THE UNNARRATED JOURNEY TO SWEDEN

Posted in: Allmän on 15 August, 2020 by Musa

It is being quite a long time since I updated my blog due to certain reasons and today i decided to come up with something special as it coincided with my one year anniversary since i came to Sweden. Sometimes when we are told time is fast we tend to deny especially when we are not in a good mood. When i think of the day I left the shores of the Gambia to date, I tend to agree time is fast like a falcon that is descending on its prey.
It is exactly one year since I left home and embarked on this journey of knowledge seeking. It was on a beautiful, quite dark night that I left the Gambia and boarded the flight to an unknown destination. That night was filled with mixed feelings, both of joy and sadness. Joy in the sense that I have achieved my long time dream of travelling to Europe for studies, but sadness in the sense that I am leaving my family back home and not knowing when, how and where will I see them again. I could vividly remember the day I left my village of Sareh Nyanga in a rainy morning when I ushered into my mother’s room and bid her farewell and saw her so much emotional as she was not feeling very well those days. I cried as i left for the unknown destination leaving her behind with my daughter whom I knew I will miss.
At around 0.00 am on the faithful day of Thursday I left with my brother Paul Bah, and friends – Ebrima Bah and Sulayman Waan who accompany me to the airport. After taking some pictures with them, I bid them farewell and we prayed for the best while I board the plane heading to Casablanca in Morocco.

At the Banjul International Airport with friends.

At around 1.30 am I was already in the plane waiting for kickoff at 2.00 am. Finally we took off and as it was during the night i slept a little during the journey while being awake by the noise of the plane at some points. The journey to Casablanca take was cool one and by 6.00 am we were already down at the airport. I was made to understand that the name ‘Casablanca’ means the land of the white man. As it was a transit flight, I boarded another flight at around 9.00 am to my final destination of Sweden.

At Casablanca Airport in Morocco


The journey from Casablanca was a bit different from Banjul to Casablanca, because this was during the morning so I decided not to sleep and observe the marvels of creation through the flight window. Looking at the clouds from up was so fascinating. We landed at the Stockholm International Airport at around 16.00 hrs.

In the flight heading to Stockholm

Upon arrival in Stockholm

After processing all my immigration stuff, it was disappointing to find out that my luggage was not delivered after a frantic search for it. I was left with no other option but to file a complain at the Air Marok representatives at the airport and find my way to Linkoping.
I took the Flix Bus from Stockholm to Linkoping at around 17.30 hrs. The journey took us almost 4hrs and we arrived at the Linkoping Central Station at around 21.00 hrs where I booked a taxi to my final destination for the night.

In the Bus heading to Linkoping from Stockholm

A brother from the Gambia hosted me for that night who became a very good brother to me in Linkoping by the name Sainey Ceesay.
The journey was not very easy and for the fact that my luggage was not delivered gave me another headache. While it was not easy studying here for master’s degree, but it is humbling to be able to sit down today and write about that journey. After a solid year in a foreign land, I am missing my family, friends and the entire country called The Gambia.


 

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EID’UL FITR (KORITEH) CELEBRATED IN SWEDEN

Posted in: Allmän on 26 May, 2020 by Musa

After the long month of fastings and prayers, I joined the muslims all over the world to celebrate the end of Ramadan on the 24th May, 2020 which falls on the 1st day of Shawwal, 1441 which is the Islamic calendar. The month of Ramadan is filled with prayers, giving out charity, doing other acts of goodness but the trademark is the fasting from dawn to dusk. The end of Ramadan is a special day for the muslim community everywhere in the world. This year the day happens to be on a Sunday and even though we are in a different and unprecedented situation due to COVID-19, we also celebrate ours in Ryd. Early in the morning at around 7:30 am, we take our shower and wore our beautiful costumes sprayed with different aromatic fragrances which is a Sunna (the teachings of the Holy Prophet of Islam, Muhammad S.A.W). While i was going to the mosque i sensed a difference in the way i used to celebrate it back in the Gambia, because i was all by myself as i walk towards our mosque. Loneliness strikes me and i remembered back in the Gambia when we use to form teams in a line and match to the mosque while reciting some invocations.

Walking all alone to the mosque foor the Eid prayers in the morning.

I arrived in the mosque at 7:30 am where i was joined by other muslim brothers while we waited for the Imam. AS the Imam arrived, we started the Eid prayer which lasted little less than 5 minutes and followed by a sermon which is meant to remind the believers of our creator (Allah). After the prayers and sermon, we took some pictures and dispersed to our various abodes.
While in the Gambia this moment is filled with happiness and interactions with the family and friends, here in Sweden little of that sort happened as some went straight to their houses and sleep. Luckily for us we have a little crew and we also came together to celebrate it together. We cooked our delicious foods and drank tea and the famous attaya. I must say that it was so refreshing to sit day long and enjoy with friends, even though my family is far from here. In a sense, i have found a family here which is what Islam has taught us. After taking lunch, I used the opportunity to call my family back home and offer Eid greetings and asked for forgiveness which is also something we do quite often in a day like that.

After the Eid prayers we took pictures with our grand Imam (Yousuf)

Standing around the mosque after offering the prayers.

Drinking attaya with friends after taking lunch.

I wish you all a happy Eid Mubaraak and may we witness many more Eids, and may Allah accept our prayers and fastings.


 

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AN “IFTAAR” (BREAKING THE FAST) IN THE OUTDOORS AT VIDINGSJÖ MOTIONSCENTRUM

Posted in: Allmän on 20 May, 2020 by Musa

As the Muslim holy month of Ramadan wave a warm good bye, I and my friends in faith decided to change environment at least for once. Where can we get a cool place for breaking of the fast with fresh natural air? Well there is no better place than in the natural environment which is free from pollution – both noise and air. For this reason we decided to choose a good spot for it, which is VIDINGSJÖ MOTIONSCENTRUM. The day for the visit was on Sunday, 17th May 2020.

Entrance at the place.

How does the idea came up? Well it was one evening after breaking the fast and having our usual chat that the idea came in and when it was shared in the forum, all of us embraced it and quickly we decided on a date and time. For me when the idea came in, I was quick to accept it without a second though because I am a nature lover which is why I am doing a masters in Outdoor and Sustainability Education and as a matter of fact I missed going outdoors because of the Ramadan and Covid-19 which calls for social distancing and also the fact that currently I am doing my thesis which is taking much of my time.
What happen at the outdoor Iftar? Quite a lot of stuff happened at the place and we arrived at the VIDINGSJÖ MOTIONSCENTRUM we first decided to play some games and as football happened to be a universal game, we decided to play it. The game took quite a short time because we were all fasting and meaning a little energy to exercise. Next, we also used the outdoor park to do different exercises including gliding, climbing, etc.

At the outdoors doing some outdoor games.

After all the games, we decided to take a short trail in the park to enjoy nature and get cool fresh air before the time for iftar arrived.

A short walk to the forest.

While we cooked some foods at home and take it along, we equally grill some meat at the place which was spearheaded by Ibraahim.

Grilling of meat being led by Ibrahiim


Then at exactly 21.29 when the alarm for iftar rang, we descended on our well-prepared foods and ate to our bellies full.

After the foods, there comes the famous Senegambia tea (attaya) which now all of my colleagues enjoy very well. As I was preparing it some friends were also preparing different tea flavors which is important after a day long fast.

Serving them attaya

We enjoyed our attaya and everything in the outdoors. While I am the only outdoor student in the group, it is clear that I am not the only outdoor lover and thanks to the team especially Saad Khan who led us to this lovely and natural place.

Brother Saad serving the fruits.

Do you want to go to the outdoors with the outdoor lovers, let me know and let us plan another one soon…

 


 

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DIFFERENT NATIONALITIES, DIFFERENT CULTURES, THE SAME FAITH AND THE SAME DINNING TABLE

Posted in: Allmän on 14 May, 2020 by Musa

Today marks the 21st day of Ramadan which is the month of fasting for the entire muslim ummah (community). As I had already mentioned in my earlier post as to what constitute the month of ramadan, in this article I am going to highlight how the past days have been spent.
It is something that is very desirable to share and care for one another during the month of ramadan apart from fasting. This will also offer you more rewards and here in Sweden also we are indeed trying our best in this component of fasting, i.e sharing and caring. We do this in a very good way by meeting every evening at one corridor of a colleague and break the fast together with our foods prepared by ourselves.

This is very important because apart from having to taste different dishes from different countries and cultures, we also share ideas and discuss issues ranging from religion to living with the realities of COVID-19. Of course we are cognizant of the guidelines set by the Swedish Health Authorities and we are less than 20 anyway. At the beginning we were from four nationalities, but this number has increases to six nationalities now and that means six different dishes because each of us usually come with his meal. We share our foods and sometimes prepare one big meal together. We also pray together when it is time for prayers which unifies us.

A joint meal which was prepared by Ibraahim.

While we are from different nationalities and have different cultures, we are united by the same faith and we also share the same dinning table during the breaking of the fast.
You want to join us for a meal? Just sent me a message or leave a comment and i shall direct you to our meeting point.


 

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MY JOURNEY TO POPULARIZING THE SENEGAMBIAN TEA (ATTAYA) IN SWEDEN

Posted in: Allmän, General on 5 May, 2020 by Musa

There are many things that one learns and adopts after visiting a foreign country, but there are also certain things that you can export to another country and make it popular within short period of time. For me, the latter is exactly what happened. This article is about my favorite Senegambian tea called ‘’ATTAYA’’.

Different attaya packets.

What is attaya? Attaya is a special tea that connotes more than the actual beverage. On the packet it is usually written as ‘’China Green Tea’’, but this tea is not just tea for us. There are certainly different flavors and different attaya qualities but the process of brewing it is the same. The process involves brewing the tea in a small pot kettele called ‘’barada’’ on a charcoal pot for about 20minutes and putting a lot of sugar then start making it strong and get the thing that makes it nice which are the frothy bubbles.

The pot (barada) used for making attaya with the tumblers.

These bubbles are very desirable when you serve your circle of friends and loved ones, in fact some people will mock your attaya if it is without the bubbles. So, by now I think you understand the essence of the bubbles. Unlike other teas, the cups used for serving attaya are different in that they are smaller, and they are called tumblers. It is these tumblers one uses for making the strong bubbles in the process making it stronger and more concentrated. Also, each brewing yields three pots which are called the first, second and third. The first is usually stronger, more potent and more concentrated, followed by second and the third is lighter. There are many ingredients one can add to the tea leaves, including mint leaves, paste valda, mint, and some roots of certain herbs found in the Gambia. Drinking it every day can make one easily addicted to it as it is said to contain some caffeine.

The first is served in this tiny cups with the frothy bubbles.

When I came to Sweden in August I though my days of drinking attaya are over, or at least until I return to the Gambia, because I thought I will not find it here. After few weeks into Linkoping, I was able to find it at Salams shop which is operated by some Arabians. Since then I managed to have a company here with whom I can drink it with, as attaya is not just tea that you just drink for the sake of drinking but the friends that one drinks it with counts a lot. At first, I introduced it to my friends whom I found here. Umar and Yousif with whom I pray with at the mosque immediately after sunset were, he first group I shared it with.

With my friends, from right Yousif, Umar and Ismail.

Even though Umar is no more here with us but Yousif had become addicted to it I belief. The second one to be introduced to it was a colleague and a friend with whom I shared the same program of study, Devotha Filbert Kombo. After few sessions with her she also seemed to enjoy it well and sometimes she calls me and ask is attaya ready?

Serving second to Devotha and Yousif.

Now after introducing it to many friends, it seems it is gaining prominence as we drink it daily. Now that we are in Ramadan, immediately after breaking the fast, we drink our first round and one of my friends, Habibou have become so much addicted that he always shouts at my name and ask where is attaya!! For now, I am happy that with my attaya I have managed to have a company and our attaya crew have developed a slogan after the fast. Where is attaya Musa!!!

While the Swedes cannot go without Fika, Gambian cannot go without Attaya…


 

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Musa\'s blog

Musa Baldeh
My name is Musa Baldeh from the smiling coast of West Africa – The Gambia.
I am an educationist by profession who is curious about how to improve education in the world, so I am always keen in exploring education systems in different parts of the world, hence choosing to study my Masters in Outdoor and Sustainability Education in Sweden.
Join me in the adventure of this beautiful country!!

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