Iman’s teacher had noticed she was not her usual self today. Always boisterous, full of energy and running all around the place, Iman was unusually quiet today. When her mates chorused the “GOOD MORNINNNNNG TEACHER, GOOD MORNINGGG FRIENDS” all Mrs. Forson heard coming from her was a squeaky “good morning”. On any regular day, it would have been her voice trumping that of all others.
At the sounding of the break time drum, she did not lead the dash out of the class to the canteen like she always did. Was it because she had lost her money on the way to school? Could she be trusted if that was her excuse for being so solemn? Kids these days could cunningly put up a lie and live it until you believe them. Mrs. Forson remembered that time Kwamina played sick just to be exempted from an exam. Once bitten Twice Shy! She thought.
But break time passed by, another lesson went by and Iman was still not the Iman the entire class knew. In the middle of the final lesson of the day, Mrs. Forson could not take it any longer. She called on Iman to answer a question. As she stood up, the barely 9 year old girl fell to the ground. The hour hand of the clock was lying exactly on the number two and according to the class, Iman was yet to have water touch her dry tongue all day.
It was a scary moment at first. Basic mother instinct had her frightened. What was she going to do with a passed out child? Once she knew food was the issue, she quickly sent for water. After gulping down the first sachet, Iman came to it.
Earlier that morning, she had refused to heed to her mother’s advice to not fast. At home, everyone was well vested in the fast. She saw them wake up very early in the morning for their food and abstain from it from the call of the mu’azin to the setting of the sun. What intrigued her the most was the feast at the time of breaking of the fast. She could join in but she felt like she was losing out on the entire experience. She like her parents were baby stepping her into prayers, she believed it was time to start taking the steps towards fasting.
Other kids were doing the 6-12 fast. It was common to start prepping yourself for fasting by taking little steps. But Iman was not going to be babied into this. She wanted to do grown up stuff. But being an adult was no child’s play. Being unconscious after a few hours without food was her first insight into adulthood.