Maaha Zainab, Tasneem and I have the good fortune to visit our Lady of Light, Seyyeda Zainab (A) in
The hotel we put up at is adequately comfortable and very close to the haram. The haram is as beautiful as before, comforting and crowded and sad with tribulation of my Lady (A) seemingly echoing throughout the its marble walls. I spend some time in there and talk to my Bibi (A), pouring my heart out to her and asking for her intervention with Allah (S) and beseeching her blessings.
Its amazing how well
We fly to
Arusha is a delight, as usual, and naturally much cooler, which does wonders to my running time. We spend time with Gulamhussein & family and the Yusufalis of Arusha, Maaha Zainab spending almost all her time with Timmy, a fair fluffed puppy at the Yusufali home backyard. Arusha, alas, has lost the status of a modern town with a population of over 300,000 without traffic lights as a set of these did come up around Njeero Hills recently. The brand new sports club along the way to Laki Laki (where Marhoom Husseinalibhai was the coffee farm manager) is exceptional, especially the lush green cricket turf. Mchawi Wa Radio, Marhoom Bha's business is still around with a different name. Alas, none of the radio workers or bycycle repairman remain. Ah, my teenage days in Arusha...
I always proudly relate to Maaha Zainab about my school life growing up in Tanga, about the wonderful times I had, young and carefree, roaming around barefoot all over town, climbing trees, playing cricket, swimming, fishing, catching tadpoles or just plain getting into all sorts of mischief. So Tanga is a must for us and we hire a vehicle with a driver to take us there. It takes us six hours but the drive is pleasant, roads well maintained and weather fair. The gift lunchbox from Naaz Hotel comes in handy along the way and we picnic in the middle of nowhere along the highway.
I can tell Maaha Zainab and Tasneem are disappointed with Tanga but I am overwhelmed with nostalgia. St. Anthony's, the elementary school and Popatlal Secondary, schools I attended were among the first ones I visit; Mr. Chaudry the strict disciplinarian but very successful and much admired principal of Popatlal is still around, looking the same. Our new mosque, the depilated kabrastaan in Ngamiyaani, Raskazone Swimming Club, Raskazone walkway, Tanga Library, Blue Room...all places with fond memories. But Tanga is on the decay; the once booming town with so much promise is rotting within and losing people. The five homes we lived in are all grimy and sad, other homes in and around town have crumbled, vehicles are few and far and there is resignation in the faces of people that Tanga is dying...
We return to
You can view photos of this trip here: