Monday, January 10, 2011

Seasons

The earth stares into dryness,
while the rain falls out of tune.
Giving and giving,
but never takes.
Instead, he bottles the truth.
Drowning familiar skeletons out of daylight,
into uncharted closets.
An offered drop of trust
is repudiated
into cracks,
too wide to fill,
as he waits patiently
for the seasons to amend.

-by A.H. Abdullah

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Estoy En Ayuno

Headaches for clarity.
Thirsty for knowledge.
Hunger pains for humility.
Fasting for myself,
for humanity.

-by A.H. Abdullah


“No, thank you,” I said, as the bus vendors chanted through the aisle. Mmm, the smells of their’ freshly cut fruit and greasy French fries immediately allured my senses; thus, challenging my empty stomach to choose its fate. Any other day, I would have bought something gastronomical to quench myself with; however, today was a day for patience. While holding my prayer beads, I continued to ignore the vendors and their’ forbidden fruit. “Watermelon?” she asked. “No, thank you.” I said nicely. “Papaya?” she offered, this time displaying her goods at eye level. “No, thank you,” I said again. “Cucumber?!” she insisted; smiling as if she discovered my weakness. “No, thank you! I’m fasting!”

At the age of ten, I started fasting for the month of Ramadan. I remember sneaking juice and cookies behind my mother’s back; praying that she wouldn’t notice my red-stained tongue and crumby lips. I guess I was more worried about displeasing her than anything else. Yes, I was a total mama’s boy and I have no shame in that.

I, honestly, didn’t mean to snap at her. I tried being patient, but it was such a frustrating day filled with countless temptations. My mouth was dry and my caffeine headache wasn’t helping either. I needed for her to understand and just let me be. “Oh, I’m so sorry,” she cried. “No, it’s fine. I’m sorry too,” I confessed.

As I grew older, I began to understand and appreciate the purpose of fasting. It wasn’t about pleasing my parents or anyone else; in fact, it was more about me and making me a better person. I soon discovered that fasting was teaching me about tolerance and humility, while purifying my heart and faith in God.

Her genuine respect, surprisingly, left me fuller than I could have imagined. For one of the first times in El Salvador, I didn’t have to explain my actions or beliefs. I guess fasting is more accepted and understood here than I thought it would be. “Divisadero, Divisadero!” the cobrador shouted. Yes, that’s my stop. This is kind of random, but one of my favorite streets in San Francisco is also named Divisadero, which means division or a point from which one can gaze afar. Sometimes, I feel my spirituality is what separates me from my community; however, it also plays a unifying role. As I got off the bus, I realized that the sun was getting ready to set. So, I quickly walked home; this time, with another reason to smile.

I would be lying if I said fasting was easy; however, with the proper support of family and friends and, most importantly, with the right intentions, it becomes manageable. Growing up, my mother used to tell me in Urdu, “Amir, always have a good reason for your actions.” Her advice was simple, and, yet, played a pivotal role towards how I developed as a person. I went to college, for example, to gain knowledge and a better understanding of the world. Now, I’m in El Salvador for more reasons than one, which I’m sure all of us can relate to. It’s a huge sacrifice to leave our homes and work in a foreign land. The job is tough and often requires us to practice self-discipline in order to achieve our goals. Many of us joined the Peace Corps to express our empathy for those who are less fortunate and, thus, make a positive change in society. Sometimes, I feel like the month of Ramadan teaches Muslims about certain lessons that we as PCVs learn during our service. It’s a time for self-reflection and great sacrifice, which we all observe daily. It’s a cathartic experience, and I feel fortunate to be able to celebrate my beliefs with communities that are more similar than I originally thought.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Stung

She stings for her life,
paralyzing him with unknown certainty.
The numbness fades quickly
while ten thousand needles crash
like lightning through iron fences.
In dismay, he yells
as the black sole takes over in fearful vengeance.

by A.H. Abdullah

FYI: I was stung by a scorpion for the first time the other night. It was pretty painful, but empowering at the same time! haha

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Shampoo Making Project


Here's a short video of my Earth Club getting squeaky-clean while making shampoo. We plan to bottle and sell the shampoo in order to raise funds for future art and environmental activities at the school. The shampoo is made with natural ingredients, such as aloe vera, and it's super fun to make!
video
Final Product:

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Untitled

Symphonies of light
float over mooing meadows,
playing songs of bioluminescence
while crickets conduct for mates.
Dancers leap from heavy skies,
tapping away dirty faces
and worn out shoes.
Strongly rooted trees sway their' branches,
applauding the night to sleep.

-by A.H. Abdullah

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Washed Out Vermin

Thunder growls make
It hard to contemplate.
Or is it Mr. Toad’s untimely jumping jacks?
Shhh…
Rats turn heads over cold shoulders.
They come through the roof
With heartless minds on Heroin,
Not knowing what they want.
But they take
And take until it rains.
Washed out vermin become them
And never truly live.

-by A.H. Abdullah

Damage Control

The burglars may have taken my ice cream and favorite jeans, but they will never take away all that we've done and accomplished here as a community.

video