2.Part Eid: Our Trip to the Nature

Now it’s almost too late for an Eid report, but I don’t want to withhold from you the second part of our Eid day and share it as promised. This time it will simply be pictures with some explanation, because I’m in the middle of the preparations for my trip to Germany. Yes, after 3 years I’ll get a taste of the German air again and I’m really looking forward to it!
But now to the second part of our Eid. As you can remember, our mood at lunch time was not the best. However, we decided, for the sake of our children, to make the second part of the day a wonderful Eid day. But where to go? The children wanted to go to excursion destination # 1 in Garow: Dareeyle, which has a waterbed, restaurant and a small playground. They were already packing their bags, because they wanted to splash in the water!
While we were very late with our lunch and it became already Assr- time (afternoon), it occurred to us that Dareeyle is going to be overcrowded. We would find half of Garowe’s people there. So we decided to just pass it and find some water a few meters further on a hopefully lonely place.
My husband gave us his pick-up and 2 soldiers. After all, his car needs protection! Joking-, because he could not come with us, he wanted to know us in safety. My co-sister named Sagal drove the pick-up and I drove the family bus.
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Buildings on our way
Sagal drove so fast and even passed by dangerously big trucks, so I had no choice but to say ‚Bismillah‘  and follow her. I said to our children, „Hooyo drives like Abe today!“ (Abe = Father, Hooyo = Mother in Somali language). They had fun. The speedometer already showed 80 km / h, which is quite fast for the local road. If you drive faster, you have nothing under control whith the oncoming traffic.
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Our girls are enjoying the high speed
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After about 2 kilometers, we past the Dareeyle at a rapid pace. Shortly after, we came to the city border – 2 blue towers symbolizing the end of the city.
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End of our city Garowe
We slowed down a bit. Where to go to? Sagal suddenly turned right, just into the wild nature. Groaning and nagging from the children side – what do we want here? Where is the water here? In fact, there were only bushes and sandy soil!
So we drove back, and at the first possibility we turned to the other side and drove towards green trees. There should be some water to splash! Finally we arrived at a riverbed. Everybody out! Okay, admittedly the riverbed was almost dry, but better than nothing!
On the other hand, it was beautiful green, which is something special here. So we all went over.
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Our soldiers talked to the man who apparently worked there. Then he opened a kind of gate and welcomed us.
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Watch out Baby!
I gave our big daughter my camera, while I wanted to take pictures with my phone. It takes away the pressure to catch every good moment by yourself!
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Taking pictures from each other 😀
The man answered us to all our questions. We saw date trees, lemon trees and „Raqey“, Tamarind trees. Tamarind is very popular in the Somali cuisine, because it has a spicy, slightly sour taste. Once you google it, you’ll discover how healthy the stuff is!
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Tamarind Tree
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The gardener or farmer gives us Tamarind to try. This is so pure too sour for me. I love it more as a drink: a glass of water, tamarind and some sugar and salt in it – mmmmh!
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We went further until we reached the man‘ s hut – a corrugated iron hut, which offers just enough space to sleep beside some storage space. In front of the hut I see a typical teapot and a cooking pot. What would the gardener cook here? I asked Sagal. She translated directly „My friend would like to know ….“. Sagal !! Do not say that this question comes from me!!! But she already did.
The man seemed to understand a few words of English and was extremely open. He said that he had stashed basic food in his hut, so he cooked for example rice with freshly picked spinach pie. Oha, a forced vegetarian! Joking aside, I was really impressed of this simple way of life. Even on this special day, he lived here alone.
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Q&A- Session with the farmer
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The farmer’s cooking place
He also told us that once a snake bit him. He then drank a lot of lemon juice and quickly got fit again. Lemons are the best bacteria killers, it is said that they are 10,000 times stronger than chemo therapy!
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Our helper shows her gatherings: Lemon and Tamarind
Two days later he found the 2 holes where the snake came in and out, and killed it.
He had another horror story to tell: once a woman was bitten at the place. However, since she had her period at that time, the snake died of her bite. Mmh, interesting! Somehow I felt differently now, as I walked through the tall grass.
So I better changed the topic: „Are the lemons here biological or are they injected?“ Is my next question. He takes a hand full of white powder out of his hut and says if he puts it in the ground, the lemon trees would grow up within 3 days. In addition, the trees are sprayed with anti-insect spray. Oh no! So these are the lemons, which we put after a single wash into the blender and make it to so delicious lemon juice! And that every day!! Hopefully the vitamin C is stronger than the pesticides…
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The growth manipulating powder
Now he showed us date trees, but the fruits were not yet ripe.
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Baby- Dates
The farmer also wanted to show us some spinach somewhere. However, we got the feeling, that this was enough and we said goodbye. Our soldiers and our sons had diluted unnoticed, so we were just women and girls only, trusting a stranger. We thanked him warmly and wanted to leave. Before that, he also came up with a question that certainly kept him busy the whole time. He asked Sagal: „Is she your friend?“ With „she“ he meant me. Then she unsparingly told him the truth: „No, we both are married to the same man!“. We then set off on the way. He followed us to the gate and asked one of our helpers if it would rep;ally be true what he had just heard. That certainly gave him some thoughts for the next few weeks, in his simple life  He looked behind us for quite some time.
By the way, all  these green is watered by water from a small pump. since the place is situated beside the river bed, he groundwater is within easy reach, so they only needed to dig a bigger hole and insert the pump hose.
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The small water pump
After walking back across the dry riverbed and up the the hill, we made ourselves comfortable on our typical Somali rug („Dirrin“) and ate our biscuits and Somali Halwa. Where was the big bucket full of salty pastries for which we had bought extra ketch-up? Oh no, did we really forget that?
Anyway, it was so relaxed, except for the sand that blew in your eyes. In nature, the good mood automatically came back , alhamduliLlah, so we were joking and talking, while the small ones played around.
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Picknick in the nature
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There is no better playing ground than the nature itself!
Then it was already becoming dusky and we drove home. Our kids had a wonderful trip, alhamduliLlah.
I hope you also had a nice Eid day and for my non-Muslim readers that they got a small impression of a special day in Somalia 🙂
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Best regards,
Your Khalisa
PS: At this place I want to thank my sister in Islam and good friend Anett Bensmann, who always helps me with translating my german articles! Even our English isn’t perfect, we try our best in order that our English speaking readers get opportunity to get some impressions of my life in Somalia. It safes  me a lot of time and energy, when I only have to correct and put pictures in, alhamduliLlah. May Allah reward her tremendously!
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My Eid in Somalia

In this article, I want to show you what an Eid looks like in Somalia. As you probably know, Muslims have two huge festivals (just like Christians do have Christmas and Easter) – the first of the year is Eid-ul Fitr, the festival of fast-breaking. It takes place at the end of Ramadan and is determined by the moon sighting. Since the Islamic calendar is based on the moon, the annual dates always shift by about 10 days.

Where is the moon?

On the potentially last day of Ramadan, the big question is, „Is tomorrow Eid or will we have to fast one more day?“. Everyone is looking for the crescent moon. I help Shakila, our helper, on our roof. With her typical lightness, she whizzes up the ladder, in order to find out disappointed: no moon in sight!
So we wait and occasionally look into the phone. I’m the first to discover a message from Islam-study on WhatsApp: Yes, the moon was spotted in Saudi Arabia, the Emirates and Australia, so tomorrow is the big celebration!!! Everyone jumps and cheers for joy, hugging each other.
However, so far we seem to be the only ones who knew about it. In the mosques the call for the night prayer sounds, without any further messages. Uncertainty begins. This year’s hunt for eid is particularly exciting! Even Tarawih is prayed. Mmm. Let me call my husband and ask him if he can call his friends in Australia. 5 minutes later comes the answer by itself: Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, La illaha illa Llaaah! Allahu akbar Allahu akbar, wa liLlahi-l hamd! It sounds out of the mosques. These sentences are sung over and over, again and again. Horray, the joy is great! Our helpers, who come from farmer families from the South and are still very African-traditional influenced, begin drumming on empty oil canisters. In addition, the children dance with joy and sing something suitable. Here is a little insight.😀
Since the Islamic day already begins from the evening, Eid has actually started. Only the „right“ / official Eid is tomorrow, after the Eid prayer.

Last preparations at full speed

I want to fulfill our 11-years old daughter’s dream and want to make  a chocolate cake with her. She is the one who also decorates the living room with balloons and sweets until late at night. Anyway, right now we still need cocoa for the cake! So we go to the nearby supermarket. There’s a special atmosphere as everybody rushes to finish the last of their errands and are encouraged by Eid nasheeds (songs). We are unable to find the cocoa, but we got popcorn bags like the ones6 from the cinemas. And of course – a portion of ice cream should not be missed.😉
During that time, my co-wife drives one last time to the city to finish off last errands. She takes all the other kids, who also get the pleasure of an ice cream. Thankfully, she even finds a ready-made Choclate-cake mix. That‘ s even better! The city is so crowded that you can hardly move forward.
While we are all outside in the Supermarkets, surprisingly, we get a little extra money, which I want to spend on an Abaya. Our plan is to go back to the city after baking the cake and bringing the children to bed. The only problem: my little daughter realizes that I want to leave again, and neither she falls asleep, nor does she let me go out of her arms! Thank God, she could not stay awake longer than midnight.
Slightly tired, I go to my co-wife. Surely is it too late now, and are all businesses closed? No, there is still a chance, let’s go! Meanwhile, the city is no longer crowded but full of trash, because everywhere lie the transparent bags from the new clothes. Where will all this rubbish end up?
We go from shop to shop. So much choice, so many colors and glamour! I have never seen such a selection of beautiful (long) party dresses for young and old in Germany. Of course, almost everything here comes from India, therefore they are so colorful and have a kind of Bollywood Style. Okay, but for my part I just wanted a simple Abaya, a dress which I can wear under my hijab. We negotiate the price $ 2 down, and then we can finally go home, but not before we have bought a few small toys for the little ones!
At 1 o’clock in the morning we come back home, beeing very exhausted. Then I realize that my new dress is too short. Oh no!!! Now I cannot exchange it anymore! That means, my old hijab has to be good enough for tomorrow, because I have to bring my dress to the tailor first. Funnily, my new shoes are still with the shoemaker, so there’s nothing new on Eid! The main thing is that the children wear their beautiful clothes and are happy about it.
Now it’s even too late to apply henna. I supposed to do henna for all the girls in our house, but had to postpone it to tomorrow. Right now I manage only to paint my own hands. Thanks to Youtube, I get enough inspiration. And with a podcast in my ear, I do not even notice how the time flies. At 2:30 am I’m falling to bed, half dead. Tomorrow will be a long day, in shaa Allah.
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The Eid morning

Shortly after 5 o’clock in the morning I just manage to pray the morning prayer. I should have fallen asleep earlier last night! While I hear the other kids chattering excitedly, I lie down for a moment. Every minute of additional sleep is valuable. By 6:30 it is really time to prepare the children and myself. According to Islamic tradition (Sunnah) you have to take a quick shower before you go to the Eid prayer. At 7 o’clock the Eid singing sounds already from everywhere. We have to hurry up! We manage to get out of the house at 7:30 and walk quickly to our mosque, which is maximum 5 minutes away from us and already really full!
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Arriving at the mosque

The Eid prayer

Thank God we are not too late and can get hold of a place between the people. Before that, we have to get through the line of beggars. By the way, it is a duty for every Muslim or family head to make a donation to the poor, Zakat-ul-Fitr. It is considered as purification and includes food for a whole family. The day before, my husband distributed whole cargoes of food and Eid dresses to the needy, on behalf of his relatives from abroad.
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People who are in need are sitting in front of the mosque.
On this day the entire mosque is for the women reserved. When we enter, the imam is calling for donations for orphans and the construction of the mosque. Anyone can transfer his money directly to the account of the mosque with his mobile phone (yes, that’s how modern it is here!). 5 dollars, 20, 100 … in between he makes prayers for the donors.
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The Imam collects donations before the Eid prayer.
Finally the prayer starts. Everyone gets up and follows the imam while praying. It is a special prayer unlike any other and is very short. Thank God I still find a place for my prostration in prayer, even though my little girl does not deviate a millimeter from me, sits and stands where I want to place my head.
Then it’s already over. While the imam is still giving a short speech, as it should be, the women are already pouring out, which is a pity. Meanwhile a few relatives welcome us and we wish each other a blessed Eid. Then it’s time to find our shoes again and get out.
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We wait for the rest of the family and watch the beautifully dressed people. A few more relatives and friends greet us. However, this festival should be different than the previous ones, because this time they do not even come to our home and also my favorite sister-in-law is gone for travel. On one side somehow strange, on the other side a relief… And finally, we are already two families under one roof, so enough people to have fun!

Family photo

After the breakfast is on the fire (meat-potato sauce with bread) and the first sweets have been eaten, it is time to put on clothes for the family photo.
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Another relative comes over to take some pictures with the sultaan (my husband, in order to show them to her to her family abroad. Meanwhile, my husband has a few other guests to entertain.

Shaytan is free again

After breakfast, the children play with their new toys, balloons and whistles. The first ones are already broken, because China toys are probably intended for single day- usage. In the meantime I put some henna on the girls‘ hands and then have to prepare already lunch. „No time left for nothing“ outside of Ramadan, because  you have to spend more time in the kitchen again!
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Meanwhile, we also realize that the devils are freed from their chains where they were during Ramadan. There is a bad mood among the adults, which the children thank God do not notice.
How we catch ourselves again and make the rest of the day a day of rejoicing, I’ll tell you in the 2nd part, in shaa Allah!
See you soon,
Your Khalisa
PS: Another funny video of my kids. May Allah preserve them!

Benefits of Ramadan in Somalia

Today I want to break down a few prejudices and show you the benefits of a Ramadan in Somalia. Yes, they actually exist! I’m sure that some of you are going to ask yourself, „How can you fast in this land, where you are already hungry anyway?“, „What can you look forward to when fasting?“, „How is it possible in this heat?“…
Admittedly, I must confess: yes, there is a difference between fasting here in Somalia – a huge difference! But not just in the negative sense.
Of course I do not speak here of how the thousands of poor people unfortunately have to spend it, but of average families that exist here as well. Those who would like to support the needy, will find information’s at the end of this article.
Here are some general facts about fasting in Somalia, which will give you an insight into the general circumstances.

Good food: a matter of costs!

For  average large families like us, with currently 22 people, you have to think hard about what you can afford, what is important and what is less important. In any case, everything must be fresh, because everything else – such as chicken from the supermarket – has luxury and exaggerated prices, which are not affordable for the daily life of an average family. But since those chicken come from Brazil, it’s probably better to give it up anyway 😉

Meat: a must have!

Without meat, no worthy meal. That could be the motto of the Arab, as well as Somali men: without meat, the main meal would be worthless for them! Since they can not live without meat, there is alternately meat (mostly from the goat) or fish. That’s why we have to go to the market every day because we do not have a fridge. It eats too much electricity at local electricity prices (dream: solar energy!).
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What are the benefits of fasting in Somalia?

More effort vs. fresh food

When preparing food in here, everything needs double effort: minced meat for example you have to press first through one of these hand-cranked machines, which usually always clog. So better refrain from it, or buy a really good, expensive machine!
Also, all Somali dough specialities always need a lot of time and an additional fire next to the gas stove. But the taste it pays off of course!

The heat vs. short fasting times

The heat is a disruptive factor especially at lunchtime. With 2-3 times a day showering and the fan on the highest level,  one can also survive the aggravated. But in the afternoon and evening there is already release: that time is a nice breeze in the air, giving you a nice finish of the day.
The times of fasting are much more tolerable than in Europe: in the morning from just after 4 to evening at 18 o’clock. This is about 4 hours earlier than in Germany and with the midday siesta, time runs like clockwork.

Food: necessarily fresh!

The food is not the same as in Germany. However, it is much more natural – you cook without the whole frozen pseudo vegetables and get it directly from the market! It may not be the same variety.. For that you get the most important thing: fresh watermelon, dates and water!
Good food also depends not only on the income, but also on the cooking skills / imagination of the chef. Even if you would give a nomadic woman 100 Dollar, she would just double the amount of meat and rice- but you would still not see any vegetables except Basal, Peperoni and Moos (Onion, Paprika and Banana)!
And of course, it depends on you, how much time you want to spend with cooking in Ramadan, rather than with more contemplative things!
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No unnecessary weight gain, as there is less junk food!

Since it is rather unaffordable for the average family to fill themselves with junkfood like Pringles, Twix, Raffaelo’s, etc., you do not have the problem with the excessive weight gain in Ramadan. The only sweets are usually dates, watermelon and possibly a kind of sweet (fried) pastry. As long as one does not exaggerate with the latter, one does not have to fear for his slim line. Because even the juices we make by ourselves: fresh lime juice, and on special occasions also mango juice!
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More thirsty – You’ll drink enough!

Logically, the heat makes you feel more thirsty, so you drink more (ideally). In the morning before the beginning of fasting you take a porridge meal („Suhuur“), a few dates and can easily drink 3 glasses of water. Without both, fasting will become difficult later on, but with this foundation it will be pretty easy!

Many ways to feed the poor

If you spend your Ramadan in Somalia, you have the advantage of not having to donate money to any donor organization. No, you are right at the „source“! And so you have many opportunities to give the poor something that you have in abundance.

Many helping hands

Most families here are really big compared to european families. The advantage of having such a large family is that there are many more helping hands. So, on one hand, there is more work, but on the other, there is more help to get everything done. Even the cooking is so pleasant: everyone has their job in the kitchen, one cooks the main dish, the other the side dishes. Typically the kitchen is the empire of the women in the house, because men have no place in Somali kitchen – except in restaurants.
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No loneliness anymore!

This is a very important point for Somalia: as a Muslim, you are simply one of many! Without the constant comments „How can you do that !?“, „That’s inhumane!“, etc., it’s just that much easier, because you do not always have to justify yourself. Just everybody is fasting.
Furthermore, eating together makes you feel good – after fasting, everything tastes much better and you enjoy the time together.

A special time for children

For the children Ramadan is a special time as well and many times they try to fast already. Even little ones say after breakfast that they are fasting, and then just make it to lunch, when we have to convince them to eat something and „break their fast“! 9-year-olds also manage to spend a whole day and then be as proud like Oskar. But that will last for the rest of the month, they got enough respect of this experience, which makes them not to repeat it again 😉
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In the above picture you can see our little ones (and cousins) who are being taught by their big sister. So it is a relief for the fasting and a pleasure for the children.
Our 11-year-old Aisha, who was just finishing her final exams at school and is the youngest of all her classmates, was forced by us to break her fast. She said she was ashamed not to fast and also wanted Allah to answer her supplications (du’a). I could convince her that she has time for the rest of the month, and that her fasting is worth nothing anyway, if she does it only to impress people. In addition, she could ask all fasting in her family to make du’a for her, so she can then benefit from the fasting of others, because the du’a of the fasting is heard at any rate! She found that convincing and so she promptly drank a glass of water and had a leisurely breakfast.
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As you can see, children are slowed down rather than fasting for too long. At the same time, it is a huge incentive for them to fast as quickly as possible, as they grow up in a Muslim environment. Imagine the same situation in Europe…totally opposite!

More motivation for worship activities

The fact that fasting is a natural matter here and everybody is aware of the importance of this month, is also motivating to increase good activities. Because everyone is trying to do their best this month: be it doing good deeds, reading more Qur’an, refraining from bad words, donating, or praying more. It makes you feel strange if you are NOT so active! Of course, the Niyya (intention) is most important – that one does not do his deeds for the sake of people, but for the sake of Allah, hoping to receive His forgiveness and mercy.
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Next Masjid around the next corner

Last but not least, it’s just a blessing to spend your Ramadan here, because you just have to go around the next corner and you’re in a moasjid! All prayers are transmitted through loudspeakers as usual, but the special feature of this month is that even the Tarawih Prayer (a long series of prayers at night, after dinner) sounds in the air. There is no better than these moments, where all God-fearing ones are in prayer and the words of Allah sound from everywhere!

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Final Conclusion

To conlclude,  Ramadan in Somalia is likely to be similar to all other Muslim countries. But the unique thing here is that there are 99% Muslims in here, so really everybody is fasting and praying.
That there is not an abundance of sweets and other delicacies here (which is also not the meaning of Ramadan at all) while seeing so many poor people, makes you more grateful. After all, you have more than thounsands of other people in the country.
So, Alhamdulillah for everything!
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And, have you got the taste? If the flights here would not be so expensive (about 1000 Euro per person), I would smoothly open a travel agency, believe me! With Ramadan specials, camel rides, camel-milk-cure, etc … But what is not yet can still come. The less riots are here, the more people will come here and so the airfares will sink, in shaa Allah.

In this sense, I wish all Muslim readers a blessed Ramadan, all non-Muslims have hopefully got a little insight into another world!
Your Khalisa
PS: Before I forget something very important: Please support those who have nothing to break their fasting during Ramadan ! Islamic Care has great projects that are easy to support and make a difference.
So you can help one person with 4 €  to break the fasting with a  good healthy meal.
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Or you can send your Zakat-ul-Fitr (obligatory donation to every Muslim) worth 7 € to Islamic Care so that they can pass it on to those who really need it.
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Islamic Care is a very trustworthy charitable organization, dedicated to improving the miserable situation of Somalia’s suffering people.
May Allah abundantly reward those who give some of their gifts to the needy and spread a little more humanity, amin!

Interview England: Everything is possible!

 

As salaamu alaikum and Hello dear readers,
In this blog we want to build bridges in many ways: we want to connect people like Non-Muslims and Muslims, Somalis and Non-Somalis, and all the others, through giving them a different picture than they usually get because of generally negative media propaganda.
One of our ways to do that is a series of Interviews with German Muslim women, who made a special journey: they moved from their home country to an „undeveloped“ Muslim country, in order to get freedom of religion. This act is called „Hijrah“ in Muslim terms- to emigrate to a country, where you can freely practice your religion.
We started this series in German language in order to encourage more Muslims in Germany, to do the same and to show them all the possibilities they have. But since our Interview partner this time emigrated to England, we thought it would be nice, if also English speakers get the possibility to widen their horizon and get an insight in the difficulties, which a Muslima has to face in her own country- only because of her different belief.
So I hope, you enjoy the following Interview with our sister Carina El-Behouti!
I am very happy to introduce you today to a premiere: it’s about an interview with a sister who did not emigrate to a Muslim country (as the previous Interview-partners), but to England. Yes, that works too – because if you stay in non-Muslim countries, you should always choose the „lesser evil“. Smaller evil in the sense that one can freely practice his religion (Islam). This is clearly better guaranteed in England than in Germany
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City-Bus in Bradford, advertising sayings of Prophet Mohammad (Peace and blessings be upon him)
It is also the first time that the interview was mainly oral. The formulation remained with me, but was extended and corrected by Carina, our current protagonist.
Let’s come to Carina. She is a German Muslima and a Psychological Coach by profession and passion. For me, she is a very special person, because she has turned my life upside down by coaching me! With her wonderfully positive nature and her amazingly effective methods, I have been able to develop into a self-assured, grateful person who now knows her strengths and goals much better, alhamduliLlah. May Allah reward her for it abundantly!
The mother of 3 teenage girls has also experienced a lot by herself and lived in different countries, until she finally landed in England a few years ago.
There she started to work from 0 to 100, and now has her own coaching and allergy practice. In addition, she is constantly engaged in training and further education, in order to help more people out of their life’s crises.
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Carina in her Practice
Anyone interested in visiting her pages to find out more about her work, will find it here:
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Now we’ve put together some information about England as a country of emigration for you, which I hope will be useful for one or the other.
You are welcome to comment, ask questions or just like it.

When and why did you emigrate to England?

In May 2013. I love growth in every way. For me growth means being able to develop freely without being hindered.
In addition, I need a „healthy environment“ where everything is possible and I can thrive. Just as a flower can only thrive in good and healthy surroundings.
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Carina found the healthy suroundment she needed in England, in order to develop

 

England was closest to me, where I do not feel my soul constricted. Here there is no such racism as in Germany, alhamduliLlah.
Certainly in places there is also racism. But you do not have to live there! I am respected here for what I am. I am Muslim and have many skills that are greatly honored here, maa shaa Allah. And that motivates, of course.
England is an incentive for me to reach my highest potential. And we have this freedom here as Muslims, alhamdullilah.

How long have you been preparing for your Hijrah?

Psychologically I had prepared myself and my children for a very long time for England, possibly 4 years. I took my kids to a private language school once a week so they playfully learn English. It always made me feel good, because it brought me a step closer to my goal.
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They don’t loose their focus easily and hold together: Carina and her kids!
I knew that it could be tough in England because I had lived there for 3 months in 2008 with my children. That’s why I wanted to be properly prepared this time inwardly and outwardly.
It is very important that you know what you want to work here. In order to improve my possibilities, it occurred to me suitable to do an apprenticeship in Hijama therapy [Hijama means cupping]. That was possible online, alhamdullilah. Furthermore it was a good possibility to learn English, which at that time I only understood 10%. But you have to face such challenges if you want to take a big step in life. Furthermore I registered myself beforehand for an apprenticeship as an Allergy Therapist and planned to study Islamic Medicine in England. So I planed already, what I will do when I’ll be in England, and that helped me a lot later on.
Walk your way slowly if you want, but always have your goal in mind and work towards it!
For two years I really prepared my departure. Have contacted people in England, obtained all the information and laws about the country, get passports.
In the end I HAD to go then. I did not want to – was really feeling a kind of fearBut then I had to go through. Just booked our tickets and disappeared like nowhere. It will work out somehow. Eyes shut and go for it!
In the end, it was also harder for me to go, since I had just started my practice and had treated sisters with Hijama and other healing methods. Allah had blessed me very much back then. I was doing better financially than ever before and I loved my job and my patients. It was a real test to go in this situation.
I cried for days and my patients and friends with me. But I had decided. I wanted a better future for my children. And I absolutely could not imagine these in Germany for my children. I wanted to spare my children this rejection and racism. And I wanted them to make something beautiful out of their lives, despite abaya and headscarf and with Islam in their hearts.
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Just go ahead- into a better future!

How was it for you to emigrate as a woman on your own with children?

It was very, very tough. I arrived there with nothing and suddenly had no apartment available. Then they shipped me every few days in changing hotels, until something would be found for me. That is a long story. The English Muslims wanted to help me to get a council house, so I would have to pay little rent. That was in London, where the rents are insanely high (about 3,500 GBP a month). But somehow that was no life for me and the children – this eternal tinkering, until one has a better life. In Ramadan 2013, I decided to just leave London and make myself and my girls comfortable in Birmingham.
When we settled in Birmingham, we were really happy. Of all the cities I have lived in, I would recommend Birmingham to everyone again.
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Carina´s girls- at least they got a settled home in Birmingham (2013)

Which cities can you recommend for new migrants?

Birmingham is very good for the beginning. There is a huge Ummah [Muslim society]- even a German sister club – and there is really everything for Muslims: shops, fitness, Islamic schools, Qur’an classes, etc. It is called The Mekka of Europe”- very open and international! At Eid [Muslim Festival] there is a huge festival organized by Muslims, to which even people from all over Europe travel to. More than 10.000 Muslims pray together on the ground at Small Heath Park. If you are looking for a strong feeling of unity, it is best to go there. The only downside is the garbage and the rats, who take a tear even from cats.

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Carina with her girls in Eid, Birmingham.

NottinghamNottingham is well-suited for those seeking a high standard of education. Although fewer Muslims live there, and society itself, including the Muslims, consists mainly of academics. It is very clean there and the schools and universities have a very good reputation. Sisters there are highly educated and very intellectual. Unfortunately, I cannot recommend the Islam boarding school for girls,  because there is a lot going very wrong and children there rather learn to hate Islam – instead of learning to love it, through their way of extremism.

Leicester is also known for his high Muslim share. Lifestyle is a mix between Birmingham and Nottingham.

Leeds– the suitable city for those, who prefer a big and clean city. There are many Pakistani’s and Arabs, but „Niqabi’s“ are much more found in Birmingham.

Bradford is also a good place for Muslims. The nature is beautiful there and there are also many Muslims. It is not as clean as in Leeds, but the rent is very cheap. There I finally ended up.

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Beautiful nature in Bradford

Which schools can you recommend there – Islamic or state?

Generally, the schools are very well organized. Students are divided into 5 difficulty levels and taught according to their levels. That does not mean that they can not improve to another level!
On the Internet there is an overview of the schools and their quality. Every few years they are checked and evaluated by a committee. The best schools are praised as „outstanding„.
Sadly, Islamic schools are not having it as easy as they used to. Since 2 years, they have to follow the state curriculum, which i.a. strongly propagated the varierity of sexualization (lesbians, gays, etc.). As a parent you just have to be very vigilant and educate your kids. Some Islamic schools also have less qualified teachers. So you have to be well informed about their quality.
State schools vary a lot from the Muslim share. Some even have more Muslims than non-Muslim students, and prayer places and other freedoms are granted to them. One school even organized school vacations to Makkah every year!
Unfortunately, a few schools have recently been closed or radically reclassified, which had a very high Muslim share. Although they were classified as „outstanding,“ they were a thorn in the view of the government.

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Carina’s kids in (public) school uniform, with additional Hijab. In England they are respected and tolerated in this way.
Thankfully, there is also the option of homeschooling here. Whether you homeschool by  yourself, or connect with other homeschool parents- it‘ s up to you!

How long does a mother have maternity protection? And at what age do children have to go to kindergarten?

There is no kindergarten duty here. From the age of 5, children must go to school or stay at home if the mother applies for homeschooling. I know a German sister, who has never sent her 4 girls to school, but has taught them by herself, in order that they don’t forget their mother tongue. Everything is possible here, alhamduLlilah.
Maternity leave is usually one year, but varies from employer to employer.

How can you avoid forced vaccinations if you are a total opponent of it?

Vaccination is not a duty in England, but is indirectly propagated as such. When I learned that it was not a duty, I refused to have my children vaccinated.
This is not welcome here. However, I have learned to only say that one sentence. „You can not force me!„, Then you are taken out of the vaccine system.
I have even given many of my patients this tip and it works for everyone. Although the fear here is very huge, if someone is against vaccination. Simply  be confident, then everything works, in shaa Allah!

Do I have to speak perfect English to get by?

I only spoke a little bit English at the beginning. Honestly, it was very hard for me, without fluent English. That bothered me a lot because I can not do my job as a therapist without good language skills. Of course, you learn that over time. However, I never went to school here, but learned the language from my patients, and the correction came often from my children, who picked up the language so quickly. They speak English for 8 hours a day at school, so that they were far ahead of Mama at some point and smiled more and more about Mami’s English. I can live with it. The main thing is that you keep developing and improving yourself.
On my wall hangs a large self-written picture. „My English is excellent, alhamdullilah.“ Such affirmations can do wonders if you read them every day, in shaa Allah!
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After hardship came release: nowadays Carina and her girls speak English fluently!

Do you regret your decision?

No, just the opposite!
I have not regretted my decision to leave Germany for a single minute, alhamduliLlah! For here, as a Muslim, you simply have a more self-determined, free and carefree life than in Germany.
I can develop freely here and that is very important to me personally.
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England meets America: Carina with her previous mentor Haleh Banani

England is not far from Germany. Do you miss anything from your home country?

I had missed my linseed oil, my mustard and quark for a long time. Sometimes I wish, there was German pudding powder here. But khair in shaa Allah. You can not have everything babe, lol.
I have never missed Germany in itself, for that I had too many traumatic experiences.
In England I am even more respected as a German than in Germany. In Germany I am not even regarded as fully fledged Germans. Whereas, as a therapist from Germany I have more chances to win patients, because Germany is regarded as a country of very high quality – not only by the Muslims, but also by the English.
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Best chances for a good career in England: Carina in her office, in front of her certificates.
For my children it’s the same: when the teachers at school learned that my children are Germans, they are treated preferentially.
Germany has a very good reputation worldwide, I would say. But you should not live in the country itself. Hahaha!

What tips would you advise your brothers & sisters in Islam when it comes to Hijrah to England?

  • Be prepared in any case, trust in Allah, and then progress to action!
  • Do not expect anything from others, just from yourself! That means, take care that you find work there, looking for the best opportunities- it’s in your hands to become succesful!
  • The standard of living of local Muslims is rather high, so see this as motivation to make the best out of you!
  • Also, trust in Allah – if you purposely do the Hijrah, He will never let you down!
As I wavered in the end, if I should now dare to take the step, I read a verse in the Qur’an that spurred me on to leave.
And whoever emigrates in the way of Allah, will find some refuge and aid on earth. And whoever leaves his house and emigrates to Allah and His Messenger, and death overtakes him, whose reward falls to Allah; and Allah is forgiving and merciful.
(Sura 4, verse 100)
That was it for me. And it was like a promise from Allah!
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And why I was so determined from the beginning to go, was the following verse:
Those who call the angels off while doing themselves wrong (to those) say, „What were you in?“ They say, „We were oppressed in the land.“ They (the angels) say, „Was not Allah’s earth far, so that you could have emigrated to it?“ But those, – their sanctuary will be hell, and (how) evil is the outcome! (4:97)
This evil outcome, hell, really frightened me and I thought, „I have been discriminated against in my country and have suffered every day and my children as well, and in the end I am being punished by Allah and going to hell?
It was clear to me that I had to go.
We are not even right to complain to Allah when we are in bad shape in Germany. Allah’s earth is big enough – believe me, dear sisters and brothers. And Allah promises to help. Now it’s up to you to break out of the dilemma and go and have a better life. There is nothing better than freedom. And you will find them all over the world, except in Germany. This is my opinion. Be brave!
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It was the struggle worth: Carina and her girls on their first holiday since their emigration.

Wow, do you realize the energy of this woman? If she puts something in her head, then she creates that too – she pulls it through, to the end, maa shaa Allah!
May Allah reward her tremendously for all her efforts and may Allah repay her with the best that she participated in this interview!
I can just recommend her to anyone as a counselor – be it Muslims or non-Muslims. And with her strong willpower, she is a great role model for us: she shows us that as Muslimas we can achieve something, we just have to realize our full potential and take action, in shaa Allah!
I hope you have been as inspired by Carina as I am. If so, like, comment and share 🙂
Greetings,
Your Khalisa

From the drought to the rainy season

Now it is finally here again – the rainy season! Alhamdulillah- thank God, one can only say – it was sorely needed!

In this article, I will tell you about the drought, what effect it had on my life in Somalia, how the rainy season is and what’s going on when it rains!
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What does rainy season mean in Somalia?

In addition to the 2 dry seasons, there are ’normally‘ also 2 rainy seasons in Somalia:
1. From October – December,
2. From April – June.
The term rainy season does not mean that it pours continuously, but that from time to time rain is expected.
The term rainy season is also somewhat misleading in Somalia, because even in these months falls only low rainfall. Rainy season in Somalia is the period of occasional rainfall and NOT persistent rainfall typical of other tropical regions.
Depending on the monsoon winds there is sometimes more, sometimes less rain. Also the precipitation varies from region to region: while the precipitation in the north is only 50mm, it rains in the tropical south, after all, 400 mm – provided that there is no drought and everything is „on schedule“.

What if the rain stops?

The last few years it rained relatively sparse, or the rain was missed completely. That ended last year in the total drought, which lasted until recently.
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Somali sheep looking for food. Their „double decker- butt“ is barely visible.

Drought 2017

This long-lasting drought brought the land and its people to their limits of existence. Many did not survive this time. Most of them because they lived as nomads far away from civilization. While fleeing to the cities, many had to leave their livestock and even family members behind. There are horrible stories about it that really tear your heart …
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The world should have been woken up this time before it will come to the same catastrophe as 2010/11: at that time, at least 260,000 people died as a result of the drought, millions of people fled to the surrounding cities. Therefore, the German Newspaper Tagesspiegel reported:
Developments in recent months show that the famine could be even more devastating than it was six years ago. Six million people are at risk of famine. One million people are already fleeing the drought. By the end of the year it will be two million. And in the coming months, when the rain stops, a complete crop will fail. The livestock will become extinct.
That’s how it happened. It rained in some parts of the country, but only 2-3 times, which is no more than a drop in the desert.

That’s why you can see at the corner of every small or bigger city camps with thousands of drougth- refugees.

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How do the Somali’s deal with the drought?

The Somali’s are very faithful people and so they see these times of drought as a kind of trial of God.
It is a kind of examination, because He wants to cleanse people of their sins, to bring them to a higher level:
Abu Hurayrah reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, „The Muslim will never endure exertion, sickness, tribulation, sorrow, evil, or harm, even if only a thorn stings him, without Allah making it atonement imputed for his sins. „(See Hadith no. 540)
[Sahih al-Bukhari, chapter 68 / Hadithnr. 5641]
Even the people closest to Allah / God like Jesus and all other messengers (may peace and blessings be with them) have been severely tested. Hence the saying that Allah tests those whom He most loves, the most!
But it is worthwhile- Allah promises those who patiently endure without moaning also a great reward:
And we will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient.
 [Sûrah al-Baqarah (2): 155]
Moreover, such a drought can be seen as a cleansing of sins, as well as a test for those whom Allah loves so much, as they follow His message, and want to raise them to higher ranks.
That’s why you hear from most Somali people when asked, „How are you?“ despite everything : „Alhamdulillah alla kulli haal!“ [Praise be to Allah in all circumstances] as an answer.
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In addition, in case of drought, the Somalis follow the example of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him): When the rain comes, shops and schools are closed on a particular day and the whole city meets on a big place to pray the rain prayer. This is a short, special prayer that includes a subsequent admonition. From politicians to the poorest – everyone is there, without any distinction.

How did I live in the drought, as a Westener?

Often I was asked if the drought had affected my life. Thankfully, it did not affected me and my family to the extent that it has hit people in the countryside. No, we got to feel it here rather indirectly:
  • During the day, the tap water was gone very often when you most needed. It came only in the evening or at night at the latest, in which we could then fill vats with water. Actually, I was amazed that groundwater could still be found at all, which was directed to the houses in the city. But in the daytime we had to bring extra water from our wells to our toilets, showers, laundry and dish washing as soon as our supply of the night was empty. Not an easy task – especially in the hot season – but still a luxury, if you think more carefully!

 

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Our well
  • If it came up very extreme, we could not get a supply of well water. Then we had to wait a few days until it was brought in the middle of the night. Since the well water was taken from (groundwater) reservoirs from the surrounding areas, people had to wait for it, because during the day it was given to the needy animals. But in such a country you do not give up so easily – there is a solution for everything (most of the time)! Often we then brought water in these yellow containers from my sister-in-law’s well by car.
  • After all, we had continuous drinking water, which was filled with a tank truck in large 100-liter containers. Of these we had 2, but after one of them broke down and the tanker had to come every few days, they had brought us a huge container!

 

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  • At times there was hardly any choice of vegetables on the market, let alone fruits. Then you have to be content with the main food. Which kind of vegetables were available varied from day to day: today there were carrots, tomorrow lemons; then no carrots, but white cabbage, etc. Also, the meat prices had risen extremely (no wonder, since the animals died away).
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On that day we could get only one carrot. But you have to make the best out of it 😉
  • Once, unfortunately, I experienced also a cholera case in our home: a new housemaid, who was still fit in the morning, suddenly started vomiting in the noon. She said that came from cleaning the toilet and just kept working. Until she folded up on the floor at midday. We thought it was just an upset stomach, gave her lemon water, and wanted to take her to the hospital in the afternoon. Thankfully, her mother came and they went alone without our knowledge to the hospital. That’s what saved her life, AlhamduliLlah. In the afternoon, my co-sister found her half-dead in the hospital, put on tens of needles. After all, we were able to make up for our mistake by paying her the medication. Cholera occurs very easily as soon as sufficient hygiene due to lack of water is not guaranteed. Then you have to act very fast, otherwise the death will be faster in front of the door than you can imagine…

 

Everything is relative!

In comparison, we still had it very, very good, Alhamdulillah! And yet, by temporarily losing otherwise naturally things, one learns to appreciate everything that is taken for granted!

What if it rains?

If it rains then, as in the last few weeks, life suddenly turns upside down: rain means at the same time school-free, free of any trips, after-school coachings, etc.!
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In general, therefore, I have often wondered if Somali’s are maybe made of sugar, because as soon as it looks like it’s going to rain, it becomes excuse nr.1 for any activity! Good thing we do not live in rainy Germany 😉 (Of course, Somali’s in Germany get used to the rainy weather in Germany, I guess!)

What is „snow-free“ in Germany is called „rain-free“ in Somalia

It is perhaps comparable to „snow free“ in Germany, when it (in exceptional cases) at times snows so much that you can not get ahead by bus and car. In my childhood this was still a normal case every winter. At that time I could even ski on our neighboring meadow!
But yes, times are changing, even in Somalia! Nowadays there „snow free“ is very rare in Germany, as well as the rain became less in Somalia.

Rainy season is fun- time!

So when it rains, it is as if whole pails are getting spilled over you – it’s pouring so much! Accordingly, everything is under water outside. For the kids, it is pure fun – a bath in the open air! They pound and splash what they can, drumming and dancing!
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The kids are enjoying the bath in the rain
In addition, the children come up with the craziest ideas when suddenly they can not play outside anymore: just climbing the walls!
(Good thing it does not rain too often here ;-))
For the housewives, it is rather less funny (although of course they are happy for the environment). After all, to take care of the wet clothes and floors, which, in no time at all, can cause a risk of slipping, is of course associated with work. In addition, for safety reasons, the elictricity often went off, so that everything has to be done under a romantic flashlight. But well, that does not happen too many times.

This peace afterwords …!

When the spectacle is over, there is nothing better for me than smelling this fresh scent of earth, flowers and cooled air, which reminds me a lot of my German homeland 🙂
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Current situation

Currently it has been raining already several times in Garowe, so that I can not count it on one hand anymore. The other parts of Somalia have probably come into the benefit as well – in some there were even real floods.
Before the rain, it is always unbearably humid, until then the great relief comes. It is also the time of insects (not harmful ones), flies and mosquitos. To keep everything hygienic we clean the whole house with Dieselwater.
To summarize, we’re doing quite well this year and hopefully, that’s not the end, it’s just the beginning of a new time period without drougth!
But: Nature, agriculture and livestock have not yet fully recovered. This will only change, when the rain-loving camels give birth to their children. Then again the camel’s milk and the other things will flow, in shaa Allah. However, the thousands who have lost their homes and their possessions need still our support.
So pray and donate all for Somalia and all the countries that suffer (still) from drought and their consequences!
Best regards,
Your Khalisa
PS: If you want to support one of the many relief organizations, I can recommend the aid organization Islamic Care. We know them personally and they are very dedicated too maa shaa Allah!

A Powerwoman from Turkey: We need Somalia!

As salaamu alaikum and Hello dear friends,

Yesterday  I had a very exciting occasion, which I want to share with you. It is about a short, but very nice meeting with a sister from Turkey! Actually it was not only her- her business-partner came to visit us as well- they came to Somalia for the second time.

I´m always glad to meet new people, especially those from outside. So we introduced each other and then I asked her:

„How come, you came to Somalia?“

Dilan answered, that she had a friend in the United States who is originally from Gabon, but had lots of Somali friends. He told her about Somalia and it´s possibilities to invest in. She got to know many interesting projects and decided to have a look at it by herself. Her main dream is to give Somali children a better future.

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Has a heart for children: Dilan

A foreign woman dares to come to this dangerous country? You might ask yourself. Yes, indeed- and she fell in love with it! She returned safely and happy back to her home and had a mission: She want to help the country to develop and to show the world, that Somalia isn’t a country to be afraid of!

The best thing I got to hear from her: „Not only Somalia needs us- we need Somalia as well!!!“

That is a very inspiring statement! We need Somalia!??

If you really know this country, you immediately understand it: Somalia has already everything- it needs only people to help digging the treasure out! Somalia could be a very rich country, if there would be more people who discover it and assist the Somali´s with their projects. Because ideas and possibilities are there- missing are investments and some professional guidance.

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Business Meeting with Dilan and Borak

Thank God that there are people like Dilan, who have such a good heart. By investing in the country she automatically invests in the childrens´ future as well!

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Left to rigth: Borak with my son, Dilan, me, my Co-wife, her daugther and our husband

After our meeting my husband went with this nice people to show them some of his projects. One hour later they flew together to Istanbul, where there will happen a big Somali Business Conference, in shaa Allah.

Isn’t it nice to hear something positive like this? Isn’t it heartwarming that there are people and especially a woman so engaged to make the world a better place?

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May Allah reward Dilan and all others, who believe in a better future for Somalia and give their best effort for it´s development, amin!

With best regards,

Khalisa

 

 

My first trip to Somalia

…Or the first step into another world.

Here I will tell you about the pathway to my new life.

So many questions….

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As you can imagine, such an open-length journey is extremely exciting. What do you take with you? What can you leave out? What at all is existing in a country, where there has been more than 20 years of civil war? These are just a few of the innumerable questions that were buzzing around in my head.

However, I was full of confidence that everything will work out somehow. Because in Islam, trust in Allah is very important. You do and plan what you can, but then you trust in Allah and see, if His plans are the same as yours. He is still the best planner and one thing I learned after a few years in Africa: it always comes different than you think!
This attitude to life helps you a lot to stay calm and not to unnecessarily go crazy (okay, honestly, I’m still working on it :-D).

Summer 2010 – The beginning of an unusual story

We, my husband, my co-wife with her 2 toddlers and myself, started the trip at the end of May 2010. This is the time when the schoolchildren in Somalia have about 3 months of heat-free holidays.
We flew directly from Denmark to Dubai. At the exit the indescribable heat almost killed us. In summer the heat in Dubai reaches 50 degrees. Accordingly, life takes place after sunset. You do not even have to move- the sweat drips on its own! On the other hand, in shops, cars, hotels, and probably houses, there are exaggeratedly cool air conditioners that will make you freeze.

The first test

If you want to travel to Somalia, booking a complete flight is not so easy, at least not through one of these online-booking-systems. Everyone has to take a break in either Kenia, Ethopia, Turkey or Dubai and wait for the next best flight to Somalia. We were allowed to spend about a week in Dubai.
This break turned out to be the first test for me: I was plagued by terrible diarrhea! So it’s best not to eat fast food from outside, better from the hotel! Or just eat vegetarian on the first trip! In Dubai, however, there is enough medicine, so that I was better in time for the onward flight (alhamduliLlah).
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Two opposite stations

In Dubai you experience the total opposite to what awaits you in Somalia: the whole world is gathered. The whole worldly goods are flooding. It only can be described as superlatives (most beautiful and modern,highest, etc.). But our goal was the exact opposite. Life in Somalia is relatively tough. Poverty still prevails or is definitely obvious. Besides, the „natural“ streets and not even one-story houses (mostly) offer you a rather simple life. But it is exactly this rather simple life, which brings you back to reality, to the reality of life. It even brings you much closer to the meaning of life: that we are Allah’s servants and should serve Him (by worshiping Him alone, by good deeds, etc.). That’s why I Prefer the life in Somalia than life abounds.

Let’s start the adventure!

I do not remember exactly where we stopped off. I think it was in Berbera (Somaliland). However, I still remember very well the onward flight to Bosasso (Puntland). That was the worst flight of my life so far! This flying part of an airplane was definitely a sorted out piece from Russia! It was obvious by the poor equipment inside: no ventilation system and no emergency exit! So we were almost melting until we started the flight and freezing short after in the blue sky!
The aisle was so crammed full of travel bags (down to belly height) that even the captain and his crew struggled to get to the cockpit!
I asked my husband: „How can we find the Exit in case of emergency?“ My husband who was struggling to calm down the kids, answered very calm and relaxed: „Sweetheart, there is NO EXIT in this plane!“ He looked somehow amused about the whole situation, while I was not believing what I see!
I was also told that the (Russian) flight crew regularly „smells“ of alcohol. But I could not confirm that, thanks to God. Anyway, it was like a horror-movie which became reality! But in the end, I was so knocked out that I put my head to the metal- wall in front of me (sitting in the front) and tried to get vanished trough the sleep.
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It looked similar to this one, just more worse!
Thank God we arrived safely in Bosasso and I never saw this plane again- and I’m not missing it!

Welcome in Somalia !!!

Now it was time for my first steps on the Somali soil, alhamduliLlah. Bosasso is a city at the Red Sea, so actually a nice start!

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Somehow everything looks a bit surreal: on one hand, fairly high, barren mountains, which are almost threatening, and on the other hand, the beautiful, turquoise-colored sea. In addition, the heavy wind almost blows off your clothes. The heat there (in the summer above 40 degrees) is not much different than in Dubai, but the fresh hot breeze makes it bearable, at least in the Evening.

 We were directly picked up by my brother in law and had been brought to Hotel Jubba. On the way to there you get first an impression of poverty in Somalia, a bitter aftertaste of the long civil war. Because between the airport and the city are the poorest of the poor settled. Not long after those you can see even multi-stores, white and beautiful houses, which are provided with the typical round arches. These are mostly hotels and shops.
You really have a lot to wonder when you arrive in Somalia for the first time!
Everywhere people and goats mingled, who are unstoppable by the cars, unless they activate their horns. Before or between the large shops, whose walls are always very colorfully painted with the contents (for example, sugar, flour, or cell phones, etc.), are often small self-built mini-Shops.
Unfortunately, in front of these mini-Shops you can see everywhere Khat being sold. These are some kind of leaves which operate like a drug and make you very careless about everything. Sadly it is the most common drug for soldiers and lorry drivers. Mostly they are sold by women who are struggling for survival.
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What´s also very obvious: Women and girls wear very colorful hijabs (as opposed to the prevalent black in Dubai). Together with the colorful painted stores, it gives a very impressive and positive picture. Beside this interesting view, the sand is whirled by the cars and the wind, which gives a dusty view under the deep blue sky.

The first night in Somalia

My first night on Somali ground was, beside the tiredness, still a kind of exciting, even though I was far too exhausted to deeply ponder about it: I was actually scared that the fan would fall on my bed! Because it always swayed so much back and forth … but thank God, nothing happened 😉 Beside all, in my Hotel room was everything else you need, even sturdy wooden furniture.

The road between Bosasso and Qardho- adventure for itself!

Since in Bosasso the summer months (late May to late September) are too hot to endure without air conditioning, most families go for this school-free time to the nearest villages or cities. Only the business men and the poor who can not afford to move, stay in Bosasso (and some hard-boiled families).
Bosasso
One of these relatively nearby small towns is called Qardho. My mother-in-law and part of her children and grandchildren had settled there for the holiday season. So we did not want to waste our time in the heat and drove further to Qardho the next day with the Landcruiser of my husband.
It is an impressive drive of about 4 hours. The street is still left over from the Italians in the 80’s and surprisingly well preserved. Only a bit tight, in the oncoming traffic.This road is the main road, which is the gateway through Somalia.
Sometimes you have to leave the bumpy road to get through it on a country-side-way, but mostly it is good enough to drive on it.

On the way from Bosasso to Qardho you pass many mountains that really do not carry any herbs and therefore look so unreal; you pass as well on dry riverbeds that suddenly produce beautiful tall trees; as well as the semi-steppe, which has room for many camels and other grazing animals due to its dry, almost silver bushes. Not to forget the frequent roadblocks where soldiers stop you with a taut rope or another object to earn a few cents for the next meal. Sometimes you come across a village that consists of a few simple houses or self-made huts, in which no mosque may be missing.

I love this route until today.

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At that time, while it was my first time seeing so many soldiers with weapons, my heart throbbed pretty well.
I prayed at every roadblock and tried to avoid the glare of the soldiers. My husband had been given a gun license because of me (like my bodyguard), but these sparsely paid, often khat-chewing soldiers are sometimes unpredictable.
But thank God everything went well and we arrived safely in Qardho.

Meeting my big family!

It was lunchtime when we honked in our jeep in front of our new home and were then greeted by sooo many children.
I suddenly realized that I can not speak the Somali language at all.
But I had my co-wife with me, who had always translated everything to me (may Allah reward her abundantly). Of course there was no time for that in the beginning. Nevertheless, I got introduced to this lively band as a new, another mom. Whereby I thought I could never remember the many names and (for me) pretty same looking faces! But of course that came with the time…
In order not to let it be too long, I conclude here once. In the next article I will tell you about my first attempts to integrate in Qardho and Bosasso.
One thing is for sure: anyone who embarks on a trip to Somalia should definitely bring with him a good deal of trust in God (taqwah) and, most of all, vitamin B (good relations in case of need).
To be continued and looking forward to your comments, likes and stuff like that (in shaa Allah)!
Your Khalisa from The Germali’s

„Why especially Somalia?“ Or: My Way to There

„Why especially Somalia?“ Or: My Way to There.

„You live in…Somaaaliaa?!? Why???“ and „Whaaaat, how come…???“ – These are maybe the most common questions I have to answer, when I meet someone new. Yes, especially Somali people are surprised by hearing that a German sister moved BY CHOICE to this country, where most of them fled from!

To answer you these questions, I have to go back to 2009, when everything started…

 Once upon a time…

In the beginning of 2009 I was a fresh Muslima (only half year old, alhamduliLlah!). I had a very good friend, who came originally from Mogadishu, capital city of Somalia. She praised her home country so much: how beautiful this city has been (before the war), how fertile the earth, how tasty the fruits (no banana is like theirs!), how beautiful the ocean…and last but not least: how freely you can practice the Deen (religion, way of life) nowadays!

Moreover I could see in multiple videos from the Internet, that beside all that ongoing chaos, there was still a life going on in that country, which I was fascinated of.

Slowly but surely I developed the desire to move to such a country like Somalia. Because in Germany, my own home-country, I got insulted openly and some of the people told me to „go home where you come from!„. Through my Islamic clothes I became a stranger in my own home/city/country!

change1From all the Islamic countries I could go to, Somalia attracted me most. There you are nothing special as a Muslima, even with a full veil. The life was still a kind of simple, which doesn’t distract you from more important things. It reminded me on the history of the first Muslims, who used to live very simple and honest. At the same time, it still has a kind of mix between Arabian and African-flair, which makes life a very relaxed (and for me suitable) experience.

Not sooo easy…

Out of this fascination, I went together with my Somali friend and her German husband to Dubai, where we wanted to travel further to Somalia. But we were not very well financially prepared, as we did not evaluate what such kind of big shift needed. So I decided to go back and make a better, reasonable plan for this important venture.

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Searching for Mr. Perfect

I realized that before I travel to Somalia, I needed to establish a family life. Because if you travel alone, you are an open victim to all. Beside that, together you´ll be stronger to face every difficulty in life. For that, I needed someone who understands my background and who had the same imagination of life.

There were some other chances for me to get married with from different nationalities, but I couln’d imagine that an Arab or other African would choose Somalia as our new home. That’s why my heart and mind sticked on the Somalis.

Since in my town I knew beside my friend only one Somali family, my friend asked her (half-) sister in Denmark, if she could search for me a suitable “Somali“ husband.

It might sound strange to some of you. The Muslims might think: „What? wasn’t she too shy for searching a husband by herself?“ But I didn’t have a choice, since I don’t have a Muslim family member who could have helped me with that huge task.

For a Non-Muslim it might even sound more strange! „What? How come, she let other people search a husband for her !?“- They may ask themselves.  For your information the Muslim marriage is similar to a „blind date“ from the Internet: you or someone close to you keeps the eyes open to find a suitable match for you. If they found one, you and the potential husband may talk to each other, in order to see, if you have a common understanding of the life, character, goals, etc. The only difference is, that a Muslim can only have a “physical“ contact and relationship with the other gender after they married.

However, my friend got the contact number of the Somali Imam in her sisters city. The Imam him self got the information that he will receive a call from Germany. My friend introduced her self to the Imam and asked him, if there was any suitable „match“ for me. After few weeks of search he found out, there wasn’t. He found some brothers but non of them was ready to move back to Somalia in the near future, which was my condition!

Bingo!

My friend knew that the Imam himself was living between Europe and Somalia as he already moved some of his children back to there, while he is preparing himself and the rest of his family  to move there soon.

Suddenly my friend got the idea to ask that Imam himself, if he would be interested in me. He answered, that he was focusing on finding someone else for me, therefore he needed to get a bit time to rethink in order to change his mindset concerning to this issue. He  mentioned that he had already 2 wives and a few children.

Around two days later, he gave us the answer: If I don’t mind about his big family, he would like to get to know me!

In the beginning the idea of the sister was a bit astonishing for me, but I got exited after when I got the answer of the Imam. The good thing with this brother was, that he had all his bigger children already studying in Somalia- so it was like an „insurance“ for me, that he really would move there after his study.  Moreover, he was educated in worldly things as well in the religion. All of this and more made him really interesting for me.

Closer to my dream…

dreamsFinally my husband came all the way to Germany. It didn’t needed much time to feel that we would be suitable for each other. So after a couple of days we got married. That was in the End of 2009 and I never regret my decision, thanks to God (alhamduliLlah)- now I had someone to share my dreams with and make them come true!

Our wedding was simple and easy, but also very multicultural and emotional. Even my beloved parents and my Grandma were present!

One month later I moved to Denmark and got to know the other wife of my husband. Actually I got to know her already before, when she welcomed me on the Phone into her family! We became best friends up to now (yes, we are only two right now)! Beside that, we made some nice trips to England (second home) and Canada (huge Somali Islamic Conference with 6.000 people, where my husband was a main speaker). I felt like conquering the world!

  …or not yet?

It was spring-time 2010, when we started to plan our travel to Somalia. But my in-laws were worried: „It is too dangerous in here for a white person, therefore I shouldn’t go there!“

My dream seemed to burst. Tears were falling from my eyes.

This encouraged my husband to give all his effort in order that I´ll be able to travel with him anyway in order to keep his promise as well to make my dream come true and our wish and  plan fulfilled. He was not in doubt about that I will fit to there.

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Let´s get started!

Despite all of the skeptical messages coming from Somalia, we took finally the decision to travel together.

When my experience to travel to totally new country is not so wide I couldn’t define what to take, what to not take, what’s important and what’s not.

The preparation for the travel was another challenge for me, as I was about to give up from a whole life that I knew since my childhood and choosed to face a knew, unknown one that I had no clue about it.

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In this article you got to know my prehistory and my reasons for getting that “crazy“ idea to travel to Somalia. It was out of my wish to be able to practice my religion freely, without being told I should go back to my country! But the world is much bigger than Germany, so I had to take the necessary step to change my surrounding…

If you like this article or want to comment or even share it with the world, you are very welcome 🙂

To be continued (in shaa Allah),

Khalisa from The Germali´s

 

 

 

Hello, World! (About Us)

As salamu alaikum and hello dear friends,

Since English is the no.1 language in the world and many of the Somali people, which I would like to reach, are not only in Germany but in English- speaking countries, I decided to write some articles also in English language. From now on, the world can get to know me- and my team from Germali´s, in shaa Allah!

Even though I speak and listen to English language every day (I´m jumping between 3 languages), it´s not the same for me as in my mother tongue, but I found it´s necessary to take one step further. Only with training you can improve, as they say: practice makes perfect 😉

To our English-speaking readers

I would like to introduce our team from the Germali´s:

  • Ubah

deutsch-somali.pngShe is the fire- giver for this blog. It was her fascination about my story (as a German in HER country), which inspired us to develop this blog. Grown up in Germany, but with Somali roots and currently studying in England, she used to live between these 2 cultures: on one hand, the perfectionism of German culture, on the other hand the relaxed, African lifestyle of the Somali´s- very interesting mix by the way! Even though she is very busy most of the time, she will always remain as the inspiration of this blog. Hopefully she will join us in writing articles for you, in order to broaden your horizon as well as inspire you in different ways!

  • Fartun

 

She is my constant supporter and motivator. She does not have direct German ties, but is from the German part of Switzerland (so almost the same!), with Somali roots as well. Fartun lived almost her whole live in that German-Swiss part, so that she felt like a stranger, when she came to Somalia last year. Therefore she is the only team-member, which I´ve personally met– in Somalia! I´m looking forward for her moving once to here, so that we can enjoy more of her articles (in shaa Allah).

  • Asiya

 

She is like me a German sister, married with a Somali and has „Germali-children“. Even though she is married longer time, last year was her first time, when she dared to come to Somalia. It won´t be her last time visiting this county I hope, so in future we will here from here as well. Furthermore, she was the one, who organized the wonderful drawing by lot, when our blog reached 3.000 views (not long time ago lol).

  • Khalisa

 

That´s me, German muslima, married to a Somali and also having „Germali-children“, alhamduliLlah. 2010 was my first visit to Somalia, which got only interrupted by 3 visits to my home country so far. Since 2013 I´m settled in Garowe, the capital city of Puntland state of Somalia, enjoying my religious freedom, which I was missing in Germany. You will get to know much about my life as a German in Somalia, how it is to live in a big family, and much more!

What do we want?

Together we are the „Bridge-builders“ between Germany/outside-of-Somalia-world and Somalia. This aim we want to reach by giving you a multifaceted view about Somalia- by building a bridge between both worlds. That means, we want to give you more differenciated impressions than just the usual side, which is in focus world-wide: poverty, drought and war. As we know, these are the 3 things, everybody get´s in mind when he thinks on this country.

But there is much, much more to discover in this beautiful country! When you come here with 0 expectations, you will be surprised like me in the beginning- how the people managed their life, their schools, their businesses without even a proper government! You would be surprised about the overcrowded schools, the many universities, the very nice shops, and much more.

Beside that, the infrastructure is growing so fast, that after one month absence you will not recognize some streets anymore, because of the new houses and shops!

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Furthermore we want to encourage the people outside of Somalia:

  • The Somali people from abroad– to learn some positive sides of the country, to show their kids their roots, and to encourage them to give some contribution to their home-country. Because it´s easy to blame the countries´mistakes, instead of changing something. So, it is much more important to ponder: what can I personally do, in order that the country can improve? If you say, „But I´m from Mogadishu, it´s too dangerous there!„, I can tell you, that Somalia is much bigger than that…!
  • For Non-Somali´s (especially Muslims): to discover a possible Muslim country to emigrate to, since in Somalia you can freely practice the Deen (religion, way of life). We are ready to help all of those, who are seriously interested, to find a place in Somalia.
  • For Non-Somali´s (especially Non-Muslims): to widen their horizon, to learn more about an undiscovered diamond, where there are thousands of investment-possibilities.

In the end, we are all from Adam and Eve, and the borders in the world are only man-made. So, why don’t we look over the borders?

We hope, you´ll enjoy your visit on our blog. We appreciate every inspiration for our further work or comments. Also we would be very glad, if you support us by liking and sharing this blog.

Thank you very much and see you soon (in shaa Allah) 🙂

Khalisa from the Germali´s

 

What´s the meaning of „Germali´s?“

 

What does it mean- „The Germali´s“?

This name is a combination between the two nationalities, which are connecting our Admin-Team: German and Somali –> The Germali´s!

It was really not easy for us to choose the right name for our blog. Honestly, it was easy for our heart, but not for our mind: Other names like Gersom where probably more understandable for Somali- poeple, since in Somali language „Germal“ means „German“ already and could lead to misunderstandings! But our feeling told us, that „Germaaali“ sounds most nice.

Since we are women, we followed our feelings and there we go: We´ve got our Blog-name 🙂

We hope you enjoy our „nation-connecting“- Blog!