Mohamed Iman

Comparing Somalia and the United States

My former neighborhood in Somalia was very different than my new neighborhood here in the U.S. My former one was so crowded because there were a lot of mango trees around everybody’s houses. When I first saw our house, I thought it was in the jungle. But my dad told me it is not in the jungle, but it was located in the town. The town had a lot of trees around it. I asked my dad whose house is this? He told me it is house that we were going to survive in for the rest of our life. We even had a lot of lakes, rivers, dams, and ponds that we used to swim in during the summer period. We even used to fish in the rivers that we had over there.

The neighborhood I like the best is the one I live in now in the U.S. It has lights, a kitchen and indoor bathroom that are important for me. The houses in my country, Somalia, have no lights or kitchen inside. My neighbors in Somalia used firewood and charcoal to cook food. Over here in the U.S, we have our own kitchens in the house. We don’t have to worry about collecting and buying firewood and charcoal. In Somalia, we used to buy the firewood and the charcoal in order to cook food for our daily survival. We even used to pay for kerosene for the lamp that we used in order to get light for the dark houses.

Another difference between my new neighborhood and my old neighborhood in Somalia was we didn’t have basketball courts. In the U.S., we have basketball courts, but where I live it doesn’t have one because the kids are not good. If the basketball court was there, they would break all the windows of the apartments. The manager of our apartments decided not to make a basketball court until the problem has been solved. So, the kids use the carts from Fry’s as a basketball court in order to play basketball. It was so exciting when I was taking the picture; they looked so great making their own basketball court.

In my former neighborhood, we didn’t have supermarkets. When we needed fish to eat, I went fishing in the nearby Juba river. I was the one to go fishing because I was the oldest in my family, but once my younger brother went fishing in the river. Our parents didn’t know that we went fishing in the river; they were looking for us in the town. We didn’t tell anybody that we were going to the river for fishing. My dad got upset about what we did, because he didn’t want my younger brother to go with me. But my mom didn’t want us to be beaten by our dad and she told us not to do it again without permission. I told her and my dad to calm down and we won’t do it again; it was our fault.

Another difference between Somalia and Tucson is that there is a swimming pool and a laundry room close to my house. We didn’t have swimming pools and laundry machines in my country, Somalia. That is another big difference between my new neighborhood in Tucson and the old one in Somalia.

Over here, we can use the laundry machines to wash our clothes. In Somalia, we took the clothes to the river to wash them or we used a basin to wash our clothes. It was very difficult to wash clothes by hand in Somalia. But, here in the U.S, it is easy to wash clothes. You put the clothes in the laundry machine and wait for about 28 minutes; then it will be ready to dry. In the U.S, there are drying machines; you put in some quarters to start the machine and then dry your clothes. However, in Somalia, we hung our clothes on cloth lines in the sun. The wind and dust made our clothes dirty while drying.

The last difference is we didn’t have that many cars in Somalia. We have here lots of cars going around everywhere in the U.S. In Somalia, when we needed a ride we had to wait for the one car we had in the area of Jilib. This car was a shuttle bus that picked people up along the way to take them where they needed to go.

In summary, life is very different in the U.S. The neighborhood, the houses; the transportation, and conveniences are much better than in Somalia.

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