A RESILIENT LIFE
Mariam’s refugee journey from Somalia to Kenya, and ultimately to Australia.
Mariam Issa as a child dreamt of travelling to faraway places. She did not dream she would need to flee Somalia’s civil war on a leaky overcrowded boat to Kenya - pregnant and holding her two young sons for dear life. Nor did she dream of the horrors of genital mutilation, bombings, or her close knit family being torn apart and spread to six countries, including Australia where she now resides.
The story begins at the scene of her birth when her mother Hooyo, a strong dominant woman, is obeying the midwife’s instructions to give one last push in the sweltering heat of an equatorial town well south of Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu. This is a warm and candid story about a girl born into a culture and a nation dominated by clans and tribalism, patriarchy and superstition. Mariam’s story is one of overcoming limitations. In spite of the difficulties that face her due to her gender and circumstance, Mariam gains an education in Africa, and overcomes vast cultural differences to assimilate in Australia by seeking opportunity to learn from a diversity of local women who combine careers, motherhood and community contribution.
This book paints a picture of a life in countries and cultures far removed from the nature of the affluent Melbourne suburb where Mariam settled. It shares a story of resilience in the face of terrible hardship and of a great spirit of determination, optimism, and understanding of all that makes us human.