Tag - religion

The Beauty of Heena

Every Eid and during weddings women in Mombasa adorn their hands with floral henna patterns, some with the black dye and others natural henna.

In Mombasa, there are henna artist who do the henna designs around town but the most common place is called Bin Sidiq center on Bawazir Lane. There are few salons located inside the shopping arcade that primarily do henna art. In addition, you can find a few on Facebook where you can see samples of their work before you visit them and book online.


The designs depend on status, for little girls normally a small simple design pattern suffices. For a single girl, the art goes just up to the wrist of the hand whereas for married women it is not restricted.

It is believed that a woman must always adorn her hands with henna to look beautiful for her husband so that whenever she is with him, he sees the beautiful and colourful artwork.

The price starts at 300 kshs for a smaller design i.e to the wrist and the higher the design on the hand it goes the higher the price.  Bridal designs are different from the other designs because it is the bride’s first night with her husband she has to look extra beautiful.

Different cultures have specific designs; you can Indian design Mehndi or United Arab Emirates Khaleeji style, also Sudanese black dye style.

The process includes mixing the henna powder with water, and the designer puts the wet henna in a cone which is used to draw with. Once the henna is applied on your skin, you wait for about forty five minutes to one hour for it to dry.After that, you just peel off the dried henna and normally you are advised not to touch water for 6-8 hours so the henna can darken preferably overnight. These days henna is mixed with a thinner which speeds up the process of drying.

Duka La Abdalla Leso

Located in the heart of Biashara Street, Duka ya Abdallah under the Kaderdina Hajee Essak Ltd have been around since the forties of the nineteenth century. Mali ya Abdalla Leso has become a household name in Mombasa and other parts of the world.

The leso is a rectangular piece of material made of pure cotton. It measures approximately 150 x 110 cm, and is wide enough to cover a person from the neck to knees or from breast to toe. All lesos have fairly broad borders (pindo) all around and are printed in bold designs and bright colours. Lesos are bought in pairs – a pair is known as a gora – and are most attractive and useful as a pair. A gora of lesos is joined along the width of the fabric when bought. The buyer then cuts along the width and hems each of the two pieces of lesos to prevent fraying of the sides of the fabric. The leso is also known as the Khanga – the names are interchangeable. – Duka Ya Abdalla

The saying is the crucial part of the leso, it sends a message, and it tells a story to others. Others are made for gifts to newlyweds, to new parents and etc. Once you step into the shop you look for two things in the leso- the saying and colour patterns of the leso. Choosing a name depends on the occasion of the purchase of the leso. If it is for a newlywed, one with beautiful colours and congratulatory words will be ideal.   A tradition that used to be common in Mombasa is when neighbors quarrel they just argue through sayings of the leso, one will wear a Leso with a saying that indicates hate to the other. Duka Ya Abdalla gets the sayings from anyone who gives them suggestion, they accept from the general public.

So if you are in Mombasa, take a walk to Biashara street to Duka ya Abdalla shop and peruse through the different patterns and colours of the lesos showcased.

In the meantime here are some samples from my visit to Duka ya Abdalla shop.


Ramadhan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting to commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad according to Islamic belief. This annual observance is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam. The month lasts 29–30 days based on the visual sightings of the crescent moon.

Muslim’s fast between dusk and dawn, no water or food can be consumed. Also, it is advisable to spend all free time doing worship. In Mombasa, a tradition passed on by generation and generations is every evening between 4pm and dusk food vendors align themselves from Markiti to Bonden selling varieties of coastal snacks at affordable prices. The residents of Mombasa call it Al-Arsa meaning varieities of food.

Below find slideshow gallery of the Street Vendors

Jina langu ni Mohammed AbdulRahman


1) Your name and what do you do?

My name is Mohammed AbdulRahman but mostly people know me as (Moh’dBauss) I am 21 years old and I am a volunteer at Camara Education.

2) Why did you volunteer and why did you choose Camara to volunteer?

The reason why I chose to volunteer in Camara Education is I wanted a better understanding about different people, communities and organizations as well as to gain career experience and develop skills or learn new ones. Finally I volunteer to give back to the community and make the world a better place.

3) You went to school in UAE, How do you find the education system in Kenya?

Yes I did go to school in UAE. I find the education system in Kenya much harder than other systems. Which is an advantage to all those who are using this system.

4) How would your friends and family describe you?

They describe me easy going.

5) Describe your proudest moment while volunteering?

My proudest moments volunteering are many. . One of them being last month when we traveled to Uasin Gishu County where we dispatched over 500 computers and networked 36 schools. It was an amazing experience and you can truly see the joy in the children’s faces when they are greeted with this new technology.

6) Being a volunteer, have you ever felt you work went unappreciated?

Not really everywhere I go people seem to be interested in what I do and always ask me how can they join. Its nice to part of changing peoples lives to the better.

7) Where is your favorite place in Mombasa?

My favorite place in Mombasa will be Nyali Beach. Its a really nice quiet place where you can enjoy your weekend and hangout with friends.

8) do you miss UAE?

I miss my friends and family who are in UAE. I really like it here in Kenya and the people in Mombasa are really awesome, socializing and open minded. Plus you get to learn a lot here.

9) What do you want to be doing 5 years from now?

5 years from now I would love to have an organization where we can help people pursue their dreams and make the world a better place.

10) Parting shot

So implore everyone to find a cause and volunteer, because not only will you be helping others, you will be helping yourself as well.