It is that time of the year when our Muslim brothers and sisters fast. But for a certain law firm in Kampala, it is also the time when their office kitchen is often found filthy, with unwashed utensils and molds growing on the kitchen table sides.
During such times, the whole office has to take more time to negotiate around the dirty cups, plates and pans in the sink; and dishes, grime and food stuffs stashed on the kitchen counter – basically the kitchen is nothing, but a mess.
Asked why she leaves the kitchen cluttered at this specific time of the year, Rukiyah, the office attendant said: “It is Ramadhan, so I cannot work the way I normally do!” It being a law firm, her response disarmed her colleagues in fear of furthering a conversation that would ultimately question a spiritual observance vis–à–vis “earthly work”.
That aside, Rukiyah’s response is being replayed in many work settings in diverse versions.
At another workplace, Fatiah now clocks in later than the official reporting time and spends a greater part of the day coiled under her table – sleeping.
The reason being, she has to conserve the “little energy” in her body as she awaits iftar (to break the fast), because it’s Ramadhan!
This way, the production rate of the entire office has to “understandably” fall because “we are fasting”!
Had this been the same mindset in the United Arab Emirates, for instance, then many of the Kikuubo shops in Kampala that solely depend on products from that side of the world would close every time we get into Ramadhan.
But surprisingly, this is not how Hajji Aziz operates! Be sure to find Hajji Aziz at his petrol station in Kawempe at 7am, full of energy, wearing his ever-pleasant smile; he will not settle in his office to “conserve his energy” waiting for iftar.
Many times he will race out of his office to serve motorists at the pump – thereafter he will dash back to his office and take care of arising administrative issues. He does this from 7am to 7pm without a wane in his energy.
Hajji is loyal to this routine all-year round– but he is also a devout 70-year-old Muslim who takes fasting so seriously and sincerely.
Hajji’s outlook towards work is exactly the same as that of Saudah – my friends’ housemaid.
Notwithstanding the fact that she too is fasting, Saudah will be up as early as 5am, have her pre-fast meal (Suhoor) and perform her daily house chores with diligence.
According to Google and Wikipedia, fasting has numerous health benefits, including: improved brain function, alertness, reduction in stress levels, reduced blood pressure and many other benefits.
My layman’s interpretation of the benefits listed, should at least be a certain level of vitality and verve for those fasting.
For those who fast, work must continue as usual.
Actually, during the fasting season, be it Lent or Ramadhan, we must strive to work better than we always do because this should be an opportunity for us to perform as many acts of worship as we can. Good work is an act of worship.
We, therefore, must strive to work doubly hard during fasting periods; it is good for the soul and the body.