FIVE MONTHS before the ship to Yemen
“I will give you one last chance to prove to me that I am important to you otherwise stop demanding my love.” Kimina knew she was stuck with him forever. There was a time she could have walked away but not anymore, not now that she had three children and one on the way. There was no way I could raise our children on my own. Kimina thought to herself. She sighed “I can fulfill my duty as a wife, but stop asking for my love Madka if you can’t stand up for me,” she said to him looking up at the starry sky her mind wandered off. She remembered a time her pride made her walk out on Madka-Kher and his family. She remembered the friend she made one faithful day. Dunia, se tahay? Kimina wondered how Dunia was doing. The last time she saw her, Dunia was on her way back to Hargeisa alongside her unpleasant husband. I wish I hadn’t argued with you for going back to your husband. Look at me? Who am I to judge? I went back to my husband too. Kimina said to herself shifting her in her seat. Her stomach was too heavy.
“mpenzi wangu, uko wapi?” where are you, my love? Madka held her face in his palms. Forcing her to look at him. She was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. “do you think that Dunia and her twins are well? Do you think she got a divorce?” Kimina asked Madka-Kher staring in his eyes. He could see the tears filling her eyes. Kimina had always wished for a big sister. “ah, yes Dunia it’s her you are thinking about” he kissed her forehead. “I have to thank her for being a good sister and friend for my love,” he said letting her face go. Kimina took his hands back and put them on the face. “do you think the war in the north affected her?” Kimina usually didn’t listen to the news, but when she heard that the President had sent the military to strike down forces in the North, her heart dropped. From the day she heard of Hargeisa being bombed, she stood up every night to pray salatul leyl. The midnight prayer. She prayed for Dunia’s safety.
Madka saw how anxious Kimina was getting“Insha Allah God willing she is safe” my beautiful. He said and rubbed her back.
“From the first day, I laid eyes on little you, with little Fitah om your lap until this day my heart jumps when you look me in the eyes.” Kimina smiled and tried to turn around, it was clear to him that she didn’t believe him. “I am so sorry mpenzi, my love, I did this to you, but I promise this time it will be us. Just us, you, me and our children” he said and kissed her hand. It was warm and breezy. Kimina insisted on sitting outside to talk and not wake up their children. “stop asking for my giggles and laughter when you know how much your family hates me, and we live with them again”
Madka-Kher knew what Kimina was talking about. He had seen how cold and distant she could be. And he did not want that side of her. He wanted the joyful, playful Kimina. The one he jokes with, make fun of people with. Talk about the latest hindi film about. He missed the look on her face when they would sneak out to watch outdoors cinema.
“just one last chance my love, just one last chance to prove myself to you.” Madka had pleaded.
“ Madka- Kher, I will give you this one last chance,” Kimina said looking down at her growing belly. I‘m stuck with you, and life is hard enough, I don’t want to go around and be someone who never laughs or feels loved. Kimina didn’t want to seem weak so she didn’t say that out loud.
Madka didn’t know half of what Kimina endured for his sake. and she had promised herself that she would never tell him any of it. A terrible memory flashed through Kimina’s mind. She saw herself in bed breastfeeding her eldest daughter, and suddenly being ambushed by a man. A man who was supposed to protect her, in the absence of his brother instead he jumped on her.
She was lucky that a neighbor came to her rescue that day. but who was going to rescue her from the dreadful incident that has left a scar in her mind? And would you ever believe me if I told you what your precious brother attempted to do? Kimina pulled away from Madka, and tried to get up. “wait, we are not done talking.” Madka drew her closer all though she was hesitant.
“I choose you, you are my family.” Madka-Kher knew it in his heart that it was the right thing to do. His friend Abdalla was right. Kimina was now his responsibly. She was his wife and the mother of his children. Madka-Kher appreciated the moral support and occasional smack in the head he got from his friend Abdalla. And the never-ending roast. Abdalla was not the I- love-you-buddy kind of friend no, he was the type to bully and roast you but everyone knew it came from a good heart. While Abdikadir, was the calm friend. Madka-Kher was a social person, but he had only two true friends. Abdalla and Abdikadir.
They made a pact they were going to move to Kenya, Mombasa far from Madka’s family and a new country a new start to settle down as a family.
And for a week things looked promising. Madka-Kher was going to Kenya for two weeks, find a job and a temporary room for rent before moving. “you are pregnant and might deliver any time, I will prepare everything for you to join me.”
Madka – Kher was gone for only a week when the war broke in Somalia. He left Mombasa in a hurry to get back to Mogadishu despite being told he was a mad man for even thinking of going back. But there was no stopping him nor talking sense to him.
His heart broke when he heard that his parents and siblings took the two eldest kids from his heavily pregnant wife and fled to Ethiopia leaving his wife and unborn child in a war zone.
Four months and two weeks before the ship to Yemen
The blasts from a far distance sounded like popcorn popping, but Madka-Kher knew nothing pleasant came with the sound. Instead of sweet aroma the air was filled with dust from blasted buildings and the smell of burned trees, exploded car tires and skin melting off corpses.
Madka saw a family standing outside their house. They weren’t screaming or running around like many people were doing on every corner of the street. He came closer to them and saw that the father and mother had divided their children amongst them. The father had a daughter and a son wrapped around his neck, while the mother carried a baby on her back and a son wrapped around her leg. They looked at each other once in a while, whilst comforting their terrified children. “SubhanaAllah by Allah, why are you standing outside in the street go and find a shelter,” Madka said approaching the man. Inalilahi wa ina ilahi rajiun “to Allah we belong and to Him shall we return, ” said the man looking at his wife, he ignored Madka-Kher. “We have seen all our neighbors taken by the Whisler” Madka had heard the weapon the locals call the whistler. It sounds like a loud whistle before it hits a spot and tears apart everything and anyone that was hit by it. “We don’t want to all die at the same time, perhaps God will spare some of us. that’s why we are standing here each on our side od the road.” The woman said looking at Madka.
Madka-Kher saw in their eyes what he had seen the last weeks since the war started. There was no way talking sense into them so he said a prayer and limped his way past them. The gun wound on his shoulder was still wet. But he had a family to get to. Madka-Kher was aware of how lucky he was, the Bullet took only a slice of flesh it wasn’t fatal.
His left foot, however, was stinging. In an attempt to run away from flying bullets he stumbled and fell on one of the many corpses by the road. By the shock, he jumped up and stepped on some of the road-blocking nails. His brain hadn’t registered the stinging pain until he was far from the two groups of men that kept at each other.
The whole city was divided into sections and clans. Madka-Kher knew the worst was far from over. He hoped that Kimina and his two youngest daughters; Aaliyah whom he considered as his own and Maryma were hiding and safe. Things didn’t go as planned by the time Madka- Kher got to Kenya the war started in Somalia. Madka-Kher renter a one-bedroom apartment and jumped on the first bus back to Somalia. He met people who fleed from Somalia on the border and Madka yelled out “Anyone from Banadir? Anyone from Marka?” Most people were crying to finally arrive safely. But many had wide eyes full of confusion.
The president of Somalia was overthrown. anyone with wealth and connections had fled out of the country.
Lorries and busses were leaving the city in speed. People were getting killed as if they were cockroaches. Suddenly the city was divided into clans. minority families were being forced out of their homes and they were lucky if they left with their life and dignity intact.
Ya Rabb let me die with my honor than facing what people are facing. Madka mumbled a prayer while he walked towards where he left his family three weeks ago.
despite the advice from relatives Madka went to Mogadishu where he was highly unwelcome. People were being killed if they didn’t carry weapons especially those who spoke with his accent.
Madka felt dizzy and reached out his hand to grab anything near him to keep balance. A hand grabbed him and dragged him inside a dark hole.