Tag

kindness

Browsing

Photo Courtesy: http://www.khilafah.com

People who know me very well know two truths about me. One is that food and I don’t get along. Truth number two, food and I can’t really stay apart. We tend to have this love-hate relationship that never ends. You know, like Tom and Jerry? So most of the times it would roll out like this.

Me: “Aarghh, I’m starviingg” or “Yeepyyy can’t wait to have my delicious food!”

Two minutes into eating: “Really food? Really? All that joy, excitement, tears, anticipation and blood sacrifice yet this is all you offer?!! You and I are soo done!”

Also me: (every two hours) “I need you food 🙁 ” (There should have been the kermit meme image over here lol)

So automatically, truth number three is that fasting is my hardest ibadah.

Just the other day (4th of Ramadhan) I was walking in town headed home from work with a tiny flower between my fingers. So I was swirling it playfully, my mind so far deep in thoughts it took me time to realize there was an elderly man looking at me right ahead. He was in his traditional Swahili clothing of kikoi, shirt and kofia and he was looking into my face with such scrunity. I thought perhaps he is mistaking me for someone else so I went ahead and said the salam.
“Saumu inkushika?” He said, still giving me a concerned look. I just laughed it off and went on walking but I could still hear his voice behind me, “Saumu inkushika eh?! Nakuona…nakuona vile inkushika” *Face palm* I know right? And I just happen to be this frequent victim of having awkward embarrassing moments with strangers. But that’s a story for another day. Back to fasting…

Due to how much fasting drains me, at work and even at home, I always get comments like, “Can you walk? Lest you fall on the way.”
“Can you do this? Can you carry this?”
So every Ramadhan I’m subconsciously fully prepared to such teasing. Yet Ramadhan is still the best time for me.

You know, you walk around and see Muslims and you can greet each other, smile with that look like, ‘We know each other’s ‘suffering’ (not per say, but you know what I mean :p ) or like we are one people, we are partners in crime, something of the sort. The Ramadhan ambiance is special and it does feel so. Food stalls all over the streets during the evenings, people sending the kids to take a plate of goodies to the other neighbour and the other neighbour takes to the other and when known to be an awful cook, your food just seems to go in circles; forever trying to get a ‘mstiri’. Taraweh, tahajjud…the list is endless.

It’s that time where our mango trees produce in abundance. My mum would fill the bucket with mangoes and ask my brother to take to our neighbours. I would hear my dad get excited, reminding my brother of which neighbours to NOT miss. I would be standing there half-thrilled half-sorry that I am not the one to do that. You know, introvert problems? Mum would ensure to spice it up; ‘Ukigonga kila mlango, give them the mangoes then say Ramadhan kareem’ 😀 My brother puts on his kofia and sets out to knock doors. Then with a sigh and a smile, “I wish all year was Ramadhan.”

Muslims walking around just before Maghrib, sharing dates and water to fellow Muslims on the way. Some stranger passing dates to you to the back seat of a public vehicle so you can break your fast. I mean, any other random day we would probably pass by one another and I would mumble salaam and I wouldn’t even get a response or perhaps you’d mumble back or vice versa. But then Ramadhan, we have something making all of us familiar to one another such that we can strike random conversations with strangers on the way.

I am super delighted of how humanity is at its peak. We remember the orphans, the old, the sick…we remember to pray, to be more gentle, to read qur’an a lot, to hold back our insults, to donate, to forgive and most importantly, work on ourselves.

For me, besides it being the time for more Ibadah, Ramadhan is a time for me to work on my inner self. Get the peace of mind. Submit totally to Allah. And this is something many take for granted; our inner health. How composed are we to life? How much at peace are we with our fate? How much do we actually and sincerely talk to Allah? This is the time. It is my time to unleash my heart to Allah. It is my time to be a better human being not just for this month but for the rest of the year.

And as much as fasting is hard for me, Ramadhan has meant progress for me. I remember a time I would really admire people who could fast Monday and Thursday, Ayamil bayth or sitta min shawwal simply because I couldn’t do it. But then with every coming of Ramadhan, I tried more sunnah fasts and I keep trying over and over again. My biggest push has always been the thought that ‘If this is hard for me, then the rewards will definitely be more’ and that remains my motto as I keep trying.

Ramadhan means a lot of things to me; it means kindness, love and compassion. It means submission, forgiveness and willpower. It means struggle, endurance and success. Ramadhan means a lot to me. What about you? What does it mean to you??


 

On another note, my partner and I are embarking on another business journey, the branding of strokes of my pen. So alhamdulilah we have the first bunch of shirts out. We kindly ask for your support. Besides that, 10% of each shirt goes to Ahmad, a young boy who is undergoing kidney dialysis treatment yet he has a large outstanding balance at Pandya hospital to pay. If not the shirt then you can always mpesa their family directly (no. shown in image).Remember your reward is multiplied in this month so don’t hesitate to support in any little way in shaa Allah.

 

For the shirts, they come in colours of black, white, blue, grey and yellow. For more info: contact us via this no: 0734 201 665 or view our page: https://www.facebook.com/simplex.styles/. More is to come biidhnillah!

P.S. Please remember me in your duas! Whatever you pray for me, may you get just that a thousand more times. Ameen! Ramadhan Mubarak!

By: Naima Baghozi

You can read part 1 here: http://lubnah.me.ke/the-selfish-girl-part-1/

Tears were rolling down my cheeks and a huge painful lump clogged in my throat wondering if Kela did even have any meal at all. I felt so sad for her and such strong feelings of pity filled the whole of me and for the first time in my life I lifted my face up to the sky and thanked God so much for the privileges that I had, which those people living down that hill never had. I vowed there and then to help this girl in what ever means I can.

Now, everything fell right in place in explanation to her misery and to her attitude in general. One thing impressed me though about her and which made me wonder “how does she manage to come to school so clean every day?!”
I looked down once more and then dragged my feet home like in slow motion, my heart feeling so heavy in sadness…

Due to all this, I was of course a bit late getting home and especially since the distance wasn’t short either. As I got up to the gate of my home, my mom was at the door with a worried frown on her face and as soon as I got to her, she asked me:
“Malu, where have you been? I have been so worried and after seeing all your friends pass by without you…”

She suddenly stopped, realizing she wasn’t getting any reply from me. She then also noticed the look on my face which tugged at her heart. Not knowing what was wrong with me, she just gently took my arm and slowly pulled me inside and took me straight to the sitting room and sat me down. She then took my face in her gentle hands and peered into my face and asked so quietly:

“Malu, my daughter tell me what has happened to you, you look so sad, what happened to you? Please don’t keep me in suspense, you are really worrying me…”

I kept silent for a little while and then slowly raised my face and looked at my mother and started slowly relating to her as to what happened…

“Mom, do you remember about that new girl in my school I told you about?” My mother just nodded, so I continued to tell my mom all that happened from day one to this moment of where I came from. My mother didn’t even realize that there were tears rolling down her face, you see my mom was a very kind person and everyone knew it and that is where I got my kindness too, from my mother.

“So, you see mom, I have decided to be extra kind to Kela from now onwards and I will urge my friends to do the same” I ended.

My mom said “That is very good my dear, you see it is always good to be kind to others in order to have a better life, isn’t it?”

“Yes mom, it is and that is what you always teach me,” I replied.

My mom just smiled and for a few minutes we just sat in peaceful silence, then suddenly I jumped up with excitement and said to my mom:“Mom, what do you think if from tomorrow onwards when I pack my break time snacks, I pack for Kela too? This way if she doesn’t have any food at home then she will at least have something in her stomach, even if a little bit…”

My mom looked at me with a smile on her face and thought to herself: “How lucky I am to have such a kind-hearted daughter. Thank God.” She then said to me:“Of course Malu, you can, that is the most wonderful thing to do.”

“Oh! Thanks a lot mom,” then I suddenly looked down at my fidgeting feet and the look of excitement and happiness was gone. This made my mom wonder what was wrong with me now. She knew when I did this I had something else on my mind.

“Malu, what’s wrong? Tell me, what is in that beautiful head of yours now?”

I hesitated slightly. My mom urged on: “Go on, tell me now; I am just your mom after all…” this made me smile a bit and said to her: “I was wondering mom, since I have lots of clothes and shoes maybe I could give to Kela the ones I don’t use anymore – they are still in good condition and just sitting in my cupboard, what do you say mom? Please, please – pretty please mom…” and at this, my mom laughed outright.

“Okay dear, you have my permission.” Replied my mom. I couldn’t contain my happiness so I jumped over my mom and hugged and kissed her over and over again saying “ you are the most wonderful, best mom in the whole wide world and I am ever so lucky to have you, May God bless you and preserve you for us.” My mom couldn’t contain her laughs now and said to me:

“Well, I don’t know about that my daughter but I certainly know that I am the one who is lucky to have you” and with that I hugged my mom once more and ran off to my room leaving my mom with a big smile wondering where I got all this energy.

I was so happy that it felt like walking on air. I rushed to my closet and took one box out and started to neatly place the clothes I didn’t need together with a couple pairs of shoes. I then remembered that Kela always carried her books in her arms so decided to add in a school bag since I had extra bags and finally closed the box with a happy sigh.

That night I could hardly sleep from excitement in knowing that I may make some one happy tomorrow and started planning on the best way of presenting these things to Kela, after tossing and turning I finally dropped off to sleep with a big smile on my face.

It looked like it would be a beautiful day, the sun shone nicely and the breeze was cool.

I could hardly take breakfast from excitement. I finally left my house with my school bag on my shoulder and the box on my head, I met up with my friends outside my gate and they looked curiously at me and asked me almost simultaneously:

“Malu, what is in the box?”
“What are you carrying to school today?”
“Please Malu don’t keep us in suspense, do tell….
“Well, quiet down and give me a chance to explain, my friends” I said, laughing.
“Do you remember yesterday after school I told you to go on and that I will catch up with you?”
“Yes we do” replied her friends.

“Well, this is what happened…” so I went on to explain to my friends where exactly I went and what I saw and even how sad I became. As to be expected by this time all my friends’ eyes were brimming with tears and one of them said: “Poor Kela…” “Yes” the others replied in unison.

So, I continued: “Well, my friends, after that I have decided from now onwards I will be bringing Kela break time snacks and in this box are my clothes and shoes which I don’t use any more and I also put in one of my school bag for her, as you all know she is always carrying her school things in her hands. I hope she will like them and even in a small way feel special…”

“Of course she will, your things are always the best Malu,” said one of her friends.

While my friends were listening to me, they all seemed to look at me with wonder and each one of them decided in their own way to be kind and generous to Kela from then and thanked God for their being privileged.

They also now understood Kela fully; her refusal to share came from her poverty and not having much even for her self leave alone to share. She led such a tough life thus had no time to make friends or get attached to anyone. Her rudeness came from being so unprivileged thus didn’t know how to be friendly or polite, she didn’t even have the strength to smile!

All these realizations made the girls feel pretty awful and felt they had misjudged Kela very badly, so I made all my friends promise to be extra nice and kind to Kela and give her a chance to learn how to be friendly and polite. They all agreed to include her in their group as one of their friend. With this in their minds they happily ended their journey to school.

They all agreed to let me go look for Kela alone so as she may not be embarrassed in being given all these things probably for the first time.

As always Kela was in class all alone sitting at her desk while the other students were out playing in the school compound as it was before class time.

I walked slowly towards her and very cautiously pulled my chair next to her and said “Hello Kela…’
The other girl looked at me strangely then looked at the box which I had placed on my desk and then asked “What is this you have put on my desk? And why?”
Slowly I took Kela’s hand and started by telling her “Kela, I now know everything and so do my friends and we would really like to help you and be friends with you, please accept us!”

Kela looked confused and at first really didn’t know what to say – you see Kela is not used to such kindness nor know how to deal with it – she just asked me: “what do you mean?”

I continued to hold her hand and started explaining to her how I followed her to her home and what I saw and also how I was touched and then told her what was in the box and requested her to accept it. I then took out of my bag the snack I had packed for her and gave it to her and told her that I will everyday be bringing her a break time snack.

By this time Kela was so lost for words for I guess she had never come across anyone like me. She covered her face with both her hands and started sobbing so hard that I got so confused and wondered what wrong I had done.

I hugged my new friend and asked her “What is wrong Kela? Have I offended you? Please tell me, I just want to be your friend and I want you to be happy.” Kela looked up and in between sobs said “But I am and I don’t really know how to thank you, you are the most kind-hearted person I have ever met and may God reward you always my friend” and then she in return hugged me in a way to show me the gratitude she felt.

All this time my friends were hovering by the door full of curiosity and finally asked if it was safe to come in, I just waved them in with a huge smile on my face. They all rushed in and came over and hugged Kela and promised her they will always be there for her and her needs.

It was certainly the very best and happiest day for all the girls and most especially for Kela.

That evening Kela carried her beautiful new belongings home with a light step in her walk and feeling like a very heavy load had been removed from her chest.

Meanwhile I was the happiest person having been able to solve the problems surrounding my new friend Kela and felt I had done a very good deed indeed… 🙂

Because kindness is our only sword to save humanity, here are 13 tiny tales on random acts of kindness…

1. “One evening I was home and was going through my contacts. I saw the name of a woman who used to come at our place for help I just asked myself “You can help this woman by sending a small amount maybe she needs it now.” I did send her some money and I called her to say hi and tell her that I sent something for her. Imagine I couldn’t believe that amount could mean so much to her. She told me her baby was sick and they had nothing to eat at home. That night I cried so much coz of happiness.And I was crying that day coz i got the chance to make someone happy😥😥😥😥😥😥❤ it means the world to see someone happy and crying because of you…”

2. “This one day it was ramadhan… 3 kids came asking for food but there wasn’t anything…so mama wanted to give them food but only a small amount had remained and wouldn’t be enough for all three. Plus he had kept the food aside for my young nephew. My nephew was there so he told mum “I’ll eat with them but right now I am not even hungry. When they come again just give them the food I will fast.”

3. “Back in my madrasa days, there was this ustadh of ours who used to walk from likoni to kibokoni to teach us. He wasn’t well off compared to other teachers but he was the most sweet and helpful of them all. He used to care for us, motivate us,teach us about good morals. So I used to put my break time money in his pocket without him knowing.I did it for weeks I guess unfortunately he caught me one day and asked me, “why you doing this?” I just said “you need it more than I do ustadh.” He just told me you don’t have to do that. You need to eat so that you can grow. He is one of my heroes…

4. “When I was young I had a homeless kid as my best friend. I used to share food with him, play with him, i used to take him home and shower. We didn’t have much back then but I used to share my plate with him. Whenever I go to school I used to take anjera to him under the masjid stairs where he used to live. I used to cry every evening when my mum calls me back home because I loved him and I felt helpless at that time. He was my friend and I couldn’t do anything for him. One day he just got lost.It broke my heart.I mean I don’t know where he went. He wasn’t there under the masjid stairs… We used to dream together. When I came from Madrasa he used to wait for me downstairs then we’d go to the beach just to swim and chill and talk. He wanted to be a pilot and i wanted to own the plane.”

5. “There is that time a classmate was stressing over school fees. He missed out on bursary that term and if he didn’t come up with 10k he couldn’t do the exams. I had 1k in my pocket. You know what I did? That evening when everyone was going home I stood in front them at the gate and pleaded for their help. I was so nervous but everyone was helpful. We managed to come up with 10k. It was amazing.”

6. “I had a close friend; a bit younger than me, but I liked her and considered her like my baby sister… we’d talk quite often. Then came a time we just drifted apart and I couldn’t get to her. She had changed her number I guess. So many moths later, I came to understand of the reason why she’d cut me off (which was actually something beyond both of us). I really cried that day because it was not worth it. I was hurt but then I decided I won’t let my ego take charge. I was going to do something for her which in turn would give me peace in both my heart and soul. I tracked down her new number and sent her an anonymous gift via another friend and we made sure it could never link back to me. Alongside the gift, I wrote a few tiny notes, just motivational ones on life and all for her. Another friend of mine told me of how she had met her on that same day she received the gift and how much she had really cried and said, “she needed to hear those words”. A few days after I sent the gift, she contacted me. I was worried she had found out that I was the one who had sent the gift but that was not the case. She said she had dreamt of me and that I’ve been in her mind lately. So we talked a bit. She contacted me a few days later and we had a longer conversation. She wanted us to be friends like before…and that’s when I mentioned that the gift was from me…I swear her reaction was priceless” (Below is the second party’s version)

7. “It is normal to feel down, lost, unwanted and rejected…well that’s what I was feeling for couple of days until this day when I got a call from some place that I had a parcel.I couldn’t make it that moment so it was a later thing .I went to pick it up.It was a gift from someone I didn’t know who that time, a pair of shoes and pieces of notes that meant world to me. I couldn’t help it, curiosity was at maximum, I read the notes and opened the gift inside the matatu. I cried all the way, I was touched.I was so much thankful, in one way or the other I didn’t expect it from the actual sender,because of some broken issues but there, Alhamdulilah I was really consoled.”

8. “So I was going to Eastleigh with some friends of mine. When we got into the mat, we noticed, every time young school children would come into the mat, they would walk straight to a post to stand and hold on tight. And we started asking each other why they were just standing around the matatu..so I called one of them over and asked why he was standing, and he said he has no fare. And I was shocked. The Eastleigh conductors let kids get on the matatus to get home free of charge, provided they stand though. Although this was nice of them, they didn’t really sit well considering how rough these “manyangas” get driven. Standing in one as an adult is a struggle in itself. So I told all the kids to sit and I would pay for them.When they were getting off, one of them said thank you to me and I honestly felt so nice…”

9. “So two years ago, I lost my scholarship. You can imagine, it was a stressful and depressing moment of my life. It was not just about losing my scholarship but also failing in my studies. It brought a lot of doubts in my head. I could not tell people at home and I seriously had no idea what to do. During those trying moments, four of the many friends I have were really there for me. They put up with my awful moods, my attitude… they encouraged me and help stand up again. I was financially disable and because I did not had the courage to tell people at home what was happening, they took it upon themselves to make sure I have my basic needs, got pocket money and I was having fun. At the same time, one of them held a harambee for my fees for that semester, $750 anonymously. And when I last got the courage to talk to my family about it, they were there and made sure I was okay. If it were not for them, I would have killed myself or worse, stop pursuing my dreams. But they believed in me, and found ways to make me believe in me. I can’t repay them for that and what they continue to do for me to date; but Allah is the Just…am sure He will pay them Justly, thus I pray for that.”

10. “My mother has always been my biggest inspiration to kindness (and maybe this is why parents should really take note on what their children pick from them)…She has done a lot (may Allah reward her with jannah) but one story still touches my heart deeply. A long time ago, we had a male house help. My mother helped him revert to Islam and taught him about Islam. So after some years working with us, his sister dies, leaving two orphans; young boys. So everyday, the house help would come home with them because they didn’t have someone to take care of them except their old grandma. My mum enrolled them into madrasa and after classes he would sit and teach them or let them play around. A time came, the house help left without notice or goodbye. Maybe for greener pastures. But so, the two boys were used to coming home so they’d still come. My mum never told them not to come again since their uncle had done a mistake. She went on to teach them and taking them to madrasa and in the evening they’d go to their grandma. Years later, the house help came back and apologized. He said, “Everywhere I go, I realize there is no human like you. I kept talking about how good you are to all my bosses until they wanted to know who you are. I can never forget how you took care of my nephews despite me leaving without any communication. And if there is any person I can predict paradise for them then it’s you…” To date, the house help still comes back home. He goes to work in other places but he always found his way back home. Oh yeah, and he still has the mashaf (qur’an) mum gave him when he first converted. And he repeats this too many times, “Mum, I can never forget your kindness…”

11. “One day, just after sunset, a boy went out to buy some groceries for his mum. That day’s order though could only be found at the grocery stores near the boarding stage, a fairly distant place. It was on a weekend so most of the grocery shops were closed and the ones that weren’t, we’re out of stock.
“Great. Just great” he thought to himself

After a fruitless search, he was left with a final try that he’d give up after. It was a sizable grocer that stood on the edge of the road a few minutes in from the stage. It was next to a charcoal supply shop characterized by the mixture of finely and pebble sized charcoal spread over that whole section of the road. The grocery’s light illuminated it’s front side just enough to see the set of rigid bricks meant to be the stairs.

As he got closer to the shop, he saw a white figure amidst the sea of ground charcoal. It was curled up into a small shape. People were barely missing their footing on it. A Boda Boda then rode passed it almost running it over. It was a kitten. He walked for the shop and threw his eyes at it once more. It was scared, eyes wide open with fear, frozen, as he watched it exist motionless among the numerous feet and exclamations of passersby and the horns of speedy motorbikes
He walked to the shop. A relief for they had the last batch of his order. He bought in smiles. He also bought a batch of Omena. He took his change and walked back to the kitten. He opened a bag and poured almost all of it just at the edge of the road, called the kitten in that common tongue noise and watched as the life flow back into it, as the fear in its eyes being replaced with wonder, slowly it moved towards the pile of raw fish and pounced at it with gratifying hunger.
He smiled thinking what the kitten must have been thinking at that moment. He fed every cat he saw on his way back that night and left just enough of the batch for those cats that always find their way to their compound. They ate gracefully as well..”

12. “There was this one time I was going to Nairobi just for a day to get some of my things at a friend’s house. But it turned out that he was in Mombasa so I couldn’t stay at his place (he was living at his aunt’s in Nairobi). So he told his other friend (who is also my friend) to receive me. So he calls me and says he’d be my host. I arrive in Nairobi at some minutes past 5 in the morning. It’s cold. And he comes with a taxi. We greet each other and ask how we’ve been (it was a while since I last saw him). Anyway, he’s like “you know, I won’t take you to my room. Let’s go to a hotel.” I was like “okay!😄” and the taxi drops us off at Eastleigh where we start walking around looking for a hotel. It was still dark and we are alone so I was slightly apprehensive.

All of the hotels were fully booked, I was kinda bummed out coz I was becoming tired and dragging that luggage was becoming a pain. But we finally found a room, it was just from being checked out and we had to wait for 20 minutes for it to be cleaned out for us. But it was kinda expensive (for a student). My friend had to pay 5k for one night. So I was kinda worried and said “dude are you sure? If it’s gonna inconvenience you it’s okay we can just stay at your messy room” And he said, “I’m doing this for the sake of Allah. I believe that if I spend it on others in a good way, He’ll give me more in return” Naturally I was touched by this, so I agreed and made a silent prayer for him that he succeeds in this life and the next. We spent the day roaming around town while he treated me to lunch. It was a really good day, and I promised myself that I would never forget his kindness and that I would repay him somehow in the future. The hotel is called regent hotel or something. It was really really nice. The room had dstv and all that. Plus it was big; Double bed room. Weh I felt like a prince. I keep remembering him. Still haven’t come round to making it up to him. But I pray for him well.”

13. “There was a time at my workplace, an old man came by to have his phone checked for repair. So I usually work upstairs and it was only by chance I came down and saw him standing; confused. He was really old, frail and weak. So I asked him what he needed and he said he wanted his phone repaired soonest, that he needed it immediately if possible because he was sick and some relatives kept sending him some money to help him around. I took the phone and handed it to the one in charge, who agreed to check it out immediately. After the phone was repaired, I took it to the old man who was really relieved. I then gave him 1k and told him, “I hope this helps you…” The man was really really grateful. He said lots of prayers for me then left and I thought that was the end of the story.

The next day, he came to the office again, but since I was upstairs and didn’t know my name, he couldn’t find me. He tried asking about me but my workmates didn’t understand whom he was talking about. The following day he came once again and my workmate decided to ask me if I knew the old man. Going downstairs, it was him. He said he came to thank me once again. That from the money I gave him he got to book a ticket to Kisumu, back to his family. He asked for my number and promised to send me omena and unga from there. He then said, “Because of what you’ve done i’ll become a Muslim.”I just thought it was a by the way but when he got there he did call me to say he arrived safely. After a few days he called again just to greet me. Then on another day, his son was the one who called to say that his father was in hospital and had requested to talk to me. We talked and his voice seemed so frail and weak.

A few days later, fajr time I received a call from his son; the old man had passed away. But he had left a message for me. That he wants to be buried in a plain white cloth without the coffin (sanda). I asked his son, “Had he converted to Islam?” He said, “There was a time he requested that we bring a sheikh to him, so there is that probability.” I decided to ask the son to go to the nearest mosque and let me talk to the imam, of which I did and we had arrangements that he is buried in Islam. Even after his death, his family members called, thanked me and still wanted to send me the omena and unga as promised by the old man but I didn’t see the need so I rejected politely. Nonetheless, I really hope that the man did indeed die a Muslim…”

Dear You…If you can’t find any good in this world, then be the one to do it. It doesn’t have to be ‘Mahatma Gandhi’ or ‘Maria Theresa’ big, it just has to be sincere. Do good to people. Try everyday. Make it a habit. A routine. Be kind. Be kind again and again. Making a difference in just one life is invaluable so never underestimate the effect of your actions and words.

Great appreciation to those who sent in their tales. God bless you…

You are welcome to comment any other stories of kindness below here 😉

By: Zale Navi

Photo Courtesy: http://cdn-media-2.lifehack.org

Four years ago, I didn’t know the existence of this word. Being a writer (not professionally) and someone who enjoys and loves reading, it is really a shame to admit that ”introvert” was not in my dictionary. But again, I have never been good with vocabularies.

Our dearest, beloved, respected, much appreciated and celebrated uncle Google defines introvert as a shy person. However, if you care to dig deeper to the psychological meaning of the word, you will discover that introvert has got nothing to do with shyness. So I will just blame uncle Google for misleading many of us. Why is it a big deal? Do I go around checking for words wrongly defined by Google? Absolutely no! I don’t even use Google, I prefer Oxford Dictionary 😉

The reason why I took interest on ‘introvert’ is, I believe it is not a coincidence that recently most of us identify ourselves as introverts. Before you throw your shoe at me, I know some of us are really introverts while the rest of us are just shy. Conventionally speaking, shyness is not a trait that is looked at positively; not unless you are a bride. Introvert on the other hand sounds cool to the ears and guys with this personalty are really productive people to hung out with; even though they are not largely celebrated in the society. Nevertheless, I’d rather say am an introvert than to admit my shyness.

The problem, however is not about being shy or being an introvert. The problem is actually how the world has forced some of us to keep to ourselves. We live in a society whereby, what is least important is considered to be the most important; yes I am talking about sources of entertainment. If you don’t know enough about them, then my friend you are automatically sentenced to life time silence. There is lack of kindness in our words and expressions. Our actions knows no boundaries nor show of compassion and consideration to the next person. We treat each other like the ground we step on. who would not want to keep to themselves in such a world?

Kindness, compassion, love, care, humility… they are important traits that give most of us the courage needed to get out of our shells and share our world with others. In today’s world, we listen, not to understand but to catch that shrub, or word said out of place so that it can be a source of entertainment to us years later. Making fun of one another and ridiculing each other is the norm. We observe actions not to learn from them but to find a slip up fit for our critics and harsh comments. We are busy looking out for ways to out do one another, competition is the order of the day leading to hearts that house jealousy and hatred towards each other. Love that is meant to be shown in actions is reduced to sweet meaningless words updated as status on Facebook or cute pictures posted on instagram. Our main focus is to accumulate more and more of anything and everything to ourselves, with no care whom we have to step on to get there. Many are in pain and tears because of our actions but we just don’t give a damn! Humility is a vocabulary to us and it does not matter how many definitions Google and Oxford Dictionary offers, we just don’t seem to get it. I ask again, who would want to be associated with such a world?

We need to see the urgency in making the world a better place. It does not cost you anything to show kindness, love, compassion and humility to others. It all starts with a smile, a ”how are you?” to the disturbed classmate. A helping hand to the lady from the market. A ”thank you” to the one who cooked your meal. A ”sorry” to the one you bumped into in your hurry to catch the bus. Holding the door for the boy coming right after you. A genuine ”well done” to the one who did better than you… the list goes on and on and I am sure I can list a thousand more a like without asking you for a penny from your pocket. So what is stopping you from taking action now?

So back to introvertism; it is so real. And these people too, need our love and acceptance. We should not view them as people with some kind of abnormality, because they are normal just the way they are. It is their different personality, their tendency to keep to themselves that bring balance to the world. So please, have mercy on them and don’t force them into gatherings for long hours, they literally get drained. It is in their solitude that they derive their energy from. But isn’t that what we are all about, diversity? Different personalities? Let’s allow our differences to bring us closer and celebrate the various personalities that are out there. Share your world with the rest of the world.

As for me, I am an introvert, I think. I’m also shy and know very little about entertainment world. So basically I am a part time normal person. And the people around me have accepted that. Most introverts, what they really need is their space. If you deny them that, it gets hard for them to function. But it is not a disease that needs cure. Being an introvert is just like being left handed and the society needs to accept you for who you are and make you feel comfortable among other types of personality. Our world is all about diversity, and we can co-exist. We just have to learn how to share the gifts of life.

I still remember when I was a kid, when Palestine was really on fire. But well, when was it ever not on fire? It was during those times that the news were just about Palestine; sickening images and depressing videos. There was a world outcry. The Arab artists from different countries came together and made a video clip for them. It was around the same time when the 12 year old Muhammad Al Durrah and his dad were shot dead as shown in a very depressing video clip. It was 2000 and I was just six years old. There was the world, standing up for humanity like we should while I stood and watched. I was too young to comprehend what was happening but I just didn’t like what I saw. It broke my heart…and it made me cry a lot.

My mum once came and found me hiding at the window, behind the curtains crying. Oh I had cried a lot. I had cried like I was right there at the middle of it. I had cried like the cry baby I am…To cheer me up, my mother asked my cousin to take me for a walk. She took me to the bridge side to watch the ocean and bought me some crisps on the way. At that time, it was easy enough to forget what I had just seen and live up the sea moment. I was going to do something about it, that was my plan. I was going to grow up and make a difference. I was somehow going to make all the noise stop and bring the world to silence. I was hoping i’d be the female version of superman. But then I grew up, and reality hit me hard. There was almost nothing I was ever going to do. Not to the war torn countries, not to the fighting friends not even to my own helplessness. Back and again, i’d lock myself in the washroom and cry because two people were fighting, because someone became angry, because someone didn’t eat and my mother would be there again and again with the same words, ‘This is life…These things happen.’ So I started writing and for as long as I remember, I wrote like a possessed woman. I never had short paragraphs or small words to say. It was always going to be long and very long endless paragraphs of pain and sorrow; too much pain too much sorrow. By the time I got to high school, I knew. I knew I wasn’t going to change. I knew I couldn’t stop to feel.

I hated myself for feeling way too much because it made me seem like damaged goods, a worn out material, a shattered mirror. Simply because there is no in between for me and for us. There is nothing like moderation. It was always going to be extreme love or extreme hate. Extreme kindness or extreme evil. But it also made me appreciate a lot of things beyond. It became my super power, just like writing did. I tried to fit in only to realize it was never going to happen. It was never going to be easy for people to understand. They see you laughing like a maniac for one moment and you’d be crying like a widow the next. How you’d laugh so hard at the most stupid of things and cry so much for something so petty. No, they would never get you. And so it would always end up with, ‘she is so moody’. I curled up back into my cocoon because that is the only place you wouldn’t be misunderstood or misinterpreted. That is the only way to survive.

When war broke in Yemen and my sisters were trapped inside, I slid away. I slid away from them and from everyone. My mother would lecture me for not keeping in touch, for not being there for my sisters when they needed me. But then how do you respond when someone talks of the bombs they are hearing right as you speak? What do you tell them when you get 3 a.m. texts of them asking for prayers? I ran. I always ran away from the reality because helplessness is way too much to handle. I ran away every time I came face to face with my emotions. I ran because facing my fears would mean dealing with my inability to do absolutely ANYTHING. I ran when people attacked me, when I was being stepped on, I changed routes to not meet the beggars, I shut away when people fought. I withdrew, stayed back, retrieved myself from my soul, escaped…and thus, I became an escapist. For the longest time I asked God, ‘why was I born? What am I doing on this earth?’ Simply because being lost and helpless is just too much.

But then I found out that being overly-sensitive would make sense sometimes. When you meet people like yourself and there comes that sigh of relief, ‘I am not the only one.’ You meet understanding people who won’t call you moody because they just know how extremely you feel. You meet people who will empower you to turn that sensitivity into something enormous and courageous and brave. Yes…you meet the right people.

Every time I meet fellow cry-babies who are screaming inside because ‘no one understands me’, I remember that I am blessed with the ability to write. That it doesn’t really matter how weak people perceive you, or how they judge what you write, or how they think of you. What only matters is that you are doing what you have to, to survive.

So here I am. Feelings for sale. Anyone? Feelings, anyone??

BY: NAIMA BAGHOZI

Long time back in Mwapata land lived a small boy of nine years. His name was Muja but famously known as ‘Muja the kind hearted’ by everyone, big and small.

Muja lived with his father and mother who were quite old, but they brought him up to be a very good boy.
Muja was always kind to old people and even small children and not forgetting the animals. He would always help an old person cross the road or help an old woman carry her heavy load and if a small child is in distress then yes of course Muja would be right there to assist in whatever the problem is. As for the animals, he always had a very soft heart for them and did not like to see anybody hurting them.

That is why he earned the name ‘Muja, the kind hearted’ , and all people referred to him that way. As soon as he appeared anywhere, someone would be heard as saying “here comes Muja the kind hearted” and thus was loved by everyone. No one would want to harm him in anyway but would always have a kind or a soft word for Muja.

Now, Muja’s daily routine would be to wake up very early in the morning at the first call of the rooster’s “cock-a-doodle do” in order to fetch water from the well to wash himselfup and also to make sure his parents had enough for use.

Then after drinking his tea, he takes his bag and on his way to school he goes – up the lane, up and up the hill then at the top of the hill he takes a breath and looks down at the view which awaits him and he says to himself “ Oh! What a beautiful village we have….” And then jumps and trots down the hill towards his school where he knows his friends would be eagerly awaiting his arrival so they can play together a little bit before the bell rings for assembly.

As soon as school ends for the day, Muja has no time for friends but he would rush out of school and climb up the hill and run all the way home for he knows he has got chores awaiting him. One of them being to go and fetch firewood from a nearby bush for his mother. He would always be cautious about his mother’s warning of never going deep in the bush for fear of wild animals.

The one thing that the Mwapata Land boys liked best to do was to hunt for the many beautiful little birds who were all over the place. So after school they would normally be out with their catapults trying their best shots with pebbles at them, for they say they are very tasty when roasted. However, everybody knew of Muja’s weakness where these little birds were concerned and wouldn’t even stop to fight in order to save them. So whenever the area boys are already at their mischief, one is normally kept on guard to look out for Muja and the moment he sees him coming, he would yell ‘run ,Muja the kind hearted’ is coming, then they would all scatter in different directions in fear that if they will be caught then anything can strike them. Oh! Yes, they would even go as far as calling the birds as “Muja’s Birds.”

One day as Muja was collecting his mother’s firewood not so far from his home lane, he thought he heard his name – so he stopped picking up the wood to listen but only silence met him, he then continued to pick his firewood but it didn’t take long before he heard it again and this time it was quite clear for he had moved up a bit in his collection and this is what he heard from a tiny small clear but sad voice ;

“Muja,ooh! Muja
Please, please
Help me……..”

And it continued on and on as he moved towards the voice only to find one little bird trapped and could not free itself to fly off. It was so frightened that if it was found by one of the boys it would soon be on a fire being roasted and to be made into a nice meal.

So Muja rushed to it and said ‘Oh! You sweet little bird, don’t be frightened, Muja is here now to set you free”…. And you know what? Muja did just that, he carefully removed it from the trap and set it free to fly away in the skies and the little bird was so grateful as it flew away saying:

“Ooh! Muja, Ooh! Muja
Thank you for saving my life.
Ooh! You kind hearted Muja….”

Muja found himself smiling silently and went to collect his wood to take to his mother who would be waiting for it patiently in order to start cooking their dinner.

When Muja got home, he explained everything to his parents. His mother told him “Muja, you are a fine boy” and his father said “Muja my son, you will one day make a fine man”.
These compliments made Muja’s heart fill with joy for he always appreciates his parents’ comments as they meant a lot to him.

After his mother cooked dinner, they sat down to eat and then he helped her to wash the few dishes they had and prepared himself for bed for he knows again at the very early call of their rooster’s ‘cock-a-doodle-do’ he would have to be up once again.

Such was Muja’s daily life routine except for weekends when he gets the chance to at least play football which he loved very much with his friends. But of course this is after he had done all his chores first and then he would be free to play.

Days went on and fell into nights and nights dawned into beautiful mornings as Muja’s life continued but unfortunately with the busy schedule he had, his studies seemed to suffer. This was because the only time he had for his studies was when he was in class , so he had to struggle extra hard – more than all his fellow students in order to keep up with them. But Muja being Muja – he was determined to make it so that he may be able to have a better future than the current one he was having.

One Wednesday evening when Muja went out for his normal firewood collection, he was met with quite an incident that would make him remember this day for the rest of his life. He started picking the firewood at his usual spot on the edges of the bush, but this time his mind seemed to be quite far and didn’t realize that he had actually entered the bush which his mother always cautioned him about. In a trance like manner he continued on with his wood picking until suddenly “WHAM” right into a trap he walked and thus found himself entangled in a net and as much as he tried to free himself – it was just an impossible task. For the first time by looking around he realized that he had walked far into the bush and his heart started pounding so fast ‘doom,doom,doom’ that he could hardly hear anything else . He tried his level best to calm himself down so that he can think of his next move, so after just a few seconds which to him seemed ages he managed to calm down and could look at the surroundings properly. All he could see were trees and trees which seemed to be bending towards him and he could only hear the eerie sounds of the bush habitants whom he couldn’t see.

Time did seem to have stood still but he felt it must be quite late and was thinking “now my parents must really be worried!” and tears started to roll down his cheeks. He really wished for anybody to come by and help him, maybe a hunter…. Then he started screaming “help,help,help” at the very top of his voice but only the echo of his voice seemed to answer him with the same “help,help,help” screams – but he did not despair nor did he give up. He would rest a bit and call out for help at short intervals.

It went on this way until he started shaking with fear and when he was just about to give up – you won’t believe what happened. Muja had already given up and thought he would be a meal for one or another of the wild animals but his kind heartedness was about to pay now, for he suddenly heard that lovely from a long time back voice say:

“Ooh! Muja, Ooh! My kind hearted Muja,
Don’t be afraid – your friend is here
To help you…….”

And yes, looking up – guess who Muja saw? That’s right, that little bird he once saved and wondered privately how this little thing would be able to help him. In a matter of seconds the little bird started tweeting in the bird language and from all directions – all Muja could see were wings and wings flying into the call of his friend and it communicated to them to start cutting the net with their beaks. Since they all knew the kind hearted Muja who had many a time saved them from the Mwapata land boys with their catapults – they were more than happy to help getting Muja out of the trap.

They didn’t waste any time in doing just that and within no time Muja was freed by his bird friends and they started escorting him out of the bush right up to the main lane. That’s when Muja found out that it had already gotten dark and knew how worried his poor parents would be – his little bird friend said:

“Ooh! Muja, Ooh! Kind hearted Muja,
This is where we leave you for we
Have to go and sleep now…….”

And Muja said to them:
“Ooh! My lovely friends,
I say thank you very much for
Saving my life, I shall never forget
This for as long as I live…….”

Off they went back to the bush and Muja started running up the lane towards his home not even thinking about the firewood….and just as he was about to turn around the corner he bumped into an old man who held him steadily before he could fall and said in wonder “Is this you Muja? Is it really you my son…?” his voice full of emotion and Muja replied “father, father, oh! Am I glad to see you again”

They hugged and started walking together towards their home where they found his mother right at the gate with such a worried look on her face. She too couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw her son and tears of joy ran down her cheeks as Muja ran towards and hugged her so hard while he too started crying not believing that he wasn’t actually eaten by the wild animals and that he was back home with his mother and father.

After resting and being given a bowl of porridge, he told the whole story to his awed parents and promised them that he will never venture again into the bush. Thus, he went to sleep with a big smile on his face knowing he was safe in his parents’ home.

THE – END

P.S. The book is in print form too if you would like to get a hard copy please inbox me in my Facebook page: strokes of my pen

Photo Courtesy: http://media.istockphoto.com/

2016 has been like any other year; with it’s own ups and downs, new innovations, great changes, tragedies, successes, new habits both good and bad ones. As much as we are encouraged to embrace change and accept it, there are some things that we shouldn’t be okay with, that we should STOP doing as fast as the four letters can be pronounced and that each one of us should really reconsider before doing them again. Let us make 2017 a better year.

1. Let the journalists do their work: This is one of the things that really REALLY bothers and pisses me off honestly and it makes me sad too. We are in this era whereby everyone is a citizen journalist, everyone is a photographer. Of course there is a good side and great advantages of this but we are sooo misusing the privilege. Having people take photos and videos of tragic events, heart-breaking scenarios is soo not okay. It is NOT okay to take photos of someone’s bloody body at the accident scene, of someone’s burial, of someone who just committed suicide, of a total stranger having his private time somewhere and you decide the world should laugh with you on how they had worn their dress the wrong way or make-up done so badly or whatever embarrassing moment they are facing. Or even ‘better’, making a meme out of it. For heavens sake, please just don’t. We have journalists for a reason. And we go through four years of learning for a reason. We are taught ethics which apparently many don’t have.

Sometimes, I come across very devastating situations in which I know I could create a master piece story from yet I, as a journalist refrain from taking the pic or the video because I always remind myself that I am a human being before a journalist. And this is something we should all consider before we are so quick to pull out our phones. Ask yourself this question, if I were in that same situation, would I want someone to expose me to the world like that?! Would I want that to be done if it was my mother in the bad make up? Or if it was my dad lying on the ground dead? Would I want the world my dead body’s picture circulating before even my own family is notified of my death? For those who have ever read the biography of the Bang bang club of South Africa, or watched the movie, they can tell you how photo journalists at that time suffered from guilt and depression due to the heart-breaking scenes they had to capture. One committed suicide yet his photo of a vulture waiting for a hungry child to die brought him great fame. It was all guilt…but do we have any left? He was a journalist, that was his job, yet he couldn’t stand it. What of us of the all day, all night selfie era??

Don’t say I can’t be in that situation. I can’t commit suicide. I can’t do bad make-up. I can’t I can’t…but you may do something way worse and trust me, you wouldn’t even want to admit it to your own self let alone the whole world knowing about it. We need to start acting like human beings with brains and with a heart. Act HUMAN!

2. Stop putting yourself down: Stop waiting for a miracle to happen to bring you out of your misery. You need to believe in yourself, believe that you have a purpose in this life. That you do make a difference. It doesn’t have to be world wide difference. You don’t have to be mother Theresa or Nelson Mandela for you to know that you are making a difference. You are. Because you make someone in your life happy. Because you help your friends in their difficult times. Because you love your family and they love you back. You are making a difference just by your existence. So don’t allow rain drops look like a storm. Don’t create problems that don’t exist. Don’t overthink. Just believe. Have faith. Love and love again. Be kind and never let yourself down. Remember, you are amazing! 🙂

3. Staying low key is important. It is as important as you taking your medicine on time. I personally spend a lot of time on social media because that is where all my work is but if there is anything that I learnt is; learn to separate your personal life from social media. Stop worshiping the internet. Stop giving out too many details about your life. It is okay to let your friends know when you are happy and when you are sad or when you are having a nice time somewhere. Just don’t over-do it. There are many vultures out there waiting for you to trip or maybe even your downfall. You upload your every single movement; from hotel to hotel. From outing to outing. From boyfriend to boyfriend. From meal to meal. Do you believe that people actually are happy for you just because they clicked ‘like’? or because the comments got to 100 plus? Think about it. How many are actually your friends; REAL friends? Few I am sure. What then becomes of the rest who have so much information about you to write your biography yet you are actually strangers? Doesn’t it ever scare you that you have nothing left in your life that is private and unknown to the world? Be a little bit mysterious. It has it’s own beauty.

4. Regard depression seriously. It’s high time we stopped mocking people undergoing depression. They are not attention seekers. They are not drama queens and kings. They are not weak. They are just too overwhelmed with their lives. They just need your help, your advice, your support. We need to stop telling on them like they are being delicate babies. That they are not strong enough. We need to stop pushing them away because depression is an illness of the heart just as cancer is to the body. It is real. It is deadly. It is suicidal. We shouldn’t wait until someone has harmed themselves is when we say, ‘He told me how he had suicide thoughts many times. I thought he was joking…’ Sweet heart there is no jokes on depression issues. When your friend/family/close person comes to you then give them your time, your love, your prayers and assist them in discovering God and having faith in Him and His plans.

5. New beginnings: I believe in new beginnings. I believe in making changes, meeting new people and making new discoveries. I believe in better days and happy moments. But I also believe that none of these are tied to a new year. Every new year we want to make resolutions, we want a fresh start, we want the new beginnings. Yet 1st of January is not any different with 31st December or 20th August or 23rd of March. It is a day like any other. It doesn’t come with a miracle from Santa nor does it hide any surprises. It is all but our own perception of it. The resolutions we make each year, we rarely ever fulfill them. We just make them because everyone is making their resolutions. But it should never be so. Yes I believe in making goals and what better time to make them than on a new year? Yes that is fine. I also do have my resolutions and goals each year. But that doesn’t mean you have to wait until next new year for you to make the necessary changes in your life? How are you even sure you will live to the next 1st January?

Please stop complaining that it has been a terrible year, every single year! We hear the same words on and on and on, year after year. So when are you ever going to appreciate the good things that happened in the 12 months phase? Stop being a negative person. Appreciate good things when they come and be patient during tough times. And remember, change can be done any time any day even if it at midnight of a very stormy night. It’s all in your brain. You can start your new beginning right now, right this second. Who is going to stop you? Every day is a beautiful day; beautiful enough to be a fresh start 😉

It has been a year of it’s own. Let’s hope and pray that 2017 will be a more peaceful year for the whole world, a better year for us all, a year with more love and happiness than any other. May we all live to have our new beginnings and achieve our goals. Ameen 🙂

Photo Courtesy: pinterest.com

I remember a day just a few weeks ago, I was walking around Makadara Old town with my close friend Amina, when all of a sudden the man right in front of us fell down. He started having fits and convulsions before he became unconscious. We both freaked out of course and we had a second of shock before we thought of doing anything. His fits seemed like he was an epileptic but he didn’t produce any saliva like I have seen it ooze out of my sister’s mouth.

See my sister is epileptic but in that moment I just froze and my mind went blank. I totally had no idea what to do yet I have the experience doing first aid for an epileptic. When the shock sank in, I ran to a chemist nearby to get help while Amina picked up the man’s belongings that were scattered.

I couldn’t get any help from the Pharmacists. So I rushed back. People had started gathering. Everyone with their own theory of what to do so he can recover.

“Mnusishe ufunguo.” (Let him smell keys)

“Mnusishe upande wa chini wa kiatu.” (Let him smell the bottom side of the shoe.

There was a biology teacher nearby. He asked the people to space out before saying that epileptics can’t be helped in that situation. They are left to regain their consciousness.

Every kind of people stood and had a peep at him. Some questioned what was happening while others just looked and disappeared. We still stood there; me and Amina. And it was while we were waiting for the man to gain consciousness I remembered my sister. I imagined how it would be if she ever fell down on the way. Will she get someone like Amina to hold her things until she wakes up? Will she get someone to raise her head and turn her back and cover her well? My heart was in a pinch now and I was holding myself so hard not to break down. But then my brother in law appeared (the husband to my epileptic sister), and you know, usually when you see a familiar face in such a situation it’s like “at last someone to understand what I am feeling”. So I just let it out and started crying. Mind you, I was crying in front of a crowd of people. So the attention shifted for a moment.

“Why is she crying?” They started asking. My brother in law pulled me aside and I quickly rubbed off my tears and put on a smile. He left and I went back to where the man was lying.

Slowly, we watched as he regained consciousness. I went on my knees and questioned him his name and whether he remembers what has jut happened. From experience, there were times she couldn’t even recognize my mother until moments later.

The man told us his name and gave us his relative’s phone number to call. A lady gave me her phone to make the call.

“Are you so and so?”

“Yes. Do you know so and so?”

“Why?”

“He mentioned you to be his uncle. Do you know him?”

“No this is wrong number.”

“Wait…aren’t you so and so?”

“I am but as I told you I don’t know the person.” The line went dead.

“He says he doesn’t know you,” I told the man.

“We are not in very good terms that’s why.”

“Any other relative we can call?”

“My cousin but he doesn’t have a phone at the moment.”

We all sighed. This is going to be tricky to deal with.

The same lady who gave me the phone to make the call went and bought the man some water and glucose. Another male student seemingly going to college stopped by and offered to help too. The biology teacher was still standing there and Amina was still holding the man’s belongings, tears in her eyes.

“So how can we help him? He can’t leave like this.”

I knelt down again.

“Do you have epilepsy?”

“No I went to the hospital the other day and I was told Malaria has gotten to the brain…and thus the convulsions.” He slowly removed a hospital subscription and then showed me ARV’s.

“I am coming from my uncle’s.place to ask for help to buy the medicines required and I was heading to another place to ask for help too.”

A Barawa man or perhaps he was a Somali quickly asked me, “He needs money for hospital?”

I nodded.

“Please come with me to my shop I will give you the money.”

The hospital prescription was written that he was referred to Coast general and he needed malaria tablets worth 2000. I stared at the amount with puzzlement. 2000/= for malaria tabs? Or is it because he has Aids? Doesn’t make sense. I still went with the Barawa guy to his shop and gave me the two thousand shillings. I thanked him and rushed to Kisima Chemist.

I quickly told the story to the Pharmacist and showed him the prescription. His next words shattered me…

“That man…he is lying. There is no prescription that can be written for malaria tabs worth 2000. Plus if he has been referred to Coast general he should be there instead of taking malaria tabs worth 2K”

“I thought so too…but…but he can’t be lying. He fell down right in front of me. I saw him get the fits. How he gained consciousness.”

“Ma’am…we have seen a lot here. People go to far extents to make money from people. He must have used a substance that triggered the fall and the fits. They usually point out targets and then do the act.”

I was speechless. Shocked. Pertubed.

Does this mean this man had actually targeted me and Amina as potential naive souls to believe his drama?

“Now what should I do? Someone just gave me 2000 to buy the guy medicines. I don’t even know his name. How can I return it?”

“Listen… if you want to buy malaria tablets worth 2000 then I will give you…but if you really want to help this guy take him to hospital. You will know the truth from there”

The pharmacist turned to the next customer as I stood still. I replayed the whole scene.

It was just Amina and I behind that man. No one close by. I remember how fast he showed me his ARV’s and the prescription and how he told his story of needing funds…Oh my…

Amina interrupted my thoughts.

“Oh I finally found you. The man was saying he knows a place he can buy the medicines at a cheaper price.”

I told her what the pharmacist had just said.

“Anyway let’s just assume he is being honest…in any case we haven’t lost anything.”

“Well yeah but if he is lying then we have lost our tears and my head is drumming and I am late for work. Both of us are late to work…” I said.

As we approached the man again, the crowd had dispersed. Remaining was just the fallen guy, the biology teacher and Amina’s mum who had come after Amina called her.

We took Amina’s mum aside and explained what we were told. The shock never seized appearing on our faces.

“We can’t exactly know though. Maybe he is sick after all. Let’s just give him benefit of doubt…”

Amina’s mum approached the man and asked him,

“Should we take you to Coast general? Won’t it be better if we took you there?”

“Mmh yeah…” he hesitated, “but let me relax first.”

Amina’s mum told us they will try questioning him before giving him the 2K. So Amina and I left while Amina’s mum and the biology teacher went with him to a small cafe to buy him lunch and question him too…

 

It’s been quite a while since that incident but I have never been able to digest it. Every time I pass by that spot I remember how that man fell down. And whenever I do, I feel disappointed and sometimes; stupid.

Amina later on told me that her mum told the man that if he is genuine then may God help him and if he lying then God is there too to grant him what he deserves, before giving him the money.

When I told my family what happened that day, my dad and brother told me I should stop being naive.

But then this isn’t about me alone. There was the lady who bought water and glucose for the guy, who gave out her phone to make calls, there was Amina who went to a further extent of calling her mom, who also had to leave her job place to come help this guy, there was the biology teacher, the college boy, the Barawa guy who gave out his money…Sometimes I wonder if they ever heard the Pharmacists words what would they say? Or feel? Or perhaps how would it change their perspective to humanity and humans? True, sometimes humans don’t deserve humanity…

We complain of how humanity has died but there are so many good people out there. But it is still us humans who kill the remaining perks of faith that we have in humanity. Again and again, we have broken the trust and the chains connecting us. I remember another friend once told me of how someone orchestrated their own death and went to an extra mile of letting out photos to prove the death. Only for the family to find out it was a huge lie in the name of revenge for a fight that happened. Tell me, who does that? Put your own family through such kind of pain cause of a fight?

This is how when someone calls wolf…we are barely ever going to believe it anymore. Because we have reduced humanity into nothing by just putting up an award winning drama. This is how to kill humanity in a moment….

P.S My intention in writing this story is to not show what I did or what my friend did or what others did. Far from it, this can serve a lesson for those who believe what they see easily. You need to be alert out there. We have cons and real psychos out there. You need to be careful…And that there are so many kind people ready to help but we are the ones who break them by killing the little left humanity in them…

Nonetheless, may God bless every single kind soul that helped out that day and every other day. They are the only hope we have in humanity.

By: Abdulqadir Mahmoud

 

Alhamdulillah, here we are in another year, another month, where in less than ten days we will get to offer a sunnah of Nabi Ibrahim (as) and enjoy all that comes after it in shaa Allah. Yes people, it is the month of Hajj and slate forgiveness; it is the 1st of Dhul Hijjah, 1437. But before the meat, clothes and joy, we have the first ten days of this month that come before it. But they are not just any first ten days,

Allah swt says in the Noble Qur’an;

“I swear by the daybreak, And the ten nights, And the even and the odd, And the night when it departs. Truly in that there is an oath for those who possess understanding.”  (Q 89: 1-5)

Allah swt specifies His words to those who understand because they are the ones who truly know their value, as Ibn Abbas RA reported that the Prophet s.a.w said:

“There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allaah than these ten days.” The people asked, “Not even jihaad for the sake of Allah?” He said, “Not even jihaad for the sake of Allaah, except in the case of a man who went out to fight giving himself and his wealth up for the cause, and came back with nothing.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 2/457).

Now, most of us have not realized this great opportunity because, even though some may blame it on the rainy weather, we haven’t internalized how great of a breather it is.

In this era of today, wrong has become so opened and celebrated that it has engraved in our mental capacitors that it’s of norm. Whether it is from those strokes of keys on the keyboard or that glance you throw when no one’s looking, or frankly everyone, all the things we do in secrecy or in public, alone or with others, they are still wrong, and we know it. You know the mere aspect of us being Muslim is such a big ne3ma and blessing, subhanallah. Having a Lord that you know looks at you, sees you and completely understands you and still loves you anyway. He swt knows how much temptation and tests, how much trouble we are in just trying to maintain our identities as Muslims, how thin of a thread we are hanging on to them and for that, even after giving us a whole month free from shaytaan with gates of Jannah wide open, Rahma oozing out from His Mercy (Month of Ramadhan), He decided to put aside another 10 days…10 days that He will make more dearer to Him than any other day of every other day that will be existent on this Earth. Subhanallah, how much of a ne3ma is this…no other religion bears any favors of such immensity, proportions, Alhamdulillah 3alaa ne3matil Islaam.

Now you understand what Allah swt was referring to as ‘those who understand’? Good. If not, re-read that paragraph until you do.

During these days, shaytaan will be on steroids trying to woo everyone because he knows their worth so stay sharp. The Prophet (saw) advices us to increase Takbeer (Allaahu akbar), Tahmeed (Al-hamdu Lillah), Tahleel (La ilaha ill-Allaah) and Tasbeeh (Subhaan Allaah). The easiest way to do all these is to recite the dhikr done on the day of eid. Besides, gets the spirit of Eid going. You know that feeling you get in the early morning when the mosques are doing the takbeers and mum’s busy in the kitchen and then you smile to yourself as you realize that it’s the day of eid, Alhamdulillah. So I want you to be saying these dhikr when you walk, stand, sit, lean…Man I want you to be snoring these dhikr. It is also sunnah to recite them out loud, helps to keep your tongues busy and free from shaytaan’s control.

Fasting. This is the most efficient way of both earning the pleasure of Allah and since shaytaan’s out and free, it’s another level keeping a clean slate. Fasting helps in this limitation. But just to put this ibaadah simply, can you imagine the Creator of the most humongous and continuously expanding universe to the smallest, tiny and most minute proton, neutron and electron of smallest atom, smile at the sound of your name, joy at the sight of you humbling yourself to Him through your fasting as He tells every creation to praise you and ask forgiveness for you, because you did that one ibaadah that only He can reward you, in the days that are most beloved to Him. What more better of a gift to your Lord than offering it on His favorite days?

Lastly, cannot emphasis any greater on Salah. This is the single most important ibaadah out there because its validity defines whether everything else you do in service of Allah matters, or not.

These days, they are a gold mine people. Try to utilize them aki. Fight that urge to get up from sujood, force yourself to recite word by word in that ruku’u, say dhikr everywhere you are and every time you remember to. These are special times, especially to Allah and pleasing Him… Every second counts ya akhy, yaa Ukhty, every second counts, every deed counts. Don’t ignore even the smile you give to your fellow muslim when you meet or to shake hands for your sins fall off as long as you have not retracted your hands. Take that dusty translation quran and read a chapter from juzuu 3ama, give charity, don’t argue with mum, help out dad, fight that urge that makes you want to open that music app or look at those hot and catchy pps, forgive that one who looks at you in that weird manner, it’s usually the small things, and they are shaytaan’s traps, don’t fall in, if you do, get straight back out and take this chance that only comes once in every allowed year.

Oh yeah, and do one good right here but sharing this to fellow Muslim friends and relatives. In shaa Allah you too will get a reward for that. Ameen.

Photo Courtesy: http://www.leonlogothetis.com/

Kindness is one of the most invaluable qualities anyone could have. It is a rare quality and that’s why the Swahili say ‘kutoa ni moyo’ to mean giving (charity) needs a big heart. Clearly, not everyone has this quality for there are very rich individuals but are very mean while there are people with humble backgrounds but still give the little much they have. So today, we are going to celebrate all the people who give; however small or big, whatever or however you do it…you are one of the living legends

Have you ever passed by those many small street kids in town with their torn and untidy clothes and they timidly follow you to ask for some cash or some food? They are so many especially behind posta area and one would get even confused whom to give and whom not to but if you gave out even if it was your ten shilling coin, then do know you have done a great thing. You may assume that ten shillings is very little but never underestimate the value of what you give in charity. Just imagine the smile on that child or person at the street there and the immediate thanks that follows you by them; isn’t that a great blessing indeed?

Right now, our country is undergoing an economic crisis and the citizens are always the ones to suffer. We are all tied up in problems of our own but there are those few individuals who would go one step further and stretch their hand to the less fortunate. They would go visit the sick with maybe a packet of milk and bread, or maybe they would collect some old un needed but still good clothes and give them out in charity to some orphans somewhere, they would share some food with the hungry neighbour…and the list goes on. Sometimes, it is these small things that we do that actually create the deeper happiness in our lives.

School fees have always been a deep agony to many parents and guardians and they have to run up and down from place to place in search of that one big heart that would help without hesitation or embarrassing the one seeking their help. How many times have we seen people seeking help from prominent people who would make them wait for hours and hours before dismissing them empty handed, but yet still, in every ten, we don’t miss that one humane being that can create all the difference in your life.

Charity has never required anyone to be extra ordinarily rich and sometimes you don’t need money at all. As Lao Tzu said, ‘kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.’ Sometimes, all you have to do is give a smile to your fellow brother, make someone laugh, remove a harmful object from people’s way, visit the sick and orphans, be humble in your words and all these actions could be termed as kindness for kind of effect they have on people. With all that you do in kindness, never expect anything in return but who knows what the future holds? You might need help one time in your life and someone else would offer you kindness just as you did to others because charity and kindness never goes a waste!

A word of inspiration to us all is that ‘beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to die by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again.” (Og Mandino)

So let’s all take a minute today to thank and pray and show gratitude to all the groups that are tirelessly working to offer charity and kindness to the less fortunate and all the new groups that are doing a very well done job to the society, the few prominent people with humanity, to those who are supporting children with their school fees, those who are doing a wonderful job of maintaining our graveyards, going to hospital and giving fruits to all the patients in a huge hospital like coast general, amongst many other charity activities that they do. And to you who spreads love with any way of kindness to the less fortunate even if it is by that smile or your twenty shillings and individuals who are so many I can’t personally write them down; for the list goes on and on…you are our heroes! I salute you all!