Blind Charity

As Friday is the Muslim day of rest, many families also give alms on this day. Some alms are given in the form of a meal to children. Momo was recounting to me when he was a child that he and his friends received many such meals, but there was one that was his favorite.

A closed bowl is presented to the gathered seated children. With anticipation, they open the cover, only to find a dish known as ñankatan, or plain white rice, usually served when there’s not enough funds to purchase sauce ingredients. Many children actually leave in disappointment.

As those who remain eat their portions, they reach the bottom of the bowl. However, instead of the surface of the bowl, they sense something hot, perhaps even spicy beneath the rice. As they continue to eat, they discover a rich meat or fish sauce, hidden below the rice. This is called the “Blind Charity” and clearly it’s a metaphor for how to live a faithful life.

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