By Mumtaz Saley-Moosa
This new idea got me excited and gave me a new lease on life. Even though it would only start after Ramadaan, it was up to me and my crew to now plan and manage the project.
“Nusaybah!” I yelled and realised that coughing instead of yelling worked better in getting her attention. I lived in the hope that she was hoping to keep me around longer!
“What is it, Nana? Are you ok?” she asked, curiosity getting the better of her.
“Jee, I am well, my child, but I need your help? Can you create a poster for WhatsApp for me if I give you the details?”
After hesitating, she said she would help me once she had done her homework. With that, she returned to her room.
I looked around for the Firecracker, and I needed his help too. Where was the little mischief-maker? Before I could shout out his name, I heard Ayesha’s high-pitched scream admonishing him for running in the passage.
Suddenly, he was standing at my door with a naughty smile pasted on his face, and when I invited him in, he happily agreed.
Climbing into my lap, he looked at me and asked if I had realised how busy he was with his life. It was hard keeping a straight face listening to this little guy.
After horsing around a bit, I asked him if he would help me sort some plugs and wires. With a withering look, he asked if he would receive payment or punishment.
Children today don’t value good hard work, and that’s because they never met the slipper chasing them around until the job was done! I was in no mood to fight, so we negotiated on R10 for the day, and happily, we sat there sorting out the items I bought.
Luqmaan tells me that we will be in business if he recruits a few kids from school at R10. Ya, Allah, this is the child that will fund his parents’ retirement by making me broke!
Whilst we worked, I told him the story of Nuh A.S and how he built the ark after receiving instructions from Allah. Luqmaan loved storytime, and it was my way of instilling Islamic values in it. I completed the story just as we placed the last wires into the box.
Luqmaan hugged me and then stood with his arm extended to collect his payment. As I reached into my pocket to pay up, I asked what he planned to do with the cash.
To my astonishment, he said that on Friday, his teacher spoke about doing good deeds for others, and he was saving up to buy clothes for his friend for Eid, as he had noticed that his shoes were broken, and he felt sad for him.
“Would you like to earn some more money tomorrow?” I asked him, and I watched as a huge, toothless grin appeared on his face before he nodded emphatically.
“Will you pay me R15 instead of R10, please?” he asked with an impish grin.
“Well, maybe, if we get done quickly, we could take your friend to the mall, and he can choose the clothes and shoes he likes, and I will buy them for him.”
He gave me a massive bear hug with a loud whoop and ran off to tell his mother.
Later, Ayesha asked me why I had chosen to do this, as I put so much time and effort into my grandchildren.
I explained that seeing as Luqmaan had listened and learnt from his teacher, I could take the lesson further by reinforcing the good behaviour and instil good Islamic values simultaneously. Ayesha thanked me and told me that she was so glad I was with them and could never repay me.
It’s a small gesture to teach the kids that we do for others for the pleasure of Allah, while at the same time maintaining the other person’s dignity. I am retired, and my only joy is my grandkids. I won’t be around forever, and in the little time I have, I plan on teaching them things that will make them human beings in a world filled with greed.
‘O you who believe, do not invalidate your charities with reminders or injury.’ Quran 2:264