Blogs

A Suitable Groom 150 150 Comfort Aid International

A Suitable Groom

A Suitable Groom Mullah Mchungu sits on his easy chair slurping steaming chai from a saucer. His blinding dentures sit by the side table, ready for action as soon as the old man is done with his breakfast. Hameesi, the Mullah’s personal assistant and in-house manservant stands by patiently, a half-filled cup of the chai…

Crummy Iraq 150 150 Comfort Aid International

Crummy Iraq

Crummy Iraq When Emirates Airline’s vehicle tries to drop me off at the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel in Dubai, the drive-up is packed with other cars and gawkers. A couple in a Lamborghini is creating a huge tamasha, blocking traffic. No matter that the vehicle color is vomit green. No matter that the person driving…

RIP Neka Anissa / The Errant Housemaid 150 150 Comfort Aid International

RIP Neka Anissa / The Errant Housemaid

RIP – Neka Anissa I meet 4-year-old Neka Anissa as her mother totes her on her back, wrapped by a kanga-like shawl. They are among at least 5,000 people gathered in a village about an hour’s drive from Manakara, where CAI is currently constructing a handsome school for about 500 girls so they, too, have…

The Insolent Daughter / The Racist Dad 150 150 Comfort Aid International

The Insolent Daughter / The Racist Dad

Shafiq Kutchee, née Fernando Sancho, messages me on WhatsApp about a month ago, towards the end of Ramadhan. I have no clue who he is until he calls me to jerk old cobwebs fogging my mind. He was scouring the social media for anything related to Tanga and chanced on reading one of my Blogs.…

Eeeeeuuuuu / Pathani Hospitality / An Ear Itch 150 150 Comfort Aid International

Eeeeeuuuuu / Pathani Hospitality / An Ear Itch

Eeeeeuuuuu / Pathani Hospitality / An Ear Itch Eeeeeuuuuu I’m on my way to Islamabad from Dubai, sitting next to a British / Pakistani teenager, who is attracting a lot of amused attention from our fellow passengers, especially the menfolk. Almost all men, even the ones returning from Umrah, give her curvy and hugging attire…

Aghaa Thokam-thok 150 150 Comfort Aid International

Aghaa Thokam-thok

Aghaa Thokam-thok   As Kisukaali heads to the mosque for jumaa salaat, pregnant skies above threaten to open up any minute. About time, he reckons, the long rains for this city should have begun over a month ago; bountiful showers will cool him and the city down, insha’Allah. The Khoja masjid is packed, waiting for…

A Kabul School Bombing, Deja-vu / Is Allah Cruel? 150 150 Comfort Aid International

A Kabul School Bombing, Deja-vu / Is Allah Cruel?

A Kabul School Bombing, Deja-vu I’m seated at my dining table/desk, writing away and listening to a beautiful rendition of dua – e – ifteteh by Abather Al Halawaji when Dr. Assef, the CAI Afghanistan Medical Director now living in Islamabad for his and his family’s safety, texts a message stating a school in Dashte…

De Mullah! De Moon! De Schools! 150 150 Comfort Aid International

De Mullah! De Moon! De Schools!

De Mullah! De Moon! De Schools! It’s an oppressively stifling morning here in Dar es Salaam. I’m not sure what happened to the prevailing winds; they’ve stopped blowing now – climate change effects, perhaps? Usually, a stiff cooling breeze from the Indian Ocean less than half a mile away circulates on the 10th floor of…

Jollibee, Durians And Multiple Wives / I Have No Patience? 150 150 Comfort Aid International

Jollibee, Durians And Multiple Wives / I Have No Patience?

Jollibee, Durians And Multiple Wives  I am on my way to the Philippines to inspect a work in progress CAI school project that got infected by the doodoo. Now that the doors to the country are open, Sohail will join me from NY and we’ll get the project restarted, insha’Allah. We then plan to visit…

A Birthday / A Death / A Racist / Brain Dead? 150 150 Comfort Aid International

A Birthday / A Death / A Racist / Brain Dead?

A Birthday So, it’s my birthday, again. These damned events seem to hit the pedal to the metal, accelerating unrestrained, as I approach the day when I will fall permanently asleep. But it is not an ordinary day, this year, however. I turn 65, you see. Time to think about Medicare and social security and…

Awjoo – No Blacks Allowed 150 150 Comfort Aid International

Awjoo – No Blacks Allowed

Awjoo – No Blacks Allowed I have been much blessed to have traveled the world filled with adventure and risk, and the recent trip to Madagascar is no exception. The island is in a grip of misfortune and hunger brought about by both drought and typhoons. Whereas it would take me less than 6 hours…

A Toilet With Tiles 150 150 Comfort Aid International

A Toilet With Tiles

A Toilet With Tiles  I was recently in remote Lushoto, Tanzania, inspecting a CAI donor-funded school under construction and debating on whether to install maintenance-free tiles in the bathrooms. Since I am now traveling to remote Madagascar and unsure if I’ll be able to write and publish anything from there, I re-publish the following Blog…

Reshma’s Story / Remembering Raza Mama 150 150 Comfort Aid International

Reshma’s Story / Remembering Raza Mama

Reshma’s Story After trying for three years, the Pakistani government finally decides I am not a threat to their country and grants me a visit visa. They have reason to fret and delay as they are (naturally) apprehensive with anybody with numerous in and out passport stamps visiting India and Afghanistan. I want to go…

Bollywood In Najaf? 150 150 Comfort Aid International

Bollywood In Najaf?

Bollywood In Najaf? It is incredible how the Coronaviruses have upturned all our lives, but especially for frequent travelers. Like me. Consider this. Emirates Airlines has me on a confirmed flight to Najaf from Dar via Dubai. I have made all the arrangements (a pain of sorts), taken the accursed doodoo tests, made appointments, booked…

A Slap – A Sting – An Education? 150 150 Comfort Aid International

A Slap – A Sting – An Education?

A slap There is a war of words of larger-than-life proportions next door at the Leela Hotel here in Mumbai, India. I can hear the feuding couple hurl filthy abuses at each other as clearly as if they are right here in my room. The fight is about the man supposedly paying too much attention…

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