Thursday, January 1, 2015

A BOOK REVIEW: AMERICA HERE I COME: A SOMALI REFUGEE’S QUEST FOR HOPE, A MEMOIR BY HAMSE WARFA


By Adan Makina
If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader- John Quincy Adams
warfaFew in our age and time dare to write a book before retirement. However, one young man originally from Somalia put his time and effort by writing one in cosmopolitan America. The book, America: Here I come: A Somali Refugee’s Quest for Hope, by established Somali-American community leader, academic, blogger, essayist and author Hamse Warfa, is a memoir that is laden with profound historical narratives that pinpoint the author’s early childhood upbringing in beleaguered, impoverished, and war-ravaged Somalia located in the Horn of Africa. Beautifully crafted, the book’s top cover features the blue and red colors of the American flag which could also translate to the colors of the two most powerful rival political parties-Democratic and Republican respectively.
Roughly 261-pages and published by Sunshine Publishing, the book is a memoir of a kid from Somalia who grew up in the sprawling city of Mogadishu-a city that was once dubbed the “Pearl of Africa” and the “Cleanest City in Africa”. Surrounded by loving parents, brothers, and sisters, and affectionate friends and friendly neighbors, Hamse found what he cherished most in life: a decent education and leadership acumen in oecumenical America. While some foreigners may have harbored negative perceptions of Somalia of the olden days, the author succinctly explains the pleasure and splendor and the lively perfection that shrouded the peaceful Somali nation those days. Somalia of old was a worldly paradise where a few foreigners dared infiltrate because of the visa restrictions and because of the heavy presence of the military regime in every corner of the country.
In his heydays, nothing about the lavishes of life escaped these young author. He attended the best school, lived in the best neighborhood, and socialized with children of like caliber who were mostly from affluent neighborhoods and were sons and daughters of the Somali governing bureaucracy.
The collapse of the central government in 1991 followed by social transgression and fragmentation and the dissipation of governance brought about many huddles for Hamse and his extended family. There was monumental displacement of civilians, massive death and destruction mainly in Mogadishu and its environs, economic asphyxiation, political traducement, social divide as a result of tribalism and clannism, food and water shortages, and a host of other social ills that turned the once peacefully arranged tables upside down.
It was in neighboring Kenya that Hamse and his dedicated, entrepreneurial family became refugees. After making many frightful flights and daring escapes within Somalia mainly in the southern part of the country, Hamse and his family settled in Dadaab Refugee camp. In Dadaab, they encountered a life of living in tents under the scorching sun of Kenya’s North Eastern Province. Dadaab, the biggest refugee camp in the world, houses hundreds of thousands of refugees from Somalia, and a good number of South Sudanese who eventually relocated to Kakuma Refugee Camp in Turkana land. Climatologically, Daddaab is located in a hostile environment teaming with wild beasts, armed militants, rapists, cattle rustlers, and brigands.
Lacking the required facilities to sustain an expanding refugee population, Dadaab has long been an area of hostility predating Kenya’s independence. In the past, even before refugees started streaming in as a result of the civil war in Somalia that broke out in 1990 after the collapse of the central government in Mogadishu, Dadaab had its share of artificial absurdities that included tribal clashes, the Shifta insurgency, and repeated Kenya military operations.
The kids Hamse played with in harmony during peace times became fragmented and torn apart by a prolonged war that would continue for quarter a century. Driven by a destructive man-made whirlwind, a disproportionately destructive exodus ensued that ultimately sent the entire nation run berserk to various unspecified destinations globally. Each and every affected Somali suffered the brunt of the war. Some lost their entire livelihoods and became destitute within a short period of time; others lost their loved ones; while others opted to remain and be exposed to the horrors of raging wars and famine, disease, and displacement.
With the old adage ‘great leaders are born’ now replaced by ‘great leaders are made’, Hamse struggled tooth and nail in life to grab the best opportunities that came his way by climbing the ladder of success in leadership and entrepreneurship. Thus, with the opportunities he has in America, undoubtedly, the making of Hamse as a future leader, whether in Somalia or in the U.S., is obviously on course. Highly spirited Hamse went back to school in America to get the best education. Having obtained a master’s degree and then going uphill on wards on to enlisting in doctoral studies, a position that he is currently engrossed in, Hamse seems to be headed in the right direction in terms of leadership potential.
The author is a man with an iron will, dedicated, and determined to reap the benefits of hard work after many trials and tribulations. He has lectured in schools, partook in social activities, spoke in commemorations, assisted the elderly and needy, and above all, devoted a good portion of his spare time and energy to the upliftment of his struggling community mainly newly arriving Somali refugees setting base in America.
Without education, attaining the right leadership potential and catapulting to a higher status would have been impossible for the author of this book. Hamse’s leadership pursuit comes from emulating enlightening global great giants. With that in mind, I have the strongest conviction and belief that Hamse will remain a role model for many struggling Somali and African youth who wish to prosper locally, nationally, and internationally.
By Adan Makina
WardheerNews
Email: adan.makina@gmail.com

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