Nubian Muslims observe Ramadan in Kenya's squatter settlements
Tue Aug 6, 2013 8:30AM
Muslims worldwide observe the Holy Month of Ramadan. It is a month dedicated to love and fortitude. To a small Sudanese community in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, this is the month to spread love and save a coin. Our correspondent, ALIFYA NOORANI, spent time in the Kibera slums with a family struggling to maintain its Muslim heritage in the face of absolute poverty.This is Kibera Slums, one of Africa’s single largest squatter settlements. Many here live below the one Dollar poverty line...Kibera Slums, home to the Nubian community, a small Sudanese community resettled here after the World Wars, is a sea of humanity by day and is the world’s third largest slum. Here, Malasen Musa, a 50-year-old mother of three, makes a living selling her customary snacks of Nubian samosas. It is a life she has chosen out of her passion and it makes business sense. Every evening, as Muslims prepare to break the fast, Malasen readies herself to embrace them with her Iftaar-special samosas...this is her livelihood... Malasen represents a small community struggling to earn its place in a multi-ethnic and a religiously diverse community in Nairobi. Her Nubian community’s struggle to keep their religious identity is not new. Out of her daily struggle, she manages to keep her children in school. A descent education is an equal necessity. This is the business that keeps this going. The father of her children has died. Nubians are Muslims who originated from Sudan. The British colonial government resettled them in Kenya as a reward for their military service. This is where people meet to share a snack. The traditional snacks are a major attraction in Kibera due to high demand.This is also the time she feels the power of her devotion to the teachings of the Holy Quran. As she fasts, so does she feel her business flourish. The fast food she makes remains blessed. Despite the numerous challenges that face the Muslim community, the spirit is held high during the month of Ramadan and does not deter the faithful. The challenges facing this small Nubian community cut across. They range from the challenges of urbanization and the daily struggle to earn a living. And as the sun sets to welcome Iftar the Nubian community forgets the challenges that they have to undergo every day and converge in a happy meal. Ramadan Kareem.