Caravan of Mercy SSP Jan / Feb 2013 – Day 2

Today was a long and filled day. Food prepping for the nikahs started early..Biryani was cooked..it is cold. My feet are cold. Did not bring any socks. Only got champels.. The kids are doing more for us then we are for them..shahjalal is one of those kids, a humble kid, who does everything from tea making to setting and cleaning our dustarkan. he cuts the cocunut and bringz usfresh juice in a glass.i offer itto him but he refuses in a manner that tells “how can i drink fresh juice when you are our guest”..he is insistent and does not drinks so i finish it.. Its wicked and sweet. Moulana had also organised fir the madressa to be extended to include toilets as kids currently have to go in the field. He dug the boundary point kicking off this extension work…we all took turn in doing a couple of digs.. It feels good to be witness of a defining moment in the building work.. However each smile, each conversation with the poor or orphan can be a defining moment for us on the day of judgement with their duas being accepted by the mercy of allah.. the kids continue to do kidmat and i wonder who is looking after who… they definateky have eaten less than me and spent more energy than me…they have so much energy and the whole day just seems like it’s still morning for them… The grooms arrived..new clothes provided for their special day. they all looked serious, maybe they cant wait to get home to their wives..they must wannt punch the guy on stage hogging the mic and making them wait..everyone wanted to have a go on the mic, ronnie and saleh bhai seemed to be struggling to stay awake on the stage, we weree being recorded for national tv….finally Moulana provided them with some talk, letting them know increase your imaan thru effort..if you shout children then your wife won’t shoot out children..effort must be made..everyone got the point. the grooms all looked Peng,a recently new word that i discovered in London. If my my cousin riz and firoz were here then they definatly would have pissed themselves laughing on the fashion . A groom with a pink hat, burgundy shalwar, black matrix shades and a blue coloured converse style shoes.if.all items individually on a shelf might have a slim chance of looking good but togrther, letz just say you definaty you knew he was a groom. We then have discussion adjacent to the mdressa where moulana is speaking to some diggers to set the foundstion of a new mosque able to accomodate 600 musallees. The exact qibla direction being worked out using ronnie’s iphone, we lined up in a saf so moulana can count and work out the width required for this masjid, the land is donated by mufti aziz of muslimpoor, the masjid cost is donated by a member of our travelling group, brother sajid of leicester. May allah grant them jannah. The mosque will be called majid siddique. We speaking to shajalal, kidmat kid, and ronnie says to shahjalal insha allah you will be the imam of this mosque and shahjalal aged no more than 14 says ameen and insha allah with conviction. not like the way i say it when tablighi gusht come round my house. We walked 15 minutes to the river bank where the 30 boats allocated for distribution lined up wjth their new owners. These simple boats are for the poor. The people who already use this type of boats to feed their families are elgible for sadqah or zakat anyway but these are people who cant even afford these boats, and guess what i dont think they are the poorest, i dont think the caravan has reached that far yet. Another quick photo shoot. People will be able to see their donations delivered, a satisfaction to us and for people wbo give, their donations hand and recorded delivered. Some ofthese will ridet heir boat home,about 30 to 40km away we walked back to the madressa, im geting the mick taken out off from the brothers because my mamagee (my wife’s uncle) is taking ssssppppecial care of me. He is deinately printing his character in,thd group. A funny and caring character.. We reached the madressa and moulana gets bombarded with bangla tv channels. An amazing speech all from quran and sunnah…Moulana does ikraam with the bangla tv limelight and introduces me as the groom of bangladesh from a village called chittamongol which we invented on our way in. Next, the ditribution of wedding ‘starter pack’ : some ,clothes, cutlery, cooking utensils and bedding for each newly wed. They each come and take and we continue to take photos like we are something special..may allah keep us grounded and give sincerery in our actions..please make dua..its so easy to be engulfed in giving and forgetting that we are actually giving bedding and utensils!!..we are not giving things that are famikiar to us as gifts for weddings… i ignore another reality check opportunity, it comes easy to me. Please Make dua that it stops.. Its time to pack and depart this poor place filled with lovely people, in total 230 itrms were donated, whether it was starter pack, boat, bike or something else. Lots of smiles.. Time to move on. So free that i can ‘move on’ . Depart as easy as i arrived. shajalal has been following me. He is sad we are departing. He is yateem. He looks up to us. I turn my back on him and easily depart, he will contine to be yateem. …in a couple of weeks he will be no more than a distant memory for me. For him we wont. He’ll remeber me. I hope he does. Especially when he makes dua. I need it. Next stop il make sure ill introduce myself to every orphan multiple times. motor biking back now.. the same view…looks amazing…the land gets filled with water so much so that the floor and sky look as one,as described by a local to me… ive done about a kilometre and i see my dhulabhais (brother in law in bangali, decided to call all the grooms dulabhais) walking and carrying his starter pack with his family members…and then i see another dulahbhai…i think we have almost done 5 kilomertres and i see another dulabhai walking with his starter pack. i did not even walk 50metres in total on my wedding day. Not sure how his first night is going to go after that walk! I spoke to moulana and people come from as far as 30km by foot and boat for nikah and starter pack.. The local moulana aziz’s worry and concern reaches far. Well we on our way to dhaka, My mamajee bought me socks so my feet stay warm…We had some freshly made jalebies and our driver is a nutcase.. The caravan contiues…

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