Oxfam Hunfer Banquet

Is hunger only for poor countries or does America experiences it too??

“Few experiences bring to life the inequalities in our world more powerfully than an Oxfam America Hunger Banquet® event. Organizers and participants alike can experience firsthand how our decisions affect others in the world.”

As the name suggests Oxfam Hunger banquet is about learning about the hunger and poverty across the globe. The guests were divided into three groups, high-income, middle-income and low-income groups. The high-income group was served lasagna, salads and drinks. The middle-income group was served rice and beans whereas low-income was served only rice and water. It was a way of experiencing the hunger people live in. One important part of the banquet was that only 15 percent were the high-income, 35 percent middle-income and 50 percent were low-income, showing the uneven distribution of wealth across the globe.

It was amazing experience as very few people know that there is not the deficit of food around the world rather uneven distribution of the resources. I helped organize the event. The information we had to go through and then give out to people was shocking. For example, in the same neighborhoods, like Baltimore, there are people who die out in cold during winter and a block from there, are people whose net worth would be a few million. It was an eye-opening and a sobering experience as I have never had to skip a meal because there wasn’t enough to eat.  

I can set out to change the world but I think I can be most effective by doing my part. Spreading awareness about the hunger and participating in event like this can help a bit.

How do you all thing can we bring about change in the world?

Ever wondered- how to become a blogger???

Those of you who have read about me know that I am a one of few Student Ambassadors. Who are Student Ambassadors? And what do they do? Student Ambassadors are CCBC Students who go through the selection process, then represent CCBC on different occasions and at different locations. We, the Student Ambassadors, hold many titles. We work as Student Life Street Team, basically promoting Student Life events such as Earth Day recently and many more. As the word Ambassador explains- we are the CCBC Ambassador. We do campus tour (Pathway and Gateway); giving tours to Middle and High “Schoolers” (this is my favorite part of the job). It is an amazing feeling to know that you might be making a difference in someone’s life by telling them about CCBC and how much fun it is to be CCBC student. Student bloggers are the Student Ambassadors as well- as we represent CCBC through our writing.

 During the registration if you go to the advising to get help choosing your courses you might have come across the schedule builders- they are the Student Ambassadors. We get to do all that and more. 

 The best part of being an ambassador is that you are working with other ambassadors, who like you are serious students and have leadership qualities which brought them to this point in life where they can represent CCBC. (Okay that was a long sentence but I HAD to put in everything).

Lunch with President Sandra Kurtinitis

Student Ambassadors- Spring 2011, our supervisors and President Kurtinitis 

Now, you are doing so much as an ambassador, it is not voluntary; you get paid for all your hours. And you have to apply to become a student ambassador and the application deadline in fast approaching. Here is the link to the application and the criteria for you all to apply for this position.

  http://ccbcmd.edu/ambassadors/index.html

Good luck.

Miracle of Birth

 Like most of the people I have many titles, title of a daughter, a sister, grand-daughter, student, friend, colleague, etc, etc… But during my break here from writing I acquired one of the most precious titles I can ever have- the title of an aunt, in my language khala (mother’s sister).

Sophia with the team of doctors who helped her into the world

Sophia at two hours

 Yes, my sister had 6.5lbs, healthy baby girl. Now I am going to say some things which most of you have heard a thousand times…. She is the most beautiful baby, with big black eyes and perfect little toes and fingers, oh not to forget a pair of well-developed lungs (she knows how to use them to keep us up at night). Even while I write this she knows I need to concentrate so she is showing the power of those small lungs.

Peace

Baby Sophia was born at 6:26 pm on Sunday, April 3. 2011 after four hours of struggle on her mom’s part, I guess her part too. This was the first birth I witnessed. No wonder they have these videos titled “miracle of birth” indeed it is a miracle. Someone very beautifully said “Birth is the sudden opening of a window, through which you look out upon a stupendous prospect. For what has happened? A miracle. You have exchanged nothing for the possibility of everything.”It is amazing how we have been preparing ourselves for the past nine months that we will have a new member in our family but nothing prepared me to see her birth in actuality and then holding her in my arms knowing she is a part of someone so beloved to me. I totally agree with Laura Stavoe Harm, “We have a secret in our culture, and it’s not that birth is painful. It’s that women are strong.” After going through four hours of labor and delivering 6.5lbs baby, I asked my sister “would you ever go through this again” her instant response “definitely, just to hold my baby in my arms.”

 

Trying on her new booties

Pakistan ≠ Middle-East

I am at Seven-Eleven and a guy walks up to me and says “Assalam-uali-kum” (the Muslim greeting) and my natural response is “Walikum-as-salam”. Very nicely he says, “So you are from the Middle-East” and I said, “No, I am from Pakistan”, he looks at me (with a lot of concentration) for a moment and says “isn’t it the same thing?” 

Now, this is not the first time it happened to me. I have been asked this question many times. So I decided to write about Pakistan. That is not the only reason why I am writing about Pakistan TODAY. Today is 23rd March (this is how some countries write their dates, rather than March 23rd), Pakistan Day, a very important in Pakistan’s history.  

 Seeing the army march down the street and the fighter planes fly in rows fill us with awe. It cultivates a feeling of security that we have a wonderful army working so hard to provide us with a peaceful sleep every night. I remember from my childhood how exciting this event was for all of us. This was our holiday and we made sure to take advantage of this day by celebrating it with other people. We were never lucky enough to be very close to the army, but we lived nearby and loved it when the fighter planes flew from over our roof. The sky was colored with different dyes and the ground painted with the chivalry of our brave men.  For me, this day is not just about the fearless men showing off there strength to give us confidence, but it also hold great historical significance. 

23 March commemorates the passage of Pakistan Resolution, a resolution passed at the annual session of All India Muslim Leagues. I will not bore you with all the details so in short, the Muslims of India on that day in fact had proclaimed to the world their determination to make the Muslim Statehood the goal of their struggle under the leadership of the Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah. Every year we remind ourselves of how our ancestors struggled to prove their identity and eventually with great sacrifices and extreme hardships proved their point. The parade tells the world that we made a promise to struggle and we fulfilled it. Hence, our generations to come will abide by this goal and cherish the wonderful gift of Pakistan that we have. 

Now, let us go back to the original question, “Where in the world is Pakistan?” 

Location: Southern Asia,  between India on the east and Iran and Afghanistan on the west, bordering the Arabian Sea in the South,and China in the north. 

Area: 796,095 sq km (slightly less than twice the size of California) 

Climate: mostly hot, dry desert; temperate in northwest; arctic in north (in short Pakistan experiences all four weathers) 

Religions: Muslim 95%, other (includes Christian and Hindu) 5% 

Capital: Islamabad (is one of the few planned capital cities in the world, and is often cited as one of the most beautiful ones) 

Language: Urdu (means army of languages), English (second language) 

Currency: Pakistani Ruppee, (approx. 80 Pakistani Ruppes equal 1 US Dollar) 

Famous Mountain Peak: K-2 (Mt. Godwin Austin): 28,250 ft./8611 m (2nd highest in World) 

Favorite Sports: Cricket (Pakistan won the First Quarter Final during World Cup 2011 and is going to play against India for the Semi Final), Hockey, Squash 

Minar-e-Pakistan in Lahore, Pakistan, where the resolution was passed

 

Sky full of colors

Air force guys showing off

Why do you “HAVE” to wear that?

Many times people ask me, “Do your parents make you wear that?” or “Don’t you find that really unfair?” or some simply ask “Why do you have to wear that (pointing towards my scarf)?”
I am a Muslim woman who, like millions of other Muslim women across the globe, chooses to wear the hijab.  And the concept of the hijab, contrary to popular opinion, is actually one of the most fundamental aspects of female empowerment.
When I cover myself, I make it virtually impossible for people to judge me according to the way I look.  I cannot be categorized because of my attractiveness or lack thereof.
When people ask me if I feel oppressed, I can honestly say no.  I made this decision out of my own free will.  I like the fact that I am taking control of the way other people look at me.  I enjoy the fact that I don’t do not have to follow the ever changing norms fashion industry and any other institution that exploits females sets.
When I cover myself I do it for myriad of reasons, but the easy, one sentence answer is, because I believe God has made it an obligation for believing women.  In the Quran God tells the believing men and women to lower their gaze and to dress modestly.  He (God) specifically addresses women when He asks them not to show off their adornment, except that which is apparent, and draw their veils over their bodies.  (Quran 24:30-31)
Although the English word scarf and the Arabic term hijab have become interchangeable, it is worth noting that hijab is more than just a scarf.  It is a term that covers a variety of clothing including scarves, but also a variety of different dress styles from around the world.  Many have cultural connotations such as the Pakistani shalwar khamis or the Afghani burqa, but whenever a Muslim woman covers “her adornment”, she is said to be wearing hijab.
The literal meaning of hijab is to veil, to cover, or to screen.  Islam is known as a religion concerned with community cohesion and moral boundaries, and therefore hijab is a way of ensuring that the moral boundaries between unrelated men and women are respected.  In this sense, the term hijab encompasses more than a scarf and more than a dress code.  It is a term that denotes modest dressing and modest behavior.  For instance, if a Muslim woman was wearing a scarf but at the same time using bad language, she would not be fulfilling the requirements of hijab.
I chose to wear hijab but it is true that in some families and in some cultures women are forced to wear hijab but this is not the norm.  The Quran clearly states that there is no compulsion in religion (2:256).  Women who choose to wear hijab do not make the decision lightly.  In fact many women testify that they faced great animosity from their Muslim or non-Muslim families when they decided to cover.  Across the globe there are numerous instances of women having to defend their right to wear the hijab.
Hijab can be a symbol of piety and it can be a sign of great inner strength and fortitude.  A woman wearing hijab becomes a very visible sign of Islam.  While Muslim men can blend easily into any society, Muslim woman are often put on the line, and forced to defend not only their decision to cover, but also their religion.  Nevertheless, women who wear hijab insist that the advantages far outweigh any disadvantage conjured up by media bias or general ignorance.
To end I would like to share a poem with you, which beautifully describe the role of hijab

OBJECT OF DESPAIR
(By Fahim Firfiray)

Emma is a lawyer
And so is Aisha too
Colleagues going into court
At circa half past two

Its 1 O’Clock right now
They grab a bite before the trial
They chat about this and that
Conversing with a smile

Aisha is in full hijab
With a loose all over suit
Emma’s in her business wear
With accessories taboot

Emma’s really quite bemused
At Aisha’s godly ways
She looks Aisha in the eyes
And very firmly says

You’re a smart girl Aisha
Why do you wear that across your hair?
Subjugated by “man”-kind
An object of despair

Take it off my sister
Let your banner be unfurled
Don’t blindly follow all around
DECLARE YOUR FREEDOM TO THE WORLD

Aisha is amazed
But not the least bit shy
She bravely puts her milkshake down
And gives Emma the reply

My dear sister Emma,
Why do you dress the way you do?
The skirt you’re wearing round your waist,
Is it really you?

Now that we’ve sat down
I see you tug it across your thighs,
Do you feel ashamed?
Aware of prying eyes?

I see the way you’re sitting,
Both legs joined at the knees,
Who forces you to sit like that?
Do you feel at ease?

I’ll tell you who obliges you,
To dress the way you do,
Gucci, Klein, and St. Laurent
All have designs on you!

In the main, its men my friend,
Who dictate the whims of fashion,
Generating all the garb,
To incite the basest passion

“Sex Sells” there is no doubt
But who buys with such great haste,
The answer is likes like you,
Because they want to be embraced…

They want to be accepted,
On a level playing field
Sure, with brain and intellect
But with body parts revealed

Intelligence and reason
Are useful by and by
But if you want to make a mark
Stay appealing to the eye

You claim your skirt is office like
A business dress of sorts
Would we not laugh at Tony Blair?
If he turned up in shorts?

His could be the poshest of pants
Pinstripe from Saville Rowe
But walking round like that my friend
He’d really have to go

Why do you douse yourself in creams
To make your skin so milky?
Why do you rip off all your hair
To keep your body silky?

A simple shower’s all you need
To stay respectable and clean
The time and money that you spend
Is really quite obscene

Why do you wake up at dawn,
To apply a firm foundation,
Topped with make up and the like,
In one chaotic combination?

And if you should have to leave the house
Devoid of this routine
Why do you feel insecure
That you should not be seen?

Be free my sister Emma
Escape from your deep mire
Don hijab today my friend
And all Islam’s attire

Avoid all those sickly stares
Or whistles from afar
Walk down the street with dignity
Take pride in who you are

Strength lies in anonymity
Be a shadow in the crowd
Until you speak and interact
When your voice will carry loud

You’re a smart girl Emma
Wear this across your hair
Don’t be subjugated by “man”-kind
An object of despair

To use your very words my friend
Let your banner be unfurled
Don’t blindly follow all around
DECLARE YOUR FREEDOM TO THE WORLD

About ثناء

As a daughter, eldest of 4, full-time student, student ambassador and part-time employee, I often find myself with little time to do anything adventurous.  Don’t misunderstand me. I love my life and I wouldn’t change a thing. I just find that there is no better time to avail opportunities presented, than today hence over commitment.  

My name is Sana. Currently I am majoring in Mathematics (so pardon my dry sense of humor) here at CCBC. Eventually I plan to get a degree in Arabic and some other language and MAYBE in Business Management as well, who knows where life will take me.

This is my fifth semester here at CCBC, so I am “super” sophomore. Currently CCBC is my home away from home (which by the way is 10 minutes from CCBC). I divide most of days between all three campuses. In the past I have worked as a tutor at the Student Success Center, Supplemental Instruction Leader (details to come later) and Schedule Builder. Currently I am President of Muslim Student Association (MSA), member of Society of STEM Scholars (SSS), Student Ambassador and work at the Essex Library. So by now you would have noticed that I love to work with people and solve problems.  

(Oh and you will notice I tend to go off in tangents) I was supposed to introduce myself. Ok…. focus/ back to the topic

I grew up in Islamabad, Pakistan (it is in South East Asia), surrounded by a loving family. I love to cook, bake, grill, anything related to food. I like to experiment with spices (not always successful).  Reading also takes a lot of my time. I used to sail, swim, skate, go for cycling and hiking in Pakistan, which unfortunately are of few things I don’t get time to do anymore. I like to think that driving and navigating are my strong points. I love to solve problems. I am not at all good with gadgets (I still carry my notebook planner around and my phone does not have a camera). Last but not the least, I love Mathematics.