It has probably become obvious that I am, in this blog, using gifts I've received--from the many people who've paraded through our house over the years--as writing prompts to capture their stories. I never walk past my glass-doored "gift" case or dust one of the objects sitting around my house that a name and a story doesn't pop into my head. Today's symbol is a Somalian nomad pillow and the story is Hussein's.
Hussein was born into a nomadic family in the Somalian desert. When he was eight years old his father was killed in an accident and the tribal custom was to send any male children to live with brothers of the father. Hussein was sent to Mogadisho to live with his uncle who educated him through the university. Hussein became a social worker and was sent back to the nomads in 1979 to teach them the written form of the Somalian language--which was only established in 1973.
Since the nomads traveled through the desert, all their possessions had to be light weight and easily carried by hand or on the back of a camel. According to a tribal custom the young men did not cut their hair until they were married. This "pillow" served one main purpose--to keep the their "Fro's" out of the dessert sand while they slept. The pillow, made of a light balsa-type wood, is more comfortable than one would think when the curved upper portion is placed at the back or side of the neck.