Salam, Morocco

Sunday, 3 June 2018


Hassan II Mosque_Photo credit: shoretrips


I would not know where to start with Morocco. It was a spiral of unknowns and anxiety. One of the most amazing places I have ever visited. I landed at Mohammed V International Airport and made my way to immigration to be met with an overwhelming array of taxi drivers at the exit of the airport looking to offer their services. It was overwhelming because the only languages the drivers seemed to understand were French, Arabic and some Spanish. I eventually found my driver, and started what would end up being a life changing experience. 


Every city in Morocco has it's own attraction. I visited Casablanca, Rabat and Marrakesh but this list is not exhaustive.I also visited the small desert village of Zagora. So the following are a few things I enjoyed about the country and perhaps will help you make up your mind on definitely visiting this country.


The Scenery: If you are in Casablanca, definitely visit the Hassan II Mosque. It is the largest mosque in Morocco, the second largest in Africa, and the 13th largest in the world. The architecture, the sacred rooms, the location is all worth the trip. Casablanca is a heritage of the old and new world. It has a European feel to it, with little cafe's and eateries in most streets and old buildings with historic architecture. This is offset by the modern buildings spiraling over the city skyline. The new Casa Port train station is a beauty on it's own and welcomes people into the city. If you are going to Morocco for a holiday though, then Marrakesh is your city. Waste no time and fly directly into Marrakesh Menara Airport. The city is exploding with things to do. It is visually attractive, with many cool picture and entertainment spots to keep you busy.If you go there, definitely go to the leather market.


The Beach: Casablanca is the home place for great beaches and these beaches attract thousands of tourists. It was winter when I visited so I did not go into the water, but I did however, watch the sun set and enjoyed the scenery from my hotel room overlooking the Atlantic ocean. It is definitely something scripted from out of a movie. Whether you are looking for relaxation, fun or just a walk on the beach, I recommend you make this one of your trips.


The Food: Tagine! That's all I will say....I had so many tagine's, enough for a life time. A tajine or tagine (Arabic: الطاجين) is a Maghrebi dish which is named after the earthenware pot in which it is cooked. It is also called a Maraq/marqa in North Africa. This dish can be cooked with all sorts of ingredients. In my time there, I had one with chicken, one with potatoes and raisins, I also had one with beef and vegetables. It really depends what your preference is. I indulged in a lot of couscous too. What a treat! Couscous is a Maghrebi dish of small steamed balls of crushed durum wheat semolina that is traditionally served with a stew spooned on top. It is delicious. I cannot mention all the dishes I had in Morocco, but I can confirm that they have all the treats one could ever dream of. The best thing I tasted in Morocco though, would have to be their Moroccan Tea. They cook it in a special pot, brew it and dish it in a glass cup. It is heavenly. 


The Desert: A friend of mine who owns a tourist company gave me a free voucher to travel to a remote small village about six hours from Marrakesh for an overnight desert camp experience. I hopped into a mini bus and met six new tourists who I would learn a lot about over the next two days. Two of them were from Amsterdam, two New Yorkers and Two Czech Republic guys. I ofcourse, representing the motherland, Africa. After an eight hour drive, we finally arrived in Zagora, took an hour long camel ride to get to our destination. It was a remote camp site in the middle of nowhere offering unhurried, uninterrupted time with the stars and full moon. It was beautiful. If you are going to visit the country, then you should look into booking a similar trip. They have a lot of them running in Morocco so you need to do your research before picking one. 


The People: Moroccans are gracious and warm. They are open, and really helpful. I will say though, I struggled to get around because I only spoke English. Morocco is a French and Arabic speaking Kingdom. The locals, especially taxi drivers speak very limited English. However, you will find that the youth, and people in businesses will speak good English. It really helps if you know your way around basic French. I found a taxi driver who spoke English and he pretty much took me everywhere I needed to go at a discounted fee. 


In the end, it was a fun business trip. I am glad I took a few days extra after my work trip to tour the country. I met many wonderful people and enjoyed the warmth of people's homes. I recommend the country completely. And having traveled as a single woman, I think this can easily be a solo trip as well.


Enjoy:-)

Me, grabbing a Tagine lunch















13 Intermediate Lessons To Guide Your 20s

Wednesday, 6 September 2017



Your 20s are probably the most life-defining years of your life. They can also be very overwhelming with feelings of trepidation and anxiety. They are the years you decide how you want to live out your life. Friends start getting jobs, buying homes, getting married, having babies, starting businesses, etc and it can seem as though you are being left behind. Here are the few things I have personally learned from these years:

1. Make memories
Life is about memories. Take time to invest in capturing special moments, taking pictures, dating etc. This is an exciting decade, I suggest enjoying it.

2. Make Mistakes
Do not be afraid to make big and small mistakes. This is the right time to discover who you are and make bold steps to defining your identity. The journey to success sometimes passes through thorns. The true measure of your character will be measured on how well you overcome those mistakes. By the time you get to your 30s, you will be wiser, stronger and grounded, hopefully,lol.

3. Travel Alone
If you can afford it, go for a easy-on-the-pocket trip to an exotic destination. You will thank me for this one. I took a trip this year alone and it was life-changing. It gave me time to think, plan, and truly enjoy being alone.

4. Own who you are 
This is a critical decade and many people find themselves chasing after what society will deem as success. This always leads to frustrations and a lot of regret. Rather, pave your own destiny, shine, and pursue your identity.

5. Invest in Friendships
Boyfriends come and go, but true girlfriends stick closer than blood. You will find this even more true as you grow older. They are an invaluable treasure. I have found that my close circle of friends have been my greatest asset. Life is hard, have a girlfriend to laugh it off with.

6. Be financially smart
Your 20s are also a time to save and be financially smart. Getting yourself disciplined during this decade will save you a whole lot of financial mistakes in your 30s. Put money into unit trusts, bonds and build your small empire. This will make your life much easier when you need to do the "adulting" responsibilities.

7. There is greatness in the mundane boring stuff
Learn to be content with the life you have and you will find joy in the everyday things. This is by far my most valuable lesson. I had to learn to not get over-consumed with the lingering spirit to be an overachiever. 

8. Take care of your physical and mental health
Meditate, pray, eat right and find time to invest in your health. Do not waste money on diets. Eat right.

9. Finding love is beautiful. But marriage is not an achievement 
Do not put your life on hold chasing getting married. Rather chase after getting a second degree, developing a business, starting an NGO etc. While I am thankful to God for connecting me to my best friend in my early 20s, I cannot say it has been my greatest achievement. Many may differ with me on this, but I can honestly say I would have still led a great life without my husband during my 20s. Having goals and knowing what I want to achieve in my life helped me realize that I need to own my own success, with or without a husband.

10. Ask for help 
A whole lot of people have gone ahead of you and they know far much more. Do not be shy to take a leap and be vulnerable enough to admit that you do not have all the answers. Learn a lot during this decade. 

11. You are beautiful 
Do not let the world tell you otherwise.

12. Go offline as much as you can
Try and communicate more with people face to face. Build relationships. Social media sometimes sells you a dream and you may fall into the trap of thinking everyone else has got it together and that you are not doing it right. Go offline and see how much time you will have on your hands, and how less stressed you will be about achieving things.

13. Last but not least, I recently started this myself. Write letters to yourself
Being kind to my present self so I can take care of myself better. Do it however way works best for you. These letters will speak to you when you need them the most in the future.

What are your 20s life lessons? Comment with a lesson you learned in your 20s. 
#ShareYourKnowledgeGuru





Behind the Mirror

Tuesday, 15 August 2017
Tide high, ocean breeze through his window
eyes meet, shiver at the beat of each other’s hearts
Emotion so high, it captures the very soul of their veins
souls that float on clouds above, that float...
Inflamed, moments of un-tempered, perpetual bliss, they tame themselves,
Waiting for a moment, waiting for that pivotal moment…….
Time, since time began, it’s as though they’ve been predestined to be together
As though they have known each other forever, in other lifetimes, phoenix immortal union

He, the man behind the mask, so hidden, trapped in his own shadow
Centers around this image that defines his sole joy,
the image behind his reflection, her eyes, the break of Day
He dreads the moments she fades but finds rest when she reappears again, perfect reflection
Terrified, horrified that its love, her whole, may elude him, keep him to a hold, confined to its peace…….

She, it, the voice within a reach, the girl he sees behind the mirror
Has her breath strapped to his words, her lifeline,
glooms up at this ray of light, MYSTERY is his name,
mystery is his name, mystery is his name
The rush, the thrill, anguished by her uncertainty, she awaits
She waits for him……

Truth is her name, but his faith in it has lost its feet
What he thinks, she knows, what he feels, she feels,
How can the two be so close but yet so far away….

Then a chance, rendered genuine to its virtue avails,
that very second, both his world and her world come to contact, reality vague, the image
brings forth its hand, entwined for what time could not tell nor feel,
for both of them have their holds….an opportunity for one to cross over, align themselves to
the others world, he thinks, she waits…
not giving in to the thought of letting her go, his hand strokes her hair down,
his warmth a heat wave , consumes her

You see, only GOD knows how all this ends, but for a moment
It all makes sense, they can’t let go of each other, no they can’t,
But for they have to let go of themselves
He must have painted her to life, for this image depicts his inner most visions of beauty

She, it, must have seen, wrote him to reality, duplicated him somehow for she no longer hides behind that mirror
Every brush, every lyric, every verse, if only fear of the unknown would render them free….
He, the master of his own principles, has no power over her voice,
He found what he is in her, in a world that ascertains nothing but vanity, she is real,
She is him, they both move to the beat of each other’s rhythm,

She, it, radiates when he gazes at her, sunshine fever rushes down her spine, SERENITY
He, the strength in his being, gives way to her charm; his passion is only for her,
He enters her world, blinded by clarity, transits in space
All they can hear, see, touch is each other…
Her kiss, soft, indisputable in its redemption
His world stops to exist, his life is no longer ‘It’ but ‘her’…

Only a lifetime can tell how his story ends, but for her, it means a lifetime of non-solitary
it’s no longer just her but its him and her in her world
If tomorrow holds her promise,
it will be to forever gaze into his eyes, she sees him, she KNOWS him,
no longer shall they be bound by limits, by their fears
His sacrifice changed both their lives forever, they now LIVE ……
They now gaze at a star that streaks across the sky, no reservations, no doubts,
Just contentment in their find……………

Country #12: KENYA


Asante sana, jina langu ni Amanda.

The moment I landed In Kenya I knew I was in-love. From the lush green trees along the highway to Limuru to the proximity to numerous wildlife species in Nairobi, I now understood what all the fuss was about. This was Africa! The kind that kept it's authenticity while progressively developing it's infrastructure. I must admit that I did not get enough time to truly explore everything on my bucket list while in the country but i will return.  

Here are the 10 things I loved about Kenya that have guaranteed my future return to the beautiful land:

  1. The buzz of the capital city: Nairobi was by far one of the busiest cities I have been to. It had a warm outgoing spirit about it and you could almost tell that the locals were in pursuit of success.
  2. The food: nyamachoma, chapati and ugali
  3. The Masai Market: I got myself  a beautiful red Masai blanket and marveled at the magnificent craftsmanship the traders had throughout the market. 
  4. The box matatus 
  5. The scenery in Limuru
  6. The breathtaking wildlife
  7. The affordable fast internet: The myth is not a lie. Nairobi has incredibly fast internet. 
  8. Swahili
  9. Java Café at Yaya Center where I met my long time friends Sheila and Bianca after 6 years. This was also where I got to meet my Moremi Initiative sisters who are based in Nairobi and finished my trip with meeting Fridah and Flower, my two sweethearts.
  10. The People- Kenyans embody kindness, always ready to assist you and make you feel at home. I cannot begin to explain how many gifts I came back with from each person I met while I was there.

The slightly alarming things:

Traffic is hectic in Nairobi and the driving is out of this world scary . I had my hands fastened to my seat anytime I had to travel around. This was the order of the day throughout all my uber trips and travels from Limuru to Nairobi. 

Just as a caution, security was a huge thing. Kenya still has a long way to go in this space but I felt safe during the trip.

Things I wish I had done:
  1. Met Primeprotografi—His work is amazing and If i had the time, I would have booked a session. Check him out on instagram @prime_photografi/ new.obedphotography.com/
  2. A drive to Mombasa
So if you were wondering where your next trip should be, I would highly recommend Kenya.


   

You cannot hurt me

Thursday, 24 January 2013

I apologize that I might come with this reason and only this reason
I write in remembrance of my late grandma Mpho,
I write Her wisdom, her soul rests
For days like these I remember my grandmother and her words, Tia mohoetsana,tia
What is strength to you? To you who embodies the nature of a lion and the heart of a beast
Surrounded by fervent prayer and wisdom from the women with grey hair
You cannot hurt me, I say. You cannot hurt me, I speak
I am a woman, yes, a WOman
We women speak of courage and foresight, we speak of truth, and our pasts mold us
Surrounded by your echo in all four walls of my sphere, you engulf me with pain
I give you life but you take it away,
My heart stops, rushes as I give in to the thought of you being cut away
I get you off the ground but you kick me to the ground
I fight for you but you KiLL me instead, how ignorant can your heart be?
Hail to the diamond women, hail to the women in Leadership,
hail to the women who have paved the way for me, mama Madikizela’s, Madam Sirleaf’s, grandma Mpho,
these are the strong ones, not you!
Its days like these that I remember my grandmother Mpho,
days when I see me through the eyes of a four year old girl with scars and bruises from her fathers
enkindled wrath
Remove me from your chains that I may remove myself from this poverty
Take off your hand from me and be a man
Let me carry my own weight so you give sight to my contribution
You simply cannot hurt me!
My kind fights far too many wars every day
For your pride in the acceptance of this has made you perish
Wounded by your impendent wrath, my scars forever remain in memory
We, the pillars of your strength
We, the essence of truth and beauty, yes WE
Our hearts, loudspeakers, all we have is our voices
So hear me my brother
Oruko mi ni PEACE ni maatla
So heres the status quo, you are human, no more than me!
Stop the Violence you contribute to my fair kind!!

Amanda Chukura

Love, Life, Work

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Salam, Morocco

Hassan II Mosque_Photo credit: shoretrips I would not know where to start with Morocco. It was a spiral of unknowns and anxiety. On...