Islamic Help

Blog: Mission Possible, Tanzania, Aug 2016. Charity Sometimes Means Chasing Goats.

18 th August, 2016

It doesn’t take very long to getting to know people and bonding with them when carrying out humanitarian work, especially when you’re there to help improve the quality of their lives. Asim Siddiqui and Navid Kaleem describe how they forged special feelings for the beneficiaries they are distributing aid to during their deployment in Tanzania. And how it sometimes involves chasing goats!

Asim Siddiqui: Today was the day I finally bonded with the two villages (Mzambarauni and Ubangaa). My day started with building a cement base for the rainwater harvesting system inside a masjid in Ubangaa. I was speaking to a local (Salim), who happened to stop by and watch us work, about one of villagers (Saleh Sayeed) who received a shop from us as part of the livelihood aid.

I asked him was he (Saleh) a good man? “Yes very good” he replied: “He was my teacher”. I then asked “What did he teach you?” and he responded: “He taught me everything. He taught me Qur’an and many many other things in the madrasa”.

It was at this point that I realised how small the community was and how in a short space of time, we have gotten to know so many people. It was a great feeling knowing that this wasn’t just any person we had given aid to but someone who clearly was giving back to his local community.

We later found out that unlike imams who receive money (for being an imam) in other countries, people do not pay for Islamic services or education here and so it is expected to be done for free. In other words, to take up his imam and madrasa roles, this would have been in addition to his farming duties.

Another highlight today was the gathering of the beneficiaries in a local area of land so we could hand them all their three goats each (livelihood aid) one-by-one. We distributed 90 goats to 30 households as the women and children arrived in what appeared to be their best clothes.

When we visited a beneficiary yesterday, we learnt that he lived next to a man with a very big farm who was not around at the time. He turned up at the distribution and it was nice to put a face to his story. Again, it just showed how small this community was and how well we had got to know the village in such a short space of time. 

I’m going to miss going to these two villages every day, especially now that I’m starting to get my bearings and have learnt so many names.

Navid Kaleem: We started the day at Ubangaa village, working on the rain harvesting system at the masjid. Myself and Asim removed the old guttering which was in a sorry state of repair. We helped the builders make the base for the water tank, moving concrete blocks, making cement and trying out our amateur bricklaying skills.

Being stiff from Day 2 and with the sun beating down, the manual work felt more tiring today. I was rejuvenated though when I joined a group of schoolchildren and an old lady to perform the Zuhr salah at the masjid.

In the afternoon, we were tasked with the very fulfilling duty of distributing 90 goats to 30 beneficiaries, 26 had already been chosen by the Tanzanian team. We interviewed a further five beneficiaries choosing three of them to receive the goats.

All the goats and beneficiaries were gathered together at the football ground of Mwera Village. It was thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding, running after and catching the goats and then handing them over to the happy beneficiaries.

We were absolutely ecstatic and a highlight of the day was being able to allocate three goats to Ayoub Ramadani whom we met yesterday. This gentleman is elderly, paralysed from the waist down and lives in a remote part of the village. He was sincerely grateful and prayed for us again for our families and the donors.

This help was from Allah (swt) to His servant who has trust in Him. May the team get the reward for delivering with our hands and may the donors who made it all so possible also be rewarded, Ameen.

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