Being raised in the United States for the larger portion of my life, I faced many difficulties growing up due to the culture conflict, these later turned into life-changing experiences. I am from Somalia. Somalia, a country filled with violence and brutality. A country filled with brick houses demolished to the ground. A country where missiles fly in the air and bullets penetrate the place you call home. A country where the cattle roam free and the humans wonder without a destination.  A country where even the youngest child shows hope by screaming “Somali hanoolaato!,” meaning long live Somalia. Somalia has since become a place of devastation and massacre. Somalia was no longer a place of peace and tranquility but transformed into a place of hardship.

Though both of my parents were illiterate, and many considered my circumstance “disadvantaged”, I was determined to become educated in hopes of escaping the dire situation in which I grew up. My siblings and I were the first to acquire formal higher education. Due to the inability of my parents to guide my education and the lack of role models in my community, I have had to make all the important decisions about my college education and career by myself. Some may consider this a burden, but I learned to be independent at a young age and make responsible decisions. I am motivated to learn and comprehend rather than by just attaining a grade. As a student, I managed to keep several jobs at once to supplement the income of my family and invest in my community by tutoring and mentoring youth.

I am a person who has confronted her own brokenness: a father I knew from a distance, who visited one day a week to be with his other family and a mother who struggled like a single parent to pay the bills and raise 7 children. I remember her working dawn to dusk; waking up three in the morning to open her restaurant to serve truck drivers. Of the many adversities, I have faced in life, the worst was witnessing the outbreak of the civil war in Somalia. It forced countless Somalis to flee their homes to go abroad, seeking peace and security in another country. Being one of the victims of this tragedy, I lived for a couple of years with my family in Kenya as a refugee. In the fall of 1994 my life drastically changed when my family and I relocated to the United States in search for a better life.



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