Thursday, June 19, 2008

DHL ships 1,500 copies of Omani book on cancer to Tanzania

18 May 2008

MUSCAT -- As part of the company's corporate commitment to sustainable communities, DHL Express Oman recently supported the transport of 1,500 copies of Nasra al Adawi's book Brave Faces: The Daring Stand Against Cancer to Tanzania. The book will be used as a tool by organisations and volunteers to help create awareness about breast and cervical cancer in the country. "Nasra's entrepreneurial spirit and support of underprivileged individuals in their endeavours to access quality information about cancer, is inspirational. This is in line with DHL's strategy that is derived from three concepts, investing in people, the community, and environment," commented Geoff Walsh, DHL Express Country Manager, Oman.

"We are very proud to support Nasra's unique efforts to raise awareness about cancer in Tanzania. Her work is rooted in humanitarian and charitable issues, and she has dedicated her time to educating women about the illness, instilling hope, and contributing to a sustainable environment," Walsh added. The book consists of a collection of intense poetry and personal stories of women who have endured the struggles of cancer and have survived the battle. Born in Zanzibar and raised in the UAE, Nasra has balanced the content of the book to include poetry, professional medical advice, and first person accounts from women who have undergone the physical and emotional pain of cancer.

"In this book I have taken the opportunity to give tribute in prose and poetry to honour those African women whom I have met, who are coping with either breast or cervical cancer. The bravery of each of these individual women has been my inspiration and I am very thankful to DHL for delivering the books and helping spread my message to women in Africa who are still reluctant to talk about cancer. Breast and cervical cancer are among the most common cancer types in Tanzania," said Nasra. Nasra has a long history in writing poems, articles, and books about cancer and giving the proceeds from sales to children suffering from cancer in Oman. The Tanzanian Breast Cancer Foundation and the South African Health Foundation for Cancer will launch the book in Tanzania by the end of May. It has been written in Swahili and English.

By Staff Reporter

© Oman Daily Observer 2008

Sunday, December 30, 2007

~Compassion Walk~

Strength, fortitude and compassion walk hand-in-hand throughout the pages of Nasra Al Adawi's book Brave Faces. This is a book of poetry all must read for it takes us through the pain and suffering, the anger, fear and loneliness the horrid disease of cancer spawns.
Most of all it gives hope - hope that we are in control of our destiny - that we do not have to give in and be a silent victim to one of the world's most deadly diseases. In this moving collection of highly poignant poetry and personal stories we hear the voices of those who have endured the horrors of cancer, most of whom have come through the other side. Nasra shows us that cancer does not have to be a word secretly whispered in the darkness of night but that it can be talked about in terms of courage, hope and yes, survival.
This is an emotionally charged book that will inspire any who wander within its pages.
Janice Thomson,
Poet and artist

~One who eases the burden of another does not live in vain.~


One who eases the burden of another does not live in vain.

Your work raises awareness for this illness and helps bring about the day when a cure will be possible. And your care that you show in wanting to help special needs children is beyond commendable--it is also a living example of the kind of work that helps all humanity.

You never know which of those children may one day have the next great idea, or who may in turn help another to learn what you taught them. The world will echo with you thoughts, even if it's one small echo at a time.

And I thank you again for the kindness you showed me when my aunt was ill. She was strong, but the cancer was too advanced and had spread to much. We all had hope and I personally never gave up, but it was too much for her to fight.Like you, she did not live in vain.

She loved everyone without hesitation, and helped all her friends and my family when ever she could.

Thank you, Nasra. I'll always be a fan of your work and your kind, blessed efforts.

Monday, December 24, 2007

My Poetic Moments

Priyanka Sacheti, Friday Report

Published: November 23, 2007, 01:04

I was born on the small island of Pemba near Zanzibar in Tanzania. I am of mixed parentage with my father [who lived in Zanzibar] hailing from nearby Comoros island while my mother's family is Omani, from the northern town of Rustaq, although she was born and raised in Zanzibar. I moved to Ras al Khaimah when I was 4 then shifted base to Dubai nine years later. I still regard the UAE as my home for it is where I attended school and grew up. I have been living in Oman for a decade and am presently working as a coordinator at the Spanish Language Centre in Muscat. As a child, I had various dreams … … one of which was to become a teacher for children with special needs. After completing school, I did a Montessori course for children with special needs by correspondence. I then worked as a volunteer then an assistant teacher at Al Noor, a private institution in Dubai for training children with special needs. It was amazing working with those children. As their teacher, one might think that I was opening up the world to them. However, it was they who transformed and opened new worldsfor me. Afterwards, I also worked in an advertising agency, which kept me on my toes. I completed the Charted Institute of Marketing course, which proved beneficial for my work. Starting as a receptionist, I worked my way up to be a promotion coordinator.

I left the UAE in 1997 because I wanted to live with my mother in Oman. I had visited Oman during my holidays but that was an altogether different experience from living here. After arriving here, I became more aware of my Omani heritage. It's also nice here because I have a huge extended family on my maternal side. Oman's rich culture is very family-oriented. We are all involved in each other's lives and it is wonderful to have that kind of familial support. However, I am also thankful to my father's side of the family; my half-brother and sister who raised me while I was in the UAE. I may now be away from them but they – along with my nieces and nephews – still shower me with so much love.

A turning point in my life …

… was when my father passed away in Zanzibar due to cancer. His death was the catalyst that led me to publish a collection of my poems, Collective Thoughts for the benefit of children cancer patients at Sultan Qaboos University Hospital (SQUH).

Until that point, I had written poetry solely for myself since childhood. I was a very shy child, constantly engrossed in my writing. I had stacks of files containing my poetry which I imagined would only be discovered long after I had gone. I was a humanities-oriented student and dreamt of being both a poet and a teacher of special needs. However, I soon realised that poetry doesn't pay and that I would have to find a job while also pursuing my poetry. I therefore wrote poetry for the sheer pleasure of it. At the most, I imagined myself reading my poetry aloud in front of an audience.

I would have laughed if someone had told me 10 years ago that I would publish a book. However, after my father's death, I wanted to raise awareness about cancer. I wanted to help people by bringing together a collection of poems dealing with cancer. I faced various hurdles in order to publish Collective Thoughts. I faced external challenges, such as finding sponsors, and internal dilemmas, when I wondered whether I would ever be able to achieve this goal. I was also determined to promote and launch this book, despite this being my maiden publishing venture, using my experience in advertising and promotion. I feel that I was never aware of God's miracles as deeply as I did when I was creating this book. Everything eventually fell together in place. Many people's have contributed towards the book … … including my father-figure graphic designer, Dr Zakia al Lamki, former head of Child's Health department at SQUH … and other friends and well-wishers. That's why the book is entitled Collective Thoughts. I wanted to pay tribute to the efforts, wishes and support of various people who helped this book get published. It was an unforgettable period in my life.After this, I didn't think I could work on another book. However, I found myself writing and launching my second poetry collection, Within Myself: Willpower to Live Beyond Breast Cancer. In addition to poetry, I included narratives from breast cancer survivors to bring out their voices and pain. This book led to the inception of a third book about breast cancer patients in Tanzania.

I recently visited Zanzibar

The purpose of the trip was to generate awareness about the disease as well as to obtain a mammography for the Ocean Ward Institute. Originally, I saw this trip as an opportunity to finish [my third] book. However, after arriving there, I witnessed such heart-wrenching sights that I could not get their faces out of my mind. People wholeheartedly embraced me wherever I went, taking pride in my African heritage upon hearing that my father was African. Avon MHD [Avon's exclusive distributor in Oman] gave me some [breast cancer crusade] ribbons to distribute to the patients there. Nurses explained to the patients that these ribbons would provide them with mental strength while fighting this disease. I visited the patients few days later to see the ribbons still proudly pinned to their blouses. It made me experience a huge responsibility towards them. It was no longer merely a book … it had become a mission. I have since created a leaflet on breast self-examination, which has been distributed among the patients there. I chose poetry as a means of generating social awareness about cancer … … because it was the only tool I had. My sole intention is to raise awareness about issues dear to my heart through my poetry. The process of writing is the easiest part; the difficulties lie in the technicalities of creating a book. Those are two contrasting worlds. I used to be shy, although working on the books has fundamentally transformed me as a person, taking me beyond the realms of ordinary experiences.


Me and my poetic moments:
I do not think poetry should be limited to the confines of a book. I feel that life is full of poetic moments. I recently held a poetry workshop in which I used poetry as a means of therapy. I encouraged people who were ill, stressed or depressed to write poetry so that they could better express themselves and initiate a healing process. The concept of poetry therapy – practised by certified poetry therapists – is steadily gaining popularity in the West, particularly the US. Poets visit hospitals where they read poetry to patients and encourage them to write poetry.


Review Written by Floots

Perhaps it will seem strange to some that I, as a man, feel moved to review, and hopefully encourage others to read, this book. The truth is that cancer in its many forms touches most of us in some way: in my case it stole both of my parents and has undoubtedly left me with my own latent fears and an unspoken empathy with those who are struck by it and, of course those who are close to them.

Nasra Al Adawi deals with breast cancer and cervical cancer and does so in a unique and comprehensive way. She uses professional, medical advice to let her readers learn more about the illnesses but, equally importantly, she uses her own poetry, and that of others, together with first person accounts from women who have undergone the physical and emotional pain of cancer.
The truth is that these particular cancers carry so much emotional weight in terms of self-image and sexuality and it is vital that these aspects are dealt with as they are within these pages. The Route, one of the poems, sums it up all too well: “The path of living is not a silky route.” Brave Face speaks of “wailing inside.”Then, moving on to the first person accounts, we learn from Jane Doe about the suffering of loved ones: the cancer can have a profound effect upon them. I think that we can easily “understand” this in a cool, objective way but hearing it from a patient gives the knowledge new meaning and impact.Should money be an issue in the treatment of such illnesses? Obviously not - but reality says otherwise and we can see this in the writing of Farida Bawazir.Or look at the words of Jane Smith, and remember that she did not survive.These brief references cannot do justice to the whole book. I was put in mind of John Hersey’s Hiroshima, which gives us insight into that tragedy by letting us here of it from the viewpoint of those who were there.

Nasra Al Adawi gives us the same privilege when dealing with her topic. It is a book for all: men, women, sufferers, non-sufferers, friends and loved ones. Let this book give your information, advice and, above all, inspiration. As the author says in her poetry, “face the waves” and deal with “the trenches of life.” This is a book full of reality, hope - and heart. Read it now.

~Finding a power beyond the line of life ~

By Balqis

If a person motivation in life, could be summarised in one line only, I'd definitely say that this is Nasra al Adawi motto and not a coincidence is in one of her latest poems .Compassionate and generous as always, her third book was presented a couple days ago in Intercontinental and all the profits [it can be found in any bookshop for 2 rials only] will be given to a noble cause : creating awareness about cancer and helping Tanzanian hospitals in buying modern equipments to fight the famous cancer who came in without invitation .The book, presented in a lovely graphic layout, meets with Nasra idea of poetry as a way of expression strictly related to all the other forms of art .Is written both in English and Swahili and contains not only her poems but also stories of survivors and their own lyrics and thoughts .The poetess seems trying to exorcise the painful memories of her lost parent [himself deceased cause of cancer] by a journey through that Africa which is deeply rooted in her existence [her mother is Omani while her father is Tanzanian and she lived for many years in the Emirates ] .

Hers is a complex walk within deadly diseases and difficult environments of a developing country, but also and above all, through the voices of brave women who fought and won their enemy .She has found in Zanzibar and in all Africa a home for my heart.
Nasra uses her natural gift of turning feelings into musical words, to give relief to our daily sufferings by reminding that everything comes from God and is there for a purpose :Don't ask "why this pain" ?Do we ever ask "why this laughter" ?Her love for Africa is the love we must have for the entire humanity cause too often we're chained in our egoism forgetting those in needs or placing barriers between us and the others .She invites us all to celebrate the poetry of life and to embrace life's miracles .Hope many will buy this book and learn that generosity has no time and space either.

Today we're helping Dar es Salaam but tomorrow it might be Oman or Yemen and there's no shame in this nor is a matter of nationality .We are all human beings on earth.

Sunday, December 23, 2007


Don Iannone
Poet and organizational changeconsultant,
Cleveland , Ohio , U.S.A.

Nasra Al Adawi is an amazing woman of courage. Her courage comes from her pure compassion. Brave Faces is profoundly important to all of us. Cancer was the thief taking my mother when she was just 59, and it has touched the lives of many other loved ones and friends. Nasra’s poetry speaks to the courage, love, and hope cancer victims and their loved ones need so desperately.

This book should be available in every hospital waiting room across the world. That’s how important I believe it is.