Rice seeds are sown and

Smiles are harvested,

Families working in rows.

Led by a single man

With aged hands

And this is how his story goes:

The chandeliers’ glow, a glistening nemesis

Stealing the jewels of his dedication,

Windows streak-free as though no child stepped foot in the premesis

Floors mirroring our reflections.

Sanitized stalls and swept halls

Carpets vacuumed before prayer is called,

Doors locked and peace in store

A pleasure of his and not a chore,

Only rewards sought to earn

Not a penny in return,

Serving the House of Allah

That he considered his own.

"Ahlan, Ahlan,” they greeted the man behind it all,

With rice-filled hands

was Abu Ayman.

Hands that held more than grains

Hands that continued to work despite his pain

Hands that left an imprint that will forever remain.

As his health deteriorated, so did our concern

We pass by piles of dirt without a second thought

Stains and splashes and we continue fluttering our lashes.

Coffee spilled and sugar involved

Wasted rice as neighboring brothers and sisters starve

He set the best example – sadly,

Little did we learn.

Little did we learn that this House is a responsibility

For each of us to hold,

Little did we learn that the moment we step into this House,

We are to be humbled and not bold

Little did we learn that growing rice is not one, not two, but the efforts of us all,

Little did we learn that no act of charity is considered small.

Little did we learn that it is with our actions and not our words that

A community paves its roads,

Little did we learn that it is with rice-filled hands

That we begin to grow.

- Angham Hussein