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Mohamed Ahmed

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Mohamed Kassim Ahmed was born in Mogadishu, Somalia. He left Somalia in 2008 because of continued instability and moved to Uganda, where he continued high school. He was able to resettle in the United States in 2013. He is currently a student at St. Paul College.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. Please contact Immigration History Research Center staff for permissions not covered by this Creative Commons license.

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Mohamed Ahmed Transcription

Hi. My name is Mohamed Ahmed, and this is my immigrant story.
Somalia is located in the Horn of Africa and experienced political instability during the past twenty-five years. It is a civil war, started in 1990’s. I was born in the capital city of Somalia, Mogadishu, and lived in Somalia with my family for the first fifteen years of my life. During the civil war, in 2008, I moved to Uganda because the situation was getting worse in Somalia, and I had to leave my family behind and went with our neighbors who traveled in Uganda. I was living on my own and stayed in Uganda for a period of five years. It was really difficult to live there because I had to be there without my family and I didn’t have enough money, food, and good health.
After that, I moved to America to get high-quality education and better life. Even though Somalia had many ups and downs, it has a unique culture. For example, Somalia speaks same language, same religion, and same tradition. Discussing about the Somali culture, I would love to share with you a traditional clothing that I like the most. This traditional clothing is known as ma’awes.* Ma’awes is a strong garment worn around the waist by most Somali men. Ma’awes made in Somalia are different than others made in other countries. And it also has different fabric, different size, and different prices.
Somalia is a hot country, and clothing is often loose, which is suitable for the heat. Ma’awes is very easy to wear and you can use [it] for sleeping and relaxing at home. Most Somalian men wear ma’awes when attending wedding and Eid celebrations. My father who passed away in 1990 bought my first ma’awes. When I see ma’awes, I remember when my father and I worked together. My second ma’awes was sent from my mother when I was in Uganda in 2013 and I still wear it at home.
Unfortunately, ma’awes is only found in the some parts of the world, and America is not one of them. I came here knowing that I would not be able to wear my ma’awes in public. The weather in Minnesota is not suitable for the ma’awes, and also, in American culture, it is not appropriate to wear it. I will keep my ma’awes. It is something that will be a part of my life. And I want to start a clothing line for ma’awes so that people can buy it when they see it in the stores. Thank you.

[Also spelt ma'awis]