Photos by: Husna Lali (& a few from the Mombasa Toa Donge Lako Page)

There are some things, moments and people you are definitely never going to forget, like beautiful sunsets, the best meal you ever had, laughter until you cried and long-term friendships. It is not about who or what exactly they are but rather what they made you feel and how they changed your perspective on life or maybe just made you take a step back and review your life with new eyes. Charity is one of those things. Your heart swells with joy as you see the the spark in their eyes, as they pull you into their arms for a hug, tears already formed, a half smile and many unspoken words. You see all the emotions mixing on their faces like paint. Perhaps you may never get to understand how big your help is to them, but they do and sometimes even words can’t fully describe emotions. It could be happiness on their side, faith in humanity, hope and gratitude. And on your side it is joy, satisfaction, contentment and food for thought. You have made a difference in someone’s life and that precise moment may never be recaptured in the same exact way ever again.

Last Sunday, 20/5/18, marked a new wonderful experience with the Mombasa Toa Donge Lako community group. We started our trip from Mombasa all the way to the interior most parts of Kilifi, visiting orphanages and mosques that truly deserve help. It was a long trip full of excitement, laughter, extremely silent moments, feeling the saum pangs moments πŸ˜€ and fatigue. Yet all one could say at the end of it all is that it was entirely worth it.

This was really an eye-opening experience which exposed me to a world I had only heard about. Children and orphans living in small houses, squeezing themselves in the tiny beds with very thin mattresses or none at all, with leaking roofs, torn clothes and empty stomachs. Children having to walk a distance of around forty five minutes to one hour to school and madrassa every single day. These same children who can’t even afford one uniform to keep them at school. People who have to walk for two hours to get to the nearest clinic. People who don’t even know what three meals are. People who live in very deserted places such that you could have an emergency and die alone in your house without anyone hearing your screams and cries.

I have been to orphanages before but this was different. This was like a different world entirely. Cracked land, brownish water, malnourished children, children parenting other children, children going into the bushes and far distances for firewood every single day. Yet that is their daily life. Many of them probably have no idea of how other people live out there or maybe they do, yet still appreciate their own lives. It is a blessing of some sorts because they are so engrossed in their own livelihoods and their struggles, they barely have time to start comparing themselves with other people or to complain of how they couldn’t afford a tuktuk to Mwembe Tayari from Kibokoni today. Their children carry responsibilities beyond their age and they grow up before their right time. And we wonder how very old grandmas from these areas are still very strong and continue to manage the affairs of their homes…this is because they are a product of struggle, endurance and patience. Indeed God only gives you what you can handle.

Our convoy of vehicles included a Dola Truck, Dreamline bus, Istiqama bus and two personal cars with a total of 94 people, all in the name of humanity. I couldn’t say there’s a better convoy. This was until the Dreamline bus carrying the ladies, broke down after two institutions and unfortunately they had to cut short their trip and go back to Mombasa.

Most people in the Kilifi interior areas keep swapping between religions, switching to what is convenient for their livelihoods. Poverty levels are so high and Islamic faith and knowledge is very little. As such, they confess that most of them change religions according to those who stand by them. When Christian missionaries go and preach and provide food, they become Christians. And when Muslims go to them, they switch again. They are naive and mostly helpless due to their living conditions. They don’t even have electricity poles apart from some few places closer to the Kilifi town itself. Some of these places use lamps during the night and taraweh prayers while some imams have to use phone torches to give them some light.The Muslim women lack modest clothing so they just wear whatever they have, their toilets are in a sad state and the mats in their mosques and madrasas are totally worn out. Some of these places got well wishers who built the masjids and madrasas but most of the times it is a one time thing where they do khairat, finish it then leave. As such, their day to day problems of food shortages and high poverty levels remain the same.

Below are some of the places we visited during the trip:

Markaz Rayyan-Mtondia, Kilifi

Madrasatul SSalam- Mtsanganyiko, Kilifi

Masjid Taqwa- Kazandani

Masjid Sakina-Ganze, Kwakumbo

Masjid Istiqama-Mwapula

Masjid Ali-Mdangarani

And lastly was in Mombasa: Anfaal Intergrated- Bamburi and Island Girls-Bombolulu

During the last places we visited, we were quite in a hurry because of the time and the long way back ahead of us and for that, only a few snaps were captured.

Below is a slideshow of some of these places:

Some of the things I learnt from this trip is:

# There are so many people out there who really deserve our help yet we are even oblivious of their struggles and livelihoods.

#There is a lot that still needs to be done in terms of daawah especially in the villages.

#Appreciation of the people who actually take such long trips just to do charity. It takes a big heart to sacrifice their leisure time to endure a tiresome trip and help other people.

#The rizq that is meant for you will still get to you even if you are at the end of the world.

#God doesn’t give you a problem unless you can handle it.

#Travel to see and appreciate the world.

#If you think you are having the worst life, reach out to more people and see for yourself.

#Gratitude is essential ALWAYS.

#If we want to restore faith in humanity then we need to do charity more often and more sincerely.

#If you don’t focus on someone’s ‘greener side’, you might actually succeed in making your own garden beautiful.

#Breaking the fast in front of a breath-taking sunset (this was at Vipingo while others ate mangoes for iftar πŸ˜€ ) is one of the best things.

If you feel you want to take part in such trips and have your own experience, I have good news for you.

27/5/18– Mombasa Toa Donge lako will be heading to the west for the same charity course covering areas ike Jomvu, Miritini, Kaloleni and Mariakani.

3/6/18– The group will be heading to Likoni Mtongwe, Ukunda, Mswambweni, Gasi in Kwale all the way to Wasini Islands.

10/6/18– There will be a grand iftaar where orphans are fed as well.

You don’t really want to miss at least one of these events. It is a very interesting experience with lots of thawabs biidhnillah and since it is Ramadhan, expect more rewards. Ameen.

To participate in the trips or to donate or for inquiries, you can contact Laabied Mohammed Gucharan at 0706 591 911

May Allah bless everyone who facilitated and participated in the trip, those who donated, those who volunteered, those who helped in any way, those who prayed for its success and even those whose hearts wished to be present. May Allah accept our deeds and grant us His Mercy and guidance. Ameen.

P.S Please do include me in your duas!

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Ramadhan Mubarak πŸ™‚