For Irafaan Abrahams, the month of Ramadan is just another reason for him to incorporate his love for running with the feeding of people. What Abrahams has titled the “Boeber Run” is a continuation of a project that was done last year, in collaboration with Islamic Relief South Africa (IR), in which he along with a team distributed blankets to homeless people in the greater Cape Town area.
“We had the opportunity to go out with what we called the Blue Brigade and did two areas within Cape Town; after Taraweeh we distributed blankets and also decided to give something sweet to the homeless,” Abrahams explained about the project last year.
“Our intention is to see to the street people and what we call the forgotten. What many don’t realise is that that the number has grown and we have seen a number of Muslim people living on the street…that was an eye opener last year.”
Abrahams says the project raised R1.7 million last year and this year they hope to continue with the efforts to assist those people that are homeless.
Thus last week, after Taraweeh prayers, a team of 40 people set out to distribute donations of soup and boeber in areas in which they know homeless people can be found.
Boeber is a traditional Cape Malay sweet, milk drink, made with vermicelli, sago, sugar, and flavoured with cardamom, stick cinnamon and rose water. The drink is traditionally served on the 15th night of Ramadan to celebrate the middle of the fast, for those who have completed the first 15 days of fasting.
“So it started in Wynberg last week and the Bonnie Town informal settlement was our first port of call. There are hundreds if not thousands of people living there and we got to feed them,” says Abrahams.
“We ended off at Osmans in Lansdowne where there are so many people living next to the railway line.”
This venture, Abrahams says usually ends at about 12:30 or 1 am and the reason for this he says is because many of the homeless people work part-time jobs during the day and they usually only get home late at night.
“We give up our sleep or the time that we would spend fruitlessly to go out and help the less fortunate,” Abrahams added.
The run only takes place on a weekend on a Friday and Saturday night till the end of Ramadan.
“It can be storming outside and we will still continue because that is what our guests have to endure throughout the year.”
On Friday night, the group of runners will meet at the Shell garage close to Rondebosch Common and from there will run to Athlone and at the end of the night, at the Epping Fruit and Veg market.
“People assisting us will prepare the soup and boeber and can be ready in Athlone so when we arrive we can dish it out to the homeless,” Abrahams went further.
“On Saturday we will again do Wynberg because we have received blankets and a donor has given us massive plastics that the homeless people use as make shift homes.”
Next week the group with embark on the run in Kuilsriver on the Friday evening and on Saturday evening they will be seen in Kensington proceeding to the centre of town.
“This is open up to everybody, yes we have a group of good friends that got together and started this, last weekend we were over 40 with 9 people actually running,” Abrahams continued.
“Whoever comes on the Boeber run, can bring whatever donations they wish to bring we don’t ask for anything. If people bring fruit then we hand out the fruit because we already have the boeber and the soup as our main source of food that we share with our guests (the homeless),” explained Abrahams.
He added that one of our main focus points is not necessarily to feed (the poor), but to also interact with the people and that has gone down well.
“We have one goal at the end of the evening: each runner should be able to share three stories about the people they have met on the streets.
“We have gotten comments from the people saying that they are grateful that we not only feed them, but spend time with them as well and treat them as the human beings that they are,” Abrahams concluded.
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