Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Last Day Lesson From Ahmed Darman (Poem)

When we all got the phone calls
Everyone flew to the hospital
No way
It couldn’t be
That the Ahmed Darman was dying
The man had survived since June 16, 1930

When Somalia was not Somalia
When Somalia became Somalia
When Somalia stop being Somalia
He was alive and he was there
He left and came back to leave again
For 83 years

He didn’t even need a cane to walk
No way was he dying
He always survived and he helped others survive
How many students did he help go to unversities overseas
Education was always the most important thing to the P.h.D holder
He thought every single person should get an education and he would always help

Darman loved school since he remembered when Macalin Jama gave him a chance
When he got his scholarship to the university in Italy
That helped him became an amabassdor to United States, Yemen, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and China in 1960
But he did more than politics
He helped on projects like creating the Somali National Theatre, Sports Stadium, Banadir Hospital, and the roads like from Beledweyne to Berbera
He created jobs with the Warmash Factory

He loved Somalia and always wanted to help
He helped his people even when he could no longer travel back to Somalia
By guiding his neighbors and fellow refugee Somalis
His house was always open
Many refugees slept at his house when they came to America
He said all was welcome
We are Somali
He tells his granddaughters to bring tea for the new guests
Welcome to America he would say

There was never a moment where you would feel unwelcome
You could forget about the war and that you have no money or english
You were not alone
You found the Darman house
Twenty minutes from Washington D.C.
Darman was an amabassador so where else would he live
But next to the capital

Drink more tea
Share your story
All are welcome by Ambassador Darman
He remembers your father afterall
He was alive for 83 years so he remembers many
You are not a refugee to him
But the cherished son of a respected father
The treasured daughter of a respected mother
He remembers you with his long memories
It was 1946 when your grandfather and him raced together
He remembers that day as if it was yesterday

We all flew to the hospital next to the White House
Awoowe, where is my Awoowe
The man that taught me how to stand tall
Who taught me to always respect myself
Who taught me the importance of education
Who taught me to wear a black suit
Who never taught me my qabil
But taught me I was Somali  
He was important to me
But he was important to many
They came from different states, Europe, Canada, all over
His son flew from Mogadishu for 24 hours without sleep
He was important to them too  

They called him many names
Husband, father, grandfather, uncle, cousin, friend, teacher, politician,
Businessman, revolutionary, intellectional
Many titles and many names

Each one had a different story
Darman helped me go to school
Darman helped me get immigration papers
Darman helped me when my father died
Darman helped me was what they all said

So even in the moment when the doctors in America wondered
Why the hospital was full of Somali people in tears?
Who was this 83 year old man?

If only they were as lucky to meet a man like Ahmed Darman
Who gave you help and shelter on your worst day
Who calls you every week to ask you how are you?

In the end he still taught us again
To help others and take the time to give a chance
So on your last day everyone will bless you before you leave

Sindiya Darman
Copyright © 2012

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