Douala: Collective, Individual Efforts Towards Success

Individuals and groups have and are still sharing basic foodstuff and Covid-19 sanitary materials to the less privileged.

T he fast and the eventual celebration of the feast of Ramadan will not be as usual. The lapses of this year’s fast is blamed on the global health challenge that staged its entry in Cameroon on March 6 when the first Covid-19 positive case was reported and March 18 when the Cameroon government laid down some measures to curb the spread of the pandemic. One of the measures being social distancing that sanctioned the presence of at most 50 people in public places is greatly hindering prayers in most mosques in the port city of Douala. However some Muslim faithful acknowledged it is written in their Holy Book that though it is obligatory to pray as a congregation, but in case of any threat, they should hide in their houses which implies they should pray at home. However, prayers still go on in some mosques with the strict respect of not more than 50 people per session. In Douala, individuals and Muslim associations have been working hard to see into the success of this year’s feast starting by providing basic commodities including rice, sugar, oil and flour for the fast. According to Relouanou Charouboutu, he carries out charitable acts during the fasting period, providing basic commodities to the less privileged. He disclosed that for 2020, he has kept aside some FCFA 4 million for the less privileged. He buys and distributes basic commodities and sanitary materials to individuals and communities. For his family, he sets aside at least FCFA 500,000 each year depending on the number of extended family members that will add to his 3 wives and 13 children. To him, bags of rice, litres of cooking oil, packets of sugar, good quantity flour, spaghetti and macaroni are the most important provisions. Most families don’t have a fixed budget for it and buys basic commodities weekly to enable them carry on with the fasting. Baba Sidiki’s family says they depend on the sharing of ‘Njangi’ for fasting and eventual celebration. The money gotten from the ‘Njangi’ is not shared but used to buy basic commodities at cheaper prices and shared to members. He also disclosed that at the end of the fasting exercise, they use part of the money to purchase rams that are slaughtered and shared to members. With this, he said they don’t feel the financial stress because they prepare for it through their ‘Njangi’. Another family that feed from ‘hand to mouth’ disclosed that Allah always provide for them during this period. Rabiatou, a mother of four and two grandchildren said they always receive gifts comprised of food items from other Muslim faithful God sends their way. To her, they don’t even have a budget for it and worry mostly about tomorrow’s bread.

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