“Madka-Kher, I have full understanding and compassion for what you are going through. I really do” the nurse kept intense eye contact with Madka. “but we rely on our interpreters and you are one of our best” she sighed, she lifted one hand and placed it on her forehead using it as shade from the sun. The nurse was a short a small lady. But her presence and work she did in the refugee camps, was nothing less than heroic.
Anjamaria had left her home Village in Italy. She was a young girl when she got a calling to serve. She then cut ties with worldly pleasures and material belongings. As she set her course towards lands foreign to her. Her mission being to serve humanity, care for those in need. Anjamaria never got married nor did she intend to. She was a Sister and a nurse. After working many years in West and East Africa she landed in Mogadishu.
“I am sorry, I know I have been absent lately, and I wouldn’t come back but I didn’t find my wife and kid. And I need the job.” Madka said. He wanted to work for a while to get enough cash to look for his love.
“Well, come along we have a long line of patients today” the nurse was quick to pave the way and Madka fallowed her.
“If you go back to him, it is going to be the end of you” Dunia was standing tall laying a hand on her hip like women are known to do when determined. “Why are you doing this?” Kimina was also standing tall all though she appeared to be twice as small as Dunia was. “Just one bump on the road and you are willing to throw everything away?” Kimina was sweating all over her face. The heat was unbearable.
“You don’t understand, it is my father. I can’t stay here anymore” Dunia was frustrated at Kimina’s lack of understanding. “I have to go back to him, I have to.” She said in hope that her friend would stop making a scene.
“You know he is going to hurt you again right?” Kimina said taking a step closer to Dunia. She reached out in an attempt to hold Dunia’s arms. But Dunia stepped back. “Abayo macanto, please sister don’t go. We will build a new restaurant and start over.” Kimina felt like her heart was coming out of her chest. She couldn’t stand the thought of losing one more person she cared about. “It is, just eh” she swallowed her throat felt very dry. “It is just worldly things, we are alive alhamdulillah. Thank God, We can start over.” She said smiling. She knew it was a lie nothing was going to be easy. But she hoped it would convince Dunia to stay until they come up with another plan.
Things went from bad to worse in a matter of a day.
It was a chilly morning Dunia went to fetch water from the river. Other Village girls were also heading towards the river. Dunia made acquaintance with girls who lived on the other side of the corn fields.
The girls would ask Dunia to come along to fetch water in the day time. “We talk about the villagers and take good baths,” said one of the girls. Dunia politely thanked them and said another time. She knew she wouldn’t have the time to chit chat. As for bathing, she preferred showering in the safe space behind her hut. A woven branch with a door served as showering place.
One of the girls, Hawa was very curious and showed a lot of interest in Dunia’s heritage and where she came from. Dunia didn’t think much about it, she figured it was just a little girl being noisy and invasive as most People are.
It didn’t cross her mind for once what these girls were plotting.
While Dunia was fetching water that chilly morning, Kimina was preparing the children to be taken care of by Mano Fay then head to the restaurant and sweep the ground clean before starting to make breakfast. She roasted sliced liver and kidneys with chilli garlic and onion. And served them with chapati and chai. There were no buses arriving early in the morning, but camel herders with stocks of charcoal for sale, donkeys dragging carts of the corn maze, and donkeys carrying a tank of water with a carriage passed by the road. And as usual, some of the early travellers would stop for a cup for tea. The mix of cardamom, cinnamon and cloves boiled in a pot of water, sugar and milk have the power to create unforgettable pleasantly sweet aroma.
Everything was going normal, Dunia arrived with a clay pot full of water. Kimina was quick to her feet. She helped Dunia put down the pot from her head. The clay mud pots filter the water and keep it cool.
“Guess who stopped by,” Kimina asked pouring Dunia a cold cup of water. “Jimale, he came back again” by this Dunia rolled her eyes and drank the water in one sip. “I told him I am married,” Dunia said taking a breath. Jimale had a wife in the city and a wife in the village. Yet he was keen to have Dunia as his third wife. He even offered to divorce his eldest wife if she wished to live in a big house in the city. Both Dunia and Kimina were horrified by his offer and disgusted. Dunia wasn’t impressed. “He is quite a Stubborn man. May Allah guide his attention elsewhere” Kimina said fanning the charcoal stove.
The buses arrived right before duhur the day time prayer. Some of the travellers got in line to get water for wudu to wash properly before they pray. Other travellers run to the bushes to answer nature’s call. Some of the elderly walked towards the- by the road – restaurant. “Give me a plate of lunch dear, quick before the call for prayer,” an elder man with big belly said. “Are my eyes betraying me or is that Kimina?” said a voice.
Kimina looked up and there stood a relative of Madka-Kher’s. “Oh here is where you have been hiding?” The man asked. Kimina gave a plate of food to the elderly man with the big belly and said. Aslamu Alaikum to the man standing in front her Peace be upon you, all though I doubt your family knows of peace. She thought to herself.
She gave Madka-Kher’s cousin food and refused to take his money. “please don’t, don’t tell anyone that you saw me here.” Kimina pleaded and the man promised.
The travellers stood in lines on the plastic floor mats they each carried laying it under a big tree so they could pray.
Kimina and Dunia took turns to pray inside the little hut they built for resting in between the buses arrival.
“Is Kimina here?” Mano Fay came to Dunia while Kimina was praying. “She is inside praying” Dunia wondering why Mano Fay came with Kimina’s son. “Where are my girls?” Dunia jumped out of the four-legged stool. “Don’t worry they are home with my daughter in law who came to visit me” Mano Fay assured Dunia. “I think this little guy is teething and right now only his Hoyo can comfort him.
“Oh that was fast,” Dunia said surprised to see Kimina out of the hut so fast. “You know it is four rak’ a and not two? For duhur prayer right?”
Kimina ignored her and reached out for her crying baby boy.
“Thank you, auntie Mano,” Kimina says and sits down on a stool soothing her child. Dunia pours water on Kimina’s palm so she could wash her breast before she breastfeeds her son. All though Kimina had very little milk, it was soothing and calming for her son to hold on to his mother’s breast.
It was quiet, the sun was at it’s hottest. Kimina went in the hut to lay her son on the plastic floor mat. Suddenly she heard Dunia raising her voice. “I don’t know what you are talking about, you must confuse me with someone else,” Dunia said.
Kimina felt something was wrong and went outside. There stood two women each with a huge dough rolling stick in her hand.
“Yes you are Dunia, the whore who wants to make me homeless.” said the lady with the yellow floral dress. She didn’t look much older than Dunia. Just a few lines on her forehead and dark circles under her eyes. Nothing a few days use of turmeric wouldn’t fix Kimina thought to herself. Clearly, the whole thing was a huge misunderstanding. “Sisters there must have been a misunderstanding Dunia is a married woman,” Kimina said stepping closer towards Dunia which was in fight mode already. “Naya, don’t insult me, I am not out after a man. I am making a living here, so please leave us unless you are eager to find out the taste of sand today” Dunia said lifting her dira long dress and tucking it in her gorgora underskirt.
The women jumped her. Dunia was quick to pick up a hand full of sand. As she bent she felt a stick lading in her back “ala ala” Kimina’s shock didn’t interrupt Dunia’s plan and took the hand full of sand and hit ladies with it on their faces. While they were trying to get sand out of their eyes, Dunia snatched the dough rolling sticks and threw them. The woman with the floral dress got hold of Dunia’s scarf and pulled hard. Kimina pushed the other lady, picked up one of the dough rolling stick and ordered the lady to stay down.
Dunia and the woman with floral dress went head to head. Hair pulling, punching and kicking. Dunia’s wrath was unleashed. She didn’t know who this woman was, but she was so angry at her. Dunia was boiling hot from within. Perhaps her anger was more than for being mistaken for some homewrecker. Perhaps suppressed emotions were released. She was tired of being attacked. Be it her aggressive husband who was obsessed with fathering a son. Or the unwanted attention of travellers and villagers.
The lady started screaming “ooooo” and all of the sudden out of the bushes came three more ladies with dough rolling sticks. Dunia was taken by a surprise giving chance the lady with the floral dress to strike her. They beat up Dunia real bad and when Kimina tried to help they beat her up too with no mercy or regard for the child she carried on her side. They then burned down the hut and destroyed the restaurant.
Dunia and Kimina were taken to a hospital in the city close to the village where they spent two weeks laying in bed.
“Start over with what Kimina? tell me” Dunia had made up her mind. She wasn’t going to run away from her destiny anymore. “There is No justice in this world, neither you nor I have our people here,” Dunia said pacing back and forth. Kimina was speechless. She leaned back on the hospital wall. They had to leave the room any moment now for new patients. The girls had used their little savings on hospital bills and medicine. Perhaps if Kimina wasn’t so weak in pain, she would have been the one to get the medication prescribed them instead of Dunia. That way Dunia wouldn’t have walked into a pharmacy and find her husband there. Kimina did believe in destiny and faith, but she had a habit of finding a way to blame herself for anything that went wrong.
“Look the women who wrongfully attacked us, are bailed without charges. Why because their families have money and power.” Dunia said.
“Besides I rather go back to my husband than risk us be attacked. I agreed he can marry a second wife and I can visit my father who is sick” Dunia had made up her mind. Perhaps a second wife will calm her husband down and occupy most of his time so she can be left alone in peace. And maybe Allah will bless him with sons then. Dunia was doing her usual thinking out loud thing. The thought of sharing her husband sting her like a bee. But it didn’t hurt as much as she expected. “He promised I can move back to Hargeisa and he will stay here with a new bride of his choice” Dunia smiled by the thought of her home town.
She didn’t want to leave her best friend in a fight, but she felt like Kimina was judging her so she kept her apologies to herself.
Kimina looked at Dunia. She saw the man standing in the hall was looking in her direction. “Garab kaga abayo safar salama,” she said, going back to sit on the hospital bed.
– God be with you sister have a safe Journey. That was the last thing Kimina had said to her. Dunia felt a burning sensation in her eyes. Her vision got blurry, she knew how much Kimina was hurting. She regretted that she didn’t hug her. “If I had asked her to come with, she would have said No for she still wants to find her brother. What is the point in asking when you know the answer?
“What are You saying, Amore?” Khalid asked.
“It’s nothing” Dunia replayed looking back at her two daughters sleeping in the back seats.
away he inanti aan arkodayey... “We know you have a good voice Abdalla, no need to wake up the dead now shut up.” Madka-Kher was translating a letter from English to Somali.
He knew Abdalla chose to sing that song to annoy him.. “where is the girl I fell for? What girl No one wants to marry you.” He said dissing Abdalla to which Abdalla laughed at.
Madka-Kher took extra assignments and started joining the nurses on field trips. It was less paid but at least his resume was looking good. And besides travelling with them, he didn’t need to worry about travel expenses. He was a driver, a translator and interpreter now. He had to finish translating the health – information letter. Tomorrow he was going on a field trip out of Mogadishu to remote Villages near Buale.
“I forbid you, I forbid you and I will curse you if you tell him.”
Madka-Kher’s mother was yelling at someone. Madka-Kher went out of the resting hut. His cousin was being held back by his mother and brother.
“What is going on?” Madka asked. “Nothing nothing every…” his mother’s voice was overpowered by the weight of the words coming out of cousin’s lips. “You found her? You found me, my Kimina?” Madka yelled “oooooh” jumping up and down. He runs to his cousin and lifted him up, put him down and kissed both his cheeks.
He ran out of the gate then ran back in. “Where did you say she was?” his cousin chuckled “I didn’t get to finish man, you went mad,” he said. Madka was looking at him impatiently. “She has a restaurant right beside the road in a village twenty minutes before you get to Jalalqsi”
Madka-Kher went in to finish translating. His luck was turning around. “Alhamdulillah alhamdulillah alhamdulillah” now he didn’t have to look for her in the wrong places.
” I am coming nolasheyday my life away hee hmmm” Madka-Kher was cheerfully humming to the same song that annoyed him earlier.