My mother taught me many values as all our mothers do.
My mother taught me the value of education. She was the first woman to attend Higher education in Nairobi, Kenya, She became a mathematics teacher. I get really touched when I go to JamatKhana or even to other countries and people speak to me with great love about what a great teacher my mother was.
My mother taught me the importance of volunteer work. She married my Dad, Sherali Bandali Jaffer, and moved from Nairobi, Kenya to Kampala, Uganda. It was a great adjustment for her but I never heard her complain. She always kept engaged and opened a Girl Guides troupe and took girls who had never left their homes camping. She was always baking for one charity or another.
My mother taught me the importance of being compassionate. She always talked to us, her children to reach out to the most vulnerable. While growing up I have very clear memories of my mother bringing unmarried girls who became pregnant to stay at our house and then later find a good home for the baby. She negotiated with US Aid to obtain powdered milk and thrice a week at lunchtime there would be long lineups around our house of people coming to get the milk.
My mother most of all taught me the power of prayer. She never stopped teaching us the power of prayer. Today, amongst our five sisters when we are all fearful as to the health of our families; we remember our mother and know what she would have done. She would have reached out to people in whatever way she could have. My parents taught us to respect all religions. They would take us to Mosques, Gurdwaras, Hindu temples, Bahá’í temples. They would say people follow different religions because we are all different but we all pray to the same Creator. They instilled in us the thirst for learning about all faiths.
My mother taught me the importance of family – my mother always kept us 6 siblings and her 13 grandchildren and great-grandchildren together. We would often meet at my parent’s home but we all definitely met every Sunday for the most sumptuous meal she always carefully prepared. She taught us the value of family that today we all benefit from, the love and nurturing from each other. We rejoice together, pick each other up when we fall, and never forget to call each other. During the Covid-19 crisis, we all meet every Saturday by zoom from all over the world once again supporting each other.
My mother taught me the power of love and sacrifice. When we arrived in Canada as refugees her credentials as a social worker were accepted immediately. I had to do some examinations to qualify as a lawyer in Canada. The day she received her accreditation as a social worker she turned around to me and said to me “I will look after Azool, (my son) and you go build your career”.
My mother taught us so much and today we reap the benefit of her motherly teachings and most of all we still feel her love blanketing us.