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Casco Bay High School student takes stand
against tribal violence in native Somalia

Fowziyo Jama will graduate from Casco Bay High School on Thursday night. Jama, who intends to study cardiology at Emory University in Georgia, developed a documentary taking a critical look at tribal conflicts in her native Somalia for a senior project.
Fowziyo Jama will graduate from Casco Bay High School on Thursday night. Jama, who intends to study cardiology at Emory University in Georgia, developed a documentary taking a critical look at tribal conflicts in her native Somalia for a senior project. By Seth Koenig, BDN Staff

Seth Koenig | BDN
June 07, 2012

PORTLAND, Maine — Fowziyo Jama’s mother saw the danger approaching first.

“She told me to close my eyes, and I heard a shot,” Jama, who was 8 years old at the time, recalled this week. When Jama opened her eyes, her mother was on the ground and bleeding. Three robbers were fleeing from the scene.

On Thursday night, Jama, 18, will be among the graduates of Portland’s Casco Bay High School in a ceremony at Merrill Auditorium. But just 10 years ago, she was left searching the outskirts of a Kenyan refugee camp for medical help.

“You saw things like that all the time,” Jama said of her mother’s shooting. “It scared me a little bit more because it was my mother, but weeks before that I’d seen a friend of my mom die from being shot.”

Bystanders helped control the bleeding and tied up Jama’s mother’s leg, where the bullet had hit her, while Jama ran for help. The 8-year-old finally found a United Nations peacekeeper who could come administer medical help. Two days later.

Jama’s mother survived the ordeal and after four years of living in the “wild west” atmosphere of the refugee camp — where Jama recalled food and resources being limited, crime commonplace and families largely recoiling in social isolation — the Jama clan made its way to the United States.

After a brief stay in San Diego, the family relocated to Portland, where Jama, her parents and five brothers now live.

Read the complete story at BDN, Maine

Copyright 2012 WardheerNews.com