DONGE GRAND IFTAR 2017

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Photos Courtesy: www.msa.co.ke / (#KiparaPhotography)

Martin Luther King Jr once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” » Perhaps we really underestimate the power of coming together, of empathy and humanity, of love and kindness but let’s take a minute to be the ones on the other end receiving all the love and pure energy from all kinds of people. Try to imagine the bliss and the peace.

You being the one in a rocky hospital bed fighting for your life. You being the one who slept hungry for the past two days. You being the one who was robbed off your rights. You who couldn’t sleep because of a huge debt to be paid. And then someone and someone else and someone else, from different parts of the world come together and just decide, ‘let us relieve from him this burden’. Imagine the weight being lifted off your shoulders, the worries in your heart and the endless thoughts in your mind. This is what Mombasa Toa Donge lako is doing for so many people from years back.Indeed, when it comes to humanity, no deed is considered small.

Yesterday was my first time to attend the annual Iftar event usually held by the community group for orphans of different areas and my second time to attend any of their events. So basically, i’m not an active member but I’ve been spectator for long enough to know that this community group is doing a HUGE MEGA difference in people’s lives. Maybe they didn’t do it to you or your next door neighbour but they’ve held grand projects that have turned around the lives of some people. Let’s give credit where it is due; this community group is doing a much better job at the welfare of the society more than our leaders combined.

So I was just seated at the front rows silently as the program started and we heard the anasheeds from different kids, then a short quiz and then came the most moving part of the live testimonies from people who’ve been aided by the Donge group. You know, I just was watching Erray’s parents talk of their gone son and the great support offered to them both financially and emotionally and I just had mixed emotions. I see his mother cry when she talks of his son and his orphaned daughter and then I imagine how much more tears would she have shed if they never had a chance to even try out medication, or pay for his medication, or how they would start adjusting their lives to give a good life to Erray’s daughter without help. None of us can ever imagine. Several other people gave their testimonies and I was a bit overwhelmed seeing how successful the projects were. Trust me, it’s different when you see it online and when you actually see these people live like you really know them. When I saw baby Rahima and her mother I was immediately like, “Ah! I remember this cute face!” And it is just so nice to see these people with smiles on their faces, healthy and back on their feet. That, that right there is something we should never undervalue; the ability to put a smile back on someone’s face is a tremendous job.

The orphans that attended were 200 from 3 different institutions; both boys and girls and they were all too curious about the whole event. One of the caretakers of one institution was telling me, “This is the first time we have been taken to such a trip so they were really excited. We had to come half of us because we couldn’t all fit in the car.” When it was time for iftar, I saw some of the kids barely touching the snack container, another one was trying to peel off the egg layer from the katlesi. A friend of mine seated next to me asks them why they aren’t eating, the caretaker says, ‘hatujazoea hivi vyakula vya waarabu’ (We are not used to this Arab kind of foods. So the container basically had Potatoes, bhajia, kebabs, katlesi, tea/coffee, dates and mitai and I could see them scrutinize the food, dissecting them like it’s a biology experiment.
“What do they usually eat?” I ask.
“Ugali mostly with vegetables. Sometimes rice. Sometimes Chapati. Sometimes we have people bringing pilau for us. But you know Arabic food like this, when we leave here that’s the end of it…Look at their hands,” she holds one arm to show me, “see all these dark spots, it’s because of mosquitoes. We sleep at a school on the floor with too worn-out mattresses. Sometimes we get people who remember us. Sometimes we don’t. But life moves on.”
“Were the kids excited about coming here?”
“Of course they were…they won’t comment here but I know when we get back home they will all be having too much to say.” (In case someone is interested in visiting their institution; ‘Vision of Hope’ the lady is Zeitun Mwaka, her number is 0711 415 626 or her colleague Najma Mwanasiti: 0707 343 444) Yet I am sure there are many more orphans out there who are totally oblivious to what good delicacies look like or a good bed feels like. They are out there and they need us to go to them.

It was just a great feeling seating with them, eating next to them, praying beside them, seeing them rejoice eating biriani and other platters of food. Hearing them sing alongside brother Nassir as he sings his nasheeds; just too heartfelt.

I remember the excited looks of the children as they were given ice cream after the meal and it was in that merry moment, I noticed a young girl who went and gave a group of orphans some packets of chauro and I looked at how everyone was scrambling to get a packet and I say, ‘if only we appreciated these tiny blessings that we tend to overlook.’

Oh! and before I forget, I did get feedback from one of the orphans. As I was leaving some teenage age was happily telling her friends, “Nnashiba alhamdulilah! Mungu awabariki Donge” (I am full alhamdulilah. God bless Donge) by the way, the girls didn’t know I was listening so this was definitely genuine feedback. Imagine the rewards of making 200 orphans (and several other people) happy plus, in Ramadhan!!

I know the Donge staff, admins, volunteers, members and active members hear this a lot,but we just want to say it again. Thank you for being role models of kindness and humanity in the community. Thank you for being a symbol of hope to others. Thank you for your dedication and sacrifice. For your endless effort and patience to ensure projects are successful. For changing people’s lives and for restoring our faith in humanity. May Allah bless all those who attended, all those who made it possible, all those who participated directly or indirectly, all those whose hearts were in the event despite their absence. May the spirit of togetherness shine on for generations to come, may our intentions remain pure in helping people and may we be the hope in such a dark world. Ameen.

I just want to end it with this hadith, “Ibn `Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sa) said: “A Muslim is a brother of (another) Muslim, he neither wrongs him nor does hand him over to one who does him wrong. If anyone fulfills his brother’s needs, Allah will fulfill his needs; if one relieves a Muslim of his troubles, Allah will relieve his troubles on the Day of Resurrection…” [Bukhari and Muslim]. Keep doing good, keep being good, every small and large deed counts in Allah’s eyes.

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