Dumped and Disowned

    I am 18 years old. My mother paid an agent to take me from
    Somalia to England two years ago but the agent left me in a street
    in Bristol. He said he would come back for me but he didn’t. A
    stranger took me to stay with a Somali family. I left Somalia
    because it is dangerous there; soldiers use to come to our house
    and my mother was scared that I would get raped or killed. I didn’t
    know I would end up in England. My stepfather treated me and my
    mother badly; he used to bring soldiers back to our house in
    Somalia to frighten us. I don’t know whether he is still alive.

    I last heard about my mother a year ago; I heard that she had
    escaped to Mombasa, Kenya. I have not had any contact with my
    mother since I left Somalia and I wouldn’t know how to find her
    now. My social worker is going to get the Red Cross to try to find
    my mother for me.

    Now I am a single mother and receive help from social services’
    asylum social workers in Bristol. They helped to find a place for
    me and my son to live in.

    A lot of Somali people in my area don’t speak to me because I
    have a baby and am unmarried. When I was pregnant I used to cry
    about what people would say about me but I talked to my social
    worker a lot and then I was brave. I am pleased with my son; I’d
    like him to go to school when he is older.

    I also want to go to work but I am not allowed because the Home
    Office refused my asylum case. They say I am not Somali, so now I
    don’t know when I may be forced to leave England. It is hard work
    not to think about what is going to happen to us.

    If I went back to Somalia it would be difficult because there
    may be violence. My son is not of my clan, Reer Hamar, and life is
    difficult for this clan there. My son will be Reer Waqoyi clan.

    Being an asylum seeker is not good because I read bad things
    that people say about us. I wish sometimes I could go to work and
    earn money for myself and make new friends. I could buy some nice
    things for me and my son and go on the bus to lots of places. Then
    I wouldn’t feel so different from everybody else.

    In September I celebrated Eid, the Somali Christmas, with my
    friend. We bought sweets for each other. If there wasn’t any
    trouble in Somalia I would have a big celebration with my mother
    and lots of friends. When Eid comes in Somalia we buy new clothes,
    sweets and presents for our good friends and family. Everyone in
    the area joins in and celebrates together.

    In Somalia we didn’t go out when it started to get dark at
    night. I am not scared to go out in England but it is lonely
    without my family. Eid is different here because nothing happens in
    the street to show people that we celebrate Christmas. I am glad to
    be safe though.

    Aayan Hudoon Ali (not her real name) is an asylum
    seeker.

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