Algeria is full of beauty, but little does the world know…

Located in Northern Africa, Algeria borders the Mediterranean Sea, Tunisia, Libya, Morocco, Western Sahara, Mauritania, Mali, and Niger. Algeria is the largest country in Africa, full of natural resources, breathtaking landscapes, a rich culture and history, and beautiful down-to-earth people.

When you type “Algeria” in the Google search engine, you don’t see breathtaking and captivating images shared…so here’s to showing you the R E A L  D E A L!

Algerian Flag

A L G E R I A 

الجزائر

The following set of photos from the streets of Wahran, Algeria belong to the photographer Ramzy Bensaadi. I spoke to Ramzy, who is based in Wahran, and requested permission to feature his work on my blog.

Photography Credits: Ramzy Bensaadi (c) 2014

Wlaad El Houma — The Neighborhood Kids

Ramzy Bensaadi

Boucher à Wahran — A Butcher in Wahran, Algeria

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The Many Faces of Humanity Walking the Streets of Wahran, Algeria

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Men Gathering to Buy Lunch – Karantika (ground chick pea flour sandwiches)

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Le Marché – The Flea Market

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My People, The Algerians

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Sahab El-Barood

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The following set of photos belong to the photographer Zako Kheddam. I spoke to Zako, who is based in Wahran, and requested permission to feature his work on my blog.

Photography Credits: Kheddam Zako Photographie (c) 2014

Love on the Streets of Tamanrasset, Algeria

Zako Kheddam

The Many Faces of Algeria

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The Blues of Algeria

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Le Coucher du Soleil – Sunset

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Driving Down a Mountain Road – Jijel, Algeria

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à La Pêcherie – Fishermen

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Lala fel Hayek – A Lady Wearing the Traditional Algerian Veil

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Off the Shores of ‘Aïn El Turk, Wahran

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The Flowing Blues of Algeria – Let’s swim 😉

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Port of Oran – The City of Wahran is One of the Major Port Cities in Algeria

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The Spanish Built Fort Santa Cruz & The Chapel of Santa Cruz with the Statue of the Virgin Mary in Wahran

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Life on the Beach Shores – Wahran

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The Sand Dunes of the Sahara Desert

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   Kristel Beach, Wahran

Kristel beach

The following set of photos belong to the photographer Mohamed Amine Gougam. I spoke to Mohamed, who is based in Algiers, and requested permission to feature his work on my blog.

Photography Credits:  Mohamed Amine GOUGAM PHOTOGRAPHY (c) 2012

Hydra, Algeria

Hydra

The Mountains of Algeria, Tikejda

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Djurdjura National Park – Tizi Ouzuo, Algeria

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The Beach life

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Life

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More Photos will be uploaded as they come. Enjoy! Love ❤

Galek “Ekhti Rassi w Fout” – I care, but I don’t…because I can’t?

Ain Al Turk

Beach in ’Aïn El Turk, Wahran, Algeria | Photography Credits: Kheddam zako photographie (c) 2014

: قاله

…نار راهي في الحومة

: قاله

تخطي دارنا واتفوت

: قاله

…النار راهي في داركم

: قاله

تخطي راسي واتفوت

Yes, that is Arabic.

Algerian dialect, to be specific.

…Also known as the perspective of some Algerians, when it comes to the current devastating and frustrating situation in Algeria.

[Translation of Quote] The discourse is between two Algerians. Person 1 tells person 2, “Yo, there’s fire in your neighborhood.” Person 2 shrugs it off and claims that it doesn’t concern him, because it’s not at his house. Person 1 mentions again, “yo, the fire now is in your house.” Person 2 shrugs it off and claims that it doesn’t concern him, because it’s not him [on fire].”

If we can easily acknowledge that there is something wrong, but can’t mobilize to improve the situation…yeah, well that’s a fail. 

My heart takes an excruciating stab every time I hear “what can I do? why should I care if they don’t care?” uttered from some blessed Algerians living outside of the restricted and demeaning lines established by the Europeans.

Heck, it makes my blood boil. My blood pressure skyrockets every time. Doubt and skepticism make me wonder why humanity has lost its faithful courage to speak up and move toward proper innovation and change. Perhaps it could be a result of the scarring events that led to the liberation of the motherland in 1962 (as if we’re any more “liberated” today) that’s stumbling the Algerians and hesitating them…peut-être?!

The dirty game of politics, I have no interest in…I’ll leave that part of the world to the more qualified, from Generation Y. Those who are actually head over heels for making the country a better place, effectively.

My fire passionately ignites when working alongside the lazy, defeated, tormented, warm-blooded, bright, and beautiful people of Algeria. It’s painfully aggravating to see a country full of natural resources, intellect, and breathtaking landscapes go to a waste.  One day, God willing, I will be able to land in Wahran, Algeria, hop off the plane and skip through a clean and fresh town. I want to see order and discipline restored in Algeria.

Politics aside, I speak of the simple every day basics that are lacking, from self-awareness to proper hygiene. Take littering for example, the country is polluted with the infamous plastic blue bags, and trash is scattered disgustingly on the roads and landscapes. Normally, to urinate (hashakoum – excuse me) outside in a corner is frowned upon according to the standards of society, but bless your soul, as you walk the streets of Wahran during the hot summer days, you’re bound to cover your nose, if not, wanting to regurgitate from the striking smell of urine. I beg to differ, it’s not the stray cats and dogs that are urinating carelessly, but human beings. Why? Because basic discipline and etiquette is absent.

Not many care to work on the nitty-gritty of the existing problems and I believe that’s the only way to change. 

The People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria, oh the irony!

…Maybe I should run for president…HA-HA, just kidding. #HaveSeveralSeats

I finished my undergraduate studies in December 2013 and am currently preparing for my masters. I have come to realize that working for a cause (instead of solely running after money) is more fulfilling. At this point, a focus in international development with a concentration in education, gender equality and women’s empowerment in the Middle East and North Africa region is the way to go. I guess by now you can tell what I want to do with my life, God willing!

Tell your brain to see the positive in everything.

If the citizens of Algeria are able to wake up, see the trash around them, and have the heeding consciousness to pick it up and throw it out…that, my friend, will solve 1/3 of Algeria’s problems. People will start to realize what it takes to be in order and appreciate the results of discipline. They’ll be digging for that diamond in the rough. Along with them, I’ll be walking the streets of Wahran, quartier quartier, and cleaning the trash too. #RestoringFaithinHumanity

As Médine would say,

Peace in the Middle East and North Africa.

#GotaDollandaDream

To hell with OVERTHINKING!

I could care less about my English in this piece.

Go on now…

I’m confused as to why life would throw me under the bus today. Indeed, I know that shit has to happen in life, in order for you to learn and grow. You have to suck it up and deal with it, and move on. Been there, done that plenty of times, but playing the mature card this time sucks greatly.

Why is that sometimes when you genuinely care for someone you feel betrayed when they act in an unexpected manner? You feel like smacking them, but at the same time you still want them present with you. It’s okay, I understand and respect that in all friendships hardships happen, and they can be confronted and all can be well….but what the hell, why can’t I fully come to terms with my reality now? Perhaps because I expected better from someone and they delivered less? Maybe. That’s totally okay, but I’m just going to need more time to let go of my reality check.

“I am, for the most part, a good person. I was born with this double-edged sword of a trait: My default is to just believe the best in people, which is why whenever someone has intentionally done me wrong, it’s a huge emotional b*tch slap.” Growing up, I used to snap on the spot when someone had done me wrong, but now that I’m 23 on to 24, I’ve learned that it’s best to keep quiet during the time of frustration, take it all in, and zip my mouth. I reflect on what has happened, who did what to who, analyze what I am feeling and how much I care to see if the frustration and hoopla is all worth my time, efforts, and love. And yes, my tears, because I shed salty water from my eyes when I’m frustrated, just the way others scream and throw tantrums. I am an easy-to-please, typical nice girl, through and through. “The reason I am telling you this is so that you know something important: Being that I am so nice, if you do, somehow, piss me off, you have clearly done something very, very wrong.”

That said, I am not your typical weak girl. I can give you a piece of my mind, when I want to, at the time I want, in the manner I want. If I don’t care about you, I wouldn’t even budge a toenail for you.

I am very connected to my emotions and my feelings, and value my inner peace and contentment more than anything. I am man enough to man up for my mistakes, confront the weakest, and stand up for the truth. I speak my mind as it comes and try real hard to manage my anger and stay calm and collected. Keep it classy. Don’t you ever let one day pass and think that because I am nice, you can walk all over me. I see everything, and I pick and choose my battles accordingly. DUH, my emotional intelligence is greater than yours, trust me. But it’s okay, I forgive you and forgive myself, foremost. I want you to know that I will forever care for you and it might just take me a little more time to have full closure.

To hell with OVERTHINKING ish. #TheStruggleofLifeIsREAL lawwwd.

My dear reader, I hope you understand. No hard feelings. Much love. And tomorrow’s another bright day!

Good night, World.

Ms. Sparkles

Dear Adel Ait-Ghezala

Dear Adel Ait-Ghezala,

It has been a year since you have been laid to rest in peace, and almost every other day I remember you. ‘Tis true that you and I have never met in this life, but I am positive that in the next life we shall. 

It was around this time that your family and friends turned to the world seeking prayers and help with the search effort, when you went missing off the coast of Dubai on Jan 1, 2014. As the world continued to pray and search for you, we dared to not lose any hope until the last minute. ‘Tis true, that in the end, whatever is meant to be shall be, wane3ma bi Allah.

I sincerely pray that you are in a better place today, Adel.

I also want you to know that if I ever become something in life, you are half the reason to my success. I remember the moment when Hazami Barmada and team Adel Ait-Ghezala Rescue Effort issued a petition and circulated it throughout our community, in hopes to convince our Algerian government to step in properly and take initiative for your search efforts. By then, my fears were set in place and I started to realize that our government has a long way to go regarding human rights. It is the painful truth, le sigh. And at that point in time, I swore to live a life restoring faith in humanity, in your honor.

May you continue to rest in power Adel. 

Sincerely,

Hasnia

Adel RIP

Shawn Achor – The happy secret to better work

“If you can raise somebody’s level of positivity in the present, then their brain experiences what we now call a ‘Happiness Advantage’, which is your brain at positive performs significantly better than it does at negative, neutral or stressed. Your intelligence rises, your creativity rises, your energy levels rise. In fact, what we’ve found is that every single business outcome improves.”  

TED Talk – We believe that we should work to be happy, but could that be backwards? In this fast-moving and entertaining talk, psychologist Shawn Achor argues that actually happiness inspires productivity.

Main Quotes

“Your brain at positive is 31 percent more productive than your brain at negative, neutral or stressed.” 

 “Because dopamine, which floods into your system when you’re positive, has two functions. Not only does it make you happier, it turns on all of the learning centers in your brain allowing you to adapt to the world in a different way.”

“We’ve found that there are ways that you can train your brain to be able to become more positive.”  

– – – – – – – – – –

Think positive. Trick your brain into thinking positive and seeing the good in everything! 

#PositiveOverNegative

Kakenya Ntaiya – The girl who demanded school

#YesAllWomen – “I want to challenge you today. You are listening to me because you are here, very optimistic. You are somebody who is so passionate. You are somebody who wants to see a better world. You are somebody who wants to see that war ends, no poverty. You are somebody who wants to make a difference. You are somebody who wants to make our tomorrow better. I want to challenge you today that to be the first, because people will follow you. Be the first. People will follow you. Be bold. Stand up. Be fearless. Be confident. Move out, because as you change your world, as you change your community, as we believe that we are impacting one girl, one family, one village, one country at a time.We are making a difference, so if you change your world, you are going to change your community, you are going to change your country, and think about that. If you do that, and I do that, aren’t we going to create a better future for our children, for your children, for our grandchildren? And we will live in a very peaceful world. Thank you very much.”

EXACTLY! Listen through…

 

TED Talk – Kakenya Ntaiya made a deal with her father: She would undergo the traditional Maasai rite of passage of female circumcision if he would let her go to high school. Ntaiya tells the fearless story of continuing on to college, and of working with her village elders to build a school for girls in her community. It’s the educational journey of one that altered the destiny of 125 young women.

Main Quotes

“I went to school not because the Maasais’ women or girls were going to school. It’s because my mother was denied an education, and she constantly reminded me and my siblings that she never wanted us to live the life she was living.” 

“As I spoke to the women, they told me, “You know what we need? We really need a school for girls.”Because there had not been any school for girls. And the reason they wanted the school for girls is because when a girl is raped when she’s walking to school, the mother is blamed for that. If she got pregnant before she got married, the mother is blamed for that, and she’s punished. She’s beaten. They said, “We wanted to put our girls in a safe place.”

As a new dawn is happening in my school, a new beginning is happening. As we speak right now, 125 girls will never be mutilated. One hundred twenty-five girls will not be married when they’re 12 years old. One hundred twenty-five girls are creating and achieving their dreams. This is the thing that we are doing, giving them opportunities where they can rise. As we speak right now, women are not being beaten because of the revolutions we’ve started in our community.

 – – – – – – – – – –

Kakenya Ntaiya, another role model and a source of inspiration for me. – Hasnia 

My daughter, Malala

“People ask me, what special is in my mentorship which has made Malala so bold and so courageous and so vocal and poised? I tell them, don’t ask me what I did. Ask me what I did not do. I did not clip her wings, and that’s all. “

Can we have more men like him in this world? KThankYouVeryMuch. #JustSaying

TED TALK – Pakistani educator Ziauddin Yousafzai reminds the world of a simple truth that many don’t want to hear: Women and men deserve equal opportunities for education, autonomy, an independent identity.

In his short talk, he tells stories from his own life and the life of his daughter, Malala, who was shot by the Taliban in 2012 simply for daring to go to school.

Main Quotes

On the Consequences of a Patriarchal society:

“At the age of five, while she should be going to school, she stays at home and her brothers are admitted in a school. Until the age of 12, somehow, she has a good life. She can have fun. She can play with her friends in the streets, and she can move around in the streets like a butterfly. But when she enters her teens, when she becomes 13 years old, she is forbidden to go out of her home without a male escort. She is confined under the four walls of her home. She is no more a free individual. She becomes the so-called honor of her father and of her brothers and of her family.” 

On the Norm of a Patriarchal society:

“OBEDIENCE – A good girl is supposed to be very quiet, very humble and very submissive. It is the criteria. The role model good girl should be very quiet. She is supposed to be silent and she is supposed to accept the decisions of her father and mother and the decisions of elders, even if she does not like them. If she is married to a man she doesn’t like or if she is married to an old man, she has to accept, because she does not want to be dubbed as disobedient. If she is married very early, she has to accept. Otherwise, she will be called disobedient. And what happens at the end? In the words of a poetess, she is wedded, bedded, and then she gives birth to more sons and daughters. And it is the irony of the situation that this mother, she teaches the same lesson of obedience to her daughter and the same lesson of honor to her sons. And this vicious cycle goes on, goes on.”

On Education and a Girl’s Right to It:

“You will be asking, then, why should I mention about the admission of a girl in a school? Yes, I must mention it. It may be taken for granted in Canada, in America, in many developed countries, but in poor countries,in patriarchal societies, in tribal societies, it’s a big event for the life of girl. Enrollment in a school means recognition of her identity and her name. Admission in a school means that she has entered the world of dreams and aspirations where she can explore her potentials for her future life.”

“And all these good values, I tried to inculcate in her personality. And this was not only she, only Malala. I imparted all these good values to my school, girl students and boy students as well. I used education for emancipation. I taught my girls, I taught my girl students, to unlearn the lesson of obedience. I taught my boy students to unlearn the lesson of so-called pseudo-honor.”

On Malala’s attack: 

“While my daughter was on the verge of life and death, I whispered into the ears of my wife, “Should I be blamed for what happened to my daughter and your daughter?”

And she abruptly told me, “Please don’t blame yourself. You stood for the right cause. You put your life at stake for the cause of truth, for the cause of peace, and for the cause of education, and your daughter in inspired from you and she joined you. You both were on the right path and God will protect her.”

– – – – – – – – –

Bless your soul Mr. Ziauddin Yousafzai, you and Malala will forever be role models and a source of inspiration for me.

If I ever make it in life, God willing I  W I L L , you are part of the reason! 

God Bless You All, xoxo – Hasnia 

Thinking Positive is a Way of Life!

Hijabi + Balloon TeamRidzDesign

 #LeSwagBezzaf   | Photography Credits: Ridwan Adhami of RidzDesign (c) 2012

It’s been a little over two months since the last time I posted, and I have been experiencing a roller coaster ride of emotions (along with “writer’s block”), mainly because I have started a new internship in a new field, that has me immersed, head over heels. I have found a purpose in life and my drive to learn everything is in acceleration mode. I’m learning new pieces of information everyday (R E A D I N G a lot) and it is overwhelmingly exciting — positive food for thought is fuel for life! * hi5 *

In the meantime, as I get over my writer’s block, I would like to to share with you a couple of points (written by Kathy Caprino) I came across today, that make P E R F E C T sense. * does happy dance * I could not have said it any better.

Do read through and feel free to share with me your thoughts!

Positive People Make this Jungle We Call “World” a Better Place 

Positivity is a way of life, a good habit, that one C H O O S E S to pursue. #ThinkPositiveOverNegative  

 9 Core Behaviors Of People Who Positively Impact The World

Kathy Caprino writes in her latest Forbes article: 

“It’s critical to note that people who’ve made a real difference aren’t all privileged, advantaged or “special” by any stretch.  Many come from disadvantaged families, crushing circumstances and initially limited capabilities, but have found ways to pick themselves up and rise above their circumstances (and their genes) to transform their own lives and those around them.

Researching these makers, shakers and disruptors, and working with my own clients who shape the world around them in powerful and constructive ways, I’ve observed 9 core behaviors that set them apart – habitual ways of behaving and approaching life and work that distinguish them from those who long to make a difference but can’t or won’t find the way.

  • They dedicate themselves to what gives their life meaning and purpose.

Thousands of people today don’t believe in meaning and purpose as something to discover or pursue in life.  And others believe in a life purpose but won’t take the risk to identify or honor it.  Those with positive influence feel otherwise.  They have found that there is a purpose to their life, and that purpose usually involves some aspect of turning their “mess into a message,” or using what they’ve learned (often the hard way) as a means of being of service to others.  People with a sense of purpose are driven, focused, committed, and light up from the inside – unable to be deterred or distracted from what they believe is the reason they’re on this planet at this time.

  • They commit to continually bettering themselves.

People who impact the world for the better know that they are not perfect. They understand how their knowledge isn’t “complete” – there are always gaps, biases, limitations and prejudices, and new places to go with their expertise.

Yes, there are powerful narcissists aplenty, but their influence isn’t positive or helpful in the long run – it’s damaging and destructive.  Innovators who positively shape the world come from a “beginner’s mind” and a loving, compassionate heart – with an openness to see, learn, and experience new things on the way to being a better servant of the world.

  • They engage with people in open, mutually-beneficial ways.

Those with huge positive influence understand the power of relationships, connection, and engaging with the world openly.  They’re not afraid to get “out there” – connecting with others, sharing their knowledge and talents, offering their authentic and often contrarian viewpoints and opinions.  They’ve pushed beyond any introversion, shyness or reluctance to be who they are, and have learned how to relate well with others and build mutually-supportive relationships that catapult both parties to a higher level.  They know that positive, supportive and authentic relationships are the foundational building blocks to anything and everything they want to achieve.

  •  They invest time and energy not in what is, but what can be.

When they see something that agitates and disturbs them, they strive to know more, get to the root of the issue, research and understand the contributing factors, and arrive at new solutions.  They observe gaps and mistakes in common thinking and behavior, and trust themselves in their belief that it’s time to push the boundaries of what’s accepted.   They want to affect change because they believe change will bring a better way to live.

  • They embrace critique.

(Hm….I don’t know if I fully agree with this as it is indeed a beautiful struggle….Constructive criticism is GREAT!)

  • They spread what they know.

Those who make a true positive difference can’t help but share and teach what they’ve learned. They don’t see their knowledge as just some commodity to sell, as a meal ticket or a money maker – they see it as information that has to be shared with the world for its betterment. They believe their ideas and innovations are of use and value to others, and can’t help but share those openly, and teach others what they’ve learned.  They live the universal principle  – “the more you give, the more you get.”

  • They uplift others as they ascend.
People who positively impact the world not only obtain amazing results in their work, but their process of obtaining these results – how they operate in life — is also inspiring and uplifting.  They are happy to help and support others, and have an overflow of positive energy that enriches the lives of everyone they work with and connect with.  These positive influencers want others to grow.  They walk away from “success-building” opportunities that will be hurtful and damaging to others. They know that those unethical, demeaning or destructive approaches go against the very meaning and purpose they’re committed to.
  • They view the journey as the goal.
It’s about what they’re learning, experiencing, and building that helps others, and for that, there is no defined end point.  They embrace failure more readily than others as “information” that guides them.  They are more fluid and flexible, and more open to the “how’s” because their ultimate goal is not about upholding their title, income, reputation, stature or power, but about new ways to help and share what they know.
  • They use their power and influence well.
Positive influencers use their power well and wisely. They understand the widespread influence they have, the power they have to build up and elevate, or tear down.  Those who impact the world for the better are careful and judicious with their words, actions and behaviors. They operate with heart, and care deeply about their leadership and communication process and style, and the influence they have.  They take it seriously, as a special honor and responsibility not to be flaunted or misused.  They understand their special role, and accept it with grace, compassion, and care.”
In the end, think Positive. Tell your Brain to think positive. Try to see the good in everything. That is all. 
Good night, xoxo.
The points mentioned above are from Kathy Caprino’s June 02, 2014 Forbes article (found here).

Leymah Gbowee – Unlock the intelligence, passion, greatness of girls

“If you create a space [for girls and women]: You unlock intelligence. You unlock passion. You unlock commitment. You unlock focus. You unlock great leaders.”

“Nobel Peace Prize Liberian winner Leymah Gbowee has two powerful stories to tell — of her own life’s transformation, and of the untapped potential of girls around the world. Can we transform the world by unlocking the greatness of girls?”

YES, we can. Amen!