Being a woman is tough, being African is equally tough, & then comes the toughest of all the tough that ever existed; being an ‘African Somali Woman/Girl/Female’!
They say if you had never had a taste of something say ‘Freedom’ for example then if during your life you then lose that something/freedom, you will never know what you’ve lost or what you’re missing!
The Patriarchy, society, clan, culture, tradition & everything around you takes all your rights & then puts it in the hands of ‘Men’, no woman/girl has ever moved/progressed or made a break through within a Somali society without male approval, those that don’t get such approval & blessings are deemed by the patriarchy & society as outcasts, & they must live by the margins, because they revolted against joining the herd, they said no to ‘Domestication’, then that the sentence the society & patriarchy hands them is; ‘No Life’ for those who say no to our way of living!
But truth is; it is a big honour, bravery & courageous act to reject such false existence & everything that count, view or treat you as a human being, one has got every right to choose the way of life that best suits them, a life that one regards & acknowledges as the only righteous way to live. Every day you spend away from being immersed in such falsification is counted as ‘A new birth’ for those who had escaped it.
This story takes place in the nineties, about some Somali women, it will make you wonder how did they figure out that something is/was wrong with their men? & that their ‘Sex Life’ sucks! At a time when everything were in shambles in Somalia, & there’s so little every where, no jobs, but some wives were desperate about their marriages & the relationships they were having, those women who had no proper education, or didn’t even master their own language ‘Somali’ let alone any other international language, yet they felt that something is horrible/terrible & that their relationships with their men is/was wrong, uneducated women: so the chances that they had educated themselves via any other resource regarding that they’re having wrong or dull intimacy with their men is, zero. Also no one told them & they weren’t informed in any other way or through/by any medium.
‘None had seen or read any magazine or even a fiction work on intimacy’, & there’s no internet, but some of those simple uneducated women had a gut feeling & their intuition informed them that they aren’t having a ‘Proper Sex Life’!
It’s a fine day, late June, the air is warm & little Haboon just had today half a day at school, rest of the classes were cancelled. Haboon a 17 year old girl, tall for her age, thin & very beautiful arrives at her aunt’s house, she’s an orphan & her aunt took her in. She drops her school bag at her room that she shares with the maid (In Somali tradition often the maid is considered as part of the family-maids don’t have separate rooms), today was unusual, house seems empty, all doors closed, no sound coming out from any one of them. Haboon feels nervous & tense, something strange was taking place & she felt sudden unease in her belly.
She went into the kitchen, & to her surprise her aunt & many other women were all there, all of a sudden the place has become as the living room for them, some were chatting, some were chanting songs, some chopping onions, other washing dishes, drying them, others cutting/mincing meat, others cooking, everyone was occupied doing something, yet talking & singing at the same time, & the kitchen had become a ‘Women’s Congress’
Haboon stood beside Kaltun the maid & asked her what’s going on, whispering she told her ‘Your aunt Nora is getting divorced!’
She raised her eyebrow saying ‘Again!’
Her aunt Nora was the naughty & spoiled girl in the family, there were others who were spoiled too, but no one could in any way take the first place/rank from her, she’s the ‘Crowned Queen’ for the naughty & spoiled girls in the family! She knew from her aunt’s talk that this marriage wasn’t meant to last(Nora’s marriage), & the husband too was his mommy’s spoiled boy, so no two spoiled spouse’s can endure one another & live under the same roof!
She looked at her aunt Nora who was fully dressed in her jewellery, with full makeup, & in her most expensive outfit, she didn’t seem sad or depressed for the record, on the contrary she’s very thrilled & chanting love songs where other women had joined her too finishing every line for her! Either she’d gone mad or maybe divorce isn’t that bad after all!
Then she paid a closer look to the woman who took her in her; aunt Suad, she was very quiet, & then she stood up & sat beside her sister Nora & other women, & then said ‘Aren’t you any sad?’
Nora looked laughingly at her & said ‘I really want this to be over!’
Suad didn’t leave her she continued saying ‘Aren’t you going to miss him in bed & all the other things?’
Nora said ‘Miss what?! The hot metal rod he used to put inside me?! God forbid, no, am not going to miss that!’ Then she added ‘I thought something was wrong with my first husband, but I found out that they’re all like that!’
Hibo their friend said in a sad low tone ‘There’s no love, welcome to marriage, that’s how things work, & they’ll put a solid stick inside you!’
Nora said to them ‘I thought that he’ll change after I confronted him that I no longer want to stay with him, but it was the same!’
Her sister looked at her & said ‘Would you like us to import foreign men from abroad like we do with everything else here (All the goods)?!’ She punched her saying ‘Those are the men we’ve! Take them or leave them!’
Nora said ‘Most of the time he never undressed me!’
Suad looked at her & said ‘Why do you think you’re the only one?!’ She continued peeling some potatoes & then said to her ‘Khadar called me awhile ago correct? Do you know what he wanted from me? Sex! We did it on the floor fully dressed, no sweet talk, romance, gazing into the eyes or touching, & here I’m cooking his meal! Grow up; this is how it’s like for all the women here.’
Hibo came to her rescue saying ‘But not everyone can live like that & that’s why Nora is leaving her husband. We need more women like Nora.’
Nora looked at her & said ‘You need someone who talks about our loveless, dull, boring, unromantic marriages everywhere to save the rest of the women!’
‘Talk about yourself, I won’t destroy my marriage for some delusions you’ve about what the relationship between men & women ought to be like, am happy just the way my life is.’ Saud said to her.
Their friend Hibo said ‘Do you think anyone will marry you after being divorced for so many times?’
Nora laughed at her saying ‘My type is the preferred type of woman for all men, & I’ll be getting married in few months time, just watch!’
Laila another friend who was sitting nearby said ‘I don’t think another man will pick you, & maybe our men are fine & you’re the one who got something wrong with her?!’
‘What because I repelled against, & said no to more nights of metal rods inside my genitalia, no love, no whispering of any love words, no showing of emotions, then my husband falls beside me like a dead body without uttering a single word, not saying that was great, I enjoyed it, doing or saying anything else.’ She then added in a more icily tone ‘Yes, there’s something wrong with me, am saying enough for me being treated as an animal. I want my humanity & femininity back.’
Laila looked at both sisters & then said to Nora ‘If your husband hears you & is informed about your sinful whims he’ll think you got other men in your life!’
‘I got another brain not other men, a brain & soul that refuses to remain in this marriage, but you won’t understand because you never had one & will never get one!’ She said in a cynical tone.
‘Do what makes you happy? What you feel is right for you? & let’s pray after a few years you don’t come blaming anyone for your choices.’ Saud said to her.
Laila stood in the middle of the kitchen & said to all the women gathered there ‘Hey girls, how many of you gets a hot metal rod between her legs every night with no sweet talk, no affection, no romance, fully dressed, no hugs, no kiss, no words or any other act of love, & then her husband rolls off her falling beside her like a dead corpse going into sleep totally forgetting about her & ignoring her feelings, how many of you live like that?!’
Haboon looked at her aunts & all the other women , all the women raised their hands including her aunts, the only ones who didn’t raise their hands were Haboon & the maid because they’re still girls!
A few months later all the women were again gathered at another kitchen doing once again all sorts of things, working, chanting songs, & chatting at the same time, they were gathered celebrating Nora’s fourth marriage & everyone was thrilled!