Residents of Lamu Old Town over the weekend thronged the Kibaki Grounds open air market to collect free clothes from traders who gave them out as a special treat to the customers as they mark Idd-ul-Fitr.
Idd-ul-Fitr is celebrated to signify the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadhan.
Ramadhan is characterised by a 30-day period of fasting.
This year’s Idd-ul-Fitr is celebrated on a Sunday after the moon was confirmed to have been sighted in Lamu on Saturday evening.
Every year, Lamu traders, especially those dealing in second-hand clothes, give out the items for free during Idd to their customers.
Traders who talked to journalists at the Kibaki Grounds market said they have always been gifting their customers, particularly those from poor backgrounds, in order to help them cope with the tough economic times.
This year’s Idd celebrations come at a time when the country is battling the coronavirus, which has become a global pandemic.
James Babzii, a second-hand clothes hawker at the Kibaki Grounds market said that the last week of Ramadhan has been a good one in terms of business despite the prevailing situation.
He said as Muslims celebrate Idd, a section of the faithful might be suffering due to poverty.
“That’s why we’ve come together as mitumba traders here in Lamu and agreed to donate the clothes to our customers, particularly the poor, orphans, widows and other vulnerable members of the society. We are doing all this to at least to put a smile on everyone’s face as we celebrate Idd-Ul-Fitr,” said Mr Babzii.
Mr Samuel Otieno, another trader, noted that the high number of customers who flocked their businesses enabled them to reap huge profits.
“The whole week has been a great one businesswise. We have recorded huge sales as customers flocked our businesses to buy commodities ready for Idd celebrations. That’s why we also decided to gift our customers with the free clothes to show gratitude and love, most especially to the poor and those who can’t afford to buy such items,” said Mr Otieno.
Ms Lucy Wairimu said this year’s Idd-ul-Fitr has not been very successful compared to previous years.
NO ENOUGH MONEY
She said that even though customers turned up in huge numbers in the last days of Ramadhan, many of them did not have enough money due to the tough economic situation caused by Covid-19.
“Our customers have been thronging our stalls to buy items despite the tough economic situation contributed to by the coronavirus. Many didn’t have enough money compared to the previous Idd celebrations. Despite all that, we’ve also tried our best to provide them with free clothes in the spirit of love and kindness but most of all in gratitude. We are grateful for the sales we made,” said Ms Wairimu.
The Nation also established that cosmetic shop owners, boutiques, boat operators, grocers and retailers of various household goods also benefited from increased business during Ramadhan.
But the transport sector has taken a hit this time round.
Every Idd season, bus owners plying the Lamu-Mombasa route have always been busy as people scramble to travel in and out of Lamu to join their loved ones in the celebrations.
But this year’s Idd celebrations are different as the government has, since April 8, imposed a cessation of movement on Mombasa, Kwale and Kilifi counties in a bid to control the spread of as the coronavirus in the Coast region.
The situation has seen many public transport vehicles in Lamu and Tana River grounded due to lack of travellers.