More Than A Survivor: An interview with Aisha

Sahiyo understands that being a survivor of female genital cutting (FGC) is just one moment of your life and only one part of who you are as a person. Oftentimes, being labeled as a survivor can prevent people from seeing a person in any other context beyond survivorship.

Our campaign, #MoreThanASurvivor, explores our individuality and shows the world what makes us unique. After all, who we are is made up of all the moments in our lives, not just one.

Interview:

Where do you live?

I’m currently residing in the Groove Hall area of Roxbury, MA. 

Where’s the favorite place you have traveled to, lived in, or would like to visit?

My best traveled destination was in Havana, Cuba. My experience in Cuba was the most eye opening experience of my life. I felt like a part of the culture because of how welcoming the people were. My experience in living in Nairobi, Kenya, and in Boston, Massachusetts, has both enriched my life. Both countries have taught me about the diversity of the human race. Both experiences exposed me to the complexity of humanity. And how we can coexist with all the differences in culture, religion, language and ethnic/nationalities.

What are some of your passions?

I have vast passions in many areas of life. I take interest and advocate on issues such as women’s rights, economic injustice, child welfare, healthcare care reforms, and any form of injustice to humanity.

What does an average day look like for you?

On a work day, I’m usually up at 5:30 am. Shower, dress, eat and head to work. After work, I usually go to the gym and work out for a few hours. Then I unwind from the day with some wine, and a book or some form of entertainment. 

What are some things you do for self-care?

I like taking long baths and taking care of my skin, hair, and nails with the appropriate diet. I enjoy sleeping in, I work-out/meditate. I try to refrain from media and social interactions and try to connect with nature.

What are five words to describe you?

If I were to ask people who know me to describe me, they would say that I am intelligent, friendly, honest, fun, loyal. 

What are your hobbies?

Most of my hobbies consist of reading, working out, cooking, and traveling when I can afford.

What is your profession or what career would you like to be in?

I have worked several years in the mental health profession. In my career, I have worked with the dual-diagnosis, homeless, adolescents and the elderly population. These experiences have helped me face many challenges, victories and shaped me in valuing the lives and experiences of the people in my community.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Growing up I was told to be a healthcare provider. My family pushed me to pursue a nursing or biology degree as a means to med school. As I got older and exposed to liberal arts education and understanding the needs of my community, I decided to pursue a degree in psychology to become a mental health professional in the near future. 

What is your favorite food?

I love foods from all ethnic backgrounds, but if I had to choose, my top two would be Somali and Mexican. 

What is your proudest achievement?

My proudest achievement is teaching myself how to cook and dance. I took a hip hop class that helped strengthen my skills, but most other styles of dancing were self taught. 

What is a hidden talent that you possess?

I have a natural affinity for languages.

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