Mukhlis really makes one wonder
I had half a day to shop and I couldn’t have chosen a better chap to drive me around. Mukhlis is a private rent-a-car driver in Dhaka. He picked me up from the hotel, asked me what kind of things I wanted to see or buy and then chartered out the most optimal route.
But it wasn’t really his ability to negotiate traffic, or bargain on my behalf with the shopkeepers in Bangla, that truly impressed me. The man earns a living driving a car. He is also a professional guide – or so he told me. He has a college education and has 6 children (he wasn’t sure if there were 5 or 6 and had to count them on his fingers to be sure) – 4 of them are girls and 2 boys. All of them are being educated. The girls are now in college, he told me.
I asked him if he was able to make enough money to support his family. He said “Yes I work hard and make enough money so they have enough to eat, a roof over their heads, some pretty clothes and I give them a good education.” So far so good. It is what he said next that surprised me.
He said that from the money that he has left over (hmmmmm ….), he has started an NGO which offers scholarships to poor children. He then pulled out several albums in which there were pictures of him handing over scholarship cheques to young girls and boys. He has been doing this ever since he started working 20 years ago, and he intends to continue until the day he dies. He said it was his duty to help those that were less fortunate than he was and he was doing anyone any favours by doing whatever little he could do. God expected it of Muslims, he said.
As I was pondering on that, he also told me that whenever he made some extra money (which was every couple of months), he donated a fan or two to the mosques in his area. He said it made the mosques more comfortable for those who came to pray. A truly amazing character!
Listening to Mukhlis, as we drove through heavy traffic, I wondered about all the whingeing and whining that I heard from people who were financially much better off than this man was. I also thought about how much more each one of us could be doing for our communities. If this man could spare money to provide scholarships for children in his community, we could certainly do quite a bit more than what we are already doing – not only in terms of money but also in terms of the time, effort and thought that we put into building our communities. Well done Mukhlis! It was a pleasure making your acquaintance. I wish the world could clone you.
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