OUR MARAWI: Ramadhan in our Marawi

MARAWI CITY (MindaNews / 17 May) – Alhamdullilah because most of us get to spend Ramadhan in our dearest Marawi.

It does not feel like how it used to, but we are making it work.

Last year, we Meranaos experienced the saddest Ramadhan ever imaginable. We were away from our beloved Marawi and that kept our heart continuously breaking.

Now we feel a certain joy because we are in our homes but why does it feel, I don’t know, maybe the feeling of being incomplete or is it the feeling of being missing?

Knowing that I am in my house but I see my brothers and Sisters in Islam still in their tents and I can’t help but worry if they have something for iftar tonight and what did they eat for suhoor this morning.

Some of us are enjoying the cold breeze of Marawi that helps us sustain our fasting for the day as we plan for what to have for iftar later but it feels so strange knowing that there are still children of Marawi challenged by the heat of the sun and worrying if they will have something to eat to break their Fast.

We try to support each other as much as we can but how can we sustain each other for the next days if we both have just enough. We can do more, and we are making it work. We try to ease the suffering and we try to ease the heartbreaks but why? Why does our hearts still feel this chest breaking pain as if we are missing a part of us?

Then here comes the memories of our Marawi.

We must admit, we miss our old Marawi. We miss that time when we go to our Padian and everything is there. From the juicy fruits, fresh fish to the prayer garments and malongs affordable to everyone. We miss the spirit of the old Marawi every Ramadhan. That joyful positive spirit that overflows in our city every single day of the Ramadhan.

You will see colorful decorations and greetings of “Ramadhan Mubarak.” You will hear the great entrepreneurs of Marawi calling you to look at and buy their goods. The chiming tin cans of the overflowing Zakat. The harmonious sound of the Adhan coming from all over the City.

The small feasts everyone enjoys in the streets after Taraweh, the joyful lights of Banggolo and the great smell of extraordinary varieties of food.

Those were the days, memories that just break our hearts endlessly. Can we have that back? When can we have that back?

Oh our Marawi. We miss you so much.

(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Khayriyyah Faykha Alonto Ala, 17, has just finished Grade 12 at the Mindanao State University Senior High School in Marawi City, and is looking forward to their graduation. Ala, who is among thousands of Marawi residents displaced by the five-month siege last year, wants to pursue Human Resource Management in college.)