There are more people arriving from Mogadishu. The first woman we met is 70 years old, the same age as my father, it is hard to believe how different their two worlds are. Whilst her face tells a story of life full of challenges and struggle, she still has an energy that just resonates and despite the displacement and the tragedy of her experience, she tells her story and even laughs and jokes.
She invites us into a small one room house, where she is staying with her three grandchildren. She took them here after her son was killed during the fighting in Mogadishu. She rolls out a small plastic mat, which she explains is the only thing she left Mogadishu with, besides the clothes that they were wearing.
As I am sitting on this mat, I realise how numb one can become to the language of 170,000 people are 'fleeing' Mogadishu …You read and listen to the reports and think of it in a non emotional way when you see…the people are 'displaced', 'fleeing', 'leaving'…But, as Mariam is talking it hits me, what this REALLY means. For Mariam, it was running, it was looking around and grabbing her three grandchildren children 8, 5 and 3 years old and running, and as she was running out the door, she saw her son being killed. There was no time to stop, to think, to plan, not even to grab a few thing, she just ran and has never been back. That is what displacement is like. As we end she asks me if I have her name spelt correctly, she is not sad, she does not want pity, she just tells us, she only has this mat, what more does she have to lose, she wants us to tell her story to people outside, to someone who cares, to someone who will do something.