Nomadic Footprints

Nomads are a source of wonder, and threat.

With no settled home, no single identity, no adherence to man made boundaries, they exist through periodic movements. No space is theirs but they claim it (temporarily) as home. The ‘other’; whose transient presence is impossible to contain, is a threat to ‘order’ and regime. To be a nomad is to find comfort in the spaces in between, to understand that ‘home’ is not a tangible place and that places are produced by mobilities.

My nomadic footprints guide me through the world, as I learn, teach, move and stay (temporarily). The lens through which I see the world is informed by faith, bloodline and education.

In faith….

“Be in this world as if you were a stranger or a passing traveller.” (Al-Bukhāri)

In Islam this world is referred to in Arabic as al-dunya, which comes from a root meaning closeness, because it is closer to us than the Hereafter at this point in time. We are reminded that our ultimate aspirations are not of this world, and that this is a temporary abode. We are in fact moving towards another destination, the Hereafter, which will be our permanent home and resting place. We are therefore reminded to take care in planting our hearts and minds too firmly on this earth. Yes, we must live, learn, build, love, enjoy and embrace, whilst accepting that all things on earth, but our deeds are short lived.

My faith is my fuel.

A nomadic bloodline

Somalis are traditionally nomadic peoples, living as agro-pastoralists or nomadic livestock herders. Their lives consisted of moving to live; following paths that would allow them to find sustenance. They carry their homes with them, and adapt to every environment they find themselves in. Places have purpose and once that purpose is fulfilled, or denied, movement is inevitable. It is a culture, a custom, and way of life that is built on trust. Trusting that the earth will send you where you need to be. Trusting in your ability to survive and thrive. Trusting in time and the wisdom of its calling.

My bloodline is my anchor.

Educational spaces and places….

Education for me, was never bound by space and I resisted the confining assumption that it must be bound by place. Schools, colleges and universities serve a purpose, indeed they do (and i’ll explore this purpose in later articles), but education is life long, and to be lived. My education has taken place in formal educational settings, and also in playgrounds, in Saturday schools, in hospital rooms, in community centres, and around kitchen tables. I learn anywhere and everywhere, moving towards any place that offers knowledge that reflects what I need in that moment, and moving away from any place that denies or confines my yearning to learn. The nomadic learner is not confined by physical movement, so when ‘learning’ spaces that are toxic, become the spaces our bodies occupy, we must find ways to maintain freedom through mind, and spirit.

Education is my compass.

2 comments

  1. Beautifully written and very moving a nomad journey is the joy and I’m enjoying sharing this new journey you are on.

    Like

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