Amen: Nairobi, Kenya

In the Nairobi apartment I shared with Dr. Abdi and her family lived two women who helped with the cooking, the cleaning, and the caring for Dr. Abdi’s grandson, Ahmed.

Anabey, 18, is the veteran—she grew up in Dr. Abdi’s camp and had been living with the family, in Nairobi, for more than a year. In 1994 Dr. Abdi delivered Anab in a procedure so complicated that her grateful mother promised that her daughter would come to Dr. Abdi’s aid if the need ever arose. When Dr. Abdi and her family was forced into exile following a 2010 attack on the camp, Anab left the camp for a new life in Kenya. In exchange for her help, Dr. Abdi and her daughters have promised to put Anab through school—beginning in the first grade, with homeschooling—until she achieves her goal of becoming a qualified nurse. She is now in the fourth grade; her English has improved astoundingly since I first met her one year ago. (Here she is, last year, with her teacher.) As the situation in the camp worsens, and the threat of airstrikes loom, her face and her gait grow heavy.

“Oh, Sarah, I don’t know,” she said with a wan smile, as she poured batter for anjara, or pancakes, onto the stove. “One minute you’re talking with your mother, and the next minute, BOOOM, she’s dead.” Continue reading “Amen: Nairobi, Kenya”