Brave Faces: The Daring Stand Against Cancer is a book entwined through stories and poetry. True Stories on women who suffered with breast cancer and cervical cancer in Tanzania, it had started with a dream, a small dream that one day I would like to try to find a way to contribute with poetry to the cause of cancer in Tanzania. Having being born in island called Pemba which is close to Zanzibar in Tanzania, had not flickered that dream. Knowing my father had so much passion for Zanzibar and his death due to Cancer, kept me hoping that if I can, one day would like to write for Tanzania. However, it sounded so impossible, yet Almighty had another plans for me when he put me through H. A. Hamoud Al Jabry, who is business consultant, who made it possible for me to reach that far. Reaching Tanzania would have been an impossible mission for me but seeing myself landed in Tanzania meeting women and officials, with delicate flame trying to light up hope, it seems just like movie or a story of someone esle. Now having to have my book launch day which set in Oman on 30th of October 2007I call it miracles.
I still have many challenges ahead, some of them are not easy road, as the ultimate goal for the book not only bringing voices of women with breast cancer but to try to help Ocean Road Cancer Institute to secure a mammogram machine. This book was possible because of collective fingerprints of those who have gone out of their way to assist me in creating this book. I can not have done it without them…
~Hear Your Voice~
Take every step
Face the waves
Urge your heart to be brave
Be ready to face the blows
Don’t wonder which path is easy
Bare feet walking on ice
Or walking on .re
Which one burns more
Hotter than the other?
Don’t ask “why this pain”?
Do we ever ask “ why this laughter”?
Naturally accepting the glee
Always questioning the sadness and tears
You’re given another chance to live
Hear your voice, embrace life’s miracles
(from the book Brave Faces)
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 ~
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.
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.
Activist, Blogger and Online Editor of Pambazuka News English,
Port Harcourt, London,Granada, Nigeria
Brave Faces is a book of compassion and courage. The compassion of Nasra Al Adawi and the courage of the women cancer survivors. I had my own encounter with cancer 7 years ago so I know the journey through cancer takes courage; it also takes courage to speak of that journey. The testimonies in Brave Faces are told through personal stories and poetry that speak to this courage, the loneliness, the anger and the pain of loosing that most precious part of our femininity - our breasts.
Nasra asks “... is it sensible to fight cancer with poetry”?
My answer is though I wish I had had this book with me on my own journey, I thank her for bringing it to me now because the memories remain and the healing is not yet complete.
Nasra Al Adawi is not only a big writing talent, but she also has a genuine affection for people with cancer. "Brave Face" is a wonderful, inspirational book that couses tears and brings hope too. Read the book. You won't regret it and you will not forget it soon..
Labels: Brave Faces, Review Brave Faces