Monday, August 23, 2010

the mosque project


went to ukpwa with mama this morning. sun is definitely getting hotter. the dry season may be on its way after all. but the rainy season is going out with a bang! for sure. roof has even started to leak again. but i digress...

was saying we were out in ukpwa. short visit. small is beautiful. and it was. we saw the mosque. mama liked it. sat down with Alhadji Bira [Ukpwa's elder] and the gang. Ali spoke about how the mosque project went. Mu'aath translated. Alhadji thanked mama. Mu'aath translated.

mama spoke about educating the women in the community, development coming from within in the next generation, and about documenting their people's history - the Fulbe. she'd asked about their origins. that of the people right there in ukpwa or this part of cameroon, at least.

Alhadji said something poignant. that in all the years since the Lake Nyos disaster and with all the people and organizations who've come to help, none of them have ever done anything for their community's faith. until mama. and they won't forget that. or her.

i was touched. as i'm sure she was. mama spoke fine [pidgin's expression for eloquent]. Alhadji spoke fine. Mu'aath translated.


  1. IMAGE: alhadji bira standing outside of what may very well be the mosque in ukpwa. though i'm not sure if it is, b/c i can't make out the building precisely.

    about the mosque... mama didn't build it. it was already there. the community built it, largely out of unfinished mud-brick.

    most of the rest of the housing in ukpwa was cement-block with cement foundations, built for them by the govt and/or aid organizations.

    mud-brick, if not finished with something like cement, allows termites (ubiquitous in the savanna) to get at the wooden frames of a building.

    so what the people of ukpwa did with the money mama left after her first visit (something like $200), was to finish the mud-brick and paint the mosque. mama saw the finished building on this visit above. the paint came later.

    i'll say more in a subsequent post... particularly about religion, culture and development. not to mention what peace corps volunteers can and cannot do in that regard.


  2. Daydream BelieverMarch 3, 2011 at 11:26 AM

    I hope to build a mosque one day-sometime in the future (inshaAllah). I just need to keep walking on the yellow brick road of my dreams.
    I'm saving up money right now, in hopes of building a beautiful, strong place of worship. But reading that this mosque was built from mud-brick makes me wonder...why do I have to make my mosque beautiful? I'm sure the true beauty will be when a Muslim steps inside to make prayer, not the decorative walls and high ceilings. As long as it stands tall and the foundation is sturdy, looks should have nothing to do with it. A mud-brick mosque (subhanAllah)-I’d like to pray inside of it one day, inshaAllah!