Ramadan 2020: 'I miss volunteering at Iftar tents'
Abir Chamas with her family.
"We abide by the safety measures laid out by the government and are willing to help as much as possible to pass this crisis", says Abir Chamas, a Lebanese expat.
For Lebanese expat Abir Chamas, who has been involved in volunteering work during Ramadan over the last years, the season feels different in 2020. "What I miss the most is that we can't volunteer like previous years. I used to come back from work, pick up the kids and head to the 'Iftar tent' to lend a helping hand," Chamas, a UAE resident since September 2005, told Khaleej Times.
Chamas, who is the head of administration of the legal department at a leading bank, added: "We can't hold the usual gatherings with friends and that we can't head out to eat. I miss seeing my volunteer friends, sharing light moments together and staying up late after we finish work at the Iftar tent."
However, despite the social distancing restrictions, praying and giving to the poor remains in the Ramadan spirit. "That is what I am trying to keep doing in spite of the restrictions. In these tough times, I see that there are people in need of food and medicine more than before and since we can't help directly, we are doing this through the legal channels in the UAE. I have joined in the efforts and have been helping in the safe distribution of food by some restaurants to the households," she said.
"We also gathered information related to families that are stuck in the country with no support. We try to help them with food provisions through an agreement with a supermarket that delivers the items at a special price for a food box - per each family - that can meet the family's needs for 20 days at least."
Even though the Chamas family was used to having big gatherings and inviting relatives and friends over, they are now limiting the gatherings to their small family group. "We abide by the safety measures laid out by the government and are willing to help as much as possible to pass this crisis," she affirmed.
Always look at the silver lining
Some of the positive and beneficial points that all are not focusing on, Chamas said, is that the crisis has effectively led to people spending more quality time with their families, less pollution, less traffic accidents and better weather.
"I always message my family and friends and also video call them on Facetime. We have even arranged a women's gathering over the net, where we all dress up and have a virtual meeting. This is our own way of staying connected safely."