More meals for the poor during Ramadan [Archives:2007/1092/Reportage]

October 8 2007

By: Yemen Times Staff
“Ramadan always comes with its sustenance”. This phrase is mostly repeated by the shoppers, especially the poor, who go to local markets to buy basic food and other things they need during the Holy month of Ramadan.

With the advent of Ramadan, housewives start to prepare a list full of needs required for the month. They are very careful to know the new food products to show how they professionally cook them during the days of Ramadan. Lavishness and extravagance have become remarkably seen in Ramadan's meals, consuming money and wasting time in making delicious foods.

These foods are often thrown into trash, as if fasting is determined to satiate bellies and inactivate minds.

In the house of Shaima' Al-Ulofi, a state of emergency is announced before the advent of Ramadan. “Expenditures of Ramadan go double. We need to buy a lot of things before Ramadan so as to have enough meals,” she added.

Mona Abdull-Galeel, a worker and a housewife, pointed out that she starts thinking about the various requirements of Ramadan and how she can provide her family with them. Most of the housewives think of this as well, she added..

“Ramadan has become a way to make us think of the decent dining tables and new foods. This is commonly known in most of the houses. Satellite channels are vying one another to present the best shows in making Ramadan's meals,” another lady shared.

Shaima also held men accountable for lavishness in Ramadan as “they carry delicious foods to their homes, and enter kitchens and raise suggestions, demanding a plenty of meals.”

“A lot of food and drink are to be served in Ramadan. They sometimes go and buy food from the markets as being unsatisfied with the foods cooked inside their houses,” she added.

Less eaten, more thrown

Garbage containers are full of different foods during the holy month of Ramadan due to extravagance. Radha Ali, a local citizen of Taiz governorate, accounts that for the increase of cooking foods in the daylight. “When it comes to break fasting, less food is eaten. The other foods are to be thrown into garbage containers. They sometimes throw bags into streets causing environmental contamination and unaesthetic views,” he said.

Extravagance is not only limited to the rich but also the poor. The later are compelled to borrow some money or buy on credit to meet the expenditures of Ramadan. What makes them borrow? They answer this question saying: “Ramadan comes with its sustenance.”

Radha Ali refused to borrow some money, but Mona Abdull-Galeel starts to do so since the outset of Ramadan, though she has a limited income.

“We want to buy something we are not in need of in the other months,” Mona said.

The Ramadan meals served by some charity associations as well as riche people help a lot of the poor get food easily. They [the poor] return home carrying plenty of foods. And even some of them go from one place to another to collect as much as they can. “These people are included under this extravagant philosophy,” Mona added.

Ahmed Awadh, a trader, affirmed that the sales' ratio increased in Ramadan, adding a one month of shopping is equal to one week of consumption in Ramadan.

“I purchase new goods that occur only in Ramadan. Oils, flour, jelly and caster powders are most widely bought in Ramadan. People buy foods on credit and most of them could not pay money for things bought in the previous Ramadan, Awadh added.

Waste of time

We found that a lot of women believe they waste their time in the daylight cooking meals in the kitchen. They also do not make use of the night as they get busy fulfilling the demands of their husbands. They say they are imprisoned in the kitchens from 1pm up till 6 pm. After the prayer of Al-Maghreb, women feel extremely exhausted, falling asleep. Thus, they do not spiritually make use of day and night. They forget what the purpose of Ramadan is.

Health problems

Dr. Abdull-Malik Al-Ghashm, a stomach specialist, pointed out that fasting is a way to purify blood as well as to make body relax. Patients inflicted with diabetes and blood pressure are advised to fast. However, eating foods excessively at the time of break fasting results in a reflexive dire consequence on the body itself. Most of the patients who visit the clinic suffer from dyspepsia (indigestion) and acidity accompanied by dyspnea over the first week of Ramadan. It is because the stomach does not get acclimatized to fasting. Therefore, having excessive foods damage it.

Mosques are misused

Extravagance is also seen in mosques. There several meals are brought from people's houses.

Most of the fasters bring different foods including salad, Shafoot, leeks and radish to the mosques. They put them on the floors. Upon hearing Azan, fasters go ahead and eat ravenously as if they have been hungry for a month. They breathe objectionable smells changing the atmosphere of the mosques and annoying other people.