By Tego Wolasa
Coronavirus has changed how we work, live, worship, and even relate. The global economy has been depressed, but even more depressed are the poor and the needy.
The economic waves are pounding them while the rich and the powerful have taken shelter behind their gated high financial walls.
Kiamaiko in Nairobi is one such poor neighbourhood. Closure of hotels and restaurants dipped demand for meat leading to a far-reaching ripple effect.
However, as they say, every cloud has a silver lining. The crisis unveiled a hitherto unseen side of our community leadership.
Accompanied by praises, social media platforms are awash with a flurry of photos and news on food donations organized and executed by the Nairobi Burji eldership.
The one majorly responsible for the work was Nairobi Burji Elder, assisted by the Amir of the Daawah group and the Chairman of the Nairobi Burji Students Association (NABSA). The axis of good.
The true spirit of Burji for Burji was revived and executed, albeit with teething problems. The three, together with their respective team members, functioned like a well-oiled machine.
From Addis Ababa to Mombasa, we have other teams such as The Marsabit County Government, Church Alliance for Social Transformation (CAST), and The Ethiopia Burji Anti Covid-19, who are propping up the needy as well as in awareness creation in their respective areas.
But for this analysis, allow me to focus on the Axis of Good. Not because the others are not good or have not done something right. No! But because this one is a new phenomenon from which we can draw new lessons.
The first lesson is from NABSA and the youth leadership in Kiamaiko. We are used to seeing student groups being activated mainly around election time. At the very least, they exist to help secure government bursaries. In some towns, as witnessed recently, some have evolved backwards and become qebele-habilis.
Not so with NABSA! They have proven that students and youths can function and contribute to the community outside the election year.
Led by Engineer Lolo Chande Lolo, the Nairobi Area Burji Students Association (NABSA) works directly under the central leadership of the community elder.
NABSA, which came into existence eight years ago, has a self-funded bursary where those from well-off families contribute towards the fee of the needy members.
We draw the second lesson from Anwar Daawah and Welfare organization (ADAWO) popularly known as the Daawa group.
Led by Amir Idris Konte, the Organisation proved to us that we can practice our religion the way we want and still maintain Burjiness. We learn that we don’t need to agree on religious beliefs to be there for each other during times of crisis.
ADAWO came into existence 17 years ago after their objection to cultural practices repugnant to Islam was met with brut and banishment. They have since grown numerically, geographically, and financially.
Our last and most important lesson is from Mr. Nane, the Nairobi Burji Community Chairman, who has been an effective team leader.
Confidence in his leadership convinced the businessmen and the Marsabit county government to give their donations. It is because of his accommodative leadership that ADAWO was allowed to make contributions to the community welfare.
It is through his leadership that NABSA proved wrong our long-held belief about student and youth leadership. It is finally because of him that the Burji political class in Kiamaiko called a ceasefire and focus on the crisis.
Finally, from Mzee Nane, we learn that real leaders are indeed forged in crisis.
Over to you!