Canada hosts one of the largest Somali populations in the Western world. I had the chance to spend time with some Somalians in Toronto in 2017.
I heard stories of struggle, passion, discrimination, love, and homesickness. All the people with whom I spoke are fully integrated, working and studying. They have Canadian born children; but, they miss the motherland and some of them are dreaming to spend their last years back in their stolen land. I don´t want to talk about their stories; I don´t feel entitled to. What I want to talk about is the big BBQ party they organized for my last day in Toronto. It was organized in just a few days and I didn´t expect so many people who didn´t know me to come and celebrate. At 8.30 PM the patio was already full and everybody came with a tray full of food and a big smile.
This was definitely not what I expected: happiness!
We hear every day how refugees and immigrants are miserable and troubled about lives.
I found joy and happiness on faces that had to leave their loved ones to escape from an insane civil war, on faces that have faced death, and on faces that have struggled to find a place in a western world that had no space for them.
In this photo essay I wanted to portrait this joy, the dancing, the smiles and the love of life that only those who lived and fought can have.
Now entering the third decade of its violent civil war, Somalia is a country located in the Horn of Africa that has faced a lot of turbulence over the years and remains one of the world’s poorest countries. Among some of the gravest humanitarian emergencies of the year 2018, the Somalia refugee crisis remains very crucial and significant due to its impacts on national security, regional politics, terrorism and poverty.