Mugadishu: Newly married in a Mogadishu camp

Somali couple Mohamed Noor (R) and Huda Omar feed each other during their wedding ceremony in Mogadishu's Rajo camp, Somalia August 17, 2016. REUTERS/Feisal Omar
Somali couple Mohamed Noor (R) and Huda Omar feed each other during their wedding ceremony in Mogadishu’s Rajo camp, Somalia August 17, 2016. REUTERS/Feisal Omar

To loud cheers from their family and friends, newlyweds Mohamed Noor and Huda Omar walk arm-in-arm through the place that will be their home – a camp for the internally displaced in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu.

Having met two years ago, the pair have just married at Rajo camp, where some 400 families live. Most, like Noor’s parents, came here in the early 1990s to flee famine. They stayed on as years of conflict ravaged the Horn of Africa nation.

As at any wedding, there is plenty of dancing and sweet treats for the young couple as they start married life in Noor’s simple home, made of iron and plastic sheets.

“We have loved each other for a very long time,” the 20-year-old groom said. “I could not afford to build a house and marry her, so my mother helped with the little money she had.”

Noor was born in Rajo after his farmer parents lost their livestock to the famine and left their hometown Baidoa for Mogadishu. He has only ever lived in the camp, where a handful of latrines serve all residents.

Somali couple Mohamed Noor (centre L) and Huda Omar walk through Rajo camp during their wedding ceremony in Mogadishu, Somalia August 17, 2016. REUTERS/Feisal Omar
Somali couple Mohamed Noor (centre L) and Huda Omar walk through Rajo camp during their wedding ceremony in Mogadishu, Somalia August 17, 2016. REUTERS/Feisal Omar

He works as a mason with his father. Others here are builders or sell sweets, nuts and stick toothbrushes to make money. Some beg around the seaside city, which like the rest of Somalia has been gripped by violence since the toppling of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.

“Life is tough here. Sometimes there are explosions nearby and the roads are blocked so I can’t get to work,” he said.

Sweets are seen on a table at the wedding ceremony of Somali couple Mohamed Noor and Huda Omar in Mogadishu's Rajo camp, Somalia, August 17, 2016.  REUTERS/Feisal Omar
Sweets are seen on a table at the wedding ceremony of Somali couple Mohamed Noor and Huda Omar in Mogadishu’s Rajo camp, Somalia, August 17, 2016. REUTERS/Feisal Omar

Omar left her family hut in a farming area in Afgoye, some 30 km (20 miles) away, for Rajo. She will now live in a small shack, divided into a bedroom and eating area, part of her husband’s family’s larger makeshift house. For the wedding, the couple’s bedroom has been decorated with colorful balloons and flowers.

“Life is about who you marry, not the type of home you live in,” she said. “I love him.”
The couple celebrate a week-long honeymoon at home. After seven days, Omar is joined by other women for more festivities, during which guests bring presents, utensils and cakes. The bride’s mother and mother-in-law place a colorful scarf on her, in a symbolic gesture indicating she is married.

Young boys dance during the wedding ceremony of Somali couple Mohamed Noor and Huda Omar in Mogadishu's Rajo camp, Somalia, August 17, 2016. REUTERS/Feisal Omar
Young boys dance during the wedding ceremony of Somali couple Mohamed Noor and Huda Omar in Mogadishu’s Rajo camp, Somalia, August 17, 2016. REUTERS/Feisal Omar

The day after, life goes back to normal — Omar undertakes home chores while Noor goes back to work.

“I hope we will have children and I will be able to educate them,” Noor said. “If I get a good job, I will save my money and open a shop for my wife so she can become a trader”.

(Reporting by Feisal Omar; Writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Mark Trevelyan).

Newly married Huda Omar hands a cup of water to her grandmother in Mogadishu's Rajo camp, Somalia August 30, 2016. REUTERS/Feisal Omar
Newly married Huda Omar hands a cup of water to her grandmother in Mogadishu’s Rajo camp, Somalia August 30, 2016. REUTERS/Feisal Omar
Newly married Huda Omar (R) and her sister-in-law Rahma Noor look at tomatoes at Mogadishu's Rajo camp, Somalia August 30, 2016. REUTERS/Feisal Omar
Newly married Huda Omar (R) and her sister-in-law Rahma Noor look at tomatoes at Mogadishu’s Rajo camp, Somalia August 30, 2016. REUTERS/Feisal Omar
A woman dances on the last day of week-long wedding celebrations for newly married Somali couple Mohamed Noor and Huda Omar in Mogadishu's Rajo camp, Somalia August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Feisal Omar
A woman dances on the last day of week-long wedding celebrations for newly married Somali couple Mohamed Noor and Huda Omar in Mogadishu’s Rajo camp, Somalia August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Feisal Omar
The family home of newly married Mohamed Noor is seen in Mogadishu's Rajo camp, Somalia August 30, 2016. REUTERS/Feisal Omar
The family home of newly married Mohamed Noor is seen in Mogadishu’s Rajo camp, Somalia August 30, 2016. REUTERS/Feisal Omar
A woman dances on the last day of week-long wedding celebrations for newly married Somali couple Mohamed Noor and Huda Omar in Mogadishu's Rajo camp, Somalia August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Feisal Omar
A woman dances on the last day of week-long wedding celebrations for newly married Somali couple Mohamed Noor and Huda Omar in Mogadishu’s Rajo camp, Somalia August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Feisal Omar
The bedroom of newly married Somali couple Mohamed Noor and Huda Omar is seen in Mogadishu's  Rajo camp, Somalia August 26, 2016. REUTERS/Feisal Omar
The bedroom of newly married Somali couple Mohamed Noor and Huda Omar is seen in Mogadishu’s Rajo camp, Somalia August 26, 2016. REUTERS/Feisal Omar
Food for the newly married Somali couple Mohamed Noor and Huda Omar is seen on a table at their home in Mogadishu's Rajo camp, Somalia August 26, 2016. REUTERS/Feisal Omar
Food for the newly married Somali couple Mohamed Noor and Huda Omar is seen on a table at their home in Mogadishu’s Rajo camp, Somalia August 26, 2016. REUTERS/Feisal Omar
Women dance on the last day of week-long wedding celebrations for newly married Somali couple Mohamed Noor and Huda Omar in Mogadishu's Rajo camp, Somalia August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Feisal Omar
Women dance on the last day of week-long wedding celebrations for newly married Somali couple Mohamed Noor and Huda Omar in Mogadishu’s Rajo camp, Somalia August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Feisal Omar
Newly married Huda Omar cleans outside her house in Mogadishu's Rajo camp, Somalia August 25, 2016.  REUTERS/Feisal Omar
Newly married Huda Omar cleans outside her house in Mogadishu’s Rajo camp, Somalia August 25, 2016. REUTERS/Feisal Omar
A wedding photograph of newly married Somali couple Mohamed Noor and Huda Omar is seen on the dressing table in their bedroom in Mogadishu's Rajo camp, Somali August 26, 2016. REUTERS/Feisal Omar
A wedding photograph of newly married Somali couple Mohamed Noor and Huda Omar is seen on the dressing table in their bedroom in Mogadishu’s Rajo camp, Somali August 26, 2016. REUTERS/Feisal Omar
A woman paints henna on bride Hudo Omar's feet in Mogadishu's Rajo camp, Somalia August 23, 2016. REUTERS/Feisal Omar
A woman paints henna on bride Hudo Omar’s feet in Mogadishu’s Rajo camp, Somalia August 23, 2016. REUTERS/Feisal Omar
The bride Huda Omar walks to a ceremony where women put a scarf on her to mark the end of week-long wedding celebrations in Mogadishu's Rajo camp, Somalia, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Feisal Omar
The bride Huda Omar walks to a ceremony where women put a scarf on her to mark the end of week-long wedding celebrations in Mogadishu’s Rajo camp, Somalia, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Feisal Omar
The families of newly married Somali couple Mohamed Noor and Huda Omar gather to give them gifts for their new home in Mogadishu's Rajo camp, Somalia August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Feisal Omar
The families of newly married Somali couple Mohamed Noor and Huda Omar gather to give them gifts for their new home in Mogadishu’s Rajo camp, Somalia August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Feisal Omar
The newly married Somali couple Mohamed Noor and Hoda Omar are seen inside their home in Mogadishu's Rajo camp, Somalia August 18, 2016. REUTERS/Feisal Omar
The newly married Somali couple Mohamed Noor and Hoda Omar are seen inside their home in Mogadishu’s Rajo camp, Somalia August 18, 2016. REUTERS/Feisal Omar
Somali couple Mohamed Noor (L) and Huda Omar pose for a photograph at their makeshift home during their wedding ceremony in Mogadishu's Rajo camp, Somalia August 17, 2016. REUTERS/Feisal Omar
Somali couple Mohamed Noor (L) and Huda Omar pose for a photograph at their makeshift home during their wedding ceremony in Mogadishu’s Rajo camp, Somalia August 17, 2016. REUTERS/Feisal Omar

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Reuters

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