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Families of drowning victims share Rohingya meal with first responders

First responders with family of drowning victims.
Posted at 9:23 PM, Jun 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-27 05:15:30-04

The families of three drowning victims served the first responders who tried to save their loved ones a meal on Sunday as a show of thanks.

On June 13, 10-year-old Muhammad Arman chased a soccer ball near a drainage ditch along 25th Street following a heavy storm.

He fell into the surging water and his father, Rashidullah Bin Abdul Hashim, went in after him. Their neighbor, Zakaria Bin Gonumeah fell in trying to save the father and son.

All three drowned. Milwaukee Police and Fire searched for days and finally located all three bodies.

"I didn't know that would be his last day. We met on Sunday. We had a graduation party. And that's it. Then on Monday afternoon he was gone," said Halimah Yassin about her uncle, Zakaria.

Halimah's family and Rasidullah's family, touched by first responder's efforts, decided to cook for all of them.

Over two days, the families prepared a massive meal of Rohingya beef curry and goat masala. They cooked two cows and two goats.

Then, on the driveway between the homes of Rasidullah and Zakaria, they served firefighters, police officers and anyone who cared to decided to drop in.

"I've been going around asking: What do you like about this dish?," said Halimah. "They say very creamy. Very tender. Very juicy. Every bite is different."

Out of a crisis, family and responders formed a bond. On Sunday, they cemented it with a meal.

"From the second I got out of my car and walked over here and walked in here, the sense of openness and welcoming is unlike anything I've probably ever experienced," said Milwaukee Fire Chief Aaron Lipski.

Lipski and his wife, Krista, were served the beef curry and goat masala, as well as prawn and shrimp dishes.

"You know what this is? This is folks who know how to cook. This is really good," said Lipski.

Halimah's cousins were excited to share their culture with their community.

"We don't feel lonely. We think everyone is our family now," said Fatima.

"I wanted to meet everybody that helped my uncle and looked for him. It was a pleasure to meet them too," said Bibi.

Halimah said the police officers loved her mother's cooking so much, they've been invited to come back and learn the recipe.

A GoFundMe has been created to help support the families of the victims. To donate, click here.

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