dhaqan

“There is a rite of passage for some girls here to lighten their skin colour before they enter secondary school. Some of my classmates asked why I didn’t bleach my skin because of my very dark complexion. There was a lot of peer pressure going on to lighten yourself. I didn’t take note of it so I just ignored it. My I usually would go home at lunch break. However, this one time, instead of going home at lunch, I went to my friend’s house. My face was dry after I showered so I asked if she had any face moisturiser. She gave me this weird moisturiser with no label, and I asked if there is anything dangerous in it to which she replied no. I took her word for it and used her moisturiser every day until the training course finished. When I went home, my mother stood next to me and smelled the strong smell of the ‘moisturiser’ I was using and noticed that my body hair was getting lighter than it was before. Without getting angry, she asked me whether I started skin bleaching. I became extremely mad, so mad that I couldn’t answer my mother back. Something that I detested so much was showing on my skin. I frantically tried to get a shaver to shave my body hair off. After a while, I went back to my room, still angry. I told my mother that my friend deceived me and gave me skin-lightening creams. My mum told me to cut off these bad influences, and I happily complied. The peer pressure and questions still continued for a while, but I found a way to deflect their questions with a simple question: ‘If you can find a shop that sells skin-whitening creams, find me one that sells skin-darkening creams’. After a while, they stopped bugging me. God gave me this beautiful colour, and I’m content with it. So if you were born with white, brown, black or any other skin colour, it’s a gift from God, don’t change it, be proud of it. I know that there are some men out there that only love light-skinned girls, but if you can’t love me for my character, then you don’t deserve me. If a guy chooses you merely for your skin colour, best believe that if he finds someone lighter than you, he will leave you for her and not to forget the harmful effects they pose to your health. Why sacrifice your health for it?”(Berbera)“Waxaa jira dhaqan ay sameeyaan qaar ka mid ah gabdhaha Soomaaliyeed waa in ay midabkooda bedelaan ka hor inta aysan galin Dugsiga Sare. Gabdho aanu isku fasal ahayn ayaa maalin maalmaha ka mid ah waxay i weydiyeen ma adigoo sidan uu madow ayaad iskuulka kusoo noqotay oo maxaad isku cadeyn weyday. Su’aalo caynkaas ahbay igu celceliyeen, anigu lama yaabi jirin oo hadalo aan wax weyn ahayn bay ila ahayd. Waxaa jiray culays iyo cadaadis badan oo lagu sameen jiray gabdhahu inay is cadeeyaan. Kadib maalin maalmaha ka mid ah ayaan ka qayb galay tababar naloo qabtay wakhtigii duhurka xaafadda ayaa igu fogaatay in aan aado. Waxaan raacay saaxiibadey oo gurigoodu u dhawaa goobtii lagu bixinayey tababarka. Kadib waan maydhay, dhaashi ayaan uu baahday inaan isticmaalo kadib waxay ii dhiibtay mid daawooyin laysku dar-daray ka kooban, aniguna aqoon umaan lahayn. Waan weydiyay dhaashiga ma waxbaa ku jira? Waxay igu jawaabtay si kalsooni kujirto maya. Kadib sidii ayaan ku marsaday maalintii labaadna waan soo raacay waa u imid sidii ayaan hadana ku marsaday maalintii saddexaad anigoo gurigayaga jooga oo qado uu samynaya xaafadda ayeey hooyaday isoo garab fadhiisatay maalintaas. Wakhti yar kadib waxay aragtay xaadda jidhkaayga oo is badashay oo casaan isku badashay iyo jidhkayga uur sameeyey waayo daawadiiba iga soo uraysay. Maalinta hooyaday waxay si degan ii waydiisay iyadoon cadho ka muuqan: ‘hooyo ma dawadii jidhka lagu cadaynjiray ayaad bilaawday?’ kadib waan naxay waan is eegay waxaan arkay inuu isbadal jiro aad baanan uu xanaaqay oo waay igu adkaatey jawaabtii aan siin laha hooyaday sababtoo ah is cadaynta oon aad necbaa ayaa si fudud jidhkaaygii uga soo muuqatay. Kadib waxaan isku dayey inaan dukaanka tago kasoo iibsado manqas si aan xaadda isaga jaro oo aanay mar danbe iga muuqan. Muddo kadib, waxaan soo fadhiistay qolkaygi si cadho leh, hooyo markii aan uu sheegay in ay saaxiibaday ii qarisay way i dejisay. Waxayna ii sheegtay in aan ka hadho saaxibday oo aanan dib ula hadal sidaas ayaan go’aan ku gaadhay. Kadib waxaa igu batay su’aalaha: ‘maxaad isku cadayn wayday ama maxaad jidhkaaga uu badeli wayday?’ waana su’aal dhowr jeer igusoo noq noqtay. Waxaan ugu jawaaba dadka casaan dukaan lagu iibinaayo waad soo helaysaan laakiin wali dukaan midabka madowga ah lagu iibiyo masoo heli kartaan? Inta badan waxaa dhacda in ay wayaan jawaab sax ah waayo lama soo heli karo. Shaykasta oo Illaahay ku siiyo waa inaad ku qanacsanaato oo aanad illaahay midabkuu ku siyeey badalin. Dhamaantayo dumar hadaanu nahayna waxaanu isu qurxinaa waa rag oo gabadhkasta ninku wuxuu jecel yahay iyadoo qurux badan inuu arko laakiin anigu waxaan aaminsanahay quruxda dhabta ahi waa qalbiga qofkuna isagaa qalbigiisa wanaajin kara xumaayna kara. Lakiin hadii aadan jeclayn qofka anigu aan ahay iyo midabkayga dabcan iima qalintid aniga. Qof midab kugu doortayna beri inuu midab kaaga tago way dhici kartaa. Marka ha ilaawin dhawaca ay sababi karaan sunta dhaashiyada la isku cadeeyo. Maxaad caafimaadkaga uga badbaadin wayday dawaada la isku cadeeyo?”(Berbera)

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“My late husband was a soldier, and we were on the move all the time, some of the perks of being a military wife.  We lived and visited many places across the Somali territories. I currently work as a traditional weaver and sell what I weave on the market. It’s a dying art nowadays.  I learned the art of weaving in the 1970s from my dear mother, and I would love to teach this skill to my precious daughters, but they don’t want anything to do with it. They think it’s something backwards. They are persuading me to stop doing it, arguing that it will make me blind considering the high level of skill and attention required. If they only knew that it is a Somali art that needs to be kept alive. If the coming Somali generations refuse to learn it, it will be a thing of the past.”

(Erigabo)

“Aniga askari baa i qabi jiray kaasoo hadba meel loo badalo, taasi waxay keentay inaan degno oo aan barto meelo badan oo ka mid ah gayiga Soomaaliyeed. Hadda waxaan ku shaqeystaa wax tolid taasoo aan  waxyaabo kala duwan tolo ka dibna aan suuqa ku iibiyo. Runtii wax tolida waa xirfad sii yaraaneysa. Waxaana ka bartay hooyaday macaan sanadihii 1970-yadii. Waxaan jeclaan lahaa inaan baro gabdhaha aan dhalay laakiinse ma rabaan. Waxay igu yiraahdaa maxaad  ku faleysaa waxaan Ilaahay baa wax ku siiyee waad ku indho-madoobaaneysaaye. Balse waxaa haboonaan lahayd inay ogaan lahaayeen in ay xirfadani ay tahay dhaqan sii dhumaya oo la rabo in la badbaadiyo.”

(Ceerigaabo)

“Life is not a gift but a struggle. You will always complain if you see it as a gift but if you struggle for it, you will appreciate the little things. I hail from an ostracised community called Gabooye/Midgaan. My community’s occupation mostly consist of being blacksmiths, shoe menders and barbers. We only marry within our community and it’s because we are not allowed to marry other Somalis. For 4 years, I was a disabled person and at the same time used to walk to school. I can’t count the number of times I fell to the ground on my way to school. Can you imagine, trying to strive to learn whilst simultaneously facing unrelenting discrimination because of the fact that you belong to an ostracised community? Against all odds, I strove and finished my education. I’m currently doing my Masters and have family. After I finished my Bachelor, I wrote a book that highlights my community’s plight. Many things have been said about our history but I believe that we were a thriving kingdom once. Somali camel herders and farmers used to rely on the blacksmiths and leather workers. My ancestors were quite technical and skilled but unfortunately, the camel herders and agriculturists united, topped us and made us outcasts. This is why you find a member of the Gabooye/Midgaan community in every village across the Somali territories. Most of the young men from this community are uneducated and simply do low-skilled jobs. The reason being is that the ones that want to learn have to deal with two things that prevents them: one is the continuous discrimination and the categorisation of being an untouchable and the second one is being poor.  So drop out and learn the trade from their forefathers and accept that life is just doing the work that your forefathers did. It’s an unremitting cycle. Somalis shouldn’t divide themselves between Aji (Nobles) and Gabooye/Midgan. We have the same language, same tradition, belong to the same ethnic group. We should leave behind this ignorant perception of our forefathers and remove the barriers between us. Intermarriage and education is the key to show the future generation that change can come.”

(Burao)

“Nolosha ma aha hadiyad ee waa halgan. Hadii aad hadiyad u aragto, waa cabanee, laakin hadaad halgantid, cabashada yaraanaya. Aniga waxaan ka soo jeeda Beesha la takooray ee la yidhaahdo Gabooye/Midgaan. Shaqadda badankood aan sameeno waa sameynta kabaha, sameynta wiciyadaha, tima jarid, iwm. Dadkaygana ayaga is guursada oo waa loo diida inee Soomaalida kale guursadaan. Muddo afar sano waxaan aha nin naafo ah. Iskuulka markaan tagayo, dhowr jeer baan si dhici jiray, laakin ima muuqan nafoonimadayda ee  waxna ma badhan kartid laakin qabiilkayga iyo takoorida la igu hayey baa ii muuqatay. Umaanan joogsan jirin. Iminka waxaan diyaarinaya Masterkayga, xaas waan leeyahay. Waxaan qoray buug oo ka hadlaya dhibta dhaqan ee ku dhacday Beesha Gabooye.  Dadkayga taariikh badan laga sheega laakin tan ugu mashquulsan waa iney Boqortooyo farsamayaqaan ahaayeen. Beeralayda iyo xoolo dhaqataha ku tirsanaa farsamayaqaanka. Dabadeedna waxaa ka cadhooday labadii bulsho oo gaashaanbuur sameystay ayagoo kaashanaya boqortooyo kale. Deetana boqortooyadii farsamayaqaanka la jabiyey. Sidaas awgeed, tuulo kasta ee geyga Soomaalida waxaad ka heleysa dad Gabooye/Midgaan ah. Dhalinyarada Gabooye runti, waxbarasho heer sare ma gaadhan. Waayo, ayagoo danyar ah oo raba iney wax bartaan baa la takooraya oo lagu yiraahda waxaa tihin nasab dhiman. Markaasa ku khasbanyihin iney badhaan shaqadii ee sameenjaan aabayaashood iyo awooweyaashood. Waa wax soo jireen ah, nasiib darro. Soomaalida iney isku kala qeybiyaan dad waa Aji, dadna waa Midgaan ma wacna. Bulshadda Soomaaliyeed waa isku af, isku dhaqan, isku jinsi. Waa inaan ka tagno fikirka qaldan ee aaminsan jireen dadkii hore iyo kuwa maanta. Waa in la is dhexgalo, la is guursado, tacliinta iyo waxbarashaddo xoogga saarno. Jiilalka cusub aan tusno Soomaalida yihin hal qowmiyad.”

(Burco)

“I’m the only Somali professional beekeeper and trainer in Rome. When I am not managing the beehives, I educate visitors on the world of this magnificent insects. Majority of them are high school students and prison inmates. It took me a while to arrive at a decision to study for this profession. A former teacher asked me what I want to learn that would benefit me when I return to Somalia. I thought long and hard and asked my uncle in Mogadishu for advice. He said the science of beekeeping is extremely beneficial and much needed in Somalia. It never crossed my mind that beekeeping was a very useful skill. I took his advice and it was the best decision I ever made. It took me some time to get accepted and be taken serious because the job that I was doing is not a job that a refugee was supposed to do. Beekeeping science was usually reserved for the home-grown people so I had to jump through many loopholes and obstacles. Initially, I was forced to use the ID of an established organisation, who were sympathetic to me and allowed me to their number ID in order to take the exams instead of in my own name. If I did use my name, I would have been flat out rejected. Through tremendous effort and lots of volunteering, I am now a licensed beekeeper and I’m currently coordinating with beekeeping projects back in Somalia.”

(Rome, Italy)

“Waxaan ahay qofka kali ee u dhashay Soomaali ku shaqeeya xirfada shinnida iyo sidii dadka loo tababaro xirfadaas.  Maaraynta shinnida ka sakow, waxaan casharo u dhiga dadka na soo booqdo oo u badan ardayda dugsiga sarre iyo maxaabiista dhaqan-celin loo diray. Muddo igu qaadatay inaan go’aan ka gaaro xirfada aan rabo inaan barto. Maadaame hadafkeygu ahaa inaan ku noqonayo Soomaaliya, macalinkaygii baa mar ii weydiyey, maxaa rabta inaad barato oo faa’iido ku noqonaya markaad ku laabato Soomaaliya. Waxaan wareystey adeerkay oo Muqdisho ku nool. Wuxuu igu yiri, cilmiga shinnida waa cilmi fiican oo wax gal fiican leh oo runti waddanka u baahan. Weligey isma dhihi jirin, micne bey ku fadhida. Go’aan baan markaas ku gaaray inaan barto cilmigaas. Waxaan aaminsanahay in go’aankas u ahaa midkii ugu wanaagsanaa aan abid sameeyo. Waqti bay igu qaadatay in la ii aqbalo oo xushmo aan ku helo, waayo xirfadan laguma tala galin dadka qaxootiga ah. Cilmiga shinnada waxaa baran jiray kali, dadka u dhashay waddanka. Caqabado fara badan baan soo maray oo waan ka guuleystay, Alxamdullilah. Marka hore, markaad imtixaanka galaysid, waa inaad ka tirsan tahay ha’yad la aqoonsanyahay ama aad tahay muwaadin u dhashay dalka. Koox ha’yad baa ii oggolaatay inaan isticmaalo numberkooda. Hadii aan isticmaali lahaa magacayga, durba waa la ii diidi lahaa. Alxamdullilah, dadaal farabadan, waxaan hadda ku shaqeeya xirfadaas, haddana waxaan wadda mashaariic aan rabo inaan ka fuliyo Soomaaliya, si dadka a faa’iidestaan cilmiga shinnida.”

(Rooma, Talyaaniga)

“There is a huge difference between the way Somalis use clans nowadays and how the old Somalis used back in the day. Let me tell you why. We had a conduct back in the days. Clans were used as an identity, like it’s prescribed in Islam. If a local from Hargeisa travelled by car or horse all the way to Mogadishu without any food or water, the number of Somali clans that he would meet on the way would supply him with provisions; because he was a traveller and not a local. They would help him with tips and advice. They would never refuse him for that would be the biggest disgrace. In fact, he would be better spoiled as a traveller from a different clan than a local clan-member that lived in the area. This was our code back then, before we acquired statehood in 1960. Nowadays, it turned into pure tribalism void of rationality. It reached to a stage where a businessman would purchase a plane, and make his uneducated clan-member the pilot. What is the end result? He loses both his plane and his clan-member. What did he gain from it?”

(London, United Kingdom)

“Qabiilka sida maanta loo isticmaalo iyo berigi hore, farqi weyn baa u dhaxeeya. Berigii hore waxaa jiray nidaam iyo dhaqan. Qabiilku wuxuu ahaa aqoonsi, sidu Illaahay Diintiisa ku tilmaamay. Berigii hore, ninka Hargaysa ka safra oo Xamar tagaya isagoo raashin sidan, ka heli jiray beelaha kale ee Soomaaliyeed wuxuu ku nolaado madaame u ahaa marti. Ceeb weyn bey ahayd qofkii diida oo aan waxna siin. Dhab ahaantii, waa la kaalmeyn jiray, si wanaagsan. Waayo, xeerka Soomaaliyeed bey ahayd, ka hor intaynaan qaadan xornimada 1960. Iminka, qabiilka waxaa loo isticmaalaa si doqonnimo ku jirto. Wuu isu bedeley qabyaalad. Waxaad arkeysa nin ganacsade oranayo, diyaarad baan iibsanaya. Diyaaraddana wuxuu masuul uga dhigaya inadeerkii oon waxba aqoon baran. Xaalku wuxuu ku dambaynaya, inuu diyaaradii waayo iyo inadeerkiina waayo, Markaa muxuu ka faa’iidaystay?”

(London, Boqortooyada Ingiriiska)

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