The Autobiography Project

Your Autobiographies

Fouzia Musse's Autobiography (submitted 5/16/06)

I was in depression for a whole month after I came back from Somalia. It took me a while to understand. When I started writing about it, it came little bit by little bit less tension to me, but it is very tense. Very tense.

Any person who has been exposed to trauma reacts differently. Some people had nothing, some of them lost everything. You don't know how a refugee will be. But, like any other person, if you meet a refugee, just relax. Treat that person as human.

In Philadelphia today there is a very small Somali community, predominantly youth, and there is not much guidance, because we do not have a large community. There's not much family, so it's youth, youth, youth, and it's just--difficult for them.

People always ask me, "What do you do in the community? Blah, blah, blah..." I volunteer, teaching Koranic and Arabic education, interpreting, counseling for the community. But I am mainly a storyteller and community historian. Oral histories that I collected from the elders and still contain, I can explain to young generations.

One day, I will go back to Somalia to live for good, Insha Allah. When I go back, I want to herd camels. I want to get close to the camels, camel culture. I don't know what will happen. I want to drive camels, make a camel track, from one place to another place, and see how it goes. I want to go, as a woman, a Somali American, coming from two worlds, and I want to document that: how people will see me, as I am now, as I was, as I will be.

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