The Prophet said: “When a person dies that is the end of his work, except for three: ongoing charity, the knowledge that is benefited from, and a righteous child who prays for him.” (Muslim, Al-Tirmidhi, others).
The Soulful Well project is just such an opportunity. Right now, in time for Ramadan, Soulful Muslims are taking steps to ensure that our brothers and sisters in The Gambia will have access to water, electricity, and opportunity.
Why The Gambia?
The Gambia is the smallest country on the mainland of Africa. It is sandwiched within the country of Senegal. It has the most navigable river in Africa yet is in need of water for its people. As a former British colony, they speak English. The Gambia became the home to many repatriated African-Americans during and after the end of slavery in the United States. The Alex Haley saga, Roots, begins in The Gambia with the story of the birth of Kunta Kinte. Kunta would be taken captive as a prisoner of war and sold into slavery and brought to Anapolis, Maryland. This engagement with The Gambia reconnects us to our double heritage, Muslim and African.
How We Got Involved? Story of Natavia Carpenter
During one of our Soulful Muslim training sessions for an upcoming interfaith 5K event we were participating in I saw Imam Johari and his wife walking on the track. He had recently come back from a service mission in The Gambia with Penny Appeal USA. There were supporting a Women’s Sustainable Horticultural Project in Tambakunda, The Gambia (Rural area).
I approached them, “Imam Johari, I see your travels to Africa doing humanitarian work on social media. I always see Christians doing missionary work in Africa. Why can’t Black Muslims come together to help our people?”. Imam Johari’s answer was simple, “If you are willing to lead the effort, I will help make the connections”. I agreed. The imam connected me with a Gambian sister who went to Howard University and lives here in Maryland to learn more about The Gambia.
After the Imam’s second visit we held an interest meeting at his home and he reported on the progress of the PennyAppealUSA projects. In that meeting we discussed Soulful Muslims expressed interest in doing our own projects and a number of members showed interest in working and visiting The Gambia.
We set up some conference calls and WhatsApp chats with relief and development workers in The Gambia and we prepared to send an advance team to see what we could do and work out logistics for a Soulful Muslims group visit.
We were all set to go with as group of three including the imam when we had to cancelled our travel due to the COV-19 global pandemic. But that didn’t stop us. We asked our local partners if we sent them the money could they execute the project in our name. They agreed! A few soulful Muslim families came forward, gathered the funds and the work began, Praise God -Al-Hamdullilah– الحمد لله .
The Soulful Faith-N-Action: Gambia Team will post updates on our Soulful Muslims webpage and on social media. Please join us in this work.
Too many times as a Blackamerican Muslim our voices are not heard or ideas acted on.
I’m so glad that in a group like Soulful Muslims, if you have an idea and are willing to work it can become a reality.
Natavia Carpenter, Team Leader
Soulful Muslims Faith-N-Action: Gambia