehog

It's late night and I am sleeping outside in my courtyard.  The nights in Kassala are far different than Khartoum.  Everything is quiet and you can hear the sounds of nature around you.  I can hear frogs, crickets and other small aniamls.  But there is one that I never hear, Mr. Hedgehog.

I had never seen a real hedgehog until I moved to Eastern Sudan.  This small animal walks around all quiet with no specific animal sound.  He just pops up.  Every single night when no one is around, he comes over by my bed.  My constant cry is, "Please Mr. Hedgehog, leave my yard!" I think he likes to torture me.  I really think it is the same one, night after night.  My baby calls him California and has vowed to kill him.

I really  need to do my research and see if they bite.  I know I am being crazy right now.  But I don't think my request is so hard.
"Please Mr. Hedgehog, leave my yard!!!"

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Flower Pot Cooking

It has been a week and I am still cooking on a flower pot.  My children have actually gotten accustomed to it. For some strange reason the gas stations that supply people with tanks for their ovens have been out of gas for a week. So, I have taken my clay flower pot, put charcoal in it and a pan on top to cook.   I have cooked everything from homemade flat bread to spaghetti. As I have stated before, acculturation is an ongoing process.  We must relax and adjust to our environments so that we may enjoy our lives to the fullest.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Such a big world or is it?

Often I sat back and think of how big this world is and how I would like to see the many different lands and countries on it.  But is this planet that large?  Have you ever met someone that you encountered years before in a seemingly uncommon place?  This has happened to me on a couple of occasions.

When I was in high school, I had a very good school buddy.  He and I went many places together.  We even worked for the same employer after school hours.  We were a couple of jokesters.  We were constantly playing pranks on others and EACH OTHER.  We just liked to have fun.  He wasn't a very good student.  Did not have any goals for himself for the future, or so it seemed. I, on the other hand, wanted to do anything that included traveling.  It didn't much matter. I fluctuated between wanting to be a CIA agent, international business women to world peacekeeper. I spent many days trying to figure out just how I would go from a small country town like Tuscumbia, Alabama to Papa New Guinea. Didn't have much of a plan.

Thirteen years later, I am on a Luthansa flight from Egypt with a layover in Germany headed to Washington DC. I am sitting with my children who are very antsy after about 10 hours of traveling.  All of a sudden I see this man walking down the isle toward the restroom.

"O my goodness, that looks like so and so".

"What on earth would he be doing on a flight from Germany?"

" No that's not him." 

" Wow, it sure looks like him."

I could not resist the urge to find out.  I stood up and went and got in line with the people waiting for the restroom. As he came out, I stood in his path and said,

"Excuse me, is your name so and so?"

He said: "Yes ma'am it sure is, with a SUPER SUPRISED look on his face." 

See, I had changed a lot. I had accepted the Islamic faith and had chosen to wear traditional Islamic clothing which included a full face veil.  I could see the roller-dex in his mind just flipping, trying to figure out,

"Who is she?" 
"Do I know her?"
"And just where would I have met someone like her?"

Finally, I said,

"You don't remember me? It's _____________."
"What, what are you doing in Germany?"
"Man, what are YOU doing in German?"
"Well, I am in the military now and I was stationed here, but I am on my way home for the 4th of July."
"Well, I had a layover her in Germany, but I am coming from Egypt going back to the States."
"Really, what were you doing in Egypt."
"Living and studying"
"Are you military or your husband military?"
"No, just decided one day to move to Egypt."

You can imagine here, his face is getting more and more bewildered looking.

"Wow, so, I mean, do you have family there or something?"
"No, but I have been there for three years.  I loved it."
"I had a couple of Egyptians in a class I did on base in Germany, nice guys."
"Man, wait until I tell______I saw you here in Germany. Man, so when you coming home?"
"I don't know.  I know I need to, but right now I am headed for DC."

Eight years later, sitting in Sudan, I receive an email saying,

"Every since I saw your name, I have been thinking of a person I met some years ago.  She was a guest in my home.  I really think that you are the lady I am speaking of."  And sure enough, I was. I met her on my trip to DC, the same one that I spotted my old friend from years back. Now years later, I am in Sudan and she in Saudi. We have crossed paths again.

I wonder who's next???!!!  Encounters like these, make the world seem like a smaller place. However, big or small, I am on a mission to see as much of it as possible.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Child's Heart

In today's world, there is violence everywhere. No city, state, country or continent is immune to the disease that has crept in the hearts of men. If it is not in front of your door, its on your television set and if  not there, your computer screen. It seems that love, respect, patience and sympathy are endangered species. They need to be protected by the National Association of Endangered Species.  But, where, where can we store these things?  Where can we put them for safekeeping?  Where? My answer is: in a child's heart.  If we take these things mentioned above, teach them to our children, and patiently persevere, watch and guide; in their adulthood they will have better practices than we have now.

As usual, I was observing my children yesterday. Not that I watch them like they are some lab rats open for case-study but to see the innocence that many of us have lost. Every move that I make, down to the place in which I live, is because I believe in nurturing them, teaching and raising them to be great productive members of a GLOBAL society. Anyway, I sent my twelve-year old son to the store and I stood on the balcony watching. He turned the corner and in a few minutes came back.  He ran upstairs and he had tears running down his face.  So, I went from relaxing to over-concerned Mom in 2.3 seconds. I automatically thought someone had hurt him.

He looked at me and said, "It was an accident Mom."
I said, "What was an accident?"
He said, "On the way from the store I was throwing rocks up in the air and one of my rocks hit a bird, he fell down and I think he is dead."

You should have seen his face.  He was so hurt.  He had tears streaming down his face.  You have many people who kill without a flinch or a blink of an eye.  They kill women, men, children, animals, all one in the same.  But, in my son's heart, the life of the bird had value.  Now, let's think, if our children can give animal life value, what about human life?