This is the first week of the Islamic month of Shawwal and we look back with gratitude at the generosity and kindness we experienced in abundance during the month of Ramadan. Our volunteers and friends hosted communal meals to mark the breaking of fast and there was much sharing and cooperation among neighbours. The goodwill arrived in different ways; new clothes for children, volunteers to tidy up homes and even fish donated at the end of a fishing competition. More than 40 families benefitted from the catch at Dbest Fishing Pond.
Last Friday, volunteers from the Prime Minister’s Office worked together with some residents to host a communal meal. A few days prior, after all the plans were laid out and the budget almost depleted, 5 fathers who were in the planning team felt that a door-gift for their neighbours would be a thoughtful finishing touch. There was little money left but after some discussion, they decided that a small-packet of home-baked cookies would be possible.
“Let’s ask the women to do it!” one person suggested. However, Sulaiman responded that time was short, and it was not fair to take the women away from their responsibilities at home and their Hari Raya preparations. He then offered to prepare 800 cookies in 2 varieties; semolina and chocolate on a budget of $130. His friends looked at him incredulously and questioned his ability to do so but with a smile, he insisted, “I have been baking since I was born.”
Sulaiman suffers from glaucoma but by relying on his sense of touch and muscle memory, he cut the dough and shaped each cookie swiftly and skilfully. Then with his ‘secret’ technique of jiggling the tray to make the dough shiny, he put tray after tray of cookies into the oven. His determination to deliver the cookies impressed his neighbour Rizal who decided to accompany him as he spent 6 hours working on the ovens at the South-Central Community Family Service Centre.
“People think that I cannot bake,” Sulaiman explained that because of his poor eyesight many people doubt his abilities. However, this Raya, he is grateful for good friends like Rizal and the opportunity to contribute. “He doesn’t know how to bake,” Sulaiman teased. Rizal grinned, “Ask me about cooking, and I can tell you many things! But baking, this guy…,” he then glanced at Sulaiman with respect and completed his sentence, “he’s the expert.”
Wishing everyone a lovely week ahead and our Muslim friends Selamat Hari Raya Adil Fitri.
“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.” ― Rumi