#1 Everything is Temporary #LessonsLearned on Kilimanjaro

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Rough roads, pain, laughter, heartache, cold, discomfort…..Like everything in life, and life itself, it is just temporary. Nothing lasts forever. I have adopted this as my mantra when I arrived at the base of the mountain. Why? Because I knew that it’s not going to be smooth sailing. I knew that I was going to be removed from every comfort known to me for the next six days. By remembering and constantly reminding myself that whatever I feel or what I’m experiencing is just temporary, I was able to keep going, and able to push myself through what is now officially known as the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.

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Time

1338990124_running out of timeDo we have that much time on our hands?

”I have made it impermissible for myself to waste a single hour of my life”
Hasan al Basri said;
“O Son of Adam, you are nothing but a number of days, whenever each day passes then a part of you has gone”
We think that we are made out of blood, flesh and bones
Al Hasan, the scholars of Islam would say, “No….you’re made out of time….hours”
If an hour leaves you, that’s part of you gone for good
It’s never ever going to come back
You are made of time

What are we doing with our time time?

Imagine yourself brothers and sisters, running, running to a family, your family….
Your children, wife or husband, who are on the brink on dying from thirst and you have a bucket of water, how fast are you running to get to them before they die?
Now imagine there is a hole in that bucket and you put your hand on the hole, and the water is coming out through your fingers
How would you feel to see that water dripping?
This is our analogy here on earth…we are all running towards the hereafter whether in a right or wrong direction….We’re running that way and time is falling away….hours are falling away….years are passing….and we’re not doing anything about it.

58fd135faed7aa55b4b9539078469fa0What are we doing with our time?

Waiting to ask Allah SWT for a second chance?
Allah SWT will tell us, Did we not give you lives long enough for you to receive admonition?….if you wanted to receive it?….and didn’t the warner come to you?

Time is the most valuable commodity that you possess
They say time is gold, this is incorrect, time is more valuable than gold
Gold comes and goes
But time…When it’s gone, it’s gone for good
That second that just ticked on the clock
Will never come again….

What are we doing with our time?

Ramadan Ya Habib

In just over two weeks, Muslims all over the world will be welcoming an esteemed guest….Ramadan. A period known to many as the month of fasting. But is this really all that Ramadan is?

ramadan-loading-wallpapers_37267_1920x1200As it turns out, Ramadan is not simply an exercise in fasting during the day, binge-eating during the night and setting the clock to the morning’s wee hours to rise for the predawn meal. Neither is it about irate drivers who feel entitled to exhibit road rage, lacklustre employees who see the month as an excuse to slack off and overworked women slaving over a stove every day in preparation for the sunset meal. Ramadan is none of those things, if done right, and instead, is the chance for a spiritual boost, with lessons to be applied long after the month is out.

The month

So Ramadan is here (almost). How do we know this? Because according to official Islamic bodies, the crescent moon will soon be sighted, marking the beginning of the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. Lasting 29 or 30 days – the end date will be revealed through another official lunar sighting in the last week of the month – Muslims are to refrain from food and liquid (including chewing gum, smoking cigarettes and the like) from dawn to sunset, and instead renew their focus on prayers and increase their recitation of the Holy Quran.

Why it’s so special

It is the month in which the Holy Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH. As a result, Ramadan is also known as the month to recite the holy text even more eagerly and with renewed dedication to completing the task. Muslims are encouraged to complete the full recitation of the Holy Quran at least once during the month. With an average of 600 pages, this seemingly huge task can be achieved through the recitation of four pages before each of the five prayers daily throughout the entire month.

The fast

It is one of Islam’s five main pillars (the others being the belief in one God and the Prophet Muhammad as His Messenger, praying five times a day, completing the pilgrimage to Mecca for those who are able and giving alms or “zakat”). It is mandatory for all Muslims upon reaching puberty, as long as they are mentally and physically sound. The elderly and chronically ill are exempt from fasting; however, it is incumbent upon them to feed the poor instead if they possess the financial means.

A spiritual detoxramadan_hero_2x1

The fast is not simply about denying your body food and water. It also involves arguably the more taxing challenge of avoiding ill speech, arguments, loss of temper and malicious behaviour. The whole point of the fast is to demonstrate submission to God and keep the mind focused on a spiritual plane.

The benefits

Patience and mercy, which, let’s face it, we all need more of in these harried times. Ramadan is viewed as a month-long school where graduates leave with a developed sense of self-control in areas including diet, sleeping and the use of time.

imagesThe meals

The fasting day is book-ended by two meals: suhoor and iftar. The former is the early morning meal consumed before fasting begins at dawn, while the latter is to break the fast at sunset. If breakfast is viewed as an important meal, a healthy suhoor is even more vital as it is meant to last you up to 15 hours! Slow digesting foods like barley, wheats, oats and lentils are recommended and limiting fatty and sugary products would be wise. There is a propensity to binge eat at sunset, but a balanced, moderate meal would really make all the difference, considering that the evenings are spent engaging in special nightly prayers. It is also recommended to break the fast with dates, as was the practice of the Prophet Muhammad.

The prayers

Ramadan is also defined by extra congregational prayers performed nightly after the evening Esha prayers, which are normally the last prayers of the evening. For those living near a mosque, expect your neighbourhood to be a hive of activity for the whole month.

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The finish line

Ramadan culminates with the Eid ul Fitr holiday celebrating the end of the fast. Marked by a special morning prayer, the day is a form of spiritual graduation and a chance to permanently implement the spiritual lessons learnt throughout the month. Muslims dress in their best and visit friends and relatives as a sense of community prevails.

Let go of that which you have no control over

I’ve come across this profound advise by the great scholar Ibn Al Qayyim. So many times in life, we stress and depress ourselves over that which we have little or no control over. What seems like such a simple thing to do, is sometimes the hardest….Leaving it in the hands of the Almighty.

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❝A friend will not (literally) share your struggles, an a loved one cannot physically take away your pain, and a close one will not stay up the night on your behalf…So look after yourself, protect it, nurture it…and don’t give life’s events more than what they are really worth…Be certain that when you break no one will heal you except you, and when you are defeated no one will give you victory except your determination…your ability to stand up again and carry on is your responsibility…Do not look for your self worth in the eyes of people; look for your worth from within your conscious…if your conscious is at peace then you will ascend high…and if you truly know yourself then what is said about you won’t harm you.

Do not carry the worries of this life… because this is for Allah…and do not carry the worries of sustenance because it is from Allah…and do not carry the anxiety for the future because it is in the Hands of Allah…

Carry one thing: How to please Allah. Because if you please Him, He Pleases you, fulfills you and enriches you. Do not weep from a life that made your heart weep…just say “Oh Allah…compensate me with good in this life and the hereafter”.

Sadness departs with a sajdah…happiness comes with a sincere du’a…Allah does not forget the good you do…nor does He forget the good you did to others and the pain you relieved them from…Nor will He forget the eye which was about to cry but you made it laugh…

Live your life with this principle: Be good even if you don’t receive good…not because of other’s sake but because Allah loves the good doers.❞ Ibn Al Qayyim

Long Weekend Adventure – Discovering the Five Dams on Table Mountain

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Direction pole at Woodhead dam

Shortly after I’ve started hiking, I’ve heard about the five dams on Table Mountain and I made it my mission to go and discover these dams. So this past long weekend, Mr M suggested that we go on a small adventure. I could obviously not contain my excitement and was up at 5 am to start our 6 am hike.

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Sunrise over False Bay

We started out at Constantia Nek and went along with the jeep track. The sunrise from half way up the mountain was incredible.

The first dam we got to was De Villiers dam. When we arrived at this dam, it is evident that we’re experiencing water shortages as you can literally see what used to be the bottom of the dam.

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Evidence of dryness at De Villiers dam

Just after passing the Overseer’s Cottage (definitely on my list of things to do) we got to the Alexandra dam.

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Captured from the dam wall at Alexandra dam

Shortly after is the Victoria dam. By this time, you notice how the dams are increasing in size and volume.

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The suns rays over the Victoria dam

The fourth dam is by far my favourite dam and that’s the Woodhead dam. The sight of this dam was simply breathtaking. When you’re here, it’s hard to believe that you’re actually on top of a mountain. You dont’ realise that you’re approximately 750m above sea level.

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My most favourite dam….Woodhead dam

Right next to the Woodhead dam is the largest, fullest dam, Hely Hutchinson. The overflow from this dam flows into the Woodhead dam. With the shortage of rain, the Hely Hutchinson barely has an overflow. I cannot wait to see what the dams look like when they’re filled to capacity.

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The largest dam, the Hely Hutchinson dam

This has by far been one of my best hikes ever. The views were absolutely beautiful and cannot wait to share it with our Kilimanjaro training team.

Happy Hiker

The Story Behind My Decision to do the Kilimanjaro Charity Challenge

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It was a random day in August 2014 after a short trip to Cape Town,  when I sat at my desk and decided that I needed to do something out of the ordinary. It must have been my short love affair with Table Mountain that inspired me to do some research on Kilimanjaro, The Roof of Africa.

It was then that I wrote down my plan to trek Kilimanjaro in 2017.

At this point, I must have hiked about twice only in my life and really didn’t make any further effort. Let’s just say, the idea died almost as soon as it was born. Continue reading

The Surfboard

I remember seeing pictures of this spot when I first started out hiking. It wasn’t until a few weeks ago whilst training with Kilimanjaro team that I found myself there. I was delighted to have found it, but I was a little disappointed that Mr wasn’t with me to have experienced it together. I promised him however, that he will get a personalized tour. Happy Hiking

Sunrise vs Sunset

I absolutely love sunsets! It’s the most mesmerizing time of day and the Cape is not short of beautiful sunsets. It gives you that assurance that everything has a place and time, like the sun came up earlier, it will set, and simply rise again.

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I have, however, started to appreciate sunrises more. It wasn’t until a few weeks ago, when I realised that not only do I have brilliant sunset views from my home, but if up early enough, majestic sunrises as well.

The featured image was captured on my hike the past Sunday, along the Pipetrack just after sunrise. I’ve been lucky to have captured some magical moments on the weekly training hikes.
Happy Hiking

Meeting New People

I’ve discovered so much about myself after moving to Cape Town, that it sometimes feels like I’ve been living someone else’s life all along. I’ve always believed myself to be an extrovert, but on my journey to self discovery, I realised that I truly am an introvert and quite happy to be one.

Making new friends or just meeting new people has always been a daunting task for me. I’ve spent a fair amount of value time wrapped up in my own insecurities and looking back now, I can almost see all the missed opportunities I’ve had, if I had just believed a little more in myself. Nevertheless, rather now than never right? Back to meeting new people….I have met some amazing people on my hikes and in our hiking group. I have been surprised as to how easy it is to get to know new people once you’re truly comfortable in your own skin. The greatest thing about getting to know people is that you rediscover so much about yourself. Happy Hiking

From Cape to Kili

Just two months ago, hiking was just a pastime over the weekends, if the Mr and I felt up to it. Needless to say, we had more off weekends than on.

Exactly a month ago, I decided to participate in the annual fundraiser “Kilimanjaro Challenge”, that the NGO I work for hosts. It was something I’ve always wanted to do, but never really got around to the actual planning of it. So along with the actual climb of the mountain, we are challenged to raise money for the welfare, care and education for the children and orphans of Sub-Saharan Africa.

Now, anyone who really knows me, knows that there are two things I’m extremely passionate about, children and reading. Not having any children of my own, I feel it’s my human responsibility to try and make a difference in the lives of children who are not left with much choice, children who’s voices are not heard. Literacy is a fundamental human right and the foundation of lifelong learning. It is essential to social and human developments in it’s ability to transform lives.

When I first heard of this fundraiser, I super stoked as I simply love a good physical challenge, but the deal sealer was the fact that extra effort has to go into it as we try to raise funds as well. Having full knowledge of where the money is going to and what that money will do, that adds more value to this whole experience.

The trek is scheduled for August 2- 11. I still have a long way to go in terms of training and fundraising, but, I will get there! We’ve actively been training over the weekends, where we’ve been hiking between 3-5 hours. I will be posting on our training sessions, as well as any other hikes or outdoor adventures. Happy Hiking