Interview with Omar Muya of the Pittsburgh Somali Bantu Community, 4/14/19,
Taylor Black, Jevon Cooper, Elyse Cinquino, Lauren Fugate and Kate Lyon
Brian Miller: I'm going to turn you over to a group of students here who aregoing to conduct the interview, but I wanted to first say thank you very much for being willing to participate in this, and that also you are in charge of this process. If there's a question that you're uncomfortable with or you'd rather not discuss, please say 'I don't want to talk about that' and we'll move on. And, if you want to end the interview at any time. But, it's you that's calling the shots. I wanted to sort of set that up front. Okay?
Omar Muya: Okay, no problem. Sorry about I couldn't make it. I wanted to bethere, but like you probably know my situation, but you know, I just have to be home to keep my leg elevated.
BM: I understand, I hope you feel better. In Turkish we say (spoken in Turkish),which means 'may it pass quickly, may your illness pass quickly'. So, I hope 00:01:00that you heal quickly.
OM: That's good. I need that.
BM: I'm going to turn you over to the students who are going to interview, okay?
BM: You guys comfortable?
Lauren Fugate: So, we're going to read you the consent form first, if that's okay?
OM: That's fine.
LF: Okay, great. So, for this project we will explore the experiences of peoplewho have migrated from one place to another. We are interested in understanding the role of migration in society through the words of migrants themselves. Our intention as researchers is to explore these experiences and narratives to better understand this history. We are likely to share your interview content, in part or in full on the digital humanities web platform entitled: www.migrationstories.org. MigrantStories archives self-narrated migrant experiences to be made available to scholars and the public. These interviews 00:02:00offer a forum to disrupt and challenge current dominant public perceptions of migrants and refugees. This interview will last approximately 30 to 60 minutes. However, you can elect to end your participation at any time before or during the interview. You can elect to release all or part of your interview after the interview using the provided release form. If you have any questions about this project or the ways in which the content has been used, you can contact the chair of the Allegheny College Institutional Review Board. Do you agree for the interview to be recorded?
LF: And, do you affirm that you are 18 years of age, or older?
LF: Do you wish to participate in this interview project and do so voluntarily?
LF: Okay, thank you.
OM: You're welcome.
Elyse Cinquino: To start, we can probably just do a really quick introduction.And, we'll go around. So, my name's Elyse. I'm a junior at Allegheny College. 00:03:00
Taylor Black: And, I'm Taylor. I'm also a junior at Allegheny College.
Kate Lyon: I'm Kate, and I'm a sophomore at Allegheny College.
LF: I'm Lauren, and I'm a junior.
Jevon Cooper: I'm Jevon, and I'm a senior.
LF: So, I guess our first question would be what is your full name?
OM: My name is Omar Mouya.
LF: Okay Omar, do we have permission to use your name in the published portionsof this interview?
EC: And then, our next question is where were you born?
OM: I was born in Somalia.
LF: Where else have you lived?
OM: I lived in Kenya refugee camp, and then in two refugee camp in Kenya, andthen my last place in Pittsburgh.
LF: Can you describe the refugee camps for us?
OM: Yes. Refugee camps like, you know, I don't know the difference from the00:04:00other refugee camp, but the one I've been--all the Somali Bantu have been--which is, I think it's a little difficult a refugee camp. It's pretty much challenging because we are in the border of Somalia. We are very close and we have the civil war in Somalia, so people were still shuffling in from Somalia to Kenya. And then living in it was very harsh and gated, kind of like a gated refugee camp, kind of like everybody's like in a compound, and then food wise was so difficult because UN--United Nation--HCR was just bringing in food through, I don't know, I think maybe from Mombasa or Nirobe. Pretty much from Mombasa. That's all the way they could get it to us, and pretty much the food they were feeding us was pretty much the food here, in America, is getting fed to the horses and animals 00:05:00cuz they were giving us corns, white flour, and a little bit of oil. Like, if I just give you a ratio number, food wise I got family size, like one person in the household, you get like three kilos--kilogram--of corn, and then three kilogram of flour, and then I think it's like maybe fifteen or ten ounce of beans and about the same amount of oil, and maybe like, maybe not even one or two ounce of salt. And, that is the food they expecting you to use for like at least fifteen days, cuz the distribution goes from day one, and then the next distribution is going to be on the fifteen of the month. So, when you get from day one, that food I mention have to last you for at least fifteen days, and then that food--if you look at it--you prolly likely will last you for a day or 00:06:00two, and not include a protein. There's no meant, there's no other stuff, and they--you have to go get your own firewood cuz everything, like there's no such thing as electricity, there's no such a thing as like you have a stove, like you have to go get some firewood, start your own fire--kinda like--so, everything is kinda like living in a harsh, and it's in a way it's uninhabitable, but that's all we got. So, living life in refugee camp is kinda very difficult for any human being I can think of--at least the one I experienced myself, and most of the Somali-Bantu living in refugee camps. And, I would put it like--you know--that if you look at the food, they only give you a chance to maybe likely to get only one meal a day, because if you eat three meals a day you lucky enough the food will last you about three days. 7 00:07:00
LF: So, could you maybe contrast your experiences in the refugee camp with howyour life was before you went? And, what your life in your childhood home was like? And, you talked a lot about the food and the living conditions, could you maybe just give us an idea of the differences between where you were from and the refugee camp?
OM: So, I mean, I was a little boy. Maybe ten, eight, years old--if I'm notmistaken--coming from Somalia, a village called Mofi, and in our village is like the bank of river, just like living not very far from the river--somewhere close to river--and we pretty much had everything we need in our village, like if we need say, like what do you call? Fruits like mango, we only go to the river bank 00:08:00and they're all kind of mango trees, and then everything that falls on the ground, you're more than welcome to have. And we--myself and my family--we had a bunch of--we had a farm--so we had cows, goats, and all kind of like--so we're getting milk every morning, making it fresh from the animals, and--you know--so like you have, having food, having everything I need was there for me when I was like little boy growing up, but when the civil war came we have to flee, and end up in refugee camp. Everything that we have, we have to leave behind. Run for our life. So I never, I never experienced hunger living, me being a little boy in Somalia. So, like our parents used to do in the morning, they would leave us in the village and go to the farms. If you like five until like maybe, you can't go help the parents until you're like 10 or 12 years old. 9 00:09:00
OM: Younger than that, you pretty much, there's no schools, what do you call it,there's no schools, only, what do you call it, religion schools that you go to in the morning and then after that you go like three times a day. But before that you just stay home with your siblings and all you do, or what we used to do, just is gather all the wheat and takes ourselves to the, what do you call it, the river bank and make sure we get fruit for ourselves and our little siblings. And coming home, when our parents were home, we used to get like shower and then they would feed us and then put us to sleep. So I never, going back, I never experienced hunger, I never experienced anything like what I experienced at the refugee camps.
LF: So, how old were you when you had to flee to the refugee camps? You talkedabout being pretty young in your childhood home, but when was it that you had to leave?
OM: We, I don't know exactly, that's why, I don't know whether it's culturally00:10:00but people living in villages, I think what the Somali government has done, for pretty much cut, since we're far from what do you call it, capitals and towns. We--our birthday, were never recorded in our government, what do you call it, in books and recordings. And then, Our parents, are never most of them are never, most 10 or 100 maybe, you're lucky if you had 10, went to school for formal education. So we never have a birth certificate, we never, they never recorded their birth date. Everything you ask, and then say you were born this month, they think this is your month. They know the month and that corresponds to the Islamic month and that doesn't give you what year. So it's hard to imagine exactly when I was born if you ask me, honestly. But me saying that I was maybe, at least eight years old, that just corresponds to what my parents have told me. 00:11:00You know, I don't have no birth certificate to identify I was born this date, this time. Pretty much the government, I don't have any paperwork of the government, or anybody really.
So, me? We flee Somalia in '91 to get to Kenya and then we pretty much went tothe village to Kismallu, which is I think, probably the third biggest city in Somalia and then we left there pretty much and what we did was, we took a tractor and then what all the little kids and grown, older people who couldn't walk were like sitting on a tractor bed and the older people they were walking.
If I had to guess from Kismallu to Libu, is the border between Somalia and Kenya00:12:00is probably like, 500 kilometers which is probably somewhere within 200 something miles so maybe 100 something, 180 miles. We took us about 3 days or a week of walking, them walking, not me I didn't walk and then we were like sleeping over in the middle of nowhere sometimes. I remember just being a little boy and saying, "Oh, that there was a lion coming" because where we were sleeping, this other animal, they were looking for food as well. And then a lot of people died through that journey traveling through from Kismallu to Libui. So when we get to Libui and UN met us over there with all, what do they call it, they used to take us, it's not in these luxury vehicle they called it a the dump truck, we just get in the back of, what do you call it, trucks like who knows 00:13:00how many 60 to 80 people and they would transport us to there to what do they call it, a little another 300 or 400 kilometers down in Kenya, which is a camp, the main one which is called Dadaab. But they have three different camps, one is called, Hagadera which is where I was and then there's Ifo and Dagahaley. So that's where we left from [spoken in a foreign language] to Kismayo, from Kismayo and we went straight to, there, where you call it, Hagadera but we were transported to Kismayo--, what do you call it to Libui by tractor from Kismayo, I mean from Libui to, from Libui to Hagadera, we took--, the UN took us from there. Now this all was '91.
OM: Did I answer your question?
EC: Yeah that was good. I think the next one we kind of wanted to talk about is00:14:00any holidays that are traditionally celebrated in your family or community or important holidays, any kinds of things that would touch upon traditions or customs.
OM: So that's like, the main holidays is like big, the Islamic holidays that weusually brought to me when I was a boy, one was Eid al-Adha and ...[unintelligible]. And traditionally just being a small boy in [spoken in a foreign language]. I used to remember something, I don't know in English what it's called but it's not a holiday but it's one of the traditional things they do. It's called [spoken in foreign language] It's a festival, what they used to do is they would take water and they would put it in cups. It could be any kind 00:15:00of water, it could be sometimes clean water, dirt water. It's one of those things, you'd go around between boys and girls and older and like just men or women kind of game-thing they play, you know you would take and just surprise somebody and just throwing water into their face or throwing dirt. It's one of those fun things to have and it goes for three days and it's not a celebration where you sit down, but it's something like people gather, like surprising like a whole week so you have to watch you back, and it could be like...
OM: I'm sorry?
LF:No, go ahead.
OM: And so, that's the one thing I remember. And then Eid is the main one andright now Ramadan is coming and Eid al-Fitr, you know you fast for thirty days. And at the end you get the first opportunity you have to eat. There's all this 00:16:00kind of celebration and people have activities and there's a gift exchange which is never seen in America but back home it's a big deal because everyone is off of work for two, three days. All kinds of celebration going on, where there's dancing, there's gift exchange. You could probably gamble. Everything you want is there, you know. And then the Kids are always like, they don't do gift exchange, the grown-ups just give them stuff, whether it's money, whether it's gifts, whether it's food, whether it's this, like people always welcome.
And the next thing is which is three months later, is Eid al-Adha. Pretty muchusually, by when the history People, If you can afford it you go to a hut which is over in Arabia. I think it's tenth of the month, It's kind of the same thing 00:17:00but usually it says if you can slaughter a sheep it's much better, but if you can't afford it it's okay. It's the same kind of celebration but not I think in the religious, it says you should celebrate at least for 7 days, which in America, we're just not there because every morning you have to wake up and do what they gotta do, keep the lights on and feed your family.
But those two are the main things but we have those little other ones, like[spoken in a foreign language] kind of like the local, traditional thing, holidays.
LF: So you talked about not being able to celebrate in the same way, like yourholidays, in America, how have you sort of adapted these traditions to fit the US culture?
OM: I mean it it's going to be different I think adaptive to today just takingit by day...
OM: I mean it it's going to be different I think adaptive to today just takingit by day. So like say like Eid is coming up maybe in like the thirty days 00:18:00usually in like, if I go back in Somalia or maybe even a refugee camp like where everybody was Muslim and everybody was Somali, what usually everybody would do is, in the month of Ramadan pretty much if you all the restaurants are closed during the what you call the day nobody is eating everybody is fasting, they would start cooking maybe around two or four o'clock and the restaurants are open later because everybody is eating later and then so when you come here the restaurants are open all day. Say I am working with a hundred people around me they all of them are eating all day but I'm not sometimes I'm probably getting mistake by like you know putting food in my mouth because of that. And then come to the celebration maybe falls in an um Wednesday they say I probably have to take a day off to go celebrate with my family. And sometime it depends who you 00:19:00work for they might say 'no we can't really give you that time off' so then now you have to choose between religion on holidays in which you believe in or choose you know your work which is if you don't work and there is a change they might let you go and then next it now you don't have an income coming so like adding at that like I said taking by day as I go whatever this day present to me that's that I adapt to I don't think there is any system adaptive that is going to work for me. And then we try like me and a couple other guys we have a used kind of leader thing where we were doing that thing as a little bit demanding and all of us have our responsibilities and I think like a year ago what we did was we got together and say that instead of lets just have it all this events like the Eid in our neighborhood like in Northview Heights where is a project 00:20:00now what we did is we created a bunch of games like from soccer from henna and everything like we could probably we try our best we could have it back home with there such a thing as one Eid and then I could remember everybody like when we have food we cook food we had everything and we even played at the soccer field, and we had a soccer game and at the end of the day with and we had a bunch of corn, and we were grilling burgers and everything burgers, corn, watermelon so everybody was so happy even the uh adults were happy were saying ' this never happened this was a great thing they have ever seen since they came to America' and this was at least a year two years ago. And then coming other time it is difficult cause that end up falling on a weekend means that a lot of people are getting off, but some other days you can try to do that it would 00:21:00never happen because people have to be at work or they ask their boss ' can I go this day' they give you half a day means you have to return back to work. And then you know kids they might be celebrating in school it good that they let them go, but some kids choose to stay in school more than the other so it's very complicated and sometimes it's just you can try so much, but it it just you know everybody is around you it doesn't they don't understand who you are and what are you about and where you are from. I don't know if that is what you are looking for?
JC: That definitely answers our question. You talked about a lot about some ofyour experiences here within the United States, but just for the record we just wanted to know when exactly did you arrive within the United States?
OM: Yeah I came by United States June 2004 from uh Kenya refugee camps. From00:22:00Kenya to Nairobi which I was there for like a week from Nairobi to here.
JC: Okay. What was the process like do you have any memories from that timecoming to America?
OM: So the process is uh coming to America started uh I don't know I can't tellyou any time, I believe was probably back in 19 if it's not probably 98 or maybe before that there was a gentleman from United States I think he is still in Oregon he is called Danny he was a uh the head I think he was the head of UNHCR in Dadaab and then like in a way kind of lookout, we were like the minority the Somali-Bantu minority in Somalia, so that is one part I was touching basically they come and never give us rights to record our birthdays and everything, and when we get there there be like our leader gonna mention it to him say 'look we're minority we're still minority here we're stuggling can we have a better 00:23:00life outside of just refugee camp in Somalia' and then he kind of look our history and everybody and they were like you guys originally we kind of like say you are originally from Tanzania or Mozambique and the process they were what they did they try to request you put up letters through this guy send request this people original from your country would you be able to take them. I don't know which one is which but one of them say they can take us but they don't have enough economy in order to give us what we need and the other one say you know 'I can't my country is already full and I can't take no more people' so that eliminate both what he did he ask what you call United States and United said I think this was Bill Clinton and he say 'yeah I will take I will help them out' but the time we were supposed to carry it was either the 98 bombing happening in 00:24:00the Embassy of Tanzania and Kenya. I believe and that kind a back peddled everything and when that happened and then later you I believe was 2000 or 2002 and they us living in the Dadaab refugee camp was not safe for the people are going to interview us which are coming from America so they have to move us from Dadaab refugee camp to Kakuma which is the place we left from when we get to Kakuma I believe it was late early 2000 to late 2002 I think 2002 and there was three there was so many steps but I remember there were three steps you have to go through one was like call from feeling so when you get there they will ask people from America will come there and then they would do like screening from feeling like 'are you feeling a form of your family tree' so like uh all the 00:25:00people that are related to me when I get there first I tell them these people are related to me this people are related to me. The way they were doing is if I come to Pittsburgh all the people related to me that maybe all going to come to Pittsburgh with me, so like it everybody is here it is kind of like in a way they all related or they all join together, so they were going form filling they did a family joint. And then the third one was like a uh they what you call it the questionnaire they ask you like it pretty much not hard but you have to answer those questions is one of them like asking about tourism like what you know about tourism and stuff like that, if they figure you a danger to the country there's a way not many but there is people who didn't make it to America because of that. They figure like you going to be a threat to this country they will fail you so that's like a test they put you through if you don't answer the question right like some of them like if I say I have a spouse and then you know 00:26:00I am just trying to help someone coming who is not my spouse they will ask you like 'last night and what part of the bed have you slept' or 'what did you guys have for dinner?' so if this not my wife they going to say something I'm going to say something different that's part of the test, at the end they will not tell you right away they will send they will not send letter they will post it on the board like nobody have a mailing address it's all refugee camp it's like what you call it gated neighborhood, and what they would do they post a bulletin where everybody would go there in the morning when everything is posted and they will look if your name is there means you pass and your name is there you fail, they will call you everybody in and they will give you an envelope and you go to read outside and it will tell you, you fail so that was a part of it. So once you pass then they will call you for Medicaid, when they call you for Medicaid means they do your screening to make sure you don't have all kinds of disease that you going to bring to America. And if you like usually people have tougher 00:27:00clothes they try to treat you there before you can move on, then once you get through that the medical they put you they will like you on a waiting list for a flight means when you get into the flight they move you from Kakuma they bring you to Nairobi which everybody is flying from Nairobi and they have a little what you call it kind of like you know a small place they can keep up to I think it was like one hundred people eighty people that are ready to fly maybe a couple hundred or something they ready to fly from Nairobi to your destination. So that's the process it took from 2000 to 2004 that I made it to United States leaving from Dadaab refugee camp I mean from yeah from Dadaab refugee camp. In 2004 that is when we end up getting to Pittsburgh.
TB: So Omar, you spoke about before previously with workplaces around Pittsburgh00:28:00not being so accommodating with religious observances. Going off of that, have you ever encountered racism in like maybe your neighborhood or if anybody has encountered racism in schools or like in the workforce itself? Have you ever had experiences like that or encountered it?
OM: Well I mean, if I say directly myself, I don't think I have but when.....Ibelieve it was 2004/2005 when we came to Pittsburgh and especially I think we're the first Somali-Bantu, Somali in the whole city. Other immigrants I can't talk on their behalf. Going to the school districts especially Pittsburgh public schools, we were like part of it we feel like segregated and part of it I don't know, I would call it discrimination cuz the school board what they did they put 00:29:00all the Somali high school student in one class instead of them be in a  different classes. So and then I wasn't-- I went back to school later because of my age. What they did, they took all the student, believe they were either ten or twelve or maybe I think like was probably...they probably at least more than a dozen, fifteen. They put them all in one class which was in the basement. They assigned all of them to one, I think one or three teacher. One teacher was the homeroom teacher so instead of like the student going to different classes, they'll all be in one class in the basement and the teacher would come to them. And then [unintelligible]. Taking from that, that was the board itself and then the other students especially I won't say--.I'm not trying to be prejudiced here but like especially African American student they were calling us like African. 00:30:00'You guys are African. Go back home.' All kinds of names like pushing us to all different things. We come to America this supposed to be different. So it was never different. And then taking from that, that was resolved. Now everything is better. Taking from that in right now and maybe a couple years ago when our President what happened and people have different views and not personally myself because the way I look at it is how I dress. I probably dress like all the men, what they call it, young generation of people like the men are growing up so you cannot tell whether I'm Muslim or [unintelligible] religion I'm from because I just dress like normal African American or whatsoever. But our female, our women like maybe my wife, you know my mother, my sister. They dress different. They've been what they call it racist or getting this kind of 00:31:00treatment because of how they dress like. They say "you guys are not from here. You should go back home. You guys are immigrants." Like when our President say you know, he doesn't want all Muslims here. Especially people from Somalia. All of that stuff. That came a lot. I think now it is getting better but the thing that stills there when people look at you up and down. They were looking sideways. But personally I cannot speak [unintelligible] I never experienced. I know some female experience through that stuff.
LF: So you talked about how the women in your family maybe see more of this kindof discrimination because of the clothing that they where but you mention you wear clothing more akin to the average American would wear. Could that be seen as a generational difference in the Somali-Bantu community or are there other 00:32:00sort of indicators of how people are like integrating into American society in different ways based on their generation?
OM: I'd say both. Men just dress like normal. I don't think that-- the onlydifference is like, I don't know the name for it but it would call it a [unsure of spelling] which it would look like a skirt that the men would wear but it's not a skirt. During Eid they wear something [unsure of spelling] but normal days they wear just normal clothing but the women always wear the outer stuff to cover the whole body. Yeah in a way the stuff is changing. The generation coming up is going to be changing and which they already are but I don't see it right 00:33:00away but its gonna change at some point and then I think this younger generation is gonna be changing but I can still see our girls, our mother, our sister, I think they're going to be wearing the same stuff maybe just lighter and not in the same way that our mothers, grandmothers used to wear them but they're going to wear the same thing. But the boys are going to be different and even culturally I think its going to change going forward.
TB: So Omar, that being said, we've talked about a lot of different topics. Whatwould you say overall you'd like the American public to know about your life experiences as a refugee or other members of your community having the same kind of experiences as refugees as well?
OM: Gimme one sec. If you'd be so kind. I know I heard the question but I didn't00:34:00hear. I was just with my son. If you'd be so kind can you repeat it again?
TB: Yes of course! So since we've discussed a variety of different topics aboutyour life experiences, what would you like the American public about your life experiences as a refugee or other members of your community having the same kind of experiences as refugees as well?
OM: I mean I would like-- me walking in front of you wouldn't know what I wentthrough and I wouldn't know your history. First of all to know you'd probably have to ask or maybe you have a conversation and some people have to open up to you. I think what people need to know you know when you see somebody it depend no matter how they dress or how they talk, what they say. Try to ask them what they went through? What they know? What you can help? You know life-- living in 00:35:00your own house is the greatest. Living somewhere else you don't call home is not always going to be home so when I lost my house, when we lost our house back in Somalia--.so we were like maybe I'd call it like orphan. So like hanging around and [unintelligible] on the edge just trying to find a home. I'd probably wouldn't make to America. Maybe most of us wouldn't of made it to America because of the civil war, hunger and starvation but luckily thank god we made it and there's so much history behind it but the main thing is maybe they should know about me-- me and maybe everybody, I'm a fighter and from '91 to 2019 I'm here and I'm trying to move forward and strive and I'm trying to help between me 00:36:00[name] and Abdi and a couple other guys and ladies, we're trying to help out the younger generation and the grown up that can't read and write. The main thing is helping each other. Somebody help us to get here. I want to help out someone like you understand how far I've come and how far I'm trying to go to help the people in front of me and the people who are coming behind, try to teach them an understanding.
EC: Yeah, thank you so much for saying that. One thing that we just wanted toask is, if there is anything else that we haven't covered that you wanted to talk about?
OM: I think--no, I think that's pretty much it. I left like--the things that I00:37:00can think of like, would be like when, you know, I don't think you asked when you come to America, or maybe anywhere, how do you--um--or how do we survive to imagine if you guys earlier. We don't have like formal education background back home. Every job you'd get would be an entry level job, if you do get a job. Like, I don't think you'd probably--maybe what I'm trying to add is, um, living-wise in a different culture, not knowing the language, you can't read and write. How would you afford--how would you get a job? So it was even harder to get a job because people around you can't understand what you say. And when they ask you to do something, you probably won't understand, you know, what they're saying. Like, for example, me, I, um, I went a little bit of high school, which I believe was like 2 years, and then I came out of high school, I went to 00:38:00community college for a little bit, which I didn't even graduate and then what I did was just work at a gas station and then I found a job, I wanted to go to school at Carnegie Mellon for robotics. I kind of started, I had like nothing. I started in maintenance, cleaning, doing whatever is needed. I know like one time my supervisor just told me, "Can you go get me pliers?" I had no clue what pliers were. So I went to the shop and I turned around and looked and looked, and i didn't tell him [supervisor] that I didn't know what it was, so I went in there [the shop] and just turned around and looked and looked, and I came back and I said, I couldn't find it. He said, "Let's go," He [supervisor] opened the drawer and he just give it to me, and he said, "These are pliers." Next time what he did was just, everything he asked me, he just drew it, so I knew what to look for. So that's part of it. And in some ways, there are people that think like that. Me, I probably understood English. There are people who didn't even 00:39:00understand English, so it was much harder, and I'm sure they're getting that pushback, so there's more so probably. If you ask my mom, she doesn't understand English. She probably knows, "Hi, how are you? Fine. Bye." That's pretty much it. And she can't read and write. She has to find a job where they inform them, everyone around them speaking English and, you know, she either has to use sign language to communicate with them, or maybe she has to bring a translator, and then so maybe the pay would be different from somebody else, because she probably can perform, she can perform the job, but she cannot communicate with them or her boss. And then sometimes that put us in, like, if you have to have a better living of a house or, you know, somewhere to live, you cannot afford it because you're probably making an entry-level job, which is, you know who, probably $9 or $10 an hour these days. Back then, it was like $6-something or $7. Which could barely pay your rent. And that's why I put--everybody--and 00:40:00everybody living in the project, which is not ideal place to live in, but that's all that they can afford, and what we can afford, this time around, because of that. And that's the only thing I want to add, and that's the reason why you'd be fine with our people living in the projects because of that. Language barrier and getting a lower paid job because of the skills and the communication with language skills are not there. If you guys forgot something, or you guys want to add more questions, if I can, I will try my best to answer them as well.
LF: Yeah, thank you, thank you for saying that. I guess, going off of, you know,everything that you talked about, like the different barriers in the workplace, is there any advice that you'd give to the future generations within your community about advancement, work opportunities, education, or anything really, 00:41:00just in that vein?
OM: Well, the thing is, I'm gonna say going forward would be education. We haveabout 500 or more individuals in the Somali-Bantu community in Pittsburgh. And I would probably say, about 70+ live in the Northview Heights. So, like, in that 500, maybe I would say, like, maybe 30% are just the younger generation like you [the students] growing up right now, maybe more. In some part, this 30% growing up right now, very few went from high school to college. Like, some of them are like me, you know, went from high school to a little bit of college, and stopped, and went to work to go find a job. But I would say, be like Abdi and a 00:42:00couple people I know, they're still in college. Maybe like 2 or 3 finished college. I would say to better your life, to have a better life, you have to have a good education. And then, I know it's not going to be easy, in the beginning until you finish, but, you have to put in the work to get the reward at the end. So the advice I would give, just be in school. Do not stop--usually we tend to stop in high school, and in high school we think that's enough. But that's not enough. You have to get into a college, for a better education, to have a better life. It doesn't guarantee you're going to have a better life because you went to college, but it gives you that, I don't know the exact word, but I think it gives you the prowess and it gives you more opportunity than the person that never went to college. So you have a further and better education and understanding. But one thing I want to, like, maybe to say to the younger 00:43:00generation, to be in school, at least get to college and get a bachelor's degree, or at least some degree, rather than just having high school diploma.
EC: Yeah, that was really great, thank you so much for that. I don't think wehave any more questions, but we wanted to say, thank you so much for having this phone interview. We really appreciate it, Omar. If you don't have anything else, we can follow up, if you have any questions, feel free to refer to Brian Miller, our professor. But I think that's all we have. I hope your leg, you know, gets better. Other than that, have a great rest of your day.
OM: Thank you very much. And you guys have a good rest of your weekend, I guessthe weekend's almost over. And if you guys have more follow up questions, you're more than welcome to reach out. Mr. Brian can reach out to me, and then I would 00:44:00try my best to answer what I can. And if I have any more questions I'd do it the same way.
EC, LF, KL, DC, TB: Thank you so much! Thank you!
OM: You are welcome. Good-bye.