Blogs

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…

My Bloody Gallbladder Stones 150 150 Comfort Aid International

My Bloody Gallbladder Stones

My Bloody Gallbladder Stones For uninteresting reasons, I end up in the emergency room of Fatimiyah Hospital in Karachi, Pakistan. I must have a very large stone in my gallbladder removed. Kind of chap-chap. The hospital is in Soldier Bazaar, located in a lower-middle-class neighborhood of this sprawling city. The emergency room is busy, with…

Aal Is Vel 150 150 Comfort Aid International

Aal Is Vel

Aal Is Vel It is in an aircraft 28,000 feet in the air that I find out a COVID-19 test is required to be allowed back to Mumbai from Kolkata tomorrow. The enlightened medical experts in the state of Maharashtra deem it necessary for ‘outsiders’ within India to have a piece of paper stating I…

Daughters For Sale 150 150 Comfort Aid International

Daughters For Sale

When the first reports of Afghan families selling or marrying their adolescent daughters for food or debt settlement flashed up on my TV, I was somewhat skeptical. Widely followed mainstream media outlets Inc., especially western, have in the past covered such headlines for sensationalism, exaggeration, and profit, especially when it is out of poor and…

Who Cares / A Nightmare 150 150 Comfort Aid International

Who Cares / A Nightmare

Who Cares It’s Deepawali, or Diwali, the festival of lights for almost 1.5 billion people of the world population, almost 15% of us. I remember it as a festive period growing up in Tanzania where we joined our Hindu friends in lighting up firecrackers and eating delicious sweetmeats full of ghee and sugar. Our neighbors…

Orphans Stories 150 150 Comfort Aid International

Orphans Stories

Ulfat – Zanzibar I meet Ulfat some three years ago, in her grandmother’s pitiful house somewhere in Zanzibar. It has taken me a ten-minute walk in waterlogged muddy lanes to reach her house. My shoes are soggy with muddy water, and they make a rude sound as I walk. Good thing I am wearing shorts,…

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