Somali women: The unsung heroes

somali fashion

somali fashion (Photo credit: guuleed)

For two decades, Somalia was in a state of lawlessness in which a brutal civil war evolved through different stages, all contributing to the loss of lives and enormous damage to the country’s infrastructure. The major actors of this time were warlords who produced business-lords that in turn reproduced religious-lords that finally appealed to the unconscious minds of the international community. All these actors planned a total destruction to our society.

Perhaps, many may ask what sustained the existence of the Somali community even though there was no central government for over twenty years. Despite the challenges they faced in a society that under-rates them, one group withstood the test of difficult times: the Somali women. I write this out of my experience of strong Somali women that I have seen or touched my life while growing in Dadaab refugee camp.

                                        My mother

The story of my mother is like the stories of millions of Somali mothers all around the world who shouldered unimaginable responsibilities of saving the existence of a fatherless nation. My mother raised eight of us in Dadaab refugee camp where life was very difficult to all those who called it home. It is even tougher for a mother with a handful of kids who all want to be fed despite the scarcity of food and water. Men in the camp will race for the collection food rations from the aid agencies while the women as well have no any other option but to ran and claim the share of their children too. My mother used to wake early in morning to collect the food for us, only to find herself pushed to the farthest end of line by men trying to feed their kids too. She comes home tired and sometimes bruises on her face, yet I did not hear her blame anyone. She was always ready to compete again and never accepted the bruises as a sign of defeat. I wonder if this is what keeps Somalia alive.

                     Mother Somalia and the flag

This leads me to the story of another Somali woman who I met in Ifo refugee camp. I do not know her name, tribe and even political affiliation, but what I know and still remember is her decent character and unwavering courage of Somali-being. The few hours or so I have spent with her will always be with me. And here is how her story goes. It was July 1st, 2004, a day celebrated for the independence of Somalia. As usual, we all gathered in a dusty soccer field in Ifo camp, the wind was blowing dust so hard that we could not see each other sometimes. An estimated crowd of about 200 people showed up to mark the occasion and many of them were young boys and fewer girls who just showed up for the sake of passing time. Few of them understood the meaning of the day or what this day means to those who have tasted the sweet fruits freedom in a peaceful Somalia. I too came to observe the day and positioned my self somewhere in the crowd by the female lot. When the occasion was about to start, I could see a heavy man grab the microphone, cleared his throat and began to speak. He called another man to lead us in reciting the Somali national anthem, but guess what? None in the crowd had the Somali flag with them. And all over sudden, each one of us started asking the other; do you have the Somali flag? A skinny woman in her mid 50s who was standing by me immediately rushed back with a clear pace towards her home. I watched her make big strides, occasionally bending down to fix her torn-out sandals that are unsuitable for this unusual pace. She was so skinny that I sometimes thought the ruthless wind of ifo camp is too much for her tiny legs. Few minutes later she emerged back from the blocks holding something in her right hand. Something that is really wrapped neatly, at least in a better condition than the old pieces of clothes she put on. As she came closer to the crowd, a young man grabbed the “wrapped something” from her and passed on to others who in turn gave to the master of ceremony. The neatly wrapped piece of cloth was a well-kept Somali flag. As the woman stood by me again without many people knowing she brought the flag of the occasion, I asked her where she got the Somali flag from. She told me that she kept this flag since she fled from Somalia in 1991. She stored the flag in a box and always kept it secret. The clothes she put on were old and seemingly over-used- an indication that she could not afford to buy another clothes. But her identity and pride in being a Somali was as new as the flag she brought to the occasion. As I brought my attention back to the ceremony, I saw people singing, a man waving the flag and the crowd cheering for the man like if he is the hero of the day. I wonder if that mother’s patriotism went unnoticed.

The pretty girl

My last example of the strength in the Somali women is about my classmate for almost ten years, the only girl in a class of 70 boys. Even though we regarded ourselves as progressive Somali boys, we had our own biases based on the unconscious belittling we had towards our female counterparts. Sometimes we did not realize it but we expressed in our body languages, in our jokes and etc. This pretty girl came to school everyday, out-performed many of us and most of all; she was highly respected figure and a role model in the community. When we were about to make some trouble, she will give us a second thought which most of the time saved us from more troubles. I wonder if we appreciated her been with us.

                                What did we give them back?

After all these efforts by the Somali women, what do they deserve from us (Somali community)? Let me tell you what we gave them:

We call them names that are discriminatory or somewhat belittling them i.e. “Haadey balaa” (the blind bird), the child-minded and many other names that I cannot share with you for ethical purposes. One day in ifo refugee camp, as I was heading to the market to find a cup of hot Somali tea from one the teashops, I ran into unusual crowd of people. The dust was blowing and people were making loud noises and things were not looking good. Before reaching the crowd I asked a young boy what was going on, “ a man is just beating his wife,” he replied. I thought this is the new reality we have to confront and if we don’t, we will not progress as a society. The Somali women were the silent keepers of a legacy that was in danger of extinction for last 22 years. They had the faith, the hopes and the renaissance of an entire nation. Without their will and patriotism, we would have been lost long ago. Let us begin to appreciate what they have done and continue to do for us. As Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”  I wonder if we are bold enough to do justice to our Somali mothers.


41 thoughts on “Somali women: The unsung heroes

  1. an ongoing chnroicle of information. a blog contains diary type commentaries and they range from personal to business to political and so on. they can focus on a whole range of subjects or on a particular one.there are many sites available for blogging, one of which is wordpress .

  2. I must thank you for the efforts you have put in penning this site.

    I’m hoping to check out the same high-grade blog posts by you in the
    future as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to
    get my very own blog now 😉

  3. your credit hitrosy will be checked, but it is not too much to worry about so long as you are honest and tell them about it. i was bankrupt in 2001 but was able to rent in 2006 because although it came up on the credit search I had told them so it was expectd.

  4. Right here is the perfect webpage for anyone who wants
    to find out about this topic. You understand a
    whole lot its almost tough to argue with you (not that I personally will need to…HaHa).
    You certainly put a fresh spin on a subject that has been
    discussed for ages. Excellent stuff, just wonderful!

  5. I understand how you feel, being a US miagnrt and all that. I don’t deceive myself however: I am Nigerian above all else. Ekiti to be precise. I am most comfortable at home in Nigeria where I do not feel the weight of the stares of strangers.

  6. An asbestos contractor will be able to perform a thorough test, collecting air samples to check for invisible particles as well as physical samples to confirm toxic
    shingles or insulation. In fact there is strong evidence
    to suggest that improved insulation in modern homes have made them more habitable to mold despite these recent improvements.
    It is great that medication for asthma will affect a cure for the symptoms from mold spores
    and seeds.

  7. Hi there, I discovered your web site by means of Google while looking for a related subject, your web site got here up,
    it looks good. I’ve bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

    Hello there, simply was alert to your weblog thru Google, and located that it’s really
    informative. I am going to watch out for brussels.

    I will be grateful if you happen to continue this in future.
    Many other people can be benefited out of your writing.

  8. Wonderful items from you, man. I have be aware your stuff previous to and
    you’re just extremely great. I actually like
    what you’ve got right here, really like what you’re stating and the way
    during which you say it. You are making it enjoyable and you still care for to stay it wise.
    I can’t wait to read far more from you. That is actually a terrific web site.

  9. Hiya! I know this is kinda off topic however I’d figured I’d ask.
    Would you be interested in exchanging links or maybe guest writing a blog post or vice-versa?
    My blog addresses a lot of the same topics as yours and I feel we could greatly benefit from each other.

    If you might be interested feel free to shoot me an email.
    I look forward to hearing from you! Superb blog by the way!

  10. I do not even know the way I ended up here, but I thought this publish was good.
    I do not recognize who you might be however definitely you’re going to
    a famous blogger in case you are not already.

  11. Wow, fantastic blog structure! How long have you ever been blogging for?
    you made running a blog glance easy. The overall
    look of your website is fantastic, let alone the content!

  12. Good day! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering which blog platform are you using for
    this website? I’m getting fed up of WordPress because I’ve had
    problems with hackers and I’m looking at options for another platform.
    I would be awesome if you could point me in the direction of a good platform.

  13. An efficient SEO campaign must engage backlink building, which can be performed by outsourcing the task through efficient affordable link building packages
    available on the internet from leading service providers.
    In general a full SEO plan is much more effective and is more work compared
    to individual submission packages found on the Internet.
    As mentioned, there are plenty of sites on the internet for the
    sole objective of running a net business.

  14. We’re a group of volunteers and opening a new scheme in our
    community. Your website offered us with valuable information to work on.
    You have done an impressive job and our entire neighborhood will probably be grateful
    to you.

  15. 3% national lead, and historical precedent suggests that the
    campaign may tighten even further the closer the country moves to Election Day,
    especially without significant economic improvement. To reach that one new Send – Out – Cards sign-up per day you’re going to need a lot of people looking at your Send – Out –
    Cards opportunity daily. They will show the very best award
    for the fortunate winner, the top income of past those who win, so to attract more people to take part and buy much more lottery tickets from their store.

  16. The questions you should ask your plastic surgeon before rhinoplasty should be about
    the safety of the procedure, its efficiency, and most importantly, its appropriateness for your
    body and whether it would offer results in line with your
    expectations. During your consultation visits, ask potential plastic surgeons
    about the financing plans they offer. This will give an assurance that the treatment
    which has offered is effective and suitable for

  17. Make sure that you only cover the skin areas in the photograph, and try to avoid hair, eyes, lips, and clothing.
    Ignoring the reputation of the brand can cause serious
    skin problems, as most of these companies don’t effectually
    test their products before marketing. We’re
    human, and accidents happen, which is why it’s important to have a few simple tricks up your sleeve to make
    your tanning accidents fade away leaving you looking worthy of a St.

  18. How you look at plastic surgery depends first
    and foremost on how you appear at your require.
    Better and quicker results are more achievable even with difficult noses (due to severe trauma or in asymmetrical faces).
    Often fine dining and jewelry discounts are offered.

  19. It’s you who will be making them money, and you, who will be driving the traffic to their
    offers. Check through the items listed below to be sure that you are not missing
    any of these deductions on your self-employment tax returns.

    Strategies like these are what will potentially
    save your business a good sum of money from year to year.

  20. At some level, getting to from which acquire your amazing vitamins equally extramarital relationships.

    Among the most trustworthy starting points could be
    the medical experts skin clinics (certain, there is certainly physique products and solutions
    around, and generate rules) and simply health clubs. Request that
    all of your teach just for a ideas. Moreover buy online,
    products you’ll want to try to be seriously judicious.
    Even so, the good thing approximately shopping is
    that you may receive good quality super deals there are also unique boards that allow you by asking questions around almost
    any piece and study other peoples user reviews on it.
    In addition ,, make certain to various other peoples opinions in body-building, which is certainly particular to offer you a number of thoughts and moreover advice.Folks
    might wish to you better reconsider obtaining
    HPV vaccination to aid their early little girls.
    Their Centers for disease control and even Removal just revealed which often basically only 49 percent
    of girls endured arrived much less than extremely treatment belonging to the
    vaccination tv series which often forestall 2 types of HPV puanteur which always source cervical cancer or natural warts.

  21. Gloria Grahame, Oscar-winning raising money for breast cancer walk American actress died at age 77.

    Following these guidelines are based on anatomic findings at the stage IV.

    There are four types of surgical procedure for which figures are available to raising money for breast cancer
    walk make a full head again. In her latest book, first aid
    treatments to more solid.

  22. Bulks in the advertisers are primarily private property owners, letting managers and property agents.
    This business will probably be operated through
    the owner’s home and is going to be done entirely on the internet.
    ” Employees at Nike are encouraged being curious and ready to accept new ideas, whatever their source.

  23. Manchester United FC also popular as “The Reds” is the most well known and profitable football club
    of the world. After payment is received, the package
    will be mailed within one to two days. Planting trees around your home
    is a good investment since, according to the International Society
    of Arboriculture, property values are 5 to 20 percent higher for
    landscaped homes than for homes without landscaping.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s