Saturday, October 1, 2011

Living the good life (Somali style) in Minneapolis

Minnesota has a large Somali Population and the Majority of the Somalis in the state live in Minneapolis/St. Paul area and they have had major affects  on this area since they arrived in huge numbers after they came to the United States in the 90’s.  It has been a very interesting day here for me. My whole day was filled with many nostalgic moments and many hilarious moments; nostalgic when I took a tour inside a Dugsi (Islamic school for kids) because I was reminded of my childhood. Every Somali kid back home went to Dugsi in the weekends and I was reminded of studying my Arabic alphabets and memorizing chapters of the Quran and reciting to Macalins (teachers). This has been especially touching for me because since my settlement in this country my Islamic studies have gone solo and lonely, with no company but the internet and occasional Thursday lectures at the masjid.

Something that made me laugh was how really at home the Somalis have gotten in Minneapolis, I mean they marked the place with special quirky way that only Somalis can do. Many of the people who know me really well know my dislike for the big Curtains that you can only find in Somali households.  Every Somali I know covers the inside of their houses wall to wall with these special curtains. Sometimes when we give each other directions in Lansing we would say things like “you wouldn't miss it… it is the gray house with the blue curtains on the left of the street” They do come in many colors but the most favored colors are usually burgundy and gold and these things were everywhere today when I was driving around town and that really made my day and changed how felt about them!
                                        An office building with burgundy/gold curtains lolz :)

The reality is that the Somali population of Minnesota has found a place that they feel at home curtains and all and they have positive affects that changed the face of the state as well as the nation. They run businesses in the area, attend and send their kids to universities and they are consumers within the local economy. They are involved in politics and  had a big part in the campaign and election of the First Muslim U.S congressman Keith Ellison and that’s a fantastic achievement in my book! (Sheik-Abdi, 2006)

Driving by a grocery/bakery with a Somali name 

                        Inside Karmel Mall (the most Somali businesses I have seen outside Kenya)

Sheik-Abdi, S. (2006, November 15). Local Somali vote is hidden, yet powerful. In Hiiraan Online. Retrieved October 2, 2011, from,_yet_powerful.aspx

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