I heard this a few weeks back on MPR and totally forgot to mention it here. All I can say is mashaAllah!
Suburban dad leaves Burnsville to govern in Somalia
“It was a scary situation over there, when I went there,” he said.
When he arrived, there were two or three shooting deaths a day in the region, known as Himan and Heeb. His clansmen were killing each other over scarce pastures and drinking water.
Aden, with his iPhone, and American English mixed in with his Somali, tried to learn the ways of the nomads. But even though he lived in Somalia for the first 22 years of his life, he hailed from the big city, Mogadishu, and the rural locals in Adado viewed him wuth skepticism, he said.
“It was like a man who goes to the moon and tries to walk,” Aden said. “But what we did was focus on humanitarian aspects, instead of political differences of the people.”
The people were hungry for help, Aden said. His fellow clan members from all over the world donated about $150,000 to his cause. He set up the equivalent of soup kitchens, as well as schools and a small police station. He assembled a security force and threatened corporal punishment.
“If you kill one person, you will be killed — just like Texas,” he said.
Slowly, he earned the trust of the locals. And then what started as a humanitarian mission evolved. Elders asked him to become the top administrator for the region. He turned them down twice before finally agreeing. The crime rate has dropped dramatically, although piracy remains a problem.
Aden’s homesickness faded when he thought of the road he fixed or the well he built. He’s getting ready to recruit other Somalis in North America and in Europe to take part in a program he’s developing. It’s sort of like a specialized Peace Corps, where Somalis can spend three months in his region and share their expertise in agriculture or medicine.
But he knows not everyone is ready to go to one of the most dangerous countries in the world.
“If an individual feels he doesn’t have the guts to go to Somalia, they can help here. They can donate money. They can educate people. They can even help the young generation who lost their identity, and has an identity crisis,” he said. “There is a lot of things. It’s endless. Somalia is like ground zero right now. Any help — everybody can do it — it will make the Somali life better.”