Nooc: Sheeko dheer, (faqrado)
Qoraa: Nuuruddiin Faarax
Dal: Koonfur Afrika / Soomaaliya
Turjumay: Samatar Maxamad Siciid
Zaak ayaa ku dhaha Cambaro, "Yaad eedda saartaa?"
"Eed?" Cambaro ayaa u waydiisa si umal-og, ayadoo ka hormarta qaadanayso hogaanka, inkastay ka haysanin fikradba meeshay aadayaan. Sida arintu u dhacdo, waxay timid Muqdisho maanta horaantii hore kadib maqnaansho dheer mana kala taqaano dhan loo raaco, oo astaamahii magaalada baa si dugaagnimo loogula burburiyay dagaalka soke sii sacoda ilaa iyo halka, ku saleeysan waxii ay ka soo aragtay magaalada ilaa iyo hadda, ay kaga shakiqaaddo inay aqoonsan doonto. Cambaro waxay lehayd camalka ay kula joogsadto fogaan badbaadeeysan edab leh: «ka fiicanba iska ilaalinta Zaak neeftiisa qurmoon», lagula baaray inuu yahay Yerid joogto ah. Goortay labadaba ahaan jirayn yaryar kuna korayayn isku aqal, dhaqtarka ilkaha baa u qori jiray boomaato caday gaar, leh tayo jeermitir iyo udug, kuna sii dulsaayidsan luqluqad daawo leh, iyo caday-buraash aad u jilicsan ahaa inuu ku nadiifiyo ilkahiisa. Cambaro way xusuusadtaa ciridadiisa oo u dhiigaabayay taran-ahaan uguna shiiqayay xawaare xaddhaafsan, bararka, la jiray karkarka u wacaal ahaa huurada dulsaarsaarnaa, baa sababayay liiqliiqashada qaar badan ilkahiisa. Way xusuusadtaa la xanuunsanaantiisa laabjeex joogteeysan ilaa iyo intii Ardo, hooyadeeda, ahna eedadiisa, ka keentay baadiyeha intuu ahaa kuray mas’uulkeeda-ahaan si ay ugu diyaariso ka qaadashadiisa waxbarasho rasmiyeed Muqdisho.
Cambaro waxay la sugtaa inuu albaabka dib u xiro, oo waxuu kula sameeyaa qiiqleeyn, waxayna eegtaa asagoo ku wareejiya albaabka qabadkiisa liiqliiqda in labo jeer dar ee dadaal waxtarla’ inuu ku sii xoojiyo, tixgalinta inuusan shaqeeynaynin. Gudaha intaanba, waxay nafteeda xusuusisaa inay ahayd sanooyin ilaa iyo intii ay isha saartay ama ay ula xiriirtay si toosan. Ardo baa ugu kala geeyn jirtay hadalada dib iyo hore kana dhaadhacisay gabarteeda inay u dulqaadadto, ugu yaraanba xoogaaga ayaamaha hore, tan iyo goorta Cambaro kaga warsiisay damaceeda inay soo aadayso Muqdisho. Suubaansalaaxidda hooyadeeda, waxay Cambaro ku aqbashay inay la joogto "dhiiggeeda," siday ugu sheegtay, ayaamaha ugu horeeya, ilaa iyo, maleha, goortay ula xiriirto iskeeda saaxiib wanaagsan ee saaxiib kale ku nool Toronto. Shaki kuma jiro, Cambaro ma ka filan karto hooyadeeda inay soo garwaaqsadto ina-walaalkeeda neeftiisa urka lehayd, mana gasho cadaalad in loo qaadto in tan ay tahay sabab ku filan cududdaarid gabarteeda aysan ku rabin la qaybsashada isla meel. Laakiin sidee baloo ayay, Cambaro, ku iloobi kartay urkiisa daran, aadba u karaahiyo qaba oo uu yahay lablabo? Mana aysan ku aqoonin inuu ahaa silsilad-sigaarcabe ama joogti qaatcune, maandooriyeha khafiifka ay Soomaalida magaalojoogtada aad ugu bartayn. "Hubsantiba qof baa eedda leh?" Zaak baa ku adkeeystay.
Zaak waxuu u daayaa inay agdhaafto oo ka baxdo ganjeelada dhinac ka xigta — ayadu ku-dhawaadba hal iyo sideedtan iyo sadex miitir, asagu hal iyo todabaadtan iyo afar miitir qura. Islamarkay ka tagayn ardaaga ayna sacodayn boqal miitir bay gaabisay sacodka, kula dabooshay madaxeeda si ku haboon garbosaar saniifadla’an siduu taqliidka Islaanka u faro, kulana dabosacodtay toban iyo xoogaa miitir Zaak gadaashiisa. Indhaheedu hoos u dhacsan — mar kale, sida laga filanayo naagaha Muqdisho maalmahan — waxay gacanta galisaa mid jeebabka quftaankeeda gaar-ahaan loogu sameeyay si ay u hubiso inay soo qaadadtay mindideeda, hubkeeda ee xulkeeda, hadday arinta gaarto isdifaac. Daymo uun ee jahadeeda ayaa cadeeysa inay u dhiiradtay isku diyaarin soo kadis foolxun, uu qof kasta ee magaalo dagaal soke u halis yahay. Naftigeeda, waxay uga soo fiirisaa si walbahaaran laamiga jajaban Zaak, ayadoo sii daaysa kula dhagnaanteeda ku dhuunjisan qabadka mindida. Dabadeed waxay isku qabadtaa bushimaheeda oo qoyaamisaa, madaxeedu sii daaynayo labo fariin isku lidsan: midda kula talisa inay ahaadto fayignaan, midda kale diidayso, sida ee soo jeedinta hooyadeeda, inay ku dhaafto aaminaaddeeda dhan Zaak, waayo waxuu leeyahay aqoon hawlgaleed ee sida arimahu u badan yahiin inay u soo shaacbaxaan. Ayadoo yeelanayso joog farqilaawe intay isku taxallujinayso daqiiqadba Zaak, waxay baartaa dareemahiisa ama la’aantooda, oo kula tilmaantaa kadis, inuusanin u ekaynin sidii asagoo filanayo dhacdo dhurdaran: tilmaanta ka soo foodsaaran goobta dhalinta hubeeysan u dan leh inay ka kaciyaan qas laayaan ah ku dhamaan karo in midkoodaba xabbad lagu dhufto ama lagu dilo. Waxay isku daydaa inay isku dajiso xaalad aad u digtoon, haddayba suurtowdo, dabadeedna sankeeda baa qabta urka mudmudcan ee jirka Zaak, wasakhda la dhaqin ee nolasha caafimaadka daran ee qaatcune. Xoogga qurunka ayaa uga horimaada si adag, waxayna ku dhawaadtaa inay suuxdo.
Si jawaab daahsan ee su’aasheeda "Qofma?" ayaa Zaak ugu gunuunacaa hadal aanan fahangalin ay waayso inay kala garadto. Aadba waji caro u leh, waxay si xididmaskaxeed kacsan u daydaydaa xuduudda, intay ka leexanayaan laabad jaran oo ay kula horjoogaan farma’ba fool ka fool dhalin farobadan macawis iyo dacas xiran ku hubeeysan AK-47. Dareendaarkeeda ayaa u sheega inay diyaargasho, gacanteedu mar kale, si dagdagsiinyo u gaarayso mindida, xataa haddii labo mid dhalinta u egyahiin inaysan xaggeeda daneeynin, si hagarbaxsanna u calaanjinayaan qaat ugana murmayaan, si sawaxan, ciyaarta shalay dhaxmartay Arsenal iyo Manchester United, iskuna raacayaan inuu seeriwadeha ku falfalaaday ciyaarta intuu si xaqdareeysan u siiyay kaar-guduudan kabtanka Gunners. Dareenkeeda taxaddarka waxuu ku sugnaadaa xasilla’aan ilaa ay aadba uga dheeraadaan halis.
Zaak ayaa waydiiya, "Et tu?"
May hayso inay ka jawaabto su’aashaas oo kale horaanta hore ee soo booqadkeeda, ilaa iyo intay la qabsadto laablaabnimada waxa horyaala. Dhabtii, way ku riyaaqsan tahay inay dib isaga celisay ka qaybgalintiisa hadal sugan ilaa iyo hadda, ka walwalsan in tani siiso rukhso uu kula soo dul heemado diyaargarowgeeda yar ee waxa ay booqashadeeda la damacsan tahay inay kula guuleeysadto oo aanan dib uga fogaanin mindhaa dib ula qabsashada dalka dhaladkeeda iyo mindhaa soo celsashada guriga reerka oo haddayto gacanta ugu jira madaxyare madaxdagaaleed. Waxaa la ruqaansada shaki, iswaydiinayso hadday suurtogarowdo fulinta noocan ee hawl adag ayadoo jirin kaalmo wayn iyo dad badan. Dabcan, way kaga warqabtaa aad in madaxyareha madaxdagaaleedka uusan siin doonin caynkeeda waxna waax, tan oonan ku jirin dabeecadda qaballuusyadan ee inay tusaan raxmad qofna. Ka waran Zaak, ina-abtigeeda iyo martisoorka xaadirka? Ma u soo fidin doonaa gacan gaashaameed hadday go’aansadto inay wajahdo madaxyareha madaxdagaaleedka? Sidee ayuu u falcelin doonaa goortay galiso daacadduu u qabo imtixaan?
Waxkasta kale ay sameeysoba, waa inaysan u sallimin Zaak soo farogal banaan ee arimaheeda, ugu yaraanba kahor ilaa iyo goortay xoojisadto kobteeda oo ka gaashaamiso dhaxalnimada laciifkeeda, oo dhaco inuu soo ifbaxo kadib goortay kula wajahdo madaxyareha madaxdagaaleed iyo hoosjoogeyaashiisa hubeeysan iska horimaad. Si kastaba, waa inaysan u ogalaanin Zaak inuu su’aalo wacaalaha soo booqashadeeda, waxa ku dadajiyay inay ka soo tagto nolasheeda dagan, saygeeda, iyo shaqadeeda ee Toronto, meesha oo ay daganayd sadex rubucaad nolasheeda, iyo inay ku timaado dalka dagaalka burburiyay. Way arki kartay su’aalaha ku qaabsamayay maskaxdiisa markuu kula kulmayay gagada dayuuradaha, ku toodoobaysay inuu rabo waydiinta hadday soo guurtay oo soo dagaysay Soomaaliya. Maxay u keensadtay sanduuqyo culays badan ka buuxaan guurtadeeda dhan?
Inaysan ku faraxsanaynin guurkeeda ee Wardi ma aho sir — qof kasta waa ka warhayay tani muddo dheer. Dheeraad-ahaanba, inuu mar ku ahaa "sayga" Cambaro waraaq iyo inuu kula "noolaa" isla baaxad, marka hore ahaan caruur wada korayay, dabadeed ahaan lamaan galay nooc ee nikaax kumeelgaar, Zaak waxuu ka qabaa fiirooyinkiisa u gooni. Waxuu ka qabaa inay tahay naag karti u leh deeq masaal, u daacad badan, waxwalba ka soke, hooyadeeda, aad ugu raalli ah saaxiibadeeda, gaar-ahaan Raxmo. Laakiin waxay leedahay qaab naag fudud, in la qanciyo adag tahay, ka sii adagba wali in wax lagu garto, laguna ogyahay dhawaanba inay waali la boodo, wax layska garan karoba, sababta dhimashada wiilkeeda. Cambaro waxay ku eedeeysaa Wardi, saygeeda, iyo xabiibtiisa Kanadiga quusidda wiilkeeda. Xataana inkastuu ku dhacin inuu waydiiyo — ka cabsanayo inay ku kacdo, oo ay mooddo in su’aashiisu tahay daandaansi — Zaak waxuu u qaadtaa inay halkan joogayso muddo badan, ka cabbirayo culayska iyo tirada sanduuqyaday la timid. Waa dhaci kartaa inay ka heshay fikradda soo dagitaanka halkan aawadda ee isku daygeeda rajoda beelan si ay badwayn u kala dhigto nafteeda iyo Wardi, oona u sheegtay qof walba kale, laga reebo hooyadeeda iyo saaxiibadeeda u dhaw, inay halkan u joogto inay ka barooradto mawdka wiilkeeda qura. Laakiin Cambaro maysan iskugu hawlin beelitaankeeda wayn, xataa kadib marka Zaak u tacsiyeeyay, waxaanan ka badnaynin xusiddiisa iyo dhahiddeeda, "Mahadsanid." Maysanna u ogalaanin magaca saygeeda inuu soo maro bushimaheeda mana ka guudmarin waxa ku dhaci doona guurkooda. Waxay isku taxallujisay inay ka siiso jawaabo gaagaaban su’aalihiisa, hadday kula nuuxnuuxisaa madaxeeda haa kana jirin faahfaahin kale, hadday kula ruxruxdaa madaxeeda maya kana doorbidayso inaysan hore u sii balaarin. Waxii ugu danbeeyay Zaak maqlay, Wardi waxuu ku joogaa heersare: waxuu ka noqday kamadanbeeyskii shariig xafiiska qaydada. Dhinaciisa, Zaak waxuu naftiisa ku duwduway jid garsoon, waji-ahaanba iska dhawrayay dalidhacyada iska cad ama aan saasba iskaga cadaynin, dibna iskaga joojiyay inuu culaab saaro. Marwalbana oo uu ka dhamaaday mawduucyo xiiso leh, wada sheekeeysigooda waxuu qaadtay laablaab u geeyay hooyada Cambaro, oo ay labaduba jacelyahiin.
Hase ahaadto, hadday jirto maaddo labaduba ay ku raaxoqabin ka hadliddeeda, waa tagtadooda ay ku wada wadaagaan “say iyo afo” u ekaan. Ku xasilla’an, waxay ka jigadayn inay dib u booqtaan, ku dhiileeysan in, is-ilaalin la’aan, wada sheekeeysigoodu dhigo kamadanbeeyskii albaabka amuur faragalin mudanin — labada sanno ay wadajir ku soo moodayn hal saqaf guduhiisa, abbaartameentadeeda ee Toronto, nin iyo naagtiisa ahaan — "Qormo-ahaan kaliya, aan ku ogeeysiiyo," ayay farta ugu fiiqi doontaa mar iyo mar kale — oo ahaa baaba’ aslanba. Laga yaabo inay u danleedahay inaysan la yeelanin wada hadal kalsooni leh, waxna haba yaraado.
"Mayuu ka jiray dagaal halkan dhawaan?" ayay waydiisaa, hoos isugu dhigayso barbarkiisa. Deedto, muuqaal-ahaanba daalan, waxay la damuuqsadtaa qoraxda galabeed, yare hakanayso intaysan kaga qacqacleeynin daamankeeda hamaansashada nooca ee rakaab diyaarad saaran ka nadiifinayso dhagaheeda soo-ururka cadaadiska hawada. Qoraxda waxay u olashaa si xoogan ay sarjiyada waxyaalaha muuqda kula dhalaalaan lixaadnimadeeda. Waxay aragtaa daliilka sheegsheega baaba’a dagaal sokeeye meelwalbay u jeesadto: saro u janjeera burbur qabyeed, kuwo aad u badan ku faanaya saqaf la’aan, kuwo kale la daday u eg kuwo la bililiqeeystay, laga tagay. Waddadu — mar laamiyeeysanayd oo wanaag ku haboon u lehayd baabuurta — waa wada jajab; darbiyada wajaha jidka waxay la leeyahiin dulduleel xabbado, sidii shiishe aqoondaran haysta buduq u isticmaalay barbarashada xabbad toogasho.
"Diraro," buu yiraahdaa, sidii asagoo fikrad gadaal uga timid.
"Meeqa maleeshiyaa ku dhimaday?"
"Kaliya rayid aanan hubeeysnaynin."
Sidii asagoo ka naxayo Cambaro, Zaak sigaarka buu kagala fogeeyaa — gacantiisa bidix — kuna ag haayaa farahiisa gacanta midig afkiisa, ku-dhawaadba daboolayo. Middeeda kale, madaxiisa wuu ka soo weecdaa xaggeeda; ma u kala caddo hadduu u sameeynayo inuu ka ilaaliyo urka ugu yar ee nikotiinkiisa ama hadduu dhawaanba ka wacyi yeeshay saameeynta xun ay neeftiisa lablabada qurmoon ku leedahay ayada.
Si wada kadis, hase yeesho, buu kula soo boodaa xujo cod adag ee nin iskhilaaf badan, edab leh hal daqiiqo, naxariis daran tan xigta. Waxuu dhahaa, "Ha ii sheegin inaad cabsi leedahay."
Waxaa dhaci karta inaad moodid siday dib isugu celinayso inay isku diyaarinayso inay dharbaaxo kaga dhufadto balaca wajiga. Mayaba. Waxa dhan ay doonto inay qabadto waa inay hoos asaga kor kaga soo fiiriso dherarkeeda dheer ee 1.83 miitir. Waxayna u maleeysaa inay leedahay qodqodeeyntiisa geesinimada ee wax ku dhacidda wiil, oo ayada dhiba in aanan ka yaraynin. Way xusuusadtaa wadajirka sannadahoodii yaraa ee isla hooygii — guriga waalidka Cambaro, gaw-ahaanba — iyo siday ugu sameeyn jirtay wax walba wir-ku-dhacid iyo siduu u diidi jiray; Zaak ma ahaynin rabshoole dabeecad-ahaanba, wuu kaga yare gaabsanaa inuu u dhaqmo sida duurjoogga ay u dhaqmi jirtay. Waxwalba kadib, waxay ahayd calmanta guriga hooyadeeda asagase qaraabo faqiir ah.
Waxay wir kula dhahi jirtay siyaabo badan, laakiin muusan ku dhaci jirin. Ayadoo ka dhibsadtay, bay ku juqjuqeeyn jirtay, "Sadex jeer ku dhaciddayda ee halkaaga jeer." Waxayna qoyi jirtay muragsadtadeeda, oo ah sida caruurtu ugu waqtiqabtaan waxkadhaha qofka lidiga: hadday muragsadtada qalasho jawaabta kahor, wireeyeha baa yake saara, wir-ku-dhaciddana way burburtaa, ee xaaladdaasna waxay isu aqoonsadtaa guuleeysadtoda. Waxuu jacelaan jiray inuu rabsho ka agfogaado, ka doorbidayay ku noolaanshada iyo ka aadidda iskool Muqdisho ee in loogu diro dib waalidkiisa faqiirka ka sii ahaa ee dalka gudahiisa, agta Gaalkacyo, gobalka Mudug. Had iyo jeerba ka wacyiqabay farqigooda ee dherarka, wuu ka dhibsan jiray inay sanka ka soo galiso.
Waxay ka dooradtaa xeel ka duwan. Waxay u tiraahdaa, si caaqil, xoojinayso ficilgalka dulucdeeda, "Caaqa uun baa baqin."
"Fadlan ha u qaadanin sidaas," ayuu ku raalligaliyaa.
Kalkuu sii qaadto sacodka, Cambaro waxay u sheegtaa inay u dhaw yahiin suuq hawada u furan. Dhabtii, waxay la kulmaan rukuno dib uga soo laabanaya. Madluunka ku yaala naagaha kor ilaa hoos ku wada daboolan shukooyin baabaraqiis waa mid muuqada, marmar uun bay indhahooda iyo gacmahooda soo jeedaan. Naagaha waxay ku sidtaan iibsadkooda yaryar bacyo madmadow. Kula kulmidda naagahan xaaladdooda foosha xun way murgisaa Cambaro. Inkastay nimanka sidoo kale ka muuqdaan madoobaad iyo niyojab, waxay u egyahiin inaanan wax ka qasnaynin. Maleha waxaa wacay nimanku waxay gacalnimo ugu xaseeyayn kilkisha marduufkooda cosabsan ee qaatka, dareenkaciyeha qaarkoodu sii bilaabay inay calaanjiyaan. Inta naagahu ka haysanin wax muhiim ah ay filadaan, laga reebo darxumooyin la xiriira dagaalka iyo kufsasho iyo caruur jiran inay daryeelaan ay tahay, sayo waxmatareyaal ay ugu adeegaan hagarla’aan intay ka dhargayaan calaanjinta qaatkooda ayna ka hadlayaan siyaasoda.
Waxay isu haysadtaa qof ahba dhibane wax-u-barashada. Waxkasta kadib, asaga ayaa ka soo jiiday sariirta oo ku qasbay inay sii xanbaarto dhacsaasha ee raadka farqiga waqtiga oo ay waheliso si uu u soo gadto raashinkiisa maalmeed. Waxay ku aragtay daliilka qaatcunidda qolka kore meeshay dagan tahay, oo ka buuxa qashinka qalalan ka haray jiridka qaatka. Qof-ahaan ayadoonan ahaynin qaatcune, sigaarcabe, waxay u fiirisaa qolka kore loo meeleeyay ahaan godnaar, qurun leh, darbiyadu la cagaaran cantuufta qaatcuneyaasha, dildilaacyadii waxaa qarka u saaran jiridada geedka la calaanjinin.
Kalkay Cambaro dadajiso talaabooyinkeeda ayadoo ula jeedda inay la qabsadto sacodka, way manjoxaabsadtaa, waxaa ka luma dheelitirka, wayna kufi gaartaa. Zaak waxuu indhaha ugu fagiijiyaa eedeeyn cagaheeda saandalada gashan, oo haddayto dulmarsan ciid jilcan gaduudan.
“Kabaha sacodka baan gashan doonaa marka xiga," bay dhahdaa.
"Haddaan ku ahaan lehaa, waxaan kaloo gashan lehaa shuko."
Xukuntooyada uu iskiisa isku fasaxo, bay isku dhahdaa, intay ka maleceshanayso waxuu dhahay haddaytoba. Dabcan, ma aho doqon; waxay la timid diyaargrow, ayadoo ka soo iibsadtay labo shuko, mid Toronto, midda kale Nayroobi. Laakiin waxay balaayada ku xiran doontaa shuruudaheeda, ma keenin talo ka siintiisa inay mid xiradto. Ma u baahno xusuusinta inay si ka duwan uga labbisan tahay naagaha kale ay ka hortimid ilaa iyo hadda, intooda badan shukeeysan yahiin, qaarkooda guntiinada hideha ah qaarna kale dhar calaloobid u dhaw. Waxaa ugu jira quftaan, xirashadiisana la meeldhiga naagaha midkooda. Way soo qaadadtay kan, bay ku sababeeysadtaa, waayo wuu u dhawaa mana haysanin waqti ay ku furfurto sanduuqyadeeda ayna kaga soo faanbiso shuko. Middeeda kale, quftaankan loogu talogalay waxuu u ogalaadaa inay ku qaadadto mindi si qarsan.
Waxuu waydiiyaa, "Ma ku geeyaa madcarka Yaa-Dhintay? Meeshaad ka gadan karto shuko?” Xumo ayay ka aqrisaa indhihiisa oo u fasiradtaa ahaan nin kula xujeeynayo naag inay ku cisyaanto xukunka dhawaan la dulkeenay, oo sheega in naagahu is daboolaan. Kalkay yarayd, waxay ahayd dhif in naag Soomaali xiran jirtay; badanaa naago Carab ah iyo qaar asal ku ah magaalada ayaa xiran jiray.
"Madcarada 'Yaa-Dhintay'? Maxaa loogu wacaa sidaas?"
"Madcaro aad ka gadan karto shukooyin la soo xirtay."
Dabadeed ayaa Zaak ku sharxa dheeraan in sannooyinkii dhawaa, ku soo duldaadinta dharka la xirtay masaakiinta dunida ay naqodtay hawaan, maxaa wacay muwaadino badan ee wadamadan kuma joogaan rug ay kula iibsan karaan sicirka cirka gaara dhar cusub.
"Waan gartay," bay dhahdaa, madaxa ruxayso.
Baddiisa ayuu isaga jiraa, waana sii wadtaa. "Madcarada Yaa-Dhintay waxaa maamula biicmushtarada dagaankan oo kagala soo iibsada markab dhan ee dharka la soo xirtay qiime dhulka ku dhacsan makhaasiin ee wadamada horumarsan kadibna halkan u soo dhoofiya. Soo dhoofiyeyaasha iyo biicmushtarada ee tafaariiqda waxay moodaan in qof walba ka helayo biic jaban. Runta waa, murago-ahaanba, ka duwan tahay."
"Maxaa yeelay taas?"
"Waayo ficilkan waxuu burburiyay warshadaha aagan ee dharka, maxaa yeelay ma la tartami karaan kuwa soo daadiya. Dadka waxay kula naanaysayn ficilkan si indho-adayg cad; dharka Yaa-Dhintay ee madcarka Yaa-Dhintay!"
Inyar islamarkiiba, tiiraanyo qardan baa ku soo duldagta Cambaro, ayadoo soo xusuusadto siday u qaadadtay sanduuq ka buuxa dharka wiilkeeda dhintay, kulana deeqday urur samafal si ay ugu qaybiyaan masaakiinta Toronto. Dabcan may ogto meesha dharka ka haray wiilkeeda la dhigay. Sannooyin hore markay ku noolayd halkan, waxay ahayd caadada dadka ladan inay ku baxiyaan dharka dadka ka dhintay masaajidka. Haddeer, tixgalinta xaaladda adag ay isla inyari ka warheshay, way ogtahay is dhagotirid inaysan waxtar lehaan dooninba. Waa inay ka fikirtaa sida ugu fiican uguna miyir leh ay u kala muquuniso dharka ay u leedahay xusuuso nugul — wiilkeeda nool, nashaad leh oo gashan. Xoogaa maalmo ayay sugi doontaa kahor intay go’aansanin siday yeesho iyo kuway u kala qaybiso, bilaash, shaki la’aanba.
Waxuu yiraahdaa, "Maxay kula tahay? Ma ku geeyaa madcarka Yaa-Dhintay si aad u soo gadadtid shuko?"
Cambaro waxay dhinac u dhigtaa su’aashiisa, soo hordhigayso asaga laftiisa mid. "Mayaadan iska dhaafin sigaarka sannado hore intaadan ka soo tagin Toronto?" ayay waydiisaa.
"Haa, waan iska dhaafay."
"Deedto maxaad ugu laabadtay?"
"Balwadba tu kalay yeeladtaa," ayuu la yiraahdaa dhoolocadeeyn.
"Maxaad ula jeeddaa?"
"Qaatcunitaanka waa balwadda ugu horeeysa aan bartay imaanshadayda halkan," ayuu yiraahdaa, ka ruxruxsiinayo sigaarka. "Waqtiga ayuu dhaafiyaa."
"Maxaa dhaafiya? Sigaarka?"
"Qaatcunitaanka waxuu iga caawiyaa inaan u dulqaadto cidla’da nolashayda maalmeed," ayuu yiraahdaa. "Maad garadtay, Muqdisho waa magaalo wayn aanan lehaynin adeegga magaalo caynkeeda. Ma jiro wax la qabto halkan: la’aan naadiyada caweeyska, la’aan meelo lagu madaddaalisto, la’aan baarar lagu maquuriyo muragada, maxaa yeelay xataa makhaayadaha shaaha waa ka qalalan yahiin khamriga. Ristorantiyo kaliya."
"Ma ka jiro hadal."
"Midna," ayuu yiraahdaa.
"Maxaa u danbeeyay Tiyaatarka Qaranka?"
"Tiyaatarka Qaranka waxuu gacanta ugu jiraa madaxdagaaleed ay maleeshiyadiisu u isticmaalayn rakada jilitaanka iyo dhismaha jilitaanka iyo alaabta jilitaanka, iyoba miisaska, albaabada, alwaaxyada saqafka, iyo waxii alwaax ahba, sidii jaabo. Jibaalkii hoos buu u dhacay, waxwalba kalena — biyokaydiyeyaasha musqulaha, wajidhaqyada iyo qubaalada mad-harada, haba sheegin ganjeelooyinka, kombuyuutarada — dhamaantooda waa la siibtay, bililiqeeystay, ama la gadtay."
"Maxaa dhaca haddii qof doono inuu riwaayad sameeyo?"
"Guul bay naqonaysaa, laakiin ma dhaci doonto."
"Waxaad ka waddaa sababta waa madaxdagaaleedyada maamuladaan magaalada?" bay waydiisaa.
"Ama Maxkamadaha Islaanka baa u soo talaaboqaada inay ka joojiyaan inuu dhaco," buu dhahaa Zaak.
"Maxay ku saleeystaan?"
"Sal anshax ama diin."
"Laakiin ma kula tahay dadwayneha inay daawan doonaan?"
"Way ila tahay," buu ku jawaabaa.
Xamaasadda Cambaro ma qarsoomin. "Sidee dhalinyaro hubeeysan isu madaddaaliyaan markay firaaqo ku haystaan gacamahooda qoriga maran?" Zaak baa ku jawaaba, "Waxay daawadaan cajalado fiidiyow ee filimo Hindi, Kuuriyaan, Talyaani, ama Ingiriis."
"Hubaalba dugsiga laguma soo barin afafkan?"
"Filimada waxaa lagu dulduubay Soomaali."
"Lagu dulduubay? Kuma?"
La bogtay, Zaak si loo jeedo buu ugu riyaaqay inuu mar uun kula cajabiyay Cambaro aqoontiisa wax aysan wax fikrad ka haysanin.
"Shaqo dulduub tarmo leh baa ka jirta Muqdisho," buu dhahaa.
"Waxaa kaloo jira filimo kung fu, aagan lagu sameeyay dhamaantoodana loogaga filinqaaday halkan."
"Halkee lagu soo bandhigaa?"
"Saraha mar lehaan jirtay dawladda dhacday, oo u wada balaqan qof walba, jajaban, ayna guri ka dhigtayn dadyowga magaalada. Wasaaradda Arimaha Dibadda, kulleejada farsamada, Dugsiga dhaxe sare."
"Sidee filimada loo kala qaybshaa?"
"Sansibaarada, oo ku yimid ka soo cararka dagaalka dalkooda," Zaak baa ka warsiiya, "ayaa gees ula wareegay dhankan ganacsiga. Ayagaa wada haysta, sidii Maafiyada."
"Maad aragtay laftaada filimada lagu dulduubay?"
"Maya, maanan arkin."
Laga yaabaa waxuu waqti u leeyahay qura qaat, bay ku fikirtaa, dabadeed bay waydiisaa, "Ma taqaanaa qof arkay?"
Madaxiisa buu ruxaa. "Maya."
Waxay u baahan tahay inay la xiriirto Kiin, maamushada hoteelka Maanta, saaxiib u dhaw Cambaro markay joogtay Toronto ka soo warinta Raxmo, oo la leh macaamilo dheer ganacsadtada halkan ayna dhacdo inay u fududeeyso ujeedada wayn ee in Cambaro warbaxin ka hesho cajaladaha fiidiyowga iyo yeelashada macaamilada aagga, Iskaashadtada Haweenku ka mid yahiin, oo dhacdo inay ka caawiyaan waxyaalo badan.
Cambaro way qiradtaa inay ahayd gaf ku imaanshadeeda Muqdisho diyaargal la’aan, cinwaan la’aan iyo telefoonka cidna laga reebo Zaak iyo qof ay la xiriirto la’aan. Lagaba yaabo ka fikirka haleeynta go’aankeeda dagdagsan ee inay timaado inuu yahay wax daahay. Meel la marshayba, waxay ku malecelceshadtay soo booqashadeeda muddo dheer. Si kastaba, may la gali doonto Zaak wada hadal dhab ah ilaa iyo inay joogtay halkan xoogaa.
Fikradba kama haysadto waxa Zaak u maleeyn doono, laakiin waxba kama qaban karto male’awaalidda inuu ka kajan badan naqon doono hooyadeeda, oo kula dareencelisay dhabanohays horujir-qabin kalka Cambaro ka warsiisay u soo sacdaalkeeda foodda saaranaa ee dalka. La waydiiyay sababta, Cambaro, si toosan ayadoo ugu abaartay hawsha oo waxxoogaa is-horistaag raacsan, ayay u sheegtay inay u danlehayd inay soo ceshadto guriga reerka, kana soo dhufsadto gacamaha madaxdagaaleedyada. Ardo isla markiiba waxay la fuurtay dabbar, ku tilmaamaysay qorshaha gabarteeda tab caqlila’. "Tan waa waali loo jeedo," Ardo baa soo jeedisay. Deedto labada naagood kaligoodlabeha ah way ku sii duldirarayn, Cambaro ayaa farta ku fiiqaysay in madaxdagaaleedyadu yahiin fuleyaal iyo doqono mana naqon doonto adayg in laga xariif badnaado si looga buriyo guriga reerka.
"Tan gaw-ahaanba waa is dilid," Ardo baa ku xoojisay.
Kadib markay murmayayn maalmo iyo habeeno, bay Ardo kula raacday "tabta tashoyari" ee Cambaro shardi: inay ka qaybqaadadto Raxmo, oo ku lehayd macaamilo wacan Muqdisho iyo, intay sugayso in arinta meel la mariyo, waa in Cambaro ama ay ku sugtaa Toronto ama ay iskala joogtaa Zaak. Ahaanteeda dabinqooltaqaan aanan mid la mid jirin, Ardo waxay kula hawlgashay qarsoodi dhisidda shabaqbadbaadeed u ilaanin karay gabarteeda siduu u karay inuu la sacodsiiyo mid kasta ee qorshooyinkeeda madaxfaluuqa lehaa. Kadib uun bay Ardo ku raacday inay "siiso barakadeeda waxuu qiimagooyaba qorshe uga hoosdaloolan sida qormo bandhigan ku saabsan is dilid."
Gaari-dagaal ku xiimayay waddada bacaadka oo ayaga ku soo aadanaa ayaa ka naxiyay Zaak, oo ka qabta gacanta midig, geeska waddadana ugaga soo tuura jiqda geedgaabyada. Gaariga waxuu sidaa koox isku dhafan ee dhalinyaro hubka kula huwisan ilaa iyo ilkahooda qaatka burburiyay. Cambaro way is istaajisaa, quftaankeeda iska jaftaa, kana heshaa waqti ku filan ay ku eegto siijeedka madaxyadooda kahor intuu gaari-dagaalka ku dhaxlibrin leexada bacaadka uu ka kaalmiyay kacitaankeeda.
KNOTS - Nuruddin Farah
Zaak says to Cambara, "Who do you blame?"
"Blame?" Cambara asks tetchily, as she goes ahead of him taking the lead, although she has no idea where to go. As it happens, she arrived in Mogadiscio earlier today after a long absence and does not know her way about, the city's landmarks having been savagely destroyed in the ongoing civil war to the extent where, based on what she has seen of the city so far, she doubts if she will recognize it. Cambara has had the proclivity to keep a safe, polite distance, the better to avoid Zaak's bad breath, diagnosed as chronic gingivitis. When both were younger and growing up in the same household, the dentist would prescribe special toothpaste with antiseptic and aromatic qualities, in addition to a medicinal mouthwash, and a very soft toothbrush with which he was to clean his teeth. Cambara remembers his gums bleeding prolifically and receding wastefully at a phenomenal rate, the inflammation, combined with the irritation on account of the tartar deposits, causing the loosening of several of his teeth. She remembers his suffering from persistent indigestion ever since Arda, her mother, who is also his paternal aunt, brought him from a nomadic hamlet during his early teens as her charge in order to facilitate his receiving proper schooling in Mogadiscio.
Cambara waits for him to push the door shut, which he does with a squeak, and she watches him as he turns the wobbly handle a couple of times in a futile effort to secure it, notwithstanding its state of malfunction. Meanwhile, she reminds herself that it has been years since she last set eyes on him or was in touch with him directly. Arda has carried words back and forth from one to the other and has persuaded her daughter to put up with him, at least for the first few days, since Cambara informed her of her wish to go to Mogadiscio. At her mother's cajoling, Cambara acquiesced to stay with "her blood," as she put it, for the first few days, until, perhaps, she has made her own contacts with a close friend of a friend living in Toronto. No doubt, Cambara cannot expect her mother to recall her nephew's malodorous breath, nor is it fair to assume that this is reason enough to warrant her daughter's not wanting to share the same space. But how on earth could she, Cambara, have forgotten the awfulness of it, so vile it is sickening? Nor had she known him to be a chain smoker or a constant chewer of qaat, the mild narcotic to which urban Somalis are highly addicted. "Surely someone is to blame?" Zaak insists.
Zaak lets her go past him and out the side gate—she almost six feet, he a mere five-foot-seven. Scarcely have they left the compound and walked a hundred meters when she slows down, covers her head more appropriately with a plain scarf as the Islamic tradition dictates, and stays ten or so meters behind Zaak. Her eyes downcast—again, as expected of women in Mogadiscio these days—she reaches into one of the inner pockets of her custom-made caftan to make certain that she has brought along her knife, her weapon of choice, if it comes to self-defense. A glance in her direction will prove that she is bracing her courage in preparation for an ugly surprise, to which anyone in a civil war city is vulnerable. Herself, she looks in consternation from the dilapidated tarmac road to Zaak, as she releases her stiff grip around the handle of the knife. Then she tightens her lips and moistens them, her head sending two contradictory messages: the one advising that she remain wary, the other declining, as per her mother's suggestion, to put all her trust in Zaak, because he has firsthand knowledge of how things are likely to pan out. Adopting an indifferent posture as she focuses for a moment on Zaak, she studies his expressions or lack of them, and remarks, with surprise, that he does not appear as if he is expecting an untoward occurrence: the telltale advent on the scene of armed youths intent on launching a virulent mayhem that might end in either of them being shot or killed. She tries to relax into a high state of alert, if that is at all possible, and then picks up Zaak's pungent body odor, the unwashed detritus of a qaat-chewer's unhealthy living. The power of the stench hits her forcefully, and she comes close to fainting.
In a belated answer to her question "Who?" Zaak mumbles an unintelligible remark she is unable to make out. With so angry a face, she nervously scans the horizon, as they turn a sharp corner and are suddenly face to face with several sarong-and-flip-flop–wearing youths armed with AK-47s. Her instinct tells her to prepare, her hand making renewed, abrupt contact with the knife, even though two of the youths appear indifferent to her and are religiously chewing qaat and arguing, bansheelike, about yesterday's match between Arsenal and Manchester United, and agreeing that the referee made a balls-up of the game by unfairly red-carding the Gunners' captain. Her sense of caution remains relentless until they are well out of danger.
Zaak asks, "Et tu?"
She is in no mood to answer such a question early in her visit, not until she comes to grips with the complexity of what is in store for her. In fact, she is delighted that she has refrained from engaging him in a serious talk so far, worried that this might give him the license to zero in on her scant preparedness for what she intends her visit to achieve beyond perhaps getting reacquainted with the country of her birth and maybe reacquiring the family property now in the hands of a minor warlord. She is consumed with doubt, wondering if it is possible to accomplish such a feat without a lot of help from a lot of people. Of course, she is well aware that the warlord will give her kind no quarter whatsoever, it being not in the nature of these brutes to show mercy to anyone. What about Zaak, her cousin and current host? Will he extend a protective hand to her if she makes the resolve to confront the warlord? How will he react when she puts his loyalty to the test?
Whatever else she might do, she must not afford Zaak free access to her affairs, at least not before she has consolidated her position and fortified it against its inherent weaknesses, which might come to light after she sets the confrontation with the minor warlord and his armed minions into motion. At any rate, she must not allow Zaak to make her question the motives of her visit, what has prompted her to leave her peaceful life, husband, and job in Toronto, where she has been resident for three-quarters of her life, and come to the war-torn country. She could see questions forming in his head when he met her at the airport, sensing that he wants to ask if she has moved house and relocated to Somalia. Why has she brought so many hefty suitcases filled with all her movable assets?
That she has been unhappy in her marriage to Wardi is no secret—everybody has been aware of this for a long time. Moreover, having once been Cambara's "husband" on paper and having "lived" with her in confined spaces, first as children growing up, then as a couple who entered into a contract of the marriage-of-convenience kind, Zaak has his partisan views. He thinks of her as a woman capable of exemplary generosity, most loyal, above all, to her mother, very devoted to her close friends, especially to Raxma. But she also cuts the figure of an impulsive woman, difficult to please, harder still to pin down, and known, lately, to be off her rocker, understandably so, because of her son's death. Cambara blames Wardi, her husband, and his Canadian mistress for her son's drowning. And even though he has not dared ask her—fearing she might flare up, presuming his question to be provocative—Zaak supposes that she is here for a lengthy period, considering the weight and number of suitcases that she has brought along. She may have been attracted to the idea of relocating here out of her desperate attempt to put an ocean between herself and Wardi, but told everyone else, apart from her mother and intimate friends, that she is here to mourn the passing of her only son. But Cambara hasn't dwelled on her huge loss, not even after Zaak offered his condolences, beyond acknowledging them and saying, "Thank you." Nor has she let the name of her husband pass her lips or alluded to what is to become of their marriage. She has made a point of giving brief responses to his questions, now nodding her head yes and elaborating no more, now shaking her head no and preferring not to expand further. The last Zaak heard, Wardi is doing splendidly: He is finally a partner in the law firm. For his part, Zaak has steered a judicious course, ostensibly avoiding the obvious and the not-so-obvious pitfalls, and has refrained from pressing her. And whenever they have run out of topics of interest, their conversation has taken a detour and led them to Cambara's mother, whom they both love.
However, if there is a subject that neither is comfortable discussing, it is their own shared past as putative husband and wife. Ill at ease, they have reined back from revisiting it, apprehensive that, unchecked, their talking might deposit them eventually at the door to a concern better left alone—the two years spent together under one roof, in her apartment in Toronto, as man and wife—"Only on paper, I'll have you know," she will point out again and again—which had been an utter disaster. Maybe she means to have no intimate talk, none whatsoever.
"Has there been fighting here lately?" she asks, coming level with him. Then, seemingly tired, she squints at the afternoon sun, hesitating before cracking her jaws in the yawning attitude of a passenger in a plane clearing her ears of accumulated air pressure. The sun burns down so harshly that the contours of all visible items melt in its fierceness. She sees the giveaway evidence of civil war devastation wherever she turns: buildings leaning in in complete disorder, a great many of them boasting no roof, others boarded up, looking vandalized, abandoned. The road—once tarred and good enough for motor vehicles—is in total disrepair; the walls of the house fronting the street are pocked with bullets, as if a terrible sharpshooter with assault rifles has used them for his target practice.
"Skirmishes," he says, as if in an afterthought.
"How many militiamen died?"
"Only unarmed civilians."
As though out of kindness to Cambara, Zaak holds his cigarette away from her—in his left hand—and he keeps the fingers of his right hand close to his mouth, almost covering it. Moreover, his head veers away from her; she is not clear if he is doing so to protect her from the slightest whiff of his nicotine or if he has lately become conscious of the ill effect his evil-smelling breath is having on her.
All of a sudden, however, he springs on her a challenge with the strident voice of a man of huge contradictions, courteous in one instant, cruel in the next. He says, "Do not tell me that you are frightened."
You might think from the way she takes a step back that she is readying to give him a slap across the face. Not so. All she wants to do is to look down on him from her great six-foot height. She also thinks that there is the bravura of a young boy's dare to his taunting, which irks her no less. She remembers their young years together in the same household—Cambara's parents' house, to be exact—and how she would do anything for a dare and he wouldn't; Zaak was not a rebel by nature, was less inclined to act as wild as she would. After all, she was the beloved daughter of the house and he but a poor relation.
She would throw in his direction all manner of gauntlets, but he wouldn't pick them up. Annoyed, she would goad him, "Three dares for your one." And she would wet her index finger, which is a child's way of timing the retort of the opponent: If the forefinger dries before the response, the challenger will forfeit, and the dare lapses, in which case she would declare herself the winner. He liked to stay out of trouble, preferring living and going to school in Mogadiscio to being sent back to his poorer parents in the hinterland, close to Galkacyo, in Mudug. Always conscious of their difference in height, he was irritated by her rubbing it in.
She opts for a different tack. She says, wisely, stressing the validity of her point, "Only fools are unafraid."
"Please don't take it that way," he apologizes.
As he prepares to walk away, Cambara remarks that they are close to an open-air market. In fact, they meet shoppers returning, the forlorn expressions of the women swathed from head to toe in cheap veils evident, on occasion with only their eyes and hands showing. The women are carrying their small purchases in black plastic bags. To encounter these women in their miserable state saddens Cambara. Even though the men look equally dour and unfulfilled, they seem relaxed. Maybe it is because the men have preciously tucked away under their arms their fresh bundles of qaat, the stimulant that some of them have already started to chew. Whereas the women have nothing of importance to expect, save more war-related miseries and rape and sick children to care for, useless husbands whom they serve hand and foot as they chew to their heart's satisfaction and talk politics.
She thinks of herself as being, already, a victim of the habit. After all, he has dragged her out of bed and forced her to carry the lethargy of jet lag to escort him so that he might buy his daily ration. She has found proof of chewing in the upstairs room where she is staying, which is littered with the dried detritus of the discarded stems of the stuff. For a nonchewer, nonsmoker, she looks upon the upstairs room allotted to her as a hellhole, smelly, the walls green from the spit of the chewers, the crannies stuffed with the plant's unchewed stems.
When Cambara puts urgency into her steps with a view to catching up with him, she trips, loses her balance, and almost tumbles over. Zaak stares accusingly at her sandaled feet, which are now covered with fine brown sand.
I'll put on walking shoes next time," she says.
"If I were you, I would also put on a veil."
The liberties he allows himself, she thinks to herself, as she reflects on what he has just said. Of course, she is no fool; she has come prepared, having acquired a pair of veils, one in Toronto, the other in Nairobi. But she will don the damn thing on her own terms, not because he has advised her to wear one. She needs no reminding that she is dressed differently from the other women whom they have encountered so far, the largest number of them veiled, some in the traditional guntiino robes and others in near tatters. She is in a caftan, the wearing of which places her in a league of one. She wore it, she reasons, because it was close to hand and she hadn't the time to open her suitcases and rummage in them, looking for a veil. Besides, this custom-made caftan permits her to carry a knife discreetly.
He asks, "Shall I take you to a who-die stall? Where you can buy a veil?" She reads meanness in his eyes and interprets the expression as a male daring a woman to defy the recent imposition, which stipulates that women should veil themselves. When she was young, it was uncommon for Somali women to wear one; mostly Arab women and a few of the city's aboriginals did.
" 'Who-die stalls'? Why are they called that?"
"Stalls from where you buy secondhand veils."
Then Zaak explains at length that in recent years, dumping of secondhand clothing on the world's poor has become de rigueur, as many citizens of these countries are in no position to pay the astronomical prices for new clothes.
"I see," she says, nodding.
He is in his element, and goes on. "The who-die stalls are run by local entrepreneurs who buy a shipload of secondhand clothes for next to nothing from a dump house in the developed world and then import these in. The importers and the retailers are all under the impression that everyone is getting a bargain. The truth is, sadly, different."
"Why is that?"
"Because the practice has destroyed the local textile industries, as they can no longer compete with the dumpers. People have dubbed the practice with knowing cynicism; who-die clothes from who-die stalls!"
Soon enough, a vast sorrow descends upon Cambara, as she remembers how she had taken a suitcase full of her dead son's clothes, and donated them to charity so they might be parceled out among Toronto's poor. Of course she does not know where the clothes that have survived her son have ended up. Years back when she lived here, it was the tradition for well-to-do people to offer the clothes of their dead folks to a mosque. Now, in the harsh light of what she has just learned, she is aware that it won't do to shrug it all off. She will have to think of how best and sanely to dispense with the garments to which she attaches fond memories—her living, active son wearing them. She will wait for a few days before deciding what to do and among whom to distribute them, gratis, no doubt.
He says, "What do you say? Shall I take you to a who-die stall to buy a veil?"
Cambara sidesteps his question, putting one to him herself. "Hadn't you given up smoking many years before you left Toronto?" she asks.
"Yes, I did."
"Then why have you gone back?"
"One vice leads to another," he says with a smirk.
"How do you mean?"
"Qaat chewing is the first vice I've picked up coming here," he says, waving his cigarette. "It passes the time."
"What does? Smoking?"
"Qaat chewing helps me to bear the aloneness of my everyday life," he says. "You see, Mogadiscio is a metropolis with none of the amenities of one. There is nothing to do here: no nightclubs, no places of entertainment, and no bars in which to drown your sorrows, as even the teahouses are dry of liquor. Only restaurants."
"None to speak of."
"None," he says.
"What has become of the National Theatre?"
"The National Theatre is in the hands of a warlord whose militiamen have used the stage and props, as well as the desks, doors, ceiling boards, and every piece of timber, as firewood. The roof has collapsed, and everything else—the cisterns, the sinks and the bathtubs in the washroom, not to speak of the iron gates, the computers—all has been removed, vandalized, or sold off."
"What if someone wants to put on a show?"
"It would be a hit, but it will never happen."
"You mean because of the warlords who run the city?" she asks.
"Or the Islamic courts that will step in to stop it going ahead," says Zaak.
"On what grounds?"
"On moral or theological grounds."
"But you reckon ordinary folks will watch it?"
"I reckon they would," he replies.
Cambara's enthusiasm is unconcealed. "How do the armed youths entertain themselves when they have time on their gun-free hands?" Zaak replies, "They watch videocassettes of Hindi, Korean, Italian, or English movies."
"Surely they are not schooled in these languages?"
"The movies are dubbed into Somali."
"Dubbed? By whom?"
Chuffed, Zaak is clearly pleased that he has for once impressed Cambara with his knowledge about something of which she hasn't an idea.
"There is a burgeoning dubbing industry in Mogadiscio," he says.
"There are also kung fu films, locally produced and entirely shot here."
"Where are they shown?"
"In the buildings that once belonged to the collapsed state, which are now free-for-all, run-down, and populated by the city's squatters. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the city polytechnics, the secondary
"How are the films distributed?"
"The Zanzibaris, who have come fleeing from the fighting in their country," Zaak informs her, "have cornered this side of the business. They have total control, Mafia-like."
"Have you seen the dubbed movies yourself?"
"No, I haven't."
Maybe he has time only for qaat, she thinks, then she asks, "Do you know anyone who has?"
He shakes his head. "No."
She needs to get in touch with Kiin, the manager of Maanta Hotel, who, according to Raxma, a close friend of Cambara's back in Toronto, is well connected and might serve the salient purpose of Cambara's accessing information about the videocassettes and of building local contacts, including the Women's Network, which may help her with all sorts of matters.
Cambara will admit that she has made a faux pas arriving in Mogadiscio unprepared, with no addresses and no telephone numbers of anyone except Zaak and no personal contacts. Perhaps it is too late to think of ruing her impromptu decision to come. Granted, she mulled over the visit for a long period. No matter, she won't engage Zaak in serious talk until she has been here for a while.
She has no idea what Zaak will think of it, but she cannot help imagining him being more sarcastic than her mother, who reacted with unprecedented bafflement when Cambara informed her of her imminent trip to the country. Asked why, Cambara, in a straight approach to the task informed by a touch of defiance, told her that she meant to reclaim the family property, wrest it from the hands of the warlord. Arda instantly fumed with fury, describing her daughter's plan as a harebrained ruse. "This is plain insane," Arda had observed. Then the two strong-headed women battled it out, Cambara pointing out that those warlords are cowards and fools and that it won't be difficult to be more clever than they so as to boot them out of the family property.
"This is downright suicidal," Arda reiterated.
After arguing for days and nights, Arda consented to Cambara's "ill-advised scheme" with a caveat: that they involve Raxma, who had wonderful contacts in Mogadiscio and, while waiting for things to be put in motion, that Cambara should either wait in Toronto or go ahead and stay with Zaak. Being a schemer with no equal anywhere, Arda set to work clandestinely on setting up a safety net as protective of her daughter as it was capable of keeping her abreast of every one of the girl's madcap schemes. Only then did Arda agree to "give her blessing for whatever it is worth for a plan as flawed as a suicide note."
A battlewagon hurtling down the dirt road and coming straight at them startles Zaak, who grabs her right arm and pushes her off the footpath into the low shrubs. The vehicle is carrying a motley group of youths armed to their qaat-ruined teeth. Cambara picks herself up, dusts her caftan, and has barely sufficient time to stare at the backs of their heads before the battlewagon vanishes in the swirl of sand it has helped to raise.