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Aisha Ahmed on Home and an Ocean She’s Yet to See

When we opened our doors to the public for Northern Spark, the rain poured late into the night in Minneapolis. And so did the festival-goers into our studios.

On what might have otherwise been a gloomy, stormy evening, we had the pleasure of welcoming people from all backgrounds into On Being’s dry and warm space on Loring Park — and into our recording studio to tell us their stories for our Your Audio Selfie project. For this event, we asked each person the same question:

“When you think of home, what memory or story comes to mind?”

A stream of storytellers eagerly shared memories of peaceful Mumbai mornings and starlit Vermont nights, of root beer with siblings on front porches and oceans never seen. The cheerful people who embraced the stormy weather lit up our night.

One of those people was Aisha Ahmed. She smiled a huge smile as she walked into our recording studio, pulled off her rain gear in front of the microphone, and, without hesitation, told us her home is a place she can’t remember: Mogadishu, Somalia.

Her words were so vivid as she described her mother’s memories of their home city, so full of determination to nurture a deep connection to that place. Here was a young woman speaking from her soul about her love for a war-torn country and an ocean she had never seen. She made me think of places that have shaped my own family’s history, and that I still long for — how we all wish for important home spaces, even when they’re far away or they no longer exist.

Aisha’s story inspired me to visually illustrate her sense of place, so rooted in her Twin Cities community, but also in one so far away. You can listen to her entire audio selfie below:

When you think of home, what image or story comes to mind? How does Aisha’s story resonate with you? Do you long for a place in a similar way? Tell us your story in the reflections section below.

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