Pictured above is Dainabo, Deeqo, a cousin, Barlin, Isho, Nurio
About 17 years ago, a group of volunteers from both St. Charles and Bethany Presbyterian joined together to resettle a family from Somalia through Catholic Family Services. At that time, Ibrahim and Hawo, the parents, had 6 children ranging in age from 2-15. Only Mohamud, the oldest boy, understood a few English words. They arrived with all of their earthly possessions in large colorful plastic bags. Shock and wonder were constantly on their faces as we introduced them to beds, light switches, refrigerators, tubs, toys and books, toothbrushes, doctors and dentists, school and so many other things that we take for granted. It was a very large learning curve, but all of us took on different tasks in introducing them to their new life in Rochester.
Jane Nadeau and I have remained in contact with them through all these years and have shared in all their milestones. Though our help is much less needed, both of us feel it an honor to be in their lives and they in ours. Here are some updates on how they are doing they NOW.
Ibrahim got a job very quickly in the Rochester School district as a janitor. He transferred among the schools, and proudly got to know every bus route in the city. He retired a few years ago and Hawo took over his job. Ibrahim is known among his people as a religious leader and teacher. One of the first things he did here was to find pieces of wood to write sayings from the Koran in Arabic. They are beautiful pieces of art. Hawo initially stayed home as a Mom. She had 3 more children after arriving here. For several years, she has been importing and reselling clothing to the women of her community in addition to working in the schools. She is a social butterfly among her friends.
Mohamed is now married to a lovely woman, Khadro, and has 5 children. They recently bought a home in Irondequoit. After high school, he immediately got a job as an Interpreter at Brown Square on Lake Ave. But he was not earning enough for his growing family, so took a course in trucking, and now owns 3 truck cabs and runs a company doing long distance hauling.
Isho graduated from MCC and is still trying to complete her credits in nursing. She is now married with 3 children and lives in Vermont. She misses her family here, but is where her husband had work.
Dainabo also attended MCC and just graduated from Brockport College. She recently completed an internship at the Villa of Hope. She is currently looking for a full time job in the field of Social Work.
Nurio, went to School of the Arts, earned a scholarship to RIT and just graduated summa cum laude, with a degree in Psychology and minors in Communications and Criminal Justice. She was able to go abroad for a few classes but unfortunately that time was cut short due to the covid virus. She is hoping to go on to get her Masters Degree.
Barlin also attended SOTA and earned a scholarship to St. Lawrence University in their Honors Program. She recently took a break and spent some time in Georgia with Americorp working with troubled children. She just returned to St Lawrence to finish up her degree in Environmental Science and Accounting.
The rest of the children are still in school. Aden, who was just 2 when he arrived here finished high school last year but has not yet decided on his career path. Muqtar and Deeqo are both at the World of Inquiry and Abdirishid is at the School of the Arts.
In short, the Osman family is thriving here in Rochester. Like most refugees, they needed help and assistance in working through all the systems of housing, school, work, and health care. Overcoming many cultural and language differences, they have become financially independent and productive citizens in our community.