In my early years, I grew up with older family friends and relatives most of whom were in classes five steps ahead of my big sister, Nuuru. The families were not lacking; not at any one moment. They were notably large extended families with a minimum of seven biological children and at least three foster children and often had regular visitors from the villages.
In those days, having a car, self contained house with a large compound dotted with paspalum and surrounded by perimeter wall was not for every Tom, Dick and Harry. All of these ‘cousins’ [I grew up referring to them as such] attended the most expensive schools with the best academic standards in the country.
As a little girl, I was always in awe since us who were just two at home went to ‘humble’ schools in the neighborhood for our primary school. It was so obvious to me that the cash flow would remain a constant even after the “demand” of maintaining the dependents had been exhausted.
In my small head, I always painted a small picture of all these about 10 families having at least four skyscrapers by this time because after all, where would the money go to after children finished school?
On the contrary, today the once fancy houses have faded, nothing new has been added. Amidst economic and financial struggles renovations are only done when one of the girls is bringing her husband home for introduction; a rarity it’s self.
In my own house back then, my old man actually had more money than my dear mother. We knew and undoubtedly he was the only way through which Allah’s provision would reach us at home. We would always run to him for everything because it was more than crystal clear that mummy had less. At the time, she was running a struggling business in Kampala despite support from her husband; my father.
With the changes that Allah makes, one morning, Mzee lost his job. In a bid not to scare all of us, he didn’t mention a thing. We only heard through rumors in the corridors of the house from my older cousins, half sisters and brothers about it. For a moment, at the back of my mind, I knew we were doomed; how would we survive without him having a job?
Many questions ran into my head. Will mama be able to buy us food, clothes, cakes, pay school fees, and give us money to go to the mosque?
Amazingly, mama’s business started to pick up although sluggishly. It was like a charm used. In fact life got much better after. We switched from eating chicken once a week to twice, from taking milk only in the morning to both morning and evening. For a child, what more could I have asked for.
I vividly recall having received two pairs of new shoes at ago shortly after. This had never happened before; I had never imagined it happening anyway. There was nothing more I needed at this point. Mama took us on from around 2003, we were all still in primary school. We advanced to secondary and all attended big schools. She would always confess before her friends and relatives, “Allah is great. I had never imagined that my daughters would grow up and attend big schools”.
To her, this was more than a miracle and to us, it was a gazillion of them all put together. In the latter years, misunderstandings sprung up and saw our first home sold off; property destroyed and everything that can be followed by a terrible divorce that occurs after severe exchange of words and court sessions. I was equally worried.
These were things I knew we had owned in a lifetime. And here they were, no more. I vividly recall thinking that it was the end of life, and there was nothing more for us. But since Allah’s provision is wide, never ending, He provides with need and can never burden a soul with what it can’t handle.
We rented a simple house for a year. Allah, through mama’s business that had boomed like never before, she was able to buy a good plot of land in one of the most expensive residential areas; constructed a bungalow and other houses to let, where we finally settled.
Now I believe we can find ourselves settling in one of those well furnished houses with a good lake view over which the sun sets with the grace of Allah. Because he tells us in Quran..
Surat Talaq 65:7 “Let a man with (plentiful) means spend (for the maintenance of the suckling woman) according to his means. And let him whose means of subsistence are limited spend according to what Allah has given him. Allâh burdens no person (with responsibility) beyond what He has given him. Allâh will soon bring about easy times after hardships.”
And further 94:5. “So surely every hardship is followed by ease.”