Abdi Warsame grew up in Mogadishu, Somalia. He was an active child who was injured during Somalia’s civil war in 1991. Abdi shares a synopsis of his memoir Always Rolling Forward. He hopes his memoir reveals the power of hope in all places and in all circumstances.
One fateful Saturday afternoon
One Saturday in January 1991, I was with my cousins, who had fled their homes to avoid the government's indiscriminate bombing just days earlier. They moved to my family’s house just outside of the city but wanted to go back to their homes to pick up some of their belongings. Without hesitation, I went with them. As a child of my age, I was always looking for adventure.
I wished the journey home was as easy as the journey there. It wasn't.
After many hours on foot, we made it to my uncle's house. While he asked us to stay the night, we felt it would be much riskier than the 15-mile walk home, despite the impending darkness. Without the light of day or the glow of ample streetlights, Mogadishu would be plunged into darkness. That's when each warring sides would hunker down in their positions and kill anything that moved.
We assured his uncle that our fleet feet and faith in God would carry us safely home.
As darkness grew, we approached a street engulfed in the distinctive sound of sniper fire. Shots reverberated off the half-crumbled buildings. Unlike automatic fire, sniper fire has a rhythm to it.
Any lengthy pauses gave us confidence that things were safe. We ran single-file across areas where the shooting had subsided. We cut through buildings to escape more live fire. The shelling recommenced and we ran through an open field like the scared children we were.
Suddenly, things changed in an instant. My next memory is of my cousin, Adun, lying face down. His right hip split wide open, blood covering the ground like an oil slick. He screamed for help. My other cousin, Dhalin, sprinted to us and fell by his brother's side. He said, "Abdi … Adun is dead."
His words didn't register. Nothing made sense.
Desperate to escape the danger, I tried to stand. I couldn't. The rocket had exploded, killing Adun and changing my life forever. My spinal cord so severely injured, I was expected to never walk again. And with that, the dreams I once had gone up like the smoke rising from the ashes of my country.
A spinal cord injury like mine was a death sentence in Somalia. Or so I thought. But I survived because of my family's tireless, sacrificial efforts and my Islamic faith.
After the incident, I fought against my uncooperative body. I fought against fading hopes of ever walking again. I fought to keep my dreams alive. But I knew I had to work hard to attain them.
I was fortunate enough to find my way to the United States and obtained a B.S. degree in Supply Chain Management from North Carolina State University in 2005.
Today, I am a happily married American citizen and telecom manager. I have over twelve years of expertise in the telecommunications sector. As president of AT&T’s Dallas – Fort Worth chapter of the Ability ERG (Employee Resource Group), I advocate for disability inclusion in the workplace.
Thanks to Abdi for sharing his synopsis with AbleThrive.com! You can visit his blog by clicking here and if you'd like a copy of his book for yourself, you can get one here: