I was only supposed to takes photos of the deliveries but ended up shocked beyond belief.
We spent the day at our “little abattoir” taking over 100 goats from life to skinned and segmented. I had expected to get home for my first meal of the day before daylight had fully faded, but the brothers in charge of the delivery persuaded me to accompany them for the sadaqah (charity) deliveries instead. I was responsible for the photographic documentation of the event. Swallowing my hunger and falsely hoping it would satisfy itself, we went into Kibera with a pickup full of meat.
I am not new to Kibera, despite my relative “newness” (barely three years in Kenya). I have been to a few of the small communities within Kibera: DC, Olympic, Ayany and Makina. While the structures and homes do not suggest inhabitants of extreme wealth, there clearly is enough wealth in those communities for people to live in relative comfort.
[caption id="attachment_3423" align="aligncenter" width="479"] [/caption]
Our first deliveries went to two young widows with a handful of children each. They definitely deserved the food and were thoroughly grateful. Their level of poverty was something I could comprehend; I had seen worse.The next delivery went to a grandmother looking after her grandchildren. Again, undeniably in need, but a financial state I was familiar with.
[caption id="attachment_3424" align="alignleft" width="114"] "Rivers of rubbish"[/caption]
One home in particular, the nadir of my experience, was a brutal display of unfathomable poverty — no light, no water, a hingeless door, mud walls with holes big enough for a small dog to run through and all in a space smaller than three by three metres. The neighbours, neither Muslim nor well off, were looking after the resident. A sick, old Muslim woman. Shock, anger, guilt and hope were emotions that the brothers and I shared. Shock that a fellow Muslim could live like this. Anger at the Muslim community for neglecting her. Guilt at the realization that we are part of that Muslim community. And hope that if we could do something about it, perhaps by changing her situation, we could develop a system that changes the financial situation of many Muslims.
The brothers managed to raise enough funds to provide food, clean her home, and take her to a hospital for a check-up: a truly exceptional response.
A big Jazakumullah Khair (May Allah reward you all [in] goodness) to all the donors for their contributions.
It would be another hour before I had my first meal of the day, well after Isha prayer. However, I was not as hungry as you would expect. I had swallowed enough pride to satiate my hunger.
My Eid experience brought an observation, that we have all made, to my mind again. We, as Muslims, are very good at emotive, spontaneous and efficient responses to challenges that face the Muslim community, both local and international. Our problem is we fail in sustaining that effort and in taking preemptive measures against similar problems.
This woman, Amina Omar, will still need our help after this initial aid. The hundreds of Muslims begging outside mosques and the thousands of Muslims struggling in poverty need our help.
I know the problem and I am very good at complaining and pointing fingers. Problem solving is the challenge. I have no solutions. So I’m asking you, dear reader, how do we eradicate poverty in the Muslim society and particularly within our own communities? Please, please, please leave your comments below and share your sentiments.