Four months before the Ship to Yemen
Kimina heard a loud whistle, then an explosion. the war had been going nonstop for over three weeks. Kimina didn’t know if Madka-Kher came back to Mogadishu or if he had changed his mind about their plans for the future. Biting her under lip she shook her head in regret. How silly we humans are planning for a future we have no hold of; Kimina thought to herself.
Somalia was at war with itself and it looked like what she heard judgment day would look like. people were running screaming, yelling, praying all at once.
All the fighting and crying for her love, her marriage all seemed now so little and unnecessary. Yet Madka – Kher’s family didn’t waste time to hurt her. As soon as the first gunshots were fired and rumors about a war surfaced. They took all her children and promised they were coming back to take the one in her belly once she gave birth.
She begged and begged for them to give her if not all at least the youngest. They gave her back the three and half-year-old. She wouldn’t stop crying either.
That night Kimina slept in the house of Madka-Kher’s friend Abdalla and his wife. Abdalla promised to take care of them until Madka-Kher was back. “dont worry he will get your kids and you shall live in Kenya in peace.” Abdalla was so kind to them.
The nightfall was inevitable the night was coming and it brought darkness and sudden death with it. Kimina had never experienced being this frightened in her twenty-five years of life. She felt as if her heart was being twisted and turned with every hour that went. She had been indoors for two weeks. waiting for Madka-Kher to come back with good news. They had decided to cut all ties with Madka’s family and leave Somalia for good. They were going to move to Kenya. a Kiswahili speaking country. it meant closer to Kimina’s childhood home. All though her childhood home was in Dar Es Salam, still, Kenya seemed closer to it than Somalia. it also meant a new start without Madka’s family doing everything in their power to tear them apart by mistreating Kimina in every way possible.
Kimina was running with Aliyah in her hand, and her youngest daughter on her back. both of them were barefeet. Kimina was highly pregnant and all she could think about how to find a safe place to hide until the military that came in to city would pass. The Somali goverment was overthrown. Kimina never cared much for the news and for politics, but she understood that a war had begun. “ya Rabb, when will we stop suffing?” Kimina was shocked beyond her imagination.
Some people were losing their minds while they tried to scrape the remaining parts of their loved ones from the asphalts. Her stomach turned by the memory of a bride hands full of henna who kept looking for her husband. While he lay dead in front of her.
By the time they got to Abdalla’s house Kimina had seen horrific images she wished she could erase from her mind. She somehow dozes off.
“Kimina open the door” someone with a familiar voice woke up Kimina from a nightmare. She looked around and saw Aaliyah curled up with Maryama in her chest as if she was her mother. They were not in their own home. Kimina remembered the incident. She felt a sharp arrow pricing through her chest. It could be the baby kicking my ribs or the fact that my children are taken from me, I am thrown out of my own house, my husband is mia and there is a war ongoing. Kimina thought to herself and approached the door.
Something wasn’t right, she peaked outside the window, it was pitch black, it was still at night. “who are you and what do you want?” she whispered through the crack of the door unwilling to wake up the girls. “it’s me, Abdikadir, open” the voice said back in a whisper.
She hurried up to open but suddenly stopped. How did Abdikadir know I was staying here at the guest room of Abdalla’s house? And why would he approach me in the middle of the night instead of knocking at the main house? At Abdalla’s door? After all, that was the proper manner of a Somali.
“aboowe, brother why are you here at this hour?” Kimina asked and peeked out the window this time she stood long enough for her eyes to adjust to the darkness. She then saw three men armed with ak47. She fell to the ground in shock and screamed for help. shots were fired. She then heard more gunfire. The girls woke up by the sounds and started crying. “get out of my property or else the next bullets won’t be fired to the sky.” Aballa yelled from his porch. He couldn’t see much except the shape of three men standing in front of his guest room. “go back inside Abdalla we don’t have an issue with you” yelled a man and by his voice Abadalla recognized him. he was one of the many cousins of Abdikadir, a corrupt soul with an even worse reputation. People feared his temper and wicked heart way before the war. this is a man accused of rape and attempted murder but with no jail time. his father always made sure to wipe away anything and silenced anyone with a grudge against this man. some individuals thrive in chaos and this man was such. Abdalla felt the blood boil in his veins, green with anger he marched towards the men pointing his gun towards them. Neighbors came out to assist Abdalla in the fight with torches bullets that were shot towards the sky. As a warning.
his heart dropped by the sight of Abdikadir’s face. “Alla, waryahe, why on earth are you here armed with your shaytan demon of a cousin?” Abdalla was never afraid of him.
Abdikadir didn’t seem to want to harm Abdalla but he wasn’t in his right mind. His eyes were red and googly. “are you alright? what happened brother?” Abdlla lowered his weapon as people gathered around them. “Abdikadir, what’s wrong walal brother?” Abdalla considered both his friends like a brother.
Abdikadir looked at his cousins then looked back at the door where Kimina’s voice was coming from. she was soothing girls hushing them to calm down.
“the faqash those filthy military men raped our sister” yelled one of the men with AbdiKadir. “and you are guarding a whore and her bastards who is married to a filthy man” the man continued loudly. people started mumbling and arguing amongst them. Abdalla couldn’t believe his ears. He was shocked and saddened by what happened to AbdiKadir’s little sister. but it didn’t make sense to him that they thought Madka-Kher was related to the men who committed this heinous action.
“Inalilahi wa ina ilahi rajicun” to Allah we belong and to him we shall return,” Abdalla said. all though these words are said after someone dies, the little girl’s future was dead once her purity was stolen. He couldn’t phantom anything else to say. she was doomed. “but you truly must think of killing me and everyone here tonight if you think I will let you avenge your sister’s honor by attacking my guests” Abdalla continued. “but is the woman a faqash? one of those filthy blooded rats?” an elder man asked Abdalla. “yes, they are no better than those booted milliary who rob and killed everyone.”
Abdalla looked around and noticed that he was outnumbered. “there are two innocent children and the wife of my friend who is highly pregnant in there” he said. “no neither she nor her husband is filthy blooded.” he said staring at AbdiKadir who seemed to have come to his senses. Abdalla knew that the faith of Kimina’s life and that of her children was now depending on the words that would come out of Abdikadir’s mouth.
Abdikadir sighed and walked away in silence. people left one after another. Abdalla stood by Kimina’s door and said; “be ready we will leave by dawn”
Abdalla knew he couldn’t keep Kimina safe for too long. He decided to take her to Marka, where some Yemenis lived. He hoped she and her kids would be safe among her relatives.
it was a hot morning. He hadn’t slept all night keeping guard, tired, and thirsty they walked on a narrow street avoiding the road where groups of armed men waited for milliary vehicles. the sound of explosions and screams and gun popping had stopped for a while. by dawn, Abdalla walked by Kimina’s heavy pregnant frame while he carried her daughter on his back. while he held Aaliyah by the hand. Suddenly he heard the voice of vehicles approaching them from far distance. “get in here quick quick” Abdalla insisted. there was a cornfield.
Kimina sat on the ground covering Maryama’s mouth with her hand. while Abdalla held Aliyah down telling her not to make a sound while miliary vehicles passed by the narrow street. the cornfield served as a great cover.
When they got up to walk out of the cornfield, Kimina couldn’t move. the time had come. The child in her womb decided to come out.
Abdalla was terrified. “what, now? now? the baby now?” he asked looking at Kimina wide eyes. “Abdalla, shut up please and get me water,” Kimina told him. Abdalla runs out, he forgot the danger in the streets. all he cared about now was to find some water.
Kimina told Aliyah to look after Maryama and stay hidden in the fields. She walked alone deeper in the cornfield back and forth biting her Dirac dress, with all her might to keep the screams of horrific pain escaping her body. it was a matter of life and death. her child was cutting every piece of her from within. Kimina went on all her four kneelings she pushed and pushed with mighty force. she couldn’t stop the process. her body was doing the work naturally whether she liked it or not.
however long it took no matter how painful it was she had done it. she felt the head was out, kneeling she reached out with both of her hands to grab the child before she pushed the rest of it out and in her arms fell a child chubby and slimy. Dizzy and sweaty she blinked in disbelief. this completely beautiful child was hers. the baby cried so, did she.
Abdalla came back with water, he followed the trails of bent corn branches until he found Kimina with a child wrapped with her hijab.
he had a tiny deer’s skin to wrap around her sore feet.
Two weeks before the ship to Yemen
Kimina had given up on looking for Madka-Kher, her only mission now was to get to a safe place. She worked as an emergency nurse and midwife to local people who paid her upfront in either cash or food. she was saving up for tickets to board the first ship out of the country.
Present day in the ship to Yemen
Kimina walked right after the man who jumped on her as a lion jumps on its prey. She walked out without closing the door after her. Her four months old baby girl was still asleep. her three and half-year-old was silent like a lamb under the bed. Kimina walked up to the surface of the ship. Her legs were assisting themselves. She was quiet, she felt nothing. for the first time in her life, she felt nothing. as if her being had died inside her. she stood and watched the deep blue ocean and heard it call to her. “jump, jump” the water was calling.
“hooyo” she heard as she bend forward to let go and give in to the soothing waves of the sea.
she turned around and saw her daughter.
Maryama’s first words saved her mother’s life thus she is named Munira as a light out of the darkness.