Destination Gauntanamo

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Sadia part 3

I knew the plane ride was going to be long and traumatic. Nadia was upset because I told her she wasn’t allowed to buy a new perfume she wanted. She was too young and had no real need for a R1500 perfume. I told her she could get something special in London instead but she didn’t understand and walked away sulking an moaning under her breath about how I was pretending we were poor. 

I got so mad at her, I told her that she needed to learn the concept of money and even if we can afford it we would not dare spoil her and she ha better check her bratty self before I gave her something to really sulk about. Nadia is usually sweet girl but since she started playing with Fati’s kids (Rahim’s sister) she was becoming rude, demanding and very brand conscious. I know I can’t blame the other kids for her rotten behaviour and we would have to nip this behaviour in the bud. 

The flight was long and my mother in-law kept offering people food she had brought from home, which was cute and funny at the same time. She made me smile. Nadia and Ahmed got in to a fight and Abdullah split them up and sent Nadia to sit with me. After she blew of some steam on a game we began to talk. She told me that she was sorry for fighting with me but it was hard at school. All the kids were super rich and they have all these cool things and she stands out like a sore thumb and gets picked on and called ‘homeless girl’ because she wears ‘cheap’ clothing. I told her her we can change schools if she would like but wherever she goes there will be nice kids and mean kids and only silly people thought expensive things were more important than being a lovely human being. I also told her that Allah provides for us and if we waste what he gives us then he can take it away. She said she understood and put her head against me and slowly nodded off to sleep. I closed my eyes and began to pray for my children and children in general, they lived in challenging times. The next thing I remember was being woken up when the air hostess asked me what I’d be having for breakfast and then I was hit by the spicy aroma of egg bread, if only I had a good cup of tea. 

We waited for our bags, I made sure our bags were all orange so we don’t spend years looking at every black bag that passes us wondering if it’s ours. While we’re standing there, it’s almost definite that one kid will need to make a poo and one will claim to be dying of starvation. As Ahmed and I returned from the bathroom. I noticed that people were staring and some were laughing. Could the rumours be true, were these people be staring and laughing because I was in hijab?  I felt a tap on my shoulder and a little white girl with hazel eyes pointed behind. Ahmed had tied the toilet paper roll to my leg while I was fixing my hijab. Could the ground please open up and swallow me whole right now! I thanked her and just shook my head, sometimes I wondered whether the kids were worth all the trouble they caused.

Ahmed was laughing so hard he had tears in his eyes by the time he told the story to the others, everyone was laughing and I had no option but to join them.I could only imagine how much harder Abdullah would laugh if he knew how paranoid I was about the stares.  

While we waited like cattle to be processed I decided to log on to the airport Wi-Fi and let Rahim know we were almost done. Then I sent a text to my mum and dad to let them know we had arrived safely an then a quick message on the family watsapp group and a quick check in on Facebook as well. When we finally got to the front, there an obnoxious officer with a mean stare that was as cold and gloomy as  the weather outside. Abdullah was ‘randomly selected’ which was a bit scary and then when we got out there was a proper filmy indian greeting from an aunty waving at my mother in-law and bemoaning the long long period of time that had passed since their last meeting. I winked at  Abdullah, he knew I was mocking the scene and laughed. 

Nadia was performing about the cold and Abdullah was hungry, Abdullah’s mum was preoccupied with the aunties who had come to receive us…this was the perfect time to make our getaway. We said our good byes quickly and told the kids we would see them later. We left with Rahim, who spoke about Sadia the entire way to our hotel. I was already getting annoyed with this love sick puppy version of him.

Finally we got to the hotel, I took off my shoes and ran a bubble bath and decided to relax as much as possible before we had to meet the kids for supper. Abdullah smiled at me and said he would come join me in a bit. I was so thankful for him , he was really a blessing masquerading as a spouse. He does his best to keep us in comfort and never ever says no to my requests. He always looks at me with so much love and warmth as if we were just falling in love.  

When I tell my about him they think I’m lying because according to them men like him don’t exist in our time. I believe it’s all about how you raise your son and his mum did a fantastic job, which is why I love her. 

Rahim is also a good guy but he will always side with his parents and I hope that doesn’t drive Salam nuts. Rahim was brought up the old school way, where men say what goes and they do not help with ‘women’s work’ like cooking, cleaning and raising kids. 

I am starting to feel really sorry for Salma because as the saying goes; it takes a village to raise a child, definitely not just a mum. Speaking of in-laws my father in-law has never been without my mother-in-law and I wonder how he will cope without all of us at home. My mum-in-law taught him how to cook, and he always knew how to clean which is unusual for older men, which means the basics are catered for. 

by mumtaz saley

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