Ramadan Kareem! The Holy month is here again, and started on August 1 for most of the world. This year’s Ramadan is significant for me in a number of ways. Numero uno, it’s my first Ramadan in 6 years with my entire family in Ghana! And by family I mean nuclear family. Previous Ramadans were spent with various ‘family members’ in the US, France, Senegal, and virtually. So now we’re back to home base, Alhamdulilahi, and that also means there are some key differences, the least not being the fact that I actually eat properly during suhoor (dawn meal) and iftar (evening meal) thanks to mummy :)
I’ve probably mentioned on here how every year right before Ramadan something usually pops ups to mess with my equilibrium and then the entire month is essentially spent delving within and trying to regain my internal balance. So far there has been nothing of the sort. Alhamdulilahi I’m swimming in harmony; my family and friends are close, I have an interesting job, engaging with amazing peeps, Accra’s traffic is tolerable, the weather is NICE! – Ok, I need to detour here a bit. The weather is so unlike Ghana! It’s chilly and windy most times, not too sunny. Quite reminiscent of Fall. I love it and especially the fact that I can layer, but it is also indicative of how swiftly climate change is taking hold, which is worrying. I read somewhere yesterday that there are hailstorms in the US?? Right after a series of heat waves? God help us all. – Perhaps above all is the fact that there’s so much to look forward to. I’ve been interviewing some exceptional young Ghanaians for the Visionnaire series and also as part of an innovative campaign by Real Peoples Company called “Hold the Future” and I hope to share with you all over the next couple of months. So, I guess this is what contentment feels like.
Seeing that I’ve entered Ramadan with a piece of peace, it looks like my experience of the month is gonna go to a different level. It’s day two (already!)and the main thought on my mind is “I wanna do this right.” Not that all my past Ramadans were defunct, I hope not, but rather I’d like to pay extra care to observing the recommended activities – praying, seeking Allah, reading the Qu’ran, learning about Islam, etc. So for instance, yesterday I listened to Enya most of the day because there’s less of a tendency for swear words. Also, I’m guinea pigging myself to see if I can wear a headscarf – not necessarily a hijab, more like a turban – throughout the entire month. I’ve always believed wearing a hijab is more of a lifestyle choice and I’d like to see how this goes. It’s something I’ve attempted it in the past, but never really went beyond a couple of days for whatever reason. So yeah, I’m giving it a shot out of sheer choice. Now if it starts feeling like an obligation handed down to me I don’t think I’d be as open. Finally, I’ve decided to dedicate each day to praying for someone I know who’s made an impression in my life. Unfortunately I can’t share the list, it hasn’t even been drawn up. I’m just gonna go with the moment and pray for whoever’s name pops into my head most each day. And of course, I’ll be praying for world peace and all that fun stuff too, hehe.
Bon, I guess this post goes in line with the first tip I gave to a friend who’s fasting in solidarity with her Saudi friends – which, I think it’s really admirable and fosters mutual understanding across religions: Figure out what you’re fasting for/towards. As with any productive venture, you need goals. What are yours? Hope you have a blessed Ramadan! Massalama my friends :)
Jemila Abdulai is the creative director, editor and founder of the award-winning website Circumspecte.com. A media and international development professional and economist by training, she combines her business, communications and project management expertise with her strong passion for Africa. Besides writing and reading, she enjoys travel, global cuisine, movies, and good design.