Self portraits

Self portraits

Friday, April 18, 2014

Somali TV

Somali Channel TV ~ April 13, 2014

This link brings you to my brief Somali TV  interview on Farshaxanka Soomaaliyeed (Somali Weaving) at the Somali Artifact and Cultural Museum, in Minneapolis, MN. The news that day was that the Minneapolis City Council and mayor presented the document announcing July 1st in Minneapolis as "Somali-American Day" to the Somali Artifact and Cultural Museum for safe-keeping. Several leaders in the Somali community spoke, including our new city councilman, Abdi Warsame, and Osman Ali, founder of the Somali Museum. I am honored to be included in the evening.

Weaving is a huge part of Somali tradition among the women, as you see in this youtube video:
Farshaxanka Soomaaliyeed

In Somalia, nomadic women wove their mats to pray on, sleep on, as rugs, and to cover the aqal Soomaali (nomadic hut), wove vessels to carry milk and water in, and they even wove their own rope. They wove a mat to place between the camel and the haan, or milk container, to protect the wood of the haan from scratching the camel. And there were other woven objects, including a sort of apron they'd put on the rams for birth control, because 'the rams had no season, like the other animals', in other words they were trying to procreate all the time, according to a man named Omar, who I met at an early unveiling of the Somali Museum. So the women must have been always weaving..... when they weren't busy milking goats or camels, cooking, cleaning, taking care of children, chasing the rams off the ewes, or putting up and taking down the hut.

Early in my clinical work in the Somali community in Minneapolis, I saw a young girl as a patient. Her mother thought she wasn't eating well, as sent her to see me, the dietitian at a community clinic. I interviewed the girl, and coming from a public health background I asked her, "What is the first thing you usually eat or drink after you wake up?" And, she said, "Well, my mom makes this thing like a pancake, and then she puts tea on it, and I eat some of that." And, I said, "So, how much cangeero do you eat at breakfast?" And, she turned her head to look at me and her eyes got really big. . . and, she said, "How do you know cangeero?!"

I learn from my clients - bar ama baro, meaning "learn or teach" - certainly sums up the past seven years in which I've worked exclusively in Somali-owned businesses, clinics, and non-profits serving our fabulous community of mostly Somali elders living in Minneapolis. I feel privileged to work with these elders.

I've learned about biriise iyo basto, soor, ambuula, malawax, muufo, roti, cangeero, buur, timur, halwa, iyo molub. My favorite Somali food word is 'qaxwa', a kind of coffee made from hulls.

Pamela Gaard - Portrait of Osman on Somali TV

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