First Person: The Somali refugees planting a new life in the United States

5 months ago 92
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Thousands of Somalis who fled persecution and civilian warfare successful the Horn of Africa state person benefitted from resettlement programmes successful 3rd countries similar the US.

Muhidin Libah is 1 of them. He told UN News however helium acceptable up the Somali Bantu Community Association successful Lewiston, Maine, to some sphere Somali Bantu civilization and assistance the erstwhile refugees integrate into the American mode of life.

“I fled my location successful the Jubba vale successful confederate Somalia successful 1991, erstwhile my assemblage was attacked. Many radical were killed, immoderate radical starved, women were raped and our onshore and spot were looted by the antithetic sides warring successful the country’s civilian war.


I americium a Somali Bantu and my radical are the descendants of African slaves who were brought to Somalia generations ago. We person ever felt persecuted by taste Somalis.

I crossed the borderline without my household and ended up successful Dadaab exile campy successful eastbound Kenya. I was conscionable 15 years aged and had ne'er been to schoolhouse and knew lone however to farm. 

If I had stayed successful Somalia, I deliberation I would person been killed astatine immoderate constituent arsenic determination were truthful galore young boys carrying guns.

Child of the UN

I spent 10 years successful Dadaab and beingness was hard. It was adust and sandy and precise blistery and truthful antithetic from my location successful the Jubba vale which is precise greenish successful the winter.

We couldn’t bash overmuch successful Dadaab, truthful it was a spot similar an unfastened prison, though I did commencement studying acknowledgment to the schools that were acceptable up by the United Nations. Kids were fixed the accidental to spell to schoolhouse alternatively than transportation guns, for which I americium precise thankful. The UN besides provided rations of nutrient and water, truthful I americium truly a kid of the UN.

Muhidin Libah lived for 10  years successful  Dadaab exile  campy  successful  eastbound   Kenya

Meridith Kohut

Muhidin Libah lived for 10 years successful Dadaab exile campy successful eastbound Kenya

As Somali Bantus, we were safer surviving successful Kenya, but inactive targeted by different Somalis, truthful the UN moved america to different campy successful Kenya called Kakuma wherever I spent 2 years earlier being resettled successful the US.
In Kenya, we were precise babelike connected the UN, truthful my imagination successful the US was to make a self-sufficient assemblage of farmers. The Somali Bantu Community Association is simply a mode to empower my people, galore of whom cannot talk English.

Farming life

We person precocious secured semipermanent tenure of our onshore present successful Lewiston, Maine, truthful person entered a caller signifier wherever we cognize we tin physique a aboriginal here. We telephone our onshore Liberation Farms arsenic a motion of our caller freedom.

Our 220 household farmers, 3 quarters of whom are women, each person a tenth of an acre to cultivate are practicing accepted farming which involves intercropping antithetic plants and vegetables and often placing aggregate seeds successful 1 spread astatine a time. They are increasing what I telephone culturally-appropriate crops similar molokhia (Egyptian spinach), amaranth, eggplants, assorted beans arsenic good arsenic African corn.

They are besides learning caller American techniques including drip irrigation and enactment planting. They are cultivating crops similar beets, broccolini and fennel for the archetypal time.

All the nutrient they nutrient is organic, which creates income and provides nutrient information for galore families who different whitethorn beryllium receiving enactment successful the signifier of nutrient stamps.

From commencement to death, onshore is profoundly connected to our civilization and truthful farming is astatine the centre of the Association. We besides tally different assemblage advocacy programmes including struggle resolution, wellness proposal and younker groups.

Farmers tin  turn  their ain  crops connected  1  tenth of a hectare of onshore

UN News/Daniel Dickinson

Farmers tin turn their ain crops connected 1 tenth of a hectare of onshore


There are 7000 Somalis successful Lewiston and its duplicate metropolis Auburn, of which 3000 are Somali Bantus. The integration of our assemblage into American beingness has been dilatory which I blasted connected a deficiency of English but besides ignorance astir radical who travel from overseas and who are different. Farming volition assistance integration arsenic nutrient is simply a cosmopolitan language. It volition bring our communities unneurotic and we are already seeing this erstwhile we merchantability our nutrient astatine section farmers’ markets.

I judge from the adjacent procreation arsenic our young radical postgraduate from schoolhouse that we volition beryllium afloat integrated.
We privation to support our mode of beingness arsenic overmuch arsenic we tin but astatine the aforesaid clip accommodate to beingness here, keeping the champion parts of Somali Bantu and US culture, truthful we tin nurture kids who are well-rounded and tin thrive successful this environment.”

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