Migration has marked the destiny of Somali people for centuries – from the movement of our nomadic ancestors across the country for greener pastures, to the scattering of the diaspora across the globe following the brutal civil war of the early 1990s. Making a new home in foreign lands is something that is inherent to the Somali experience, especially for first and second-generation Somalis living in the West. Whether it’s an aunty in Ottawa or cousins in Melbourne, we all share an interconnected network of family members across oceans and continents.
No matter where we go, we’ve left a mark. Streets lined with Dahabshiil and the fragrant aroma of uunsi that permeates the neighbourhoods where we live is testament to this. This lifestyle characterised by relocation is one that my family has first-hand experience with. After leaving Somalia for Italy in the late 1980s, my parents moved to Denmark, where they had my two siblings and I. After 10 years of travelling from city to city in search of better opportunities, they made the decision to move to the UK in 2004. At the time, the exodus of Somalis to Britain from European countries like Sweden, Norway and the Netherlands was well underway, and we chose to join the hordes of Somali families making new homes in cities like Leicester, Bristol, Birmingham and London.