Donge Grand Iftar, 2017, featured on K24 TV
Blog mentions: Strokes of My Pen
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.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR KIND WORDS, LUBNAH!
DONGE LIVE ON AIR AT RADIO SALAAM.
On Friday 9th of May 2014, Donge La Mombasa Welfare were invited by Popular Mombasa based Radio Station, Radio Salaam. Among the topics which were discussed on air, were the challenges facing Community Groups on social media. Picture below (From left: Anwar Bhallo, Laabied Mohammed, Leila Ramadhan and Ahmed bhallo.)
Sarova Assist Donge La Mombasa Welfare
June 6, 2013
Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort and Spa recognize the value of incorporating CSR practices and contributes to the sustainable development of surrounding communities. Donge la Mombasa welfare group organizing secretary Laila Ramadhan Salim receives water and cleaning materials from Sarova Whitesands Outlet Manager Joshua Kyeu, the materials are to to be used for beach clean-up, an event that is organized by Donge la Mombasa welfare group. Looking on [from left] are Sarova Whitesands Doorman Masha Gona, Sales Account Manager Rehema Gathu, Ayub Jamohammed a volunteer at Donge la Mombasa welfare group, Resort Assistant Manager Edel Naliaka and Reph Opiyo Ojwang Ag. Marketing Executive Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort and Spa.
I am a Muslim............ by Karama
Letters from a Donge member posted on Donge's facebook group on the 17/04/2014 .
Posted by: Karama Ben Timimy
Studied at INTI International University
Past: University of Bradford/INTI International University and
University of Bradford
Lives in `Arad, Al Muharraq, Bahrain
To my fellow Muslims: I am not a scholar, nor do i consider myself to know too much about Islamic aspects of Sharia, Fiqh and others. But Alhamdullilah, I know a little more than Praying and reading the Qur'an. Correct me if I am wrong, but the little I know, I am sure nowhere does Allah nor His Messenger order the Indiscriminate killing of non-Muslims, including children and people in their places of worship. In the contrary, there are many verses which insist on the value of life for all mankind. The little that I know is that, during war, our Beloved prophet (SAW) clearly specified that no child shall be harmed, no building shall be destroyed, no woman or elderly shall be harmed, no animal or tree shall be harmed and fight only those who fight you. The little that I know tells me that there are many verses in the Qur'an that start with the address of "O people" and "Oh mankind", this tells me that Allah addresses everyone either Muslim or not and if every non Muslim deserves to die, why would Allah address them in His book which is timeless? The little that I know tells me that instead of propagating slaughter of non-Muslims, it will be much useful to propagate Da'awa and spreading of Islam to the masses and he who makes a non-Muslim convert to Islam is much better than he who kills a non-Muslim unlawfully. Our beloved Prophet(saw) did not order the massacre of non-Muslims when Muslims took over Mecca, instead they were protected and considered part of the community. To fellow Kenyans who a non-Muslims: Please try and understand Islam. Do not generalize or get into abusive arguments and start insulting important figures in the Muslim faith. Know what is sensitive to Muslims and where is the red line. There are bad Muslims as there are bad Christians. Remember, before faith and belief, we are all human. Created in the same way and by the same God. It is only when you grow up and then God allows you to choose your path. Always understand that A Muslim will do whatever it takes to protect his faith and fellow believers if offended or wronged. To the Government of Kenya: Religious conflicts are the worst of all conflicts followed by ethnic conflicts. Kenya has experienced a bloody ethnic conflict after the 2007 election, we have the experience and we know how bad it is. Believe me religious conflicts are much worse that what we experience in the PEV. Know that, A muslim will protect himself and other Muslims if his rights are denied and justice is not done upon them. If you punish a man who is innocent, just because he is Muslim, you are turning his Son, his Brother and His close friend into an enemy of the state, and this cycle is never ending. My dear Government, so far you are the most effective recruiter for Alshabab and its likes. You give justifications to people to hate and attack Kenya and Kenyans. Events like the attack on Masjid Musa and the cold murder of Sheikhs. This is not the way to go, you are worsening the situation. Handle matters carefully, and we will all be for peace and co-existence or else your actions will only push us, as Kenyans, into the unimaginable. I am Muslim, I am Kenyan!Thank you,Your brother in Diaspora.Karama.
A LETTER FROM A SON OF MOMBASA, by Karama
It’s another Sunday, another quiet and calm day. It is not a school day so am sitting outside our house tossing stones into the muddy pond just a meter away from my doorstep. I am thinking.My age is 12 years, I just lost my father and my mother is inside sitting with my grandmother discussing and comforting each other with words of hope. I am thinking, what is my future in Mombasa. You may think I am too young to understand, but quietly I am observing.Will I be successful in school and go to University and become a doctor, an engineer or maybe a lawyer? But what if I fail in school, is that the end of things? What options do I have as my father left us nothing but an old bicycle and a rugged basket he used to go to the market with. He used to buy fruits and sell in his shackled stall just outside our house.Will I end up like Ahmed, and my parents lose a son, to drugs and addiction, but that is scary, last time he was caught stealing and he was beaten half to death, he is now ailing on a hospital bed. An additional burden to our struggling neighbor.Maybe I will be like Ali, who left school early. He went to Saudi Arabia, to work as a driver. Poor him, his mother passed away last year, but he couldn’t come to bury her because his sponsor didn’t allow him to go. The last time he came, it was for his wedding. After a month,, he returned back leaving behind his pregnant wife. Now his son is two years old and he still doesn’t say “baba”.I should try going to Europe, like my older brother Salim. He has been there for over five years, all we get are occasional calls, he has to stay there for long time so that he can get the passport. That is hard as I can’t leave my mom alone.Wait A minute! What is I stay in Mombasa? Will I be able to fend for myself and my mom? And to form a family of my own? Is it possible to make it here, without stepping into an airplane?I will need a good University or a Technical school. I will need a good youth development scheme in case I don’t succeed in school.I see the older boys in my neighborhood. Right there in front of me. As usual sitting on the benches like every other day. Chewing Miraa and smoking marijuana. I keep wondering, what mistakes did they make, will I make the same mistakes? Was it there choice to be there of the circumstances pushed them there?The elections are near, the last elections I was a lot younger, I couldn’t understand what they were about. All I saw were politicians moving around throwing money to the youth for support and assurance. Shouting and singing praises for every shilling they get.Now I am a little older, I understand better, too bad I still can’t vote, but If I could, I will vote for the one who will answer all my questions and give me assurance by action and not by words, that my future in Mombasa is going to be a bright future. For now let me go back inside and Hug my Mom and tell her not to worry and everything is going to be Alright.Son Of Mombasa,
MOMBASA KIPENZI CHETU - MBONA WADIDIMIYA? by Karama.
This is a special dedication from me to celebrate the first anniversary of Donge Welfare Group. I hope you enjoy. Thank you. by Karama.
Ni mwaka mmoja kamili, donge tumelihimili,
Ili tuwe mawakili, Mombasa tuitoe masilisili,
Tuiregeshe hali asili, Ilivyokuwa awali,
Mombasa kipenzi chetu, Mbona wadidimia
Sio tu wanasiasa, bali pia wana falsafa,
Tumejumuika kisasa, Mombasa kuitakasa,
Vitongoji kuvinasa, na kisiwani hasa hasa
Mombasa kipenzi chetu, Mbona wadidimia
Jamani musichukulie chuki, mukashikwa na taharuki
Donge si kiti hiki, ni busati pana zaidi ya la muluki,
Njooni pamoja tushiriki, tujitoe kwenye dhiki,
Mombasa kipenzi chetu, mbona wadidimia
Tamati nimewasili, enyi wa Mombasa asili,
Donge tulikubali, liwake kama kandili
Sio moja au mawili, bali shida zote tuzijadili,
Mombasa Kipenzi chetu, mbona wadidimia
A SMALL BACKWARD GLANCE by Karama
It is always a very good idea to look where we come from so that we can set a clear path to where we are going. Here is a summarized history of Mombasa:
The oldest recorded rulers of Mombasa are Mwana Mkisi (a lady) and Shehe Mvita (Where the present Name of Mvita comes from). Records state that Shehe Mvita came and found a weak, small dynasty under Mwana Mkisi of which he easily overthrew.
Shehe Mvita is known to be a learned Muslim who is responsible for formulating most of the Swahili cultures we know today. Under him came the formation of the “Thenashara Taifa”
( Twelve Nations) Swahili ancestries who up to now are survived by descendants living in Mombasa.
Ibn Batuta, The great Islamic Scholar and world traveler described Mombasa on his one night visit in 1331 as "a religious people, trustworthy and righteous. Their mosques are made of wood, expertly built."
Al Idrisi, an Arab Geographer, stated that by the 12th Century Mombasa was already a successful trade Hub. Gold, spices and Ivory were mostly traded in and Through Mombasa to China, India, Persia and Yemen.
Duarte Barbosa, A Portuguese sea traveler of the 15th Century stated “"[Mombasa] is a place of great traffic and has a good harbor in which there are always moored small craft of many kinds and also great ships”.
Then came Vasco da Gamma in 1498, he was not warmly welcomed in Mombasa at first. Later, two years on, the Portuguese took over Mombasa. In 1502, Mombasa gained its independence and was given the name Mvita in Swahili and Manbasa in Arabic.
In 1528, the Portuguese recaptured Mombasa, 53 years later the Turks led by Emir Ali Bey started a revolution which extended from Mogadishu to Mombasa. Malindi was the only town that remained loyal to the Portuguese. This weakened the Portuguese rule for some years until when they re-organized again and captured Mombasa for the third time and in 1593, they build the fort Jesus.
The Omani Arabs then came and captured the fort and took over Mombasa in 1698. The following Walis or Liwalis were appointed to govern Mombasa:• 12 December 1698–December 1698: Imam Sa'if ibn Sultan• December 1698 – 1728: Nasr ibn Abdallah al-Mazru'i• 1728–12 March 1728: Shaykh Rumba.
Next came the British protectorate. In no time Mombasa became the capital of the British East African Protectorate. Indians were brought in to build the Uganda railway which started from Mombasa as its sea terminal. Mombasa was formally presented to the British by the Sultan of Zanzibar in 1898.
Due to its strategic location and established trade connections, Mombasa was easily crowned as the capital of the Protectorate of Kenya.
On December 12, 1963 it became part of the newly independent Republic of Kenya.Now that we have a rough Idea of our beloved Mombasa, it is clear that Mombasa was once a prestigious and developed city. A place to be, where the rich and the scholars dreamt of visiting at a time when most of Kenya was just a Bush.
I am talking about a Dubai or Singapore of those times. Don’t get me wrong, I am not sticking on to the past here, I just need us to work our way backwards and see what went wrong and why are we deteriorating as a city.
So now let us all ask ourselves one question, just one Question:
WHAT WENT WRONG?