Who is Lenah Aloraine?
S’mores had just been passed out and a toasty smell filled the warm air. At a Summer MYNA camp in 2017, all the girls were shivering and huddled next to each other for warmth near a bonfire. Brother Fiaz came up and led a meaningful discussion, transforming the night into a time everyone really got to reflect on what they wanted out of life. Lenah Aloraine, 15 now, was 13 at the time and says the experience is still one of her favorite memories. The Saudi born girl has been living in Indiana since she moved at the age of 9, and she’s impressively been to 3 MYNA camps already, not to mention that she’s signed up for the Spring 2019 camp.
Outside of camp, Lenah’s days are a little different. Lenah’s mornings consist of having cereal in a mug because she’s always running late to school. By the afternoon, she’ll come home, power nap, and get caught up on all her work, as most of us do. But, also as most of us do, she gets distracted talking to friends and falls into the fatal pits of procrastination. You’ll find her reading or watching a movie while avoiding responsibilities. Her favorite mode of procrastination is watching Forrest Gump because of its concoction of comedy and a thoughtful message. A majority of her time is spent in the simple joy of listening to music.
Those afternoon naps make Lenah a night person. The nighttime is more peaceful, in her opinion, and she can get more work done in the midst of it. Everyone else is asleep so she finds that she is usually free of the constant notifications on her phone, which can evidently be a shackle sometimes. She stated that, “they say creativity blooms most when you’re bored, so you can see all the creative stuff I come up with late at night”. It is during the night, then, that her brilliant intellect and huge imagination, usually hidden behind her laid back manner, truly shine.
Lenah often relates that one piece of advice her mother always reminds her is, “Family first”, because family is going to be there regardless. She explained that “sometimes we as teens lose sight of that and put distractions and friends before our families, and that’s never okay”. Her wisdom and unmatched maturity is displayed in this statement alone, but there’s so much more. I asked her what success meant to her and she spoke words that I haven’t heard from someone her age in a while. She said that, “The ultimate win is loving yourself and having people that push you to be the best version of yourself”. The end goal for Lenah and her idea of living a life she is satisfied with is living one in which she can say she is happy without hesitation. She describes to me that even if she gets the job she wants and all her materialistic desires are fulfilled, it all doesn’t mean a thing if she is unhappy with who she is and the people she surrounds herself with. No matter how old you are, you can find a way to relate and learn from this young girl.
Personally speaking for herself, Lenah’s aspirations are full to the brim with hope for betterment of every aspect of her life and the rest of the world. For herself, she hopes to grow closer to Allah and improve her own spiritual standing while balancing her school ambitions. She is determined to graduate high school early and get a head start on college, although she still isn’t sure what her choice is career-wise. For the world, she genuinely believes that with an empowered Muslim youth, all the bias and Islamophobia we face today will be gone.
“Growing your inner individual will undoubtedly reflect on your behavior, thus you will be contributing to your community and leaving a positive impact wherever you go”: wise words spoken by her that I will leave you with to contemplate over. Powerful young people, like Lenah, will be the beginning of the disappearance of injustice, as she shows in her words and actions. We can all look up to her open mindedness and initiative. One day, she’ll be making a bigger impact, but for now I hope you learned something from her through this article.