Another book from the Horn of Africa. An area with a fascinating history and a rich literary tradition, a mainly oral tradition.

Nura (= light) is born into a family that gets a prosperous position in Mogadishu. Her stepfather is a bussinnesman, but also her mother does very well in trading. One of the commodities is miraa, a light drug that is being used by many Somali people. Recently The Netherlands have   prohibited the use and possession of miraa. Even more recent also the United Kingdom took the same step. In Kenya there are many miraa-farmers. Wordfeud players predfer the wother word for miraa ‘qat’

At the age of four Nura is being circumcised (FGM), a very hurtfull and touching episode in her life. Later she would say that not only a part of her body has been cut away, but also of her brains and emotions. When the violence in Somalia gets closer to the capital city, the family decides to flee the country and go to Kenya. In Nairobi they settle in Eastleigh, also called Little Somalia. Nura and her relatives are being taken care of by releatives, who had made the journey earlier. Also in Nairobi the family gets into trading. In their shop Nura’s mum gets robbed and stabbed and she is wounded critically.

 Not even Nairobi is a safe haven. Now the faily decides to move abroad, the parents decide to stay in nairobi, but they want their children to leave for a better future. Nura gets fake documents and boards a plane to Europe, in order to move on to North America to join familymembers (Somali people have lots of familymembers !), but in Frankfurt, Germany, she is taken out of the plane.

She applies for asylum and she meets other refugees. In the end she is allowed to stay in Germany and she gets the German nationality. She works very hard to rebuild her life. One of her sisters manages to get to Denmark, where she marries a Somali. Later on Nura pays her parents and other relatives in Kenya a visit. 

A very important thread in the book is the circumcision of Nura and the consequences of it. Nura is fighting against FGM and she wants to inform other Somali women about this gripping mutilation. 

Nura Abdi – Tränen im Sand – Bergisch Gladbach 2003



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I enjoy reading about Africa. New books. Old books. By African writers. By non-African writers. Novel. History. Travel. Biographies. Autobiographies. Politics. Colonialism. Poetry.

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