Tuesday, March 24, 2009

paradise revisted ....

i found a follow up regarding the situation in that country which was written in march of this year. its not as clean and tidy as it appeared in the first article. apparently there is alot of abuse towards these small, unsuspecting girls to fatten them.

Fattening-up Young Girls For Marriage In Mauritania

It seems the men in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania consider women nothing more than animals. The new military junta (that seized power last August from a democratically elected president) is reviving a hideous practice that women's and children's rights activists there had worked very hard to try and eliminate- the torture of rural girls, as young as 5, by force-feeding them in order to fatten them up for marriage. The traditional practice of leblouh, whereby a young girl is forced to eat a ton of food to prep her for marriage, is akin to fattening a pig for slaughter. Although it's commendable that Mauritanian men have no problems with overweight women, actually forcing young girls, starting at the tender age of 5, to become obese is criminal. Apparently leblouh

"is intimately linked to early marriage and often involves a girl of five, seven or nine being obliged to eat excessively to achieve female roundness and corpulence, so that she can be married off as young as possible. "

Though the tradition dates back to Berber times, and is also linked to wealth (the fatter the wealthier) it's obvious they are fattening up young females so as not to appear so childlike, which does NOT negate the fact that they are still children. Apparently these girls are shipped off to "fattening farms", during their school holidays, where inordinate amounts of food and liquid are shoved down their throats, so they can eventually look nice and round and womanly for prospective husbands. If they vomit, they are forced to eat that, as well.

"A typical daily diet for a six-year-old will include two kilos of pounded millet, mixed with two cups of butter, as well as 20 litres of camel's milk. "

Fatimata M'baye (children's rights lawyer) says
"The girl is sent away from home without understanding why. She suffers but is told that being fat will bring her happiness. Matrons use sticks which they roll on the girl's thighs, to break down tissue and hasten the process."Not only are they forced to overeat, they are also tortured by having 2 sticks shoved into a toe which is then squeezed together if the girl is willful enough to refuse the food or drink.Success is when a 12-year-old girl weighs 176lb (80kg).Activist Aminetou Mint Ely, of the Association of Women Heads of Households, says"In Mauritania, a woman's size indicates the amount of space she occupies in her husband's heart. We have gone backwards. We had a Ministry of Women's Affairs. We had achieved a parliamentary quota of 20% of seats. We had female diplomats and governors. The military have set us back by decades, sending us back to our traditional roles. We no longer even have a ministry to talk to."Apparently, the practice is not only popular in Mauritania, but in parts of Cameroon, Mali, Niger, and Nigeria.Enlightened men don't think of women as property, then again, these men are obviously far from evolved.

i have FOUND my paradise!!!

wow, i was looking for some pictures online when i came across a picture of some chunky muslimahs much like myself!!!
when i read the article that accompanied it, i was totally amazed!! i had no idea there was an ENTIRE country where the women just have to be fat AND its an islamic country!!

talk about fitting in!! i would be completely adored.
here's the article itself....
Force Feeding Makes Women Beautiful in Islamic Country of Mauitania
Men Find Obese Women More Appealing in African CountryIn Mauritania, a small country in N.W. Africa, young girls and women are sometimes force-fed in order to make them fat. Obesity is considered by many people in this mainly Islamic country to be beautiful. Girls as young as four years of age are sometimes force fed huge quanitities of high calorie liquids and foods in order to increase their weight and girth. Women who insist on loosing weight are sometimes threatened to be divorced and are sometimes refereed to as ugly.
The country of Mauritania lies with Senegal to the southwest and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. It is dry and barren and surrounded by sand dunes. In a place where many people have struggled to live, obesity has been looked upon for centuries as a sign of prosperity and health. The tradition is not dying an easy death. Centuries of looking upon a woman with rolls of fat as being gorgeous, has made life quite miserable for anyone who is naturally thin. In the town of Nouakchott, a woman struggles up several flights of stairs, sweat dripping from her forehead. She pauses and tries to catch her breath but the ordeal of hefting two hundred and fifty pounds covered in layers of clothing and veils up three flights of steps have taken their toll. Her joints are aching and her heart pounds. The woman in her early 50s is not obese from choice, it is a cultural tradition.
hmmm i would fit in, yes, but i really found it sad that the little girls are force fed this food to make them fat but i do also understand it's their culture and been going on for generations. and i definately dont want to be that woman dripping sweat and heart pounding. something tells me that over stuffing these children isnt quite islamic either.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

depression is not my friend.

i think it took a while for me to finally realize that i am completely depressed. i have fought this feeling of total and complete blah for a while and was actually somewhat succesful at keeping it at bay. it just seemed to overtake me within the past month.

depression packs a punch.

i was depressed but was still able to function somewhat normally but as of late, i just struggle to get out of the bed, wash my dishes, cook a decent meal if i cook at all, take a shower, go to work, pray.

memories of anything and everything that ever went wrong in my life seem to be weaseling their way around my brain constantly bringing on a sudden onslaught of tears at the worst possible times.

i dont eat properly. i looked around my computer and there were several types of snacks sitting there. ive gained weight. i found myself recently doing something ive NEVER done before. i rarely watch tv or get back into my bed in the daytime anyway, but a few times this past week you could have found me both sitting in my bed, eating junk and watching tv. and to top that off? i ate ice cream directly out of the container!!! perhaps none of that sounds drastic but those are things i just never ever do. i dont take my medication properly because im supposed to take it 3 times daily with meals. 3 meals a day?? HA. im lucky if i remember to have a decent meal. So? if i happen to remember my medication, i take it.

i cant make a decision worth a damn. i used to be able to juggle 20 problems in my head at one time and get them all sorted out eventually. now i cant seem to handle even one at a time. i just cant think!

housework? what was that?....i had laundry piling up, toys strewn about, empty glasses sitting here and there. my own room had become a disaster zone. nursing uniforms carelessly tossed to the side upon coming home from work instead in the usual hamper in my bathroom.

work. i didnt even want to lift my head in the morning to go and would have gladly never gone back and accepted some form of government assistance.

i can hear my ex husband now saying derisively, "in islam, there is no such thing as depression. no mental problems"

yeah ok. what the HELL ever to that. how come you have PSYCHIATRISTS practicing in egypt then??

a couple of days ago while lying in my bed feeling miserable as usual, it occurred to me that im actually totally depressed and that it was up to me to change it no matter how hard. i had been lying sloppily in my bed all morning talking to Elji on the phone. he knew i was having a hard time and had been praying so hard for me. Allah always listens to Elji, i swear. after we hung up, i had this urge to get out of this funk. even though i still felt heavy, i made myself get up and go straight to the shower and then proceed to spruce myself up. i did not get back into my bed that day.

thats was also the same day that kylee was sad and lonely. im sure my own sense of despair was rubbing off on her.

i sucked!

i cleaned all the snacks away from the computer desk and put them back in their proper places in the kitchen.

ive scrubbed one of my bathrooms from top to bottom with bleach. actually cooked a decent meal. put away all of kylees toys and even vacuumed!!

even though i feel the depression creeping around and trying to worm its way back in, i refuse..i refuse...i refuse.

i want me back, inshallah. even if me is a 40 something chubette!

Monday, March 16, 2009

i thought i knew pain

personal pain is really hard to deal with but when it comes to the pain of one of your children its nearly unbearable.

as you all know, only a year ago my home was bustling and thats how it always has been. bustling.

recap...husband left, mother left, sons moved out, daughter moved out but came back but spends most of her time at her brother's apartment. oldest son moved back home after 4 years but left again nearly 2 weeks ago to find his own way through life. quick math. my 6 year old and me. thats whats left at home out of a family of 8.

ive never been good at being alone and this time is no easier. i find myself aching for company in the house many times.

but last night was just a little different. im self-centered it seems. always thinking of my own agonies. astaghfirullah.

the little one kept calling me to come and watch her dance but i was "busy". i was busy busy busy and it was getting close to bed time.

occasionally, i would hear "mommy pleaseeee come watch me dance" which was always met with, "in a minute..im busy".

finally i came to her. she had dressed herself up. black pants, black shirt with silver glitter, her new black "mink" coat, black sunglasses and black shoes. she was sitting slumped on the couch, tired of waiting for her forever busy, preocuppied mother.

she was so happy. "youre here to watch me dance now?".

"yes i am."

she had lined the couch with dolls and stuffed animals. they were her audience.

i watched her with tears in my eyes because i realized that im it for her these days. if i dont pay attention no one will. i am her audience. this little girl was used to being the center of attention for alot of people and now she only had me and i was "busy"

i clapped for her and told her she was fantastic.

then we went to bed. i let her sleep with me now because i dont want her off by herself since there is no one else in the house.

i fell asleep only to awaken maybe 20 minutes later to the sound of her crying softly. she had her body pressed tightly against mine. i turned over and asked her whats wrong. she said she had a bad feeling and she was so lonely.

i held her closely in my arms and told her that i am here. she can go to sleep in my arms and she did. i wiped all of her tears away while she slept but mine flowed for this little girl.

i too often worried about my own lonliness without giving too much thought to hers.

im like her...i have a bad feeling. but for her. the pain that comes for a mother when her child is hurting.

God help me.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

its hard when your child loses a friend.

my 17 year old daughter lost two of her best friends this past weekend. two very nice, well mannered young men. kenny and robert were their names. they had been playing glow in the dark miniature golf and returning home. problem is, they were speeding down the by pass in our city and lost control of their vehicle, crossed over into oncoming traffic hitting a vehicle head on causing other cars to crash as well. the car that her friends were in flipped several times and burst into flames. a friend of one of my sons got to them first and pulled them from the burning vehicle and tried anything to save them until help could arrive but they died on the scene. there was another young fellow who is in the hospital now. im not sure of his condition.

my daughter is devastated and has been afraid to sleep at night.

she told me something today that shook me to the core. she was invited to go with them to the mall that day to meet up with other friends but had promised another friend that she would spend the day with her first. she also had to babysit her younger sister. had she gone, she would have been in that car.

poor judgement, age and inexperience at the wheel led to their demise. they were well loved in the community and i just wanted to add a video that just gives you an idea of how people felt about them.

they were best friends for years. they did everything together. they even died together.

Friday, March 6, 2009

my house is way too silent.

yesterday, while i was at work, my oldest son left home to find a new life in another state. i knew that he had been planning on leaving for some time but he told me on tuesday that he would be leaving yesterday. just two days notice. my other children have an apartment together. so now its my 6 year old and me.

this time last year there were 6 people living in this home. 4 children and the parents. seems we've been down sized. im sure youre thinking that the 6 year old keeps it lively and she does to an extent but she is bored without anyone else there now.

i can hear the echoes coming from the hallway of yesteryear and im truly sad. i know this is the empty nest syndrome but its hard. it was really really hard to come home to a quiet house. only sign of life was my lonely kitty. and my dearest Elji made it easier by being with me on the phone to make it easier for me when i walked into that empty house. he thinks of everything i swear.
my son's bedroom door is always closed in the mornings when i wake up, so it wasnt easy to wake up this morning and see the door open, moon shining through his window into an empty room......sigh.

my regret? that i didnt even hug him goodbye yesterday morning before i went to work because i had plotted to keep him one more day because i have the day off today. i was sure i could convince him to wait but when i asked him he said he was going on. he was eager to start anew and i dont blame him at all. i wish him the best of luck.

but he is my oldest and i dont know when ill see him again.

at least we all played in the snow together. all of us...before he left.

Monday, March 2, 2009

let it snow, let it snow, let is snow....NOT.

so last sunday was lazy and comfortable but today? dear God...i didnt think it would ever end. and it still hasnt really.

it started out normal enough but raining. that wasnt a big deal. i had heard a few times on the news that it may snow today but that it would never stick.
we dont get much snow in the south and i have to say thank God for that. snow is beautiful yes but thats about it.

by 11am it was still raining and the wind was howling through our windows. i told my 6 year old daughter that i doubt very seriously it will snow. she and i went to shower and wash our hair. my 17 year old daughter had clogged the toilet in the smaller bathroom and it had overflowed causing a disaster in there so as soon as i had finished showering and dressing i was going to head to the store to buy another plunger to replace our missing one (how does one lose a plunger?). kylee had also spent the previous night coughing incessantly so i needed cough medicine also.

i walked by the living room window but stopped abruptly. i thought, "wow that rain looks weird". then i realized it wasnt rain but SNOW. huge flakes drifting down heavily. i told my daughters to look out of the window because i knew they would be thrilled. of course they were, and they ran to tell their 3 brothers! i thought my cat would be interested too but she nearly shredded the skin on my arms trying to get back into the house!! (btw..happy birthday kitty. she is 1 today. she received a lovely new pink, faux diamond studded collar with a jingly bell on it and kitty treats).

by the time i got out of the house and drove to the store, everything was coated in white and my car was sliding around in various directions! i got the few things i needed and headed out and it was even worse. my car was covered in snow and i couldnt even back out.

now you have to know that southerners cannot drive in snow. that just aint happening! we're total blooming idiots. somehow i worked my little car out of that spot and headed slowly home. i saw an absolutely stunning display of whiteness at a little park and i drove closer to it so that my daughters could see and lo and behold if i didnt get REALLY stuck there. i put my car in forward and reverse...tires spinning....car sliding and twisting in ways that i wasnt turning it while a policeman sat nearby obviously amused at my efforts. finally somehow i got out of that mess and vowed to go straight home.

the snow got heavier and heavier and it got colder and colder. huge limbs started snapping off of trees. my lights started flickering. i looked out of my window to see a massive pool of red in the snow. WTH?? my sons and their friends had been having a snowball fight and one of the friends threw a tightly packed snowball at the other friends NOSE and it had bled out into the snow.

i decided to charge my battery on my cell phone and turned the heat up high to warm the house more just in case we lost power and no sooner had i done that......lights out! no power. i was talking to Elji by cell phone. we decided i should venture again to the nearest store to get candles and supplements before it got dark in case the power was not restored. all of my older children had ventured out with their friends. at least they were enjoying themselves.

i trudged out with kylee. where was my car!!?? all the cars were totally covered in white so i had to wipe the snow to find my red paint. we got in but i was able to only back halfway out into the street before it got stuck again. this time i coudnt get it to go forward or backwards. and when i did try, it would start to slide sideways into the next car. my next door neighbors heard the motor revving so they came out and pushed my car back into its parking place. they also gave me candles and matches! so kylee and i went back inside and bundled together under a few blankets. slowly everyone started coming back home which was a relief for me.

finally after a few hours, the power was restored and i was able to warm the house again and cook. the lights have flickered several times since then but ive prayed and kept my fingers crossed.

i had to cancel my work day since i drive an hour away to a mountainous area. i wasnt about to try to make that at 5am.

then poor kylee. she has not stopped coughing and couldnt sleep. and because she couldnt sleep, i couldnt sleep. and because i couldnt sleep, im here blogging about it instead!

its now 2am and there are only 2 things i want right now....to go to sleep and to wake up tomorrow to see the snow melting!