Farhiya :I found my dad on Facebook’
• Farhiya was separated from her father when she was a child
• She did not see him for nearly 40 years
• They were reunited thanks to a stranger on social media
“Congratulations! We found your father!” Read e-mail in your inbox Farhiya’s.
“I could not believe when I first got the news.” as you say.
“It was a dream come true, but I always keep faith that this moment of the arrival of a single day.”
When growing up,
Farhiya used to ask her mother what her father was like.
“She tells me to look in the mirror,” says Farhiya. “You talk like him, you walk like him, so you could argue like him,” her mother to reply.
But apart from a few black and white pictures, and that it was all he had to go on.
aged thirty-nine in Leningrad – now St. Petersburg – in 1976 from the Russian Somali mother and father.
Siid Ahmed Sharif, one of the many young Somali officers had to study in the Soviet Union, where the Soviet Union sought to expand its influence in Africa.
He and his mother Farhiya planned to marry,
but after a year I was born Farhiya, Somalia went to war with its neighbor Ethiopia – and the Kremlin stood with Ethiopia.
including the father of Farhiya to return to their homes.
“My mother and I were visiting my grandmother in West Siberia
when I first heard on the radio about the war,” she says.
“I remember her telling me later that I knew immediately
what that means for our family, what that means for my father.”
Sharif had 24 hours to pack his bags.
With his loved ones far away,
he could not even say goodbye but left a note with his parents’ address in Mogadishu.
“I knew it was not going out on us,
and he was left to us or abandoned us,” says Farhiya. “It’s only us given the circumstances did not stay.”
But these conditions also made it impossible to stay in touch.
The family was separated for nearly four decades.
it was Farhiya childhood in a happy one.
“I was surrounded by the unconditional love of my mother.
Relatives gave me a lot of love and care, I feel very special,” she says.
“I am proud of my heritage,
proud to look different … my colleagues, my teachers at the school, said the university I’ve always been exceptional.”
Farhiya speaking world to modernize the service of the BBC World Service – Listen to the interview here
Farhiya always wondered where her father was and what it was like, though.
“It was the desire to find my dad is always there
but it was when I was about 12,
I told myself I had to do something to find it,” she says.
By that time, the political climate had changed – it was Mikhail Gorbachev’s policy of glasnost (openness) and ongoing Farhiya saw nothing to stop her writing to her father.
But when the letters were sent to the address
he had left she always bounced back open. She did not even know if I come to Somalia.
I contacted organizations in the Soviet Union, which helped children find their parents Africans and got in touch with the Red Cross,
which provided a similar service. But their attempts were fruitless.
Other Russian children were able to find their parents in other African countries because it was easier.
Those countries diplomatic relations and embassies and workers in Russia who were on their way back and forth to African countries. As for Somalia, and access was very limited, “she says.
From time to time actively search stopped,
and because they never allow full go of the idea of finding her father.
“It was like trying and failing and then abandoned for a few years and then go back to look again and again not to,” she says.
When Somalia plunged into civil war in 1991, which was a major setback.
The war continued for nearly two decades, but also drew to an end, social networks began to emerge, and this gave Farhiya new hope.
Russian one site and social media,
VKontakte, she came across a woman to help reunite people with parents who live abroad, but it turned out to be another impasse.
“I wrote her, but said that if my father was in Somalia that they will not be able to help,” said Farhiya.
Then I began to browse pictures of Somalia on Instagram.
And published lots of pictures she liked by Somali young man named Deeq which seemed a good connection,
so she sent a message to him to see if he can help.
Deeq has cultivated a group of Somali contacts during his years of travel in North America, Europe and the Horn of Africa.
It also has good contacts in the Somali government from his job at his country’s embassy in Dubai.
On March 16 that the publication of the call Farhiya on his Facebook page.
Soon comments floods began in one of Norway stood.
“That sister Farhiya,” read.
It is written by one of the brothers half Farhiya,
and living in Oslo, and her father was staying with them at the time.
A few weeks later, after several Skype calls, Farhiya,
traveled her mother and husband of Farhiya to Norway to face her father.
“It was exactly like he said I expected him to be,” she says. “We walked exactly the same way we talked in exactly the same sound was unbelievable – the two of us were together after all this time!”
Met with three of her brothers sisters, arrived half-brother whom Sweden, where her father lives more than once.
And he traveled half-uncle also to Oslo for the family gathering.
Farhiya discovered that her father was looking for her, too.
“When we talked on Skype for the first time,
he told me about his attempts to reach us,” she says.
But she and her mother had moved her mother when she was married, did not have the Sheriff’s new address.
Like his daughter, he has already been against the problems caused by the collapse in relations between the two countries.
These days Farhiya and her mother speaks regularly with Sharif on Skype is scheduled to hold another meeting.
The next time he has to visit St. Petersburg.
There are many things about life and her father has Farhiya yet to see, many things she and her mother want to tell him about the past four decades.
Fortunately Sharif still remembers Russian, which he learned many years ago.
Farhiya pleased she extended family in Scandinavia, Somalia discovered, but sometimes it’s hard to take into consideration that finally ended.
“It is likely to still take me a long time to believe that in my phone,
and I now have the most important in my life contact – my father.”