Memories of Mogadishu

She got a faraway look in her eye as she remembered the green fields of Somalia. I won’t ever forget that wistful longing look. She worked at the university in Mogadishu.

Green fields were torn up by war. All most of the world knows about Somalia is the helicopter in Black Hawk Down. Now, they might now it’s one of the seven countries on the list.

Canadians should know our fortune as almost an accident, a roll of the country dice: stable borders for 150 years, the land of peace, order, and good government. Many alive have never known, and never will know, stable government.

Nobody knows how beautiful it is, or maybe was, before it was torn up by war. I know how beautiful it is, because she told me. Maybe she thinks of Mogadishu on Winter days like this, when ice and slush cover streets, and Canadians have to shore themselves against the bitter wind.

She cared for my children. They know what it is to kneel and pray, because of her. I didn’t teach them that, but I’m okay with it. I am not likely to follow any man’s creed, any time soon, but I am okay with that.

My children once put blankets around their heads to imitate her head covering. It was cute, and we have a picture of it.

She showed me pictures of her Hajj, because I asked, after seeing the framed picture on the wall. Then she gave me a Koran, and some pamphlets about Islam.

Her husband drives a taxi, and she has a basement daycare. She took care of my children with love and kindness. That’s what I know about Somalians. Somalians aren’t just refugees, or people on a list of “banned countries”. To me, Somalia is a beautiful place full of loving kindess. To Muna, it will always be her other home-peaceful and full of green fields. May it always be.

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