Hinde Muya, Amina Osman , and McKenzie Wren

Recorded July 30, 2010 Archived July 30, 2010 36:54 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: ATD000169


Sisters Hinde Muya and Amina Osman are interviewed by McKenzie Wren. The pair discuss the path that brought them to the United States from a refugee camp in Somalia. Hinde shares her views about the differences between Somali Bantu culture and American culture.

Subject Log / Time Code

Hinde and Amina are originally from Somalia. They are Somali Bantu. They lived 12 years in a refugee camp.
Amina talks about life at the refugee camp. She states it was a hard life as she was the only help her mother had although she herself was a small child
Amina attends Global Refugee School an all girls school that is specifically designed to educate children who are refugees
Hinde feels that Georgia is her only home. She does not have a place to call home in Somalia
Hinde struggles hard with wanting her children and siblings to remember the culture they were raised with and retain the traditions of Bantu culture.
Amina feels like the best thing about America is the freedom to choose your future.
Hilde and Amina share their first impressions of America


  • Hinde Muya
  • Amina Osman
  • McKenzie Wren

Venue / Recording Kit

Partnership Type




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00:06 My name is McKenzie Wren. And I am here at the office of refugee women's Network in Atlanta, Georgia. Today is July 30th, 2010. And I'm here with my friends Hindi Mooyah and her sister Amina Osman.

00:21 My name is Cindy Mooyah. I am 28 today's July 23rd, July 30th. I am at The Rim. If you do manage Network, I'm here with Miss Mackenzie and a my sister. I mean Altima.

00:38 My name is Amina Smith and I'm turning 18 in August 20th. And today is July 30th.

00:49 So Hindi, I've known you now for about 3 years and you have been such an amazement and an inspiration to me and to be able to have this opportunity to talk to you and Amina and Amina. I taught you in when you were in sixth grade, which is now even longer than I've known him day. And that was all so incredible to see you grow and to a young woman and so to take this opportunity to talk with you both about some of your history on for you to share your stories as sisters about your journey to America and your life here in America and Hindi. I wonder if you would start by telling me a little bit about when what was your life like before you came to America? And when did you come?

01:34 Oh, yeah before I came to America we were in a for Maria. I was like 80s when I came in the refugee camp and then we leave there in the refugee camp for a 12 Years first place that will came it was in the dark Canyon in the refugee camp. We stay there like 10 years over there and then I'll said that for me. I don't have enough medication but that when I started acacian, I was like 12 years for stabbing ABC and then after that I got married when I was 15, I did not get enough education, but it's still I did not give up on learning. I was still running in learning. So after that in 17, I got like I have my first child.

02:29 In 17, but unfortunately, I wasn't lucky for that child. He did in my stomach after that when I when I was like 19, I had its second child and then. Time we moved after that remote to another comp which is called car, the place that has like that much fun dessert Norwayne. Nothing's a dry place. So we stayed there for two years after that we came here.

03:04 Amina where you also in kakuma, I was with my mom and she was with her husband and her three kids. How old were you when you went into the refugee camp.

03:20 I can remember like a T ends with a Y living together. I was like taking care of them that time when I got we walk back with Muhammad Daddy. I left he was like eight years when she came to you. She was in a coma.

03:45 How do you know anything about the car? Come on live?

03:50 So it was hard cuz I was small and

03:56 I have to go to school but I didn't learn much more than that. Now I have that. I had my mother cuz she don't she doesn't have anyone to have her on my brother. That was too small. So like I was like the second Otis and my mom and my sister she won't have us everyday cuz she have a kids and husband and she have other things to do. So it was a little bit hard.

04:25 And what do are there any good memories from that time?

04:31 My map the good memories. Like we had we had went to the iom. We're like other for you people go there to see the want to come to America National office of migration. Yeah, and then when you came first or so who did you come here with I came here with our to call like my husband and children separated by RC. They can't wait another but it wasn't working Nebraska and then they saw in Nebraska. My mom realized my cuz she had kids before over there. She it was easy the life of a real she was so like it was easy for the children but here in a male.

05:31 Is very hot everybody need to be closer to each other with your family. And then she was alone in Nebraska over there. She say no, I cannot afford to stay here alone because the person who was taking care of my children is too far from me. So she told her I'd use it to move to hear and then I told my address if they can bring her over there they say over here and then they told me no because she has been so we cannot trust for her to hear a cheetah Colby IRC. We could transfer here but it's another so they had a hard time when they came here after that if you walk very well after that. But the first time they came here they had a hard time to become selected. How does that process work? How did you become selected by the agency? Where did not know how they select as first but then when you come

06:31 Mobile DMV put you where you need to go? And then that is about their decision to not have a decision so we don't know it.

06:40 And when you are in the camps and standing and all the lines that you have to stand in to register with iom and to get everything done, what do you remember dreaming about and thinking about that? What life was going to be like in America? Let me know. What did you think about you were just a little kid, but what what did you think about?

07:00 I thought about like I was going to speak English and I will have a great education and I'll be able to help my family and I stand up for Jesus second with a girl in the house. And yeah. I was thinking about

07:20 Hindi what about you? What did you dream about all for me? I was dreaming about all this case my mother skates and my children to come together and work hard and they can the future they can just keep helping our position so they can be the first people to stand up like us now we doing so they can get like more education what they want for their future and then because they can get more life like you're like a very hard life we were over there so they can get like Easy Life instead of the heart life. And that is what I was doing it as a good dreams and you've been pursuing it. You're studying for your GED right now, aren't you?

08:04 And I mean that you're 18 almost and you are going to a really amazing school. Do you want to tell a little bit about what education has been like for you here in the US?

08:16 So even like

08:19 Weather forecast when I came tonight state it wasn't so easy cuz I didn't speak English and then I had to go to school. They have to give me at work and I didn't have to do it cuz I did not read or speak or when someone say hi. I went to

08:45 DVS my life like it's starting to change religion.

08:53 Global Village School where like a school the refrigerant go go there and stay together like sisters like giving you orders and if you really want to learn

09:18 Yeah.

09:20 And so now that you're at GBS, what do you want to do for your future? What do you dream of becoming?

09:29 I have a lot of dreams. I think I'm a poet published three pumps already.

09:39 I'm a soccer player. I used to play soccer but I stopped because it's cool. I go to the people that are interested football and are others bums. So we working on that right now and I want to pick up my notice.

09:57 I'm a teacher so I can I don't know which one to choose but it depends on me my hard work.

10:05 In Hindi

10:07 Working so hard. I've known you like I said three years and you are one of the most tireless person you never seem to get tired. I've seen you go through to a pregnancy and you're still working just that hard and what what drives you what makes you get up every day and and work as hard as you do. What are you dreaming about?

10:28 Oh my dreaming why I'm walking Hardee's I need my brothers and my children to to remember what I'm doing. If even if they miss me, I need I need them to remember that I was walking her so they can escape on that and then it stopped working hard on that. That is why I'm not arresting and just showing them teaching them what I'm doing what the life is to be in the future or right now, so that is what I'm showing them to do. So that is the only thing that I'm working hard every day in the US we plan to stay here in the US whatever it is, but we don't have anywhere to go right now so we can all say that we will go this place but we don't have anywhere to go. This is the only place we have and there's no going back home. There is no home. We don't have anywhere to go and we don't have a home over there. We don't have a phone place to go over there. So we were like a Slave people.

11:28 We do not have any way in Somali. We were just a hold of people that what gas is staying out of it as a hold. We don't have any place in Somalia. Somalia is not our place. So we don't know where we came from but I want us now that this came in from Tanzania, but we don't know who we were so that's why this is all wrong place. And how about you Amina? Do you know what you have to do to do that? So when you think about Somalia and you think about your identity as a somali-bantu what do you want your children to know? What do you want to remember about being a somali-bantu?

12:18 The only thing that I need them to remember their culture.

12:22 And who they are? I need them to find out who they are Force right now me. I'm still confused. I don't know who am I so I need them to find out they are the only people who they can find will be all right now because it has it has already passed for me. So I need them right now to find out who they are and remember their culture what culture they were before. That is the only thing that I need them to find.

12:48 Things do you bring tell me a little bit about their culture and what things are are hard here in America to be bound to culture like the way our culture is our father thing that is different from our culture in United States right now. You can see as the children they are like what they call as though they are not in their culture day at change completely. So we need them to go back to their culture their culture is to make sure to be respectful children to know who they are to stand up and walk hard and then to know what they need to do because of our culture right now in the day we walk we will go to the guards right now when I was younger, I wasn't even able to speak with man's whoever need to speak with me how to go to my family and talk to my family even if they agree or not. I don't care who you are not able to speak with me.

13:48 Or anybody that is not our family and then the second things worse when a man need you to to marry you he don't have to talk to you. He has to go to his family and talk to his family and the family has to go to the app. Do you have family to us you from your family? Not you but in America right now because he has girls are they just like following up whatever America is the girl said you would like to charting each other in a while to call like my Facebook and I care what you call like a my Hi-Fi something like these that we have never used add when it was new you are so all of these things that is what changing our children from their culture to another culture. That's all we need of a culture to come back to know. We need them to know what what they were doing when about to go like when they were young like this age. I mean that she is right now we need them to understand we need them to remember what we were doing before we need them to ask up their father to call.

14:48 Parents love their coach, even if they don't know right now we need them to us because we are not allowed to speak with man's demands are not allowed to speak with the girls who are grown up because of the crazy things. I was for me in my car jump. It was like when a man sit in the chair, you cannot even see it when he from that you cannot see the chair that I'm about to get off on because when he was Phoebe really pregnant so all of these things it was so funny. It is a funny thing but you need to follow me and because they mean something if you today you sit in that chair and tomorrow what is going on you changing again. You were still talking to him and then we were told that when you speak into a man when he's asking something to you orally making you laughing you don't have to open your mouth. You need to cover your mouth because if he sees you what is the most things finish he is finished you

15:47 He's just want to quit stepping up and then going to the and I stayed because he got you already and then you cannot show who you are. Like when you show him. You are like he's done on you because he already got a second and then he's going to the outlets that all of these things were good for a city was good. But right now the way it is is completely change and then it is not even closer to our what do you think about that? I mean you're here in America now and you have been in classes where there's both boys and girls and what what does what do you think about that?

16:26 Where I agree with hard, but

16:33 Yeah.

16:36 That's a hard one. How do you feel sometimes that there is pressure from the American culture that is struggles against your bun to culture. Do you ever feel confused as to how you should create your life?

16:53 No, I don't get confused by. No, it was something that make you go if you say that you don't want to go and you have a friend who have a boyfriend and then she talks about you all she talks about you all day, and you are you into it, though.

17:19 I mean, even you don't want somebody just happens.

17:24 He did what? What do you want for Amina? She's as to your baby sister know you have one more baby sister.

17:34 Want her and me and you talked you have been sober support of education. And now I mean it is 18. What do you want for for her? The only thing that I made and right now she been doing well or what we call like the way she's saying like about the friends the friends are friends whenever they talkin don't just put that in your heart. The only thing that you have to do just ignore whatever they say. Just listen. Listen. Listen when you leave in just ignored because it is going to change another lie for you when you just follow them wherever they're saying and then you going to do it you write occasion is it was right. After that time you will not get any medication starting from that time you and nothing because you follow them wherever they are saying you put that in your heart wherever they were saying, so that is going to make you like it will break you back where you walking to the back life and then it would make you like was no education. Nothing. You would still thinking about boyfriends my friends this

18:34 Identity would not make you like I do not make you grow up is your I know you got married when you were fifteen years and many other girls your age. I mean are already married and what is is it okay for Amina to stay single and to finish her education or are there plans for you to get married Amina on my favorite? How do you thinking to do you think that your mom would like for a minute to get married or did she see the need for nothing but the difference here for girls here in America. Now if you eat a big chain, she has a big change of I know she has a big chance before we were married When We Were Young because they were there was not education over there you just staying home and then another man is coming reporting that they need you. The other man is coming tomorrow because they might change.

19:34 Enemies, so instead of. They decide to take the children area and give them to get their marriage Alia Bhatt for her. She got a big chance if we could have a good education like this. No one could marry Sally box for her. She can decide whatever she needs to decide about. The only thing that I need for her to get more education whatever she's doing now, she's doing fine because she's respecting have parent suspect respecting how they just respect you respecting whatever she is right now, but I need her to increase whatever she needs to do in happy with your not right now for her future. Do you have a lot of boys?

20:15 455 Boys 1 girl, what do you want your boys? How do you want your boys to grow up and they're growing up here in America. What do you want them as men to learn about women? The only thing that I made them to do is just listening the apparent first. If you listen your fart parent, whatever they're teaching you to do that is what is going to grow you up and then through lawn for males or girls or boys something like that. But if you don't listen and then just go on your own steip it will make you worse.

20:57 So that is the only thing that I need them to know to listen to the apartment to respect each other to respect of us not just go in the way and say okay, I'm grown. I can do whatever I want has it how how old are your children my old assistant?

21:14 Are you finding it difficult for them?

21:18 To listen to you and especially when you're telling them certain things to do. That's probably not the same as anyone else they do at school or whatever. Do you find it hard to get them to really take an interest in listening to you, especially about Traditions what know that I find I still young as they are not yet to understand different things. But if they become like 15 years is the time to stand up on ketchup. Time. It is would be very hard. But right now they are find a listening they are talking about their culture every time like they reading a book but the age of ketchup is when we are 15

21:57 And are there any things I guess about let's just say American culture Western holster that you think that are different but you think are better or that you want to try maybe to shift a little bit towards like for example, Maybe not maybe if you were still in Somalia or it would have been different about me to being married. But now that she's here. It's like you want her to go to school, you know, you want her to continue to all the other things like that that you're willing to kinda band a little bit. The only thing like right now they've been having nice pictures. They did not land something like bad and then the teachers they had like they were teachers who work at.

22:41 Teaching them how their culture is a wide ditch teachers who were all the time what you call like a talking about us about the our culture to teach our children our culture not American culture. I do not see anything that is different when they are younger right deal of like this right now, but you're the only thing that I'm encouraging them is just to go to school and Lawn and then lawn good friends. You cannot know good friends or people are the same but you will know when you are following the friend who is encouraging you learning to if you see a friend who is encouraging you to learn to listen to Paris something the same thing you will know this, but your friend is good, but the song friends that are just following you and then they talking about girlfriends they talking about what something like criminals they talking about. Those are not good friends. So you need to come back for that. If you see friends who are talking some kind that are not in love.

23:41 So you need to come back? That is not good.

23:45 What what do you like best about being in America? I mean, I mean, what do you like best about it?

23:52 Identification and

23:57 Do free of your of your future standing up for yourself?

24:04 Yeah, that's how do you say Somali Bantu food at home, or do you do a blending of American food and Bounty food?

24:15 We eat on Board sign of Attica like our own for this right rice pasta release peanut meat and Jerry Rocha patio of the roots of our food, but in here in America, some of the food are different from us, we did not know about hamburger in another country song. What do you like best about being in America Hindi good for me, but for the education of the children is change. It's not like I was over there if we want to go to school. If you want to come to go to school sometimes when you go to school some before I stay on the street and then BTU so it's not like that here espree. They have bosses. We was walking while we don't have shoes. We still walking to school the person who needs to learn. What is still walking to school and then keeping up on

25:15 Sew-in he ain't America did the what you call the things that are different right now the buses for the children, they made a pass for the children. That is the only thing that is nice for them because that is what I'm sending have a good job the aligning easier. It's not hard like us and then the only thing that I can say like the situation how it is right now to keep on on your children your own children to keep your own religion do not change you already on that is good thing that they are doing before we want when we were coming here we were so it's care because we were being told no vertical America. Are you going there's a lot of creature you would be great and we were so scared. We were like this some people can some people deny to come here. So but when we can be away realized that you are religion is your own religion. Nobody can stand in front of you and state stop going with your Legion. Now that is good for us if it depends on you whenever you need to teach your children on that all we need do you need to just go for you at your day?

26:15 This is the best teams that they did for us and then it is very nice of you.

26:27 Directly to Georgia and I guess about that may be the first time you got off the plane and driving to wherever you went. Like. What were you thinking when I came the first time we do not know anything first we came from the airplane. We came over there at the airplane identical airport over there. And there was nobody over there. Well then radio about that time we came down with oil people just going fast and nobody's looking at you by the grave. This is like the day of the judgement. Everybody's just running. Nobody's looking at the ask. Oh, no, we are in trouble today. We just came over there and then sit over day of my husband was deciding to go to another place and then I was so tired so I could not even walk my baby was so dry. And then I said no I cannot work. So I will sit on this day until somebody comes if it is 90. I will

27:27 I'm not going anywhere after that. We decided my husband decided he knew that I was tired and then he decide to sit over there. And then that we want out like a when you go over there just show the people who are over there. Nobody will look at you, but you need to show them if you don't show them. Nobody will look at you and then it was true that time. Nobody was looking at ass and least. I told my husband take those documents and then go to. Bossa Nova. I think it's a security. They were talking about just go over there, but nobody will do anything to you just show you he do the same thing. He took they are documented went to the security person and then he showed them when they told us to sit down then we were tired and then they told us to sit down at least they could I made a call to the arc people over here. I was already in there, but they do not know where we were. So after that we get somebody they gave us somebody who has like that he has a hair braid. We were so scared when we

28:27 Yeah, we have never had man's braiding their hair over there when we came here on no man's braiding their hair. Oh, no, this is bad. We are in trouble. So we need to go that first night. Did you go to your own apartment or did you go to we went to our apartment? They took us over there. It was like 8:30 or at night when they want to attacking us at the airport when they do got them into cash from the place that our kids walk away. And then when we were out there, they figured bass talk to him and then he went back. So we were just thinking all know it was this a good man weekend, please so we went there and then I woke up from the airport at 2 apartments at 3:30.

29:15 What was Angela to Nebraska was I never even been to so tell me what that was like for you and you would still a kid. So your first experience like once you walked off the plane.

29:28 Oh, my phone screen is it was like it was hard. We was tired too. I mean everybody gets tired when they come out and we will iOS hungry. And when do they have like a dad to help us to cool us down like so we will just tell Mommy she was tired and she said my little sister. She was really young. So and we had a lot of stuff to carry and then we were just walking around you didn't have nowhere to go.

30:01 Where to meet you when you came Lo they have to call them and it was my uncle it was good and it was my uncle and then and then we had to go to use the bathroom, but we don't know how to ask. It was scared and the play was so different. I was just looking around so we were just sitting on this man. Can you was like who you guys what do you need to help me and then we will we didn't speak English. We were just looking at him.

30:39 Are we meant to Somali man and the history of translating for us? And then we shouldn't have got the documents and then they call a person that was speak. A language is my uncle and then we went to the house with said chill while you were driving. What is 1 to the house?

31:00 I saw a big and tall buildings.

31:03 Twist, we had in Africa but not too Centrist. I'm Industries a message if they have more has few things and they're so beautiful and bright colors. So I was just shocked and amazed.

31:19 What about you hand a what do you like life so different here and the physical surroundings are so different. What do you remember being most both shocked by or like how do I do this? Like what was one thing that was very easy back home that took you owe. You know that you had to learn here that was completely different like, you know elevators or escalators or be. No basic life things. What what is really different Play-Doh boobs really long one to the right one? And then I had my baby on my back and then I was about to fall down on the escalator, but I was lucky. I had some American people holding me like that and then they were just telling me where to escape and then please turn to stainless steel to not move because I don't know whenever I could know it. I could move I could walk. I saw a lot of people walking.

32:19 Running on this cared about me or no, I will say hello. This is my eyes. I know some English when they speaking to me English the other white people. I can understand the English whatever they're saying, but that some English. I cannot understand like the black man. We could not understand. Yes. Yes, but we don't know what he said. That is the only thing by the white people that were holding me this way. And this was until I get out from the escalator. I was understanding them and then they were asking me where I was from like some kind of dad who brought you here some and then we had like uniforms that is talking about immigration status something like that sweatshirt. We had that one for me, but you called a scarf that has that time.

33:19 Do the same thing and then they were asking us what is this mean and then I say, I don't know so they told me like, where are you from? I say I'm from Somalia and then where are you coming from? I say I'm ready to come so we were speaking when we went on this later. But I was so scared you speaking to me. He's just making me to be gone but I wasn't, I was like shaking like that until I come home. My head was like that for the Escalade up. I can understand at least I lay down because I was too lazy for the Escalade and then the elevator they have elevators made me like this see when we can be again the same thing all know the same thing. So that made us dizzy to come home until two days. I was like that when I'm going to the bathroom, I have to hold the walls because they cannot walk my head is pounding like that. So yeah, that was so different.

34:20 What is there anything is there anything else that we haven't talked about that is there anything else that you want to share that we haven't talked about anything related to end of the story is that you've been sharing that you want to let you want to stay?

34:38 I just how wanting that this just like a small team. Like I just need to water my sister bought it. Got what we go wherever we stay or they already you understand and then use she's doing well. She's working hard, but I need her to keep up on working hard to not listen to the other ladies were talking about boyfriend or two other boys were unless they're talking about a girlfriend. They will make you lose you will lose your education. You will lose everything just walk on your street. Whoever you are. Just think where you are coming from and Tinka you up just the first thing that you need to see it when you go home you are then what is the do you need to touch up? That is the only thing that is open for you? That is the only thing you need to walk hard on it and they'll remember you work hard. You don't just follow about American culture or other people's culture. We are different. We have like a particle to money cultures in here. They are all different from us. So I need you to remember your culture and then work on.

35:38 Where you are right now, that is the only thing that I need to say.

35:43 Are you raising your children to speak? Is it down two? Are you raising your children to speak Bantu as well as English do we have different different different languages in bantus Psalm? I buy my security go to my language right now is kizzy Google language, which is coming from Tanzania. That is the only language I speak with them at home. If you do that, too. I mean we all speak together in that language or tell her or tell us about what anything we talked about.

36:25 It's been such an honor to get to know you both over these past couple of years and I just really appreciate you taking the time to share more deeply of of your hearts and your experiences. And I think you're the two of you are really brave and strong women and I really thank you for taking the time to talk to me today.