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The Ultimate Homecoming Experience for Africans Born in the Diaspora

Qali Id was born in Denmark, but her parents are from Somalia. Like many Somalis who settled abroad, her family got out of the country when the civil war broke out in the early 1990s. By the time she was 18, she had lived in five countries across three continents and spoke four languages. But it wasn’t until a move to university in the U.K. that she discovered how this had shaped her. “I could be a chameleon wherever I went, connect with people easily, and have deep empathy and understanding of different cultures. Yet the one thing I didn’t have was an understanding of was my own origin.” When she was offered a job in Somalia two years ago, she said yes quickly, “before my anxious mind could catch up with the big decision I was making. Before I knew it, I arrived in Garowe on one of the windiest days of the year. It was dry, desert-like, and scorching hot. Once my eyes became accustomed to how bright it was, I began seeing people who all looked like they could be my cousin. My ears were saturated with loud Somali from every direction, leaving me disoriented, but the joy in people’s faces when they saw my foreign passport and realized I had chosen to come home brought me back to center.”