Fasting far from home

Adapting to new joys: Engineering student Tanzia Rashid (right) with her friends during Hari Raya Aidilfitri last year. (Inset) Ibrahim misses festive delights from his native Nigeria.

JOHOR BARU: For some Muslim foreign students in the state, the Ramadan experience here is great, even though they may not get to enjoy the specials they have in their home country.

Nigerian Ibrahim Bulus said he missed having kunu and akara, which are a must-have during the holy month back home.

Kunu is a popular drink in Nigeria made from either millet, sorghum or maize, while akara is made with cooked and mashed black-eyed peas.

“For me, Ramadan is not complete without having a taste of kunu and akara.

“I miss having them during this month as they are what we normally have when we break fast in Nigeria,” said Ibrahim, who is doing his PhD in physics at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM).

This year’s fasting month is the 33-year-old’s third away from his family.

“Although my Ramadan experience here is great, it still does not beat the joy of having home-cooked food during the breaking of fast and being surrounded by my loved ones,” he said when met at the university.

Ibrahim misses festive delights from his native Nigeria.

Chemical engineering student Sari Muhamed Saleh, 21, who hails from Qatar, said he likes the vibrant Ramadan atmosphere in Malaysia and this is the second time he is away from his family during the fasting month.

“It was a lot more difficult for me last year as that was my first Ramadan away from home but this year, things have gotten better.

“I have a lot of good friends from all over the world whom I met at UTM, and they will break fast with me.

“Now, I know what local food to get at the bazaar,” he said, adding that his favourite is nasi goreng ayam kunyit.

Sari added that his Ramadan and Hari Raya experience here had been unique as the multicultural atmosphere made it feel as if the whole country, regardless of race or religion, was celebrating it together.

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