Bahja Abdullahi: Kenya

I was born in Somalia where honor was basic need in our everyday life. 
I am a simple person who hides a thousands feelings behind the happiness. 


My life in my country was so hard because of so many reasons. 
My parents make a decision to give me to someone when I was five years old. My mother, she didn't raise me up as childhood. My family was poor and live in the countryside. But the person 
I was given to was living in the city. 


Always life in the countryside is hard because people in countryside they don't stay one place like the city people. They move from place to place. They came to the cities once in a month for their normal shopping. Their work is to look after their goats, sheep, cows, camels and donkeys 
but they don't take wool from their sheep like others. Our houses are temporary - made of a mat of grasses so that we can take the mats when we are moving to an other place. We also use the camels to carry our family possessions. 
Donkeys are also a valuable animal in Somalia and we use them to carry water from the well or rivers when they are far from the living place. 
Sometimes we have to go far - some kilometers for water so we use the donkeys. 
The food we eat at the countryside is maize rice - always with milk. At the countryside we don't use vegetables. Most of the place are dry and people go so many kilometers to find food for their animals. Sometimes they go to the national parks to find food for their animals and they face hard moment there. 


When the war start many people lost their lives and the ones who remained became poor and died from lack of food and water. Some people came to villages which is near the cities to do some forms and they can get food for their children. But the people who have camels are better off than others because camels can survive for long period without water. In the dry season a camel needs to drink water once every twenty days, while the sheep and goats need water every nine or ten days, and the cattle need water every two or three days. Life it was that much hard in the bush -or the countryside.


But in the mid 2000 the civil war rudely interrupted us and, at the age of 13, we fled Somalia with my family and thousands of others. All I was left with were three younger siblings to look after, a disabled and unemployed father, and desperate poverty. My world was turned upside down and I had to find something else to look forward to, now that my aunts were married off and I was the eldest female in the house.
During 2004 and 2005 we lived in East Leigh, then one of Nairobi’s slums populated by other Somalis also escaping the civil war. My focus in life changed considerably during this time. I released I had only two options to escape poverty and the miserable living conditions I found myself in: marry or study. Most of the women in my family only studied as far as high school, and I was not impressed with how their lives turned out after they got married. They seemed unhappy, and some of them were even beaten by their husbands.

To me, marriage seemed like a trap. Women were burdened with too many babies and no time to enjoy life. I was also surprised by the rise of a strict version of suppressing women.


The only way to escape this systematic silencing of women and the oppressive new culture was to study my way out of the slum. I registered for the cheapest and only English classes I could afford. They were held in the local school of blocks away from the dingy two-bedroom flat I shared with my dad, my little siblings with five others.
My lucky break came in 2007, a few months into my English classes. A British charity, The Hugh Pilkington Trust, was sponsoring refugee students to complete their war-interrupted studies and offered free English classes. My kind and dedicated Kenyan English teacher encouraged me to apply and told me that if I did well, they will give me a free education in one of the prestigious private schools.In addition, the charity gave students a small monthly stipend to help them make ends meet so they could focus on their studies. This was the ticket I had been praying for. I threw myself into that English class like my life depended on it; I listened to the BBC World Service religiously; I told my siblings that from then on I would not speak anything but English. Everyone thought I had gone mad but I had a plan and nothing was going to stop me.


A year after I enrolled in the class, I won the scholarship to attend a British private primary school in Nairobi,where i completed my lower and middle school,i used to hassle aside to cater for my family,looked for many jobs which had suited me at that time,i started selling fruits at the sides of the roads while i  had served as a waitress in a local restaurant .In a nick of time i  saved some good money. moreover i built a strong connection with the owner of the restaurant ,he gave me lot of trust until he  appointed to a managerial position to run some couple of his restaurants ,as we continued to strengthen our business bonds,a speckle of ideas strucked my head   and i requested from him to give me a share in his restaurants and he fortunately considered it.By the grace of God after some few years i started my own restaurant . ,needless to say i hard worked on my studies until i went to a prestigious high school where i used to pay the fees myself alongside with that of my younger siblings,after finishing my high school i got a scholarship to study outside but due to the role i was playing in the family as the eldest daughter i couldn't go out,probably i had to run the business and that definitely made me stay in Kenya and pursue my studies here ,i am doing actuarial science course in the best university in Kenya and one of the leading in Africa.I am working towards how i will continue building myself academically and financially, needless to say i am empowering and encouraging others to work hard and be patient as they pursue the goals in life.

email me or Contact me on wathsapp  +254-702-177-226
I will be glade to support, work with any fellow youth with my little success life story to be more successful 

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