The following tongue-in-cheek poem is by a middle-aged Somali man who is sick and tired of relatives back in Somalia constantly demanding money, thinking that the Somalis abroad are filthy rich. He berates them on the fact that if he is unable to send money, then he is rebuked for being stingy. He proceeds to educate them on the reality of the Somali diaspora, combining English and Somali to drive this funny, yet very relatable, message home.
Non-stop inaan ahay *** Speedkeygu high yahey
Islow aanan soconkarin***Outside-ka mooye
Indoor aanan joogayn *** Ice-ka iyo qabawguna
Old man udaranyahay *** Albertana¹ slippery adimaha ku jabayaan
Sleep-kayga oo idil only four hours yahay *** Including maalmihi weekend-iga la oranjirey
Income-keygu low yahay *** Account-keygu madhanyahay
Always tired– aan ahay *** Immigrant waa guni
Abuse-na aan qabo *** Skill-xumo daraadeed
Labour aan la taagnahay** education-keygi already finished– yahay
Ignorant jaahil ah equal aanu simanahay * umuurteydu say tahay up side down urogantahay
Age-keygu weynyahay iskool aanan dhigankarin ** Afrikaay oraahdaa I need money haduu yahay
Every month biilkii oohyaa sugaysaan*** you know exactly information-keygi
If you’re not aware that again bay inoo tahay
Roughly translates to:
I’m always working at a vigorous pace, unable to slow down. I always have to be outdoors working and cannot stay at home to rest. What’s worse is that the ice and freezing cold that I have to endure is bad for an old man. It’s so slippery outside, that you risk breaking your limbs.
I sleep a total of four hours, including on weekends. My income is low, my account is empty. I’m always tired, and as an immigrant, I’m abused and discriminated against. Because of my lack of skills, I have to toil. My window of opportunity to study is closed and I stand in the ranks of ignorant illiterate men. Basically, my life is up side down and I’m too old for school.
So Africa, if what you are telling me right now, despite my situation, is I need money -And you are waiting on me to send you money every month – I already informed you of my dire living standards.
And if you ignore the fact, well, you’ll see. [subtle threat]
Despite my efforts to transcribe correctly, it was not an easy task and I’m sure I made some mistakes. If you see any, please let me know in the comments below.
¹ For starters, I have no idea what Alberta is, and I’m sure that’s not what he said, but that’s what I picked up. If you manage to suss out the actual word, please be my guest.