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The Misconception of Somalis from the Diaspora and our wrong Expectation

Hussein Mohamed Yusuf
Friday, January 23, 2015

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It is well known fact that there are Somalis living in every corner of the world. These Somalis who have emigrated for some reason or another make short visits back to their home at some time. Some make the trip regularly while others make occasionally or some never do it.

There are some times of the year where these Somalis in the Diaspora favour to visit, mostly these people visit home during the summer time or usually as everybody chooses to do. People coming home for a visit are easily recognizable by the way they act, talk and their overall mannerism. It is as if there is some sort of sign on them that is very recognizable from the moment you start talking to them. Such people, depending on how long they have been away from home are disillusioned about the way of life here to a varying degree.

It seems as if they expect life to stagnate starting from the time they had left home, although this attitude differs in severity with the length of time they have been away. Almost everyone will make a comment or ask a question that makes them fool. Most of them have something negative to say about everything. The relative change from when they were gone is lost on them as they fixate their minds on the place they have come from making comparisons that are ludicrous.

Another noticeable trait of the people who have come to visit home is the social outlook they have. Although they may have come from a place where there is a large community of people from the country, their social fabric is very thin and not satisfying to most.

On the other side people who live here, have a very wrong impression of life abroad and the people that come from there. This is evident by the way people react to when they find out that someone came back for a visit. First of all it is common that family, friends and almost everybody who knows the person who is visiting to expect some sort of gift just because he has come from abroad.

Secondly an attitude has developed consequent of the skewed view of the outside world that makes the people treat the Diaspora as some sort of royalty.

People are seen doing extra ordinary things by asking them silly question. Some insist that the water here will make the visiting person sick and provide bottled water. Others see these people as a gate way to a better life and financial gain. The will go extra miles to accommodate in every way possible to get their good grace.

In your first encounter they will tell that they have transferred their money through one Hawala and that they have run out of money. They are doing so because they are in advance protecting others not to ask any money and that is associated with their misconceptions in about the life in the areas they were away for many years.

One attributable reason for the misconception is, I believe calls they used to receive when they were in Europe or America from some relatives who repeatedly told them that the price of everything has skyrocketed including school fees and food items to get a sympathy for extra Dollars and this has created the greatest misconception and the blame will not only be directed to the penniless Diaspora.

One of my friends even told me that he has met a man from Europe who told him that he has changed all the new clothes as soon as he arrived in Bole Addis Ababa to look bankrupt and penniless so that no one will ask him anything but later came to know that things are different as he sought.

Visiting and saying hello to the visitor will make their relative very uncomfortable because they think that everybody wants something from that person.

The most surprising of all is that the people here believe that everything is plenty abroad. Whatever the matter is, it is also evident that the visiting people believe that all people are in need and expect something from them.


Hussein Mohamed Yusuf
[email protected]
Jigjiga, Ethiopia


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