Ramadan is upon us on the sunny island of Mombasa and with it comes the long nights filled with prayer, old town adorned in lights, and delicious street food being sold almost in every corner right before the break of the fast. The maghrib prayer -that is the prayer at sunset- is the call for the fasters to finally eat to their hearts content. What do Mombasans do after? Find below 5 things to do after iftar, or the break of the fast, during Ramadan.
1. Get a shawarma or mishkaki
After almost 12 hours of a full fast, you work up a bit of an appetite. Take a walk through out the streets after the breaking of the fast and you’ll see people lined up in little corner kiosks where they sell mishkaki or shawarma to make sure your tummy is filled up for the next days fast. A crowd favorite is at Makadara: famous for their succulent pieces of flavorful mishkaki you can never go wrong with this local favorite.
2. Drink a cool refreshing falooda
A warm balmy night in Mombasa during Ramadan is incomplete without a drink of falooda – an ice cream shake made with fruits, or other ingredients, vermicelli, chia seeds, milk or avocado. It’s a classic and has been around for ages in Mombasa. A crowd favorite is Azad Ice Cream where they offer the classic falooda and modern takes of the falooda with flavors featuring your favorite chocolate bars – twix, snickers, the works. Delicious!
3. Take a stroll around Old Town
Ramadan is beaming with life at night when people rush to catch extra prayers, catch up with friends, or just walk off all the food eaten at sunset. From Makadara on wards, the lights are up and it’s a pleasant vibe to just take in the characteristic beauty of Old Town. Meet up with some friends and get a smoothie on the way and enjoy the melodic prayers booming from the mosques speakers nearby.
4. Visit a historical mosque
Prayers are an important part of Ramadan as this is the time for Muslims to really work hard and get as much prayers and charity as they can get in this month. Every mosque will have Taraweeh prayers (Voluntary night prayers) and recite the Quran during the prayers. Don’t be shy and take a look inside, but you’ll have to hurry, the mosques fill up fast!
5. Friendly game of Keram, or cards
Keram is a game which consists of a large smooth board with chips that you hit with your fingers that slide to the goals on each corner of the board. It’s a game played in India, the Middle East, and found its way (through colonization and Arab influence) to little ole Mombasa. It’s a game played often during Ramadan as a way to pass time during the fasting hours and to relax after the break. If you take a walk in Old Town and go really deep in the winding alley ways, you’ll see neighbors playing a friendly game and maybe a small crowd of children eagerly cheering them on. Ask to join in and try it out, but be warned! It’s a lot harder than it looks!