This past weekend, I helped with a “Green Card” Clinic. Each year, over 200 people come to my city from various countries as Refugees. After they have been in the US for a year, they have to apply for the “Green Card” and if you have filled out this paperwork, it’s not easy. If you don’t speak the language, it’s not easy. If you don’t understand legal terms, it’s not easy. If you are an average Joe, it’s not easy.

So, it’s suffice to say: It’s not easy.

Anyways, I was helping a couple of families fill out the applications and my last family of the day were Somali. It was a family of 5. Mother, 3 sons and a daughter.

I was working with the eldest son who is 17, and as I was filling out all the information and asking him the awkward questions of “Do you plan on committing espionage?” “Have you ever engaged in prostitution?” “Do you plan on over throwing the government” and the list goes on. I was making small talk, trying to lighten the mood. I realize that these questions aren’t a joking matter, but I find it difficult to ask someone if they have been a prostitute.

So, what do you think I had in common with a 17-year-old Somali boy? Well, nothing. 🙂 (I’m not 17, nor have I ever been a boy)


We talked about how he enjoys playing video games because he gets to play against people all over the world. He also proudly informed me that he beat the world record on one racing game and got to put his picture up on this website. (Mind you, the bells were going off in my head of cyber bullying, stalking, stealing information and all of the other bad things that could happen.)

The reason why this struck me enough to blog about it, is because this isn’t the side we see of Somali’s. In the media, they are shown to be oppressors, pirates and terrorists.

This was a family of hard-working parents trying to provide the best for their family. The father was working hard overseas and so was the mother to provide their children the ability to play games with people all over the world, beat racing scores and get a good education.

That is their reality.

What is yours?


4 thoughts on “Realities

  1. Jazaky Allah khair for the amazing job!
    I know how difficult it is on those families. We have here in my city Iraqis and Somalis refugees.
    I once watched a documentary (I forgot its name) about refugees in America. The film follows some families from Africa to US. They monitored how they are adapting to the new life style. Some of them couldn’t handle it. Some of them came from a very poor places and now they are asked to deal with one of the most complicated systems in the world. They have to keep up with paying bills, taxes, etc.
    I think such transition is very tough on those families, especially the Somalis.

    1. Thanks! Alhamdullah. If you remember the name please let me know…I would love to see it! I remember the first Iraqi family that came to my city and when they go to their apartment, their first question was “where is the tv?” it’s not an easy transition and I don’t think they have all the facts before they come here…which is sad.

  2. thanks for helping , u r great Wallah! 🙂

    such “encounters” r eye-openers indeed!

    * my reality ,,, hmmmmmmmmmm [pass] .. next Q. plz 😛

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