NOTHING TO CELEBRATE ABOUT

Sad Eid for Muslims locked in Eastleigh

In Summary

• In normal times, Muslims dress for the occasion, attend prayers and share food.

• Children do not understand how it can be Eid and they are asked to stay indoors

Eastleigh during ordinary days
Eastleigh during ordinary days
Image: /FILE

As the holy month of Ramadhan comes to an end, Muslims in locked Eastleigh estate, Nairobi, are preparing for a low key Eid ul-Fitr.

In normal times, the ceremony is usually marked by traditions, including dressing for the occasion, attending prayers and sharing of food.

However, the restriction of movement in and out Eastleigh, which is a business hub and a residential area populated mainly by Muslims, to contain the spread of the coronavirus has hurt this year's celebrations.

Ordinarily, the estate would be full of excited, glamorous parents and their children, and people would indulge in typical Eid shopping.

On Saturday, however, the streets and shops appeared busy but a far cry from previous Eid celebrations. 

Many women remained in their ordinary clothes with no henna.

“Traditionally Muslims gather with friends and family and hold a huge celebration. We take our children to the malls, museums, playgrounds and picnics but this year is different,” Hussein Roba, a resident and chairperson of the Eastleigh Residents Association, said.

“It is a sad Eid. Children do not understand how it can be Eid and they are asked to stay indoors. Some have refused to cut or dye their hair, or even take a shower since they are going nowhere,” he added.

Abdirizak Mohamed, a father and resident of Eastleigh, spoke to the Star while still lying in bed a few minutes to midday.

“I do not remember any Eid that allowed me to lazy around since childhood. My whole family is indoors. It is literally a virtual celebration where we can only connect to our families through the phone,” he said.

Mohamed said all his family had planned for the day was to cook and enjoy a good meal together.

“The children understand the situation outside, they have seen the roadblocks and police officers patrolling the area, so they have no trouble staying indoors,” he said.

In previous years, Mohamed said, his family would go to Nairobi West estate where their other family members are. In the afternoon, they always went outdoors to celebrate together. 

“Ramadhan itself was different, so this sad Eid comes as no surprise. I wish the government had reconsidered its decision on extending the lockdown because only residents are affected. Many people are still moving in and out of the estate daily,” he said.

Despite the circumstances that have made this year’s Eid different, the Star wishes our Muslim brothers and sisters Eid Mubarak.