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Aiysha Mohammed – She is forging her own path

We’re inspired by this woman’s courage. She’s breaking down societal pressures to find true happiness!

“My home – Zanzibar, is an archipelago off the coast of Tanzania with a population of 1,303,569 (672,892 are women). Even when they are covered, Zanzibar women can make a statement with their appearance. Natural plants and herbs help us make ourselves look more beautiful and younger. Women are responsible for taking care of men’s beauty too – like sister to brother and wife to husband. Natural beauty ingredients are bountiful in Zanzibar – seagrass, coconut milk and oil, herbs and many spices (such as cinnamon, cardamom, turmeric, henna, cloves, jasmine, and sandalwood). In fact, Zanzibar has such a rich history that it’s been nicknamed ‘The Spice Island’.

Our island has fantastic soul and breath-taking ocean. It is a beautiful place, but it was hard for me to see the beauty because I lived quite a hard life. I was made to take care of the house at an early age, and forced to get married as a teenager. I was not happy at all, so after five years of living in an unhappy marriage, I decided to do the unthinkable and get a divorce. My family was very angry and unsupportive, but I was granted the divorce. I also began my studies in Tourist Information. While studying, I met my future husband. Although I faced much stigma from my family and local community, I remarried a year and a half ago and now, for the first time in my life, happiness comes to pass after 26 years of challenges and trouble. When your time comes, no one can stop you!

Traditions within my culture often make it difficult for women to work. A love for my country led to my interest in the travel and tourism industry. Originally I wanted to be a teacher, but my family didn’t have enough money to pay for my studies. My ex-husband and I spent nearly 2 years in Oman, where I worked as a maid, trying to save money for school. When I returned home, I got my certificate as a tour guide – the FIRST EVER female tour guide! The first obstacle was whether the tour company would want me because I’m a woman. Women in the tourism industry typically sell goods (fruits, clothing, etc.), braid someone’s hair, or sell tickets to a museum. Because women weren’t ever tour guides, many people thought I was actually a prostitute. Most of my family cautioned me not to get involved. The next challenge was whether they would give me clients because they generally don’t trust women. I needed a chance to prove myself at least. I’m happy to say that I’ve found success in this industry, despite cultural limitations in the beginning. I truly believe that anything is possible if you work hard and are patient! You will get to the place you want to be – no matter how many challenges come your way. If you can see through the darkness, you can achieve your dream! We are strong! We are Queens!”

Aiyesha’s recipe for softer skin and removing acne:

Mix together the following ingredients and apply to your face, as you would any scrub or mask. Rinse with warm water after 10-15 minutes.

Turmeric 1/2 teaspoon
Very young coconut fruit (½ coconut)
Egg white (½ egg)

 

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Aiysha is one of the many fabulous women we’re featuring in our Everything She Is series. We’d love to feature YOU too! Email share@sheiswithoutlimits.com with your “She Is” story (i.e. She Is Following Her Dream, She Is Coming Out, She Is a Rock Climber) and your favorite pic. Submissions can be anywhere from 200-800 words.

We can’t wait to get to know more of you, and to share your stories!

1Comment
  • Kathleen Casey
    Posted at 03:00h, 03 May Reply

    Oh my goodness, you’ve overcome so many cultural and familial challenges. It is very special to be the first female to break a barrier. It is inspiring to read how you achieved the life you envisioned!

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