The month of Ramadan has started again; this is a hard time of year to live in a Muslim neighbourhood. Whether or not, I as an outsider, choice to join in the fast or not, there is guilt involved in eating on the street insight of many hungry people. I often feel bad if I start to prepare my dinner before it dark out since it is like knowingly allowing the delicious aroma of my food to tempt them.
For the past month or so I have been helping fill in for my friend at a foreign run café in town. The means I go each day and spend a few hours sipping coffee or fruit shakes with the staff, and helping the local manager think through what needs to be done. Talk about an dream job, nice hours, and little responsibility.
But Ramadan at a café is even harder. Some of our staff is fasting, so they spend their day in the kitchen cooking food for other to enjoy. They smell the intoxicating smells that go with their job, but can not even taste the sauce to see if it is right. Ramadan fasting rules are quite strict actually forbidding water from sunup to sundown. This is murderous on a hot summer day in the kitchen with the oven and stoves going full force. So, out friendship I am not eating or drinking while I am there either. Trust me when I say a day at a café with no coffee in hand is less than complete. This month my job is going to get a whole lot harder.