|© UNICEF Somalia/ 2011/ Morooka|
|Nimo Mohamed, 9 years old, smiles as she practices Arabic writing.|
As told to Iman Morooka
HARGEISA, Northwest Somalia “Somaliland”, 2 March 2011: “My Name is Nimo Mohamed, and I live in Sheikh Nur in Hargeisa [town]. I am 9 years old and have one older brother.
When I wake up in the morning, I eat my breakfast prepared by my mother and get ready for school. I go first to the Madrasa [Qoranic School], where I learn the Qoran, Arabic language, dictation and calligraphy. I go there every day except Thursdays and Fridays.
One day I was chatting with my friend in class at the Madrasa, so my teacher hit me twice with a wire on my hand and my face, and hit me right below my eye. I didn’t cry, but I went home and told my mother, then the teacher came and apologized to my mother for hitting me and said that she didn’t mean to hurt me. I still have some problems sometimes when I read for too long, because my eyes start tearing up and my nose bleeds. But I haven’t gone to the doctor yet.
Even after what happened I still like the Madrasa because I like to learn the Qoran.
After I finish my lessons at the Madrasa at noon I get a break for one hour, so I go home to have lunch before going to regular school in the afternoon. I attend grade 2 at Sheikh Nur Primary, and there I learn Arabic, Somali, English, religion, math and social science.
I like Somali class the most because it is the easiest. I also like math. Arabic and English are very hard. I love to play jumping rope with my friends at school. We hold competitions, and my group always wins. I am not very good at jumping rope, but I still like it very much and there are other girls who are very good and that’s why we win. The boys in the school don’t play jumping rope. They play football.
Hani is my best friend, we always go to school and play together.
When I am not at school, I help my mother at my father’s shop where we sell snacks and drinks. When she is not feeling well, I also help her at home with cooking and cleaning.
My parents haven’t been living together for one week now. I had to move out of our home with my mother. We live now in a room near my father’s shop that my mother rented.
I miss my father. He used to pay for my Madrasa and he used to give me an allowance to spend during my break. He doesn’t give me anymore.
I want to continue going to both Madrasa and regular school, and go all the way to university. I wanted to become a journalist when I grow up, but now I feel like I want to become a doctor to treat women, or maybe work at a laboratory. I have never seen a lab before, but I think it would be nice to work there.”