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Generous as she was toward others, a friend at the Kakuma camp advised Halima not to refuse resettlement.She came to the United States in 2006, then in her 60s.The entrepreneur Halima thought about someday owning a business in Chicago, where she was resettled. Unable to live on her own, Halima was taken to a nursing home on Lawrence Street in a middle-income Chicago neighborhood.“Since I was unable to have a baby,” emotional Halima recalled, “my husband did not like me.” He favored other wives over her while the other women also looked down upon her.“My relationship with my husband began to change,” said Halima, as sadness pervades her face.As per Borana custom, she married an older man at an early age.However, her marriage was not without difficulties.After crying the whole night, Halima decided to escape to an unknown land to get away from her abusive husband.
Her husband grew abusive, insulting, beating, and calling her “maseena” (an impotent woman).
“One evening he beat me harshly,” said Halima staring at the floor, as if she was shy or ashamed, and asked me if I could write a book about her story.
In Kenya, Halima lived in the Kakuma refugee camp and for sometime refused to immigrate to the west, everyone’s dream in that corner of the world. She settled near the camp and started a new business raising goats and sheep.
She sold milk to refugee populations – earning her a popular nickname Halima recounts with pride giving away goat milk for free to refugees who could not afford it. In late 1990s, cattle raiders from the Turkana tribe attacked her village in Kenya and looted all her livestock. Halima became poor and destitute again, this time in exile.
was born and raised in the western periphery of the Borana land, Tertale, in southern Ethiopia.
Like most Borana women of her age, Halima did not attend school.