Two Somali Cousins Find Each Other Again After Two Years Of Separation


Giulia Balestra

In December 2015, Somali cousins Hamdi and Sacdio were separated in Mogadishu. Thanks to the REFUNITE family tracing platform, Hamdi and Sacdio found each other again after two years. 

Two Somali Cousins Find Each Other Again After Two Years Of Separation

The story below was recollected by Hamdi*. All details and events described are accurate to the best of her recollection.

 

IMG_2640_s

 

Hamdi and Sacdio* grew up in the same house in Mogadishu. The two cousins, aged 19 and 18 respectively, used to share everything from their room to their dreams and expectations about the future. This all changed in December 2015 when Sacdio, forced by her father to marry into a new family, decided to run away from her own family. Without saying a word, not even to her cousin Hamdi, she left the house without returning. That same evening Hamdi and the family realized that Sacdio was missing. The entire family, as well as other relatives, joined forces to try to find Sacdio, yet all efforts seemed vain.

Three months later, the family received news that Sacdio had joined a group of refugees who were trying to reach Europe by boat. They first received this update through a relative living in Bosaso, in the Northeastern region of Somalia. According to this relative, Sacdio had ended up in Yemen during her escape from forced marriage.

With renewed hope, Sacdio’s family in Mogadishu got in touch with one of their relatives in Yemen asking for their help in locating Sacdio. When they discovered that she was living in Al Kharaz Refugee Camp, the question became how to find her and communicate with her among the 17,000 refugees living in the camp.

After 13 months searching for Sacdio, the relative in Yemen was able to find her in Al Kharaz Refugee Camp and informed her family of her existence back in Mogadishu.

In January of 2017, when Sacdio learned that her husband had married another woman, she decided to go back to her family and to her cousin Hamdi in Somalia.

When she arrived in Mogadishu and went back to her home in Hawl Wadag, Sacdio realized that her family had moved elsewhere. Sacdio managed nonetheless to get in touch with some of her friends in Somalia and told them her story. It was one of these friends, only a few weeks after, who first told Sacdio about REFUNITE. This friend showed and explained to Sacdio how to search for her family using her phone. Still unsure about the family reconnection platform, Sacdio registered with her initials only. However, as she started searching for Hamdi on the platform and saw many matching names, she realized that no one could ever recognize her with only those initials. Sacdio decided to contact REFUNITE to change her profile. As soon as the profile was changed, she tried to contact Hamdi again to confirm that she was the right person.

Today Sacdio and her cousin Hamdi are both living in Somalia, not far from each other. They are now in touch daily, and Hamdi has also talked to her mother. They are planning to see each other in April this year.

 

*For security reasons, all names have been changed to protect the identities of the interviewees.

This interview was conducted in Somali by Hassan Farah of REFUNITE in Nairobi, Kenya on the 28th of March 2017. The interview was conducted on the phone.

For more information, please contact Giulia Balestra: gb@refunite.org.

 

30th of March 2017.