We are naming our black kimono after Rahma Mohamed who is 36 years old. Rahma arrived to Canada as a refugee from Somalia at the age of 8. Since then she has obtained a University Degree and works as an Income Support Worker. She is also known for her amazing children’s picture books. Rahma recalls her journey by describing how the civil war of Somalia started brewing for a few years, and her father was convinced it was only a matter of time. It was beginning to become increasingly dangerous, and the political climate was increasingly tense. None of her extended family members wanted to believe it was happening. Therefore her parents had to leave everyone behind and take a chance somewhere else. In later years her father revealed to them that the idea of going to America just appeared to him like a dream. Her father began to plot their escape, and they first traveled to Djibouti, and that is where they applied for Visas to America. Once they arrived in the USA, her father again decided for some reason to cross the border to Canada, where they arrived in Quebec as refugees. Shortly after the civil war broke out in Somalia and the country hasn’t been the same since. They have lost so many family members while being so far away. Her parents grieved for their home and their family simultaneously. She is grateful for the risk and bravery it took her parents to make that journey, because of their sacrifice they are here today.
The moment Rahma realized she was a refugee she felt lost and confused. The term Refugee held no meaning to her at the time, but she knew that her family was far away from their home country. She couldn't understand anything or anyone, and everything felt weird to her. Her inability to speak the language was her biggest barrier. One thing that fascinated her was seeing white people for the first time. Rahma states that the biggest misconceptions people have towards refugees are that they think people come here just for fun. She quotes a line from the famous Somali poet Warsan Shiree:
"no one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark
you only run for the border
when you see the whole city running as well."
She confesses, if her country were still at peace, they probably would never have left, and she wonders what her life would have been like. The hardest thing about being a refugee for Rahma was not speaking the language and also being a minority when you came from being the majority. When asked what she misses most about her country, she said having people that love her unconditionally and having a large and extended family. Her advice to new refugees coming into Canada is to be brave and patient. You will stumble and make a lot of mistakes but one day you will look back at your strength and perseverance and smile with pride.
What we love about our black kimono is its versatility and the details of the black pearls on the wrists.
*The model is wearing a size small.*