Where are you from and where do you live?
I’m Brazilian, lived in London for 9 years , where I got married to an Algerian and reverted to Islam as well, alHamdulillah!
We have done our Hijra to Algeria in June 2006, then we moved to Mecca in 2013 where we currently live since!
We have plans to go back to Algeria in September this year in sha Allah!
How long have you been living in Algeria for?
I have lived in Algeria from 2006 until 2013!! And from September 2017 we will be back ” home ” in sha Allah!! I feel really ” home ” in Algeria, al Hamdulillah!!
What were the hardest things to overcome at the beginning of your hijrah?
There are quiet a few things to mention but what bothered me a lot and took some time to get used to, was the kids “social problems ” among neighbours and cousins! It took us some time to find a balance to teach them how to defend themselves without loosing their manners!! They were used to “please” “thank you” “may I take this or that ?” at the play groups, parks or schools in London. And all of a sudden they had to deal with kids just grabbing their things, lots of swearing and physical fights.
I would not tolerate this behaviour from them but they have learned to be firm, to avoid and ignore ” bad” kids and even use physical force when necessary, to defend themselves! But never be the bullies or attackers! Unfortunately, if they wanted to play outside they had to learn how to balance all that. Sadly here in Mecca we have experienced worse situations, as not only the kids here but also adults can be very abusive and disrespectful to ” foreigners “.
My kids get to be seen as foreigners not because of how they look, but because they can’t help themselves about talking to each other in Portuguese or English. The old ones can easily get away with it. But imagine the old ones shooshing or getting mad at the young ones when they are trying to mingle or fit in ! Lol even I do that when I’m inside a shop, at the doctor, or parks. Still can’t deal with the curious turning necks or top to toe looks when the small kids talk loud in different language in those places. Even though they can’t see a single piece of me behind my jilbab and niqab lol!.
And the positive things?
Oh Ma sha Allah !! There are quite a few things as well! Can’t mention them all. But I felt very welcomed from the very beginning and had lots of help from everyone including neighbours and family. Needless to say that it took some time for me to adapt to the “social issues” as well. Very different from my kids ones of course. But I needed to find my balance and where to stand. Showing your limits without being rude or offending anyone, opening and closing your house with more care to your neighbours or even family members. And other social adjustments. Al Hamdulillah I’m very easy going and adapted quickly to most of it. As I had lived away, for so many years, from my own culture, family and learned a different language in London; switching to Dz was easier because I had his (my husband) family around ma sha Allah! I’m a very family orientated kind of person. I miss mine, in Brazil, very much and having his family close made me feel “warm” again. Al Hamdulillah !
Life away from extended family can be too cold, even when living in a hot country such as Saudi Arabia lol, you know what I mean, right ?
After my mother-in-law and his closest brother passed away (may Allah have mercy on them ), we felt the necessity to change again and made our way to Mecca but always held Algeria as our ” safe-Port “. Soon after we left, we understood that our roots would be deeper in Algeria and that is where we want to” dig in “our place, biithnillah.
Do your kids attend public school? What are your thoughts about school in Algeria?
They went to public and private school. Unfortunately both are far behind when we talk about education system. But I didn’t have high expectations for their “dunya” education before Hijra anyway. What I didn’t expect, was how badly teachers would hit, punish and humiliate the kids. I’m not really talking about my own kids because we have been on the school case for the smallest things. But the stories my kids would tell me about their class mates, those things used to hurt me enough Subhan Allah! I just didn’t want my kids to see or get used to this kind of punishments, as the witnessing itself can harm them psychologically. So we opted for Saudi school in Dz and I was “happy” with them. Just before we moved to Mecca we tried to put them in a private school in Bouzareah (raj’a wa tafawak ) newly opened that year, with Algerian curriculum (which is way harder than Saudi one), and I liked there very much Ma sha Allah!.
But every family and every child have their own needs and different phase, based on age and personality. I have a French sister who’s kids are all in different schools in Dz and she even homeschools one of them. I’m planning to do the same when returning to Dz because I have too many kids ma sha Allah. From 0 to 18 yrs old and we’ve been through quiet bad situations and lots of new experiences at the public Saudi schools here in Mecca, during the past 4 years. That has made me see Algerian schools as Jannah, compared to those here !! So sad, but real.
All kheir though, and I say al Hamdulillah for all that! Allah knows best and I’ve learned how to see Algeria with a better eye, even when comparing to the holiest place on earth: Mecca.
Do you speak derja or Arabic? Any advice to the sisters who want to learn how to speak it?
I don’t speak derja, Arabic or French. You may ask yourself now: what’s wrong with this sister Subhan Allah?? Living in Dz for 7 years and 4 in Mecca… Nothing ????
Yeah yeah yeah !!! Sorry sisters, 13 pregnancies (but 8 kids, al Hamdulillah ) made me tooooo slow to think. I must have lost at least 1/2 of my grey mass just trying to rise them the best I could and making sure they would get Arabic themselves. That is not a real excuse for my laziness lol but ….. forgive me sisters, that is just me. I used to be very disappointed with myself some time ago but now ….. Al Hamdulillah.
Any tips for learning ? I’ll be willing to get those too once I’m back in Dz in sha Allah!.
Just so I to don’t let you down too much …… if they speak slowly, one to one, I can catch loads now, al Hamdulillah. Listening is easier then speaking of course. But when the family is all together chatting, I switch off and fly away. Too fast and toooooo loud for me. Need a break right now. Just thinking about it made me tired Subhan Allah!! Lol
Has it been easy to adapt to the Algerian produces and organize your weekly menu?
Al Hamdulillah! To tell you the truth, I can’t wait to be back there and feel what real fruits or veggies taste like! Ma sha Allah! The flavour and colours of Dz are unique Subhan Allah! Even my mum when she came (to Dz) to visit, was very surprised and praised the fruits and veg. That’s a compliment coming from a very fussy Brazilian mother, definitely added thumbs up to Dz on her opinion, al Hamdulillah. But she had to say: there isn’t so much variety though – ” eyes turn ” sigh!
A general advice to your sisters in Islam who are planning to make hijrah?
Yaaaaaah Allah!!! Istikhara! Du’as, du’as and more du’as! Lots of Sabr! No high expectations, prepare for the worst of the worst and when you get there everything will be bonus, in sha Allah! I kind did that. I was expecting real, terrible, hard times but found it just ok, Al Hamdulillah!
What I’m saying is: Hijra is never meant to be easy, but keep in mind and in your heart that Allah will never overburden you! Your hardship will never be beyond what you can stand! Just deal with it step by step, with full trust in Allah’s reward! You will surely receive it in this Dunya and Akhira in sha Allah!
Name 3 things you love about Algeria.
1- The winter’s blue skies Subhan Allah !! Reminds me of my own country too!
2- The hard working jazairy sisters I’ve met, that taught me so much about sincere niya fisabilillah. May Allah guide, preserve and reward them, ameen!
3- The” hot Algerian blood” of the fearless mujahideen, that one way or another may run through our kids veins and make them so unique and proud of themselves masha Allah, tabarakallah!.
May Allah guide, preserve and reward them too! Ameen!.