May 24, 2019
“Ma nabad baa?” This is a common Somali greeting, meaning, “Is it peace?”
The Somali people sometimes have a reserved and suspicious approach towards strangers. News from the horn of Africa is often related to political unrest, conflicts, drought and hunger. For many, the struggle for survival is a reality, so the question about peace is natural when meeting new people. Somalis are also known to have strong national pride, often guarding the secrets of their culture and only sharing them on their own terms.
This might not sound very welcoming, but most people will still experience a warm and friendly reception when meeting Somalis. Just recently I was invited home to a Somali friend. His family welcomed me with Somali tea and a camel meat snack. While seated on the floor with my friend, talking and enjoying the food, children ran around playing and the women chatted in the kitchen. It was a great time. A peaceful moment! My experience with Somalis is that although it might take time to build relationships, when trust is established you become included into their lives. Behind the tough image are soft hearts!
There are about 20 million Somalis, and many of these live in other countries around the world. When meeting new people outside their country, what answers do they get to their question “Is it peace?”. Hospitality is so crucial when we receive our friends from Somalia. Let us welcome them, care for them and let them experience peace.
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