Growing up I never felt like I could identify with the people around me.
When I was in grade two, my teacher singled me out as an Ethiopian girl by making me sit separately in the class. I was born and raised in Somalia- I never really felt different until he made me feel different.
A few years later my family went back to Ethiopia to visit our extended family. When they took me to church, I didn’t know the songs they were singing or the scriptures they would recite. There were no churches in Somalia. My parents taught me a little about Christianity, but everything around me was Islam. I became the Somali girl.
Being different has followed me here to Canada. When I want to work with other Africans I am defined by the country I come from or by the tribe my last name comes from. There is so much division in our communities and organizations here in Canada to the point where people cannot accomplish anything without a conflict arising.
I choose not to identify myself with a tribe or a specific African country. I want to be known for my ideas and my beliefs. We cannot overcome poverty, corruption and violence in our communities in Canada and back home if we don’t work together. What I most wish for is a community that thrives on unity.