Tag Archives: life

I SURVIVED ON $150 A MONTH USING GIFT CARDS

People are always asking me how I am able to get something for a low price, or completely free. High School may not have taught me much, but it did teach basic research skills.

I can’t remember when it started or what made me search the words “how to get free money” or “how to get free gift cards.” After paying what little bills I had and getting basic everyday items, I only had about $150 left to help pay for food, transportation, and put money away for savings.

As many of the people who follow me know, I was recently living in Wayne’s Place, transitional living program for former foster youth and youth with connections to the Department of Behavioral Health. Life wasn’t just hard. At times it felt impossible. I needed more money. So, me being as curious as I am, I researched. From those simple words above I was able to get money legally using apps, surveys, and coupons.

Last year, I purchased over $700 worth of items online alone and paid only about $150 for everything. My biggest cash outs came from Bing Rewards, Google Opinion Rewards, Cross Media Panel,Panel App, Quick Thoughts, and other online surveys. Many of the ways I used to get money offered food cards to Safeway, Giant, etc. When things got really bad, I went to the food bank. No one wants to, but you have to do what you have to do.

During the winter of 2016, separate from the amounts above, I purchased about $300 worth of boots (good winter boots are expensive!) and paid about $200. That’s $100 off. I purchased an XBOX One, new condition, for $153. I remember the exact amount because even I was amazed.

I would get restaurant cards, as well as many coupons they send in emails. I made sure I was always able to go out when friends asked. I even get free movie tickets A Regal Club Card helps you build points to get free or discounted items. With movie tickets now being almost $15 (up from $7 when I was 12), who wants to pay?

I joined focus groups and research panels around the city that not only provided money, but great opportunities. I was able to speak up about issues I cared about, and I met amazing people.

Free money is everywhere. You just have to find it and be dedicated. As broke as I was before I got a job, do you really think I wanted to pay for anything? I hated asking people for money, but there were times when I had to. I even had to set up a Go Fund Me account twice!

You don’t need to have a college degree or even a high school diploma. As long as you have basic research skills (TYPE AND CLICK) and dedication, money is never far. It may not be a lot, every little thing helps.

Here’s where you can get started.

*Most of the apps can be found on both Android and IPhone

If it sounds like a scam, it probably is one. I avoid anything that ask for my password to something, Social Security number, my credit card information, or any personal information. 

New Poem, “Hidden Battles”

Hidden Battles

Smiles do not tell the stories
Of pain and worries

The invisible foe does not know their sorrow
Nor does it care to see them live tomorrow

These hidden battles are seen by one’s own soul
They beat you down until you remain no more

Hidden in the darkness of one’s own heart
Lies the misfortune for others
Like a disease, these battles spread, and over the world, they cover 

Lighten the heart, but remain heavy on the foes
For the future of the hidden battles will forever go

Author Notes: You can never tell just by looking
at a person what battels they are facing

Observation Report: Muslim For A Day

Over the semester, my Intercultural Communication class had to choose one culture to observe, write down our observations, and present them. We also had to back up our observation with research. As a Christian, the one culture I did not want to study was the Islamic faith. I tried to look for cultural events that were happening in the DMV, specifically about any Asian culture, but I found nothing. Time was passing fast and I had to find something; so, I gave in and decided to observe my friend, Dahabina, who is Muslim. I had some major struggles going into this project; I did not want to be influenced by their religion, I was afraid of what other Christians would say, and I was afraid that I wouldn’t be accepted among into the Mosque. I didn’t want to be associated with Muslims at all. But after remembering what my professor said about if a person’s faith is so strong they should be able to step outside of their religion and come back as if nothing ever changed, I decided to let go, and become a Muslim for a day. Below are my findings:

Through this Cultural Observation project, I’ve come to realize that the Muslims are probably the most misunderstood group of people in America. However, they don’t let that get to them. It takes a lot of courage to stay in this country, The Land of The Free, and fight for what they believe in. I spent about 2 and a half, or more, hours with Dahabina, wearing the Hijab and having a great conversation about what it means to be a Muslim, and discussing some of the myths, such as Muslims not believing in Jesus. This is absolutely false, and I have known this for some time, but I wasn’t sure how he was still significant to Muslims. To Muslims, Jesus is an important prophet named Issa, instead of the son of God as Christians know him.

I didn’t want to obtain information from Dahabina in the form of an interview, so we just had a casual conversation. She told me about her opinions of Donald Trump; she said that “Donald Trump is ignorant and racist.” She feels that “instead of attacking all Muslims, [Donald Trump] should try to get to know [them] as a whole.”

Muslims celebrate Ramadan, which is a special time for “inner reflection, devotion to God, and self-control.” Ramadan is the ninth month on the Islamic calendar. During Ramadan, Muslims fast by “abstain from food, drink, smoking, and marital sex” (“Islamic Holidays and Observances”). Dahabina said that dates (fruit) are eaten during Ramadan, along with samosa (fried pastry) and a lot of fruit juice. Muslims commonly break their fast at sunset with these foods, specifically dates because it was the custom of the Prophet Muhammad (“Islamic Holidays and Observances”). I also learned that Muslims can celebrate birthdays and Thanksgiving, but they cannot celebrate “Easter, Christmas, or any religious American holidays.”

I mentioned that I wore a hijab during my observation. When a women walks into the Mosque, they don’t need to have the hijab on, they just need to have it on for prayer. Dahabina explained that in Islamic countries, the hijab is required at all times. The hijab is a part of the dress code for Muslim women, and it serves as protection for women. It is important for the women to “cover their heads when in the presence of non-mahrem men,” potentially marriageable men. Wearing a hijab is not meant to degrade or oppress women, it is “a sign of purity and dignity” (“Hijab’s Protection”). When I wore the hijab, I felt respected by the men and the women. Everyone greeted me with “Assalamu Alaikum,” which I’ve learned a while ago means peace be upon you; it’s basically used to say hello.

Although I felt respected among the other Muslims, I did receive nasty stares from other people. When women wear hijabs, it singles them out to all the crazy and dangerous people in this world, the true terrorists. One incident that I will never forget is when I was walking into the mosque on The University of Maryland campus with my friend and other girls, and there was this White guy outside holding a sign that said “Jesus Saves.” He was shouting, “You are all going to hell” at the top of his lungs. I was terrified; I didn’t know if he was planning to burn the building down or not. I asked my friend if the guy was doing this because we were going inside and she said that he probably was. She said not to worry because this happens all the time, and that Allah would protect them. This is why I said that Muslims are brave; I can’t imagine going through things like this every day.

During the prayer, I observed things that were similar and different to that of a Christian church. One difference is that you must take off your shoes when entering the Mosque. Everyone sit on the floor on prayer mats, with the women sitting directly behind the men. Women who are on their menstrual cycle are not allowed to pray because it is considered unclean. Dahabina explain that it’s not to single women out, and it doesn’t mean that a women is unclean. I still don’t have a clear understanding of this. Just because a women is not allowed to pray on their cycle, it doesn’t mean that they are excluded from the message. They are allowed to hear the message, and observe the prayer, just not participate. I was able to witness them bow and pray; they did this several times before the prayer was over.

The similarities were a little shocking to me. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting the Imam, Muslim priest, to deliver the message that he did. The Imam talk about letting situations go and letting Allah take control. He said that worrying will not make anything better, that why they should trust in Allah. Allah would will take on all of your problems. He also talk about confessing sins, and praying and asking for forgiveness. This is a message that I hear all the time at my church, so I was able to understand and agree with what he said. This was also a major turning point for me; I realized that, although Christianity and Islam are two different religions, they are similar in many ways.

This project provided me with an experience that I’ll never forget. Although I had my worries, I let go of my personal feelings and beliefs for one day to step into the life of someone else. It wasn’t easy to do at all, but it had to be done, and I realized that it wasn’t so bad. Through this experience I learned that Muslims still believe in Jesus, but not as the son of God. I learned about Dahabina’s personal feelings about Donald Trump and his statement towards Muslims, and that during Ramadan Muslims have specific traditional foods that they like to eat. I was able to experience wearing a Hijab, and although some people were not as welcoming with their stares, the Muslims welcomed me with opened arms. And, despite having that terrifying incident outside of the Mosque, the actual prayer was great. I observed many things that were different and similar to what I would do or hear in my church. I feel that this experiences will help me in the future to not be so judgmental against people who are different from me, and I have grown to respect those of the Islamic faith, “a person who submits to the will of God” (Difference Between Islam and Muslim).

 

 

References

Difference Between Islam and Muslim. (2009, November 27). Retrieved November 30, 2015, from http://www.differencebetween.net/miscellaneous/difference-between-islam-and-muslim/

 

Hijab’s Protection. (n.d.). Retrieved November 28, 2015, from http://www.iupui.edu/~msaiupui/hijab_protect.html

 

Islamic Holidays and Observances. (n.d.). Retrieved December 1, 2015, from http://www.colostate.edu/Orgs/MSA/events/Ramadan.html

Sounds Of The City

Beep, beep, beep
This what I hear as I stare out of the window 
Onto the streets of this city
This city is D.C.

This city is loud
This loud city Is unfair
This city is rich
But also poor
For all its beauty
There’s ugliness too

The sounds of this city are not for me
The construction trucks, with their loud roars and clashes,
Are not for me
They’re not for anything like me
Not my skin color, or my hair texture
Not for my disability, nor my many abilities

Beep, beep, beep
I hear again
As I stare out of the window 
Onto the streets of this city
D.C. is the name
God I hate this lovely city

Author Notes: Life is full of pain

 

Vote for me to go to grad school in 2017!

Help me get to grad school please!! Dr. Pepper is having a tuition giveaway.

All you need to do is click here and vote. That’s it! No money needed!11537342_957967450911757_375207650244437993_o

Help A College Student Become Debt Free

Meet Jeanne Buan, a student at Trinity Washington University in the Nursing Program. She is a highly gifted and smart student. She loves to write stories and is very good at it. Like many college students, Jeanne has run into some debt, specifically, credit cared debt. She needs your help. This is what she had to say:

 “Hello all. I am a college student in my final year. I am extremely excited, but I am afraid that my credit card debt will stop me from being able to move on post graduation. Please help me pay off my debt”

Please help her out. She is nearing the finish line, so lets help her finish debt free. $5, $10, $20 or whatever you decide to give would be appreciated.

 donatebutton1

The link to her campaign can always be found in the right hand side bar of the site.

*If anyone wants to have their campaign up on my blog, please contact me with a short bio of yourself, why you need the money, and a photo. Contact info can be found on the right hand side bar of this site.

Reminder: Domestic Violence Wears Many Tags Presents “Brokenness to Boldness”

Join QueenAfi as she interviews Ashley Strange a native of Washington, DC where she attended public schools. Ashley was forced at a young age to grow up due to the lack of emotional support from school. There were times she felt alone, she felt that no one wanted to help.

Ashley was placed in special education classes with students who had mental and behavioral problems. She learned very little in these classes and stopped going little by little. After the death of her mother she gave up on school completely and became a product of the DC foster care system.

Now, she is an upcoming college senior at Trinity Washington University. How did she do it?

To learn more about her journey from ‘Brokenness to Boldness,’ tune in to talkshoe.com or call 724-444-7444 and enter show ID #83271

DVWMT
DVWMT