Letter & Photo

My beloved Xamar,


Yours was the first air I breathed

The first blue sky my eyes gazed on

I daydreamed watching your white and pink clouds


Like hooyo – mother you nourished me             

Our lively ancient neighbourhood protected me

Abti - Uncle, habaryar - auntie and ayeeyo - grandmother

None of them tied to me by blood

Made me feel I belonged to a large noisy reer- family


I treasure

The voices, the scent and the taste of Boondheere,

Via Roma, Shingaani, Xamar Weyne and the Tamarind market


In exile on lonely nights

I have longed for

Your warm salty ocean waves

And the slightly fermented taste of caano geel - camel milk


I wept bitter tears

When I saw you bleeding

And my large noisy family 

Wounded, maimed, killed



Like a lost child I dream of you

My heart will never fall in love again


You only you

Can make me cry, laugh,

Bring back memories of my childhood

The pain of the present

And hope for a better future


We belong to each other,

My beloved Xamar


Letter submitted by Shirin Ramzanali Fazel

Birmingham, United Kingdom