The Last Nomad: Coming of Age in the Somali Desert

The Last Nomad: Coming of Age in the Somali Desert

by Shugri Said Salh
The Last Nomad: Coming of Age in the Somali Desert

The Last Nomad: Coming of Age in the Somali Desert

by Shugri Said Salh


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A remarkable and inspiring true story that "stuns with raw beauty" about one woman's resilience, her courageous journey to America, and her family's lost way of life.

Finalist for the 2022 Dayton Literary Peace Prize Nonfiction Award
Winner of the 2022 Gold Nautilus Award, Multicultural & Indigenous Category

Born in Somalia, a spare daughter in a large family, Shugri Said Salh was sent at age six to live with her nomadic grandmother in the desert. The last of her family to learn this once-common way of life, Salh found herself chasing warthogs, climbing termite hills, herding goats, and moving constantly in search of water and grazing lands with her nomadic family. For Salh, though the desert was a harsh place threatened by drought, predators, and enemy clans, it also held beauty, innovation, centuries of tradition, and a way for a young Sufi girl to learn courage and independence from a fearless group of relatives. Salh grew to love the freedom of roaming with her animals and the powerful feeling of community found in nomadic rituals and the oral storytelling of her ancestors.

As she came of age, though, both she and her beloved Somalia were forced to confront change, violence, and instability. Salh writes with engaging frankness and a fierce feminism of trying to break free of the patriarchal beliefs of her culture, of her forced female genital mutilation, of the loss of her mother, and of her growing need for independence. Taken from the desert by her strict father and then displaced along with millions of others by the Somali Civil War, Salh fled first to a refugee camp on the Kenyan border and ultimately to North America to learn yet another way of life.

Readers will fall in love with Salh on the page as she tells her inspiring story about leaving Africa, learning English, finding love, and embracing a new horizon for herself and her family. Honest and tender, The Last Nomad is a riveting coming-of-age story of resilience, survival, and the shifting definitions of home.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781643752563
Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Publication date: 07/19/2022
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 463,720
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.95(d)

About the Author

Shugri Said Salh was born in the Somali desert. In 1992, she immigrated to North America after civil war broke out in her home country. She attended nursing school at Pacific Union College and graduated with honors. Although this is her first book, Salh has been storytelling since she could talk. From her grandmother and the nomadic community in which she was raised, she heard stories and learned of their power to entertain, teach, and transform. When she isn't writing or telling stories, she works as an infusion nurse. She lives in Sonoma County with her husband and three children.

Table of Contents

Prologue 1

1 Nomads 7

2 Galkayo 49

3 Ageless Desert Flower 63

4 Carrying Out Tradition 90

5 Orphanage 105

6 The Outside World 129

7 Beautiful Mogadishu 141

8 Journey 166

9 Goodbye, Mogadishu 189

10 Garissa 222

11 Nairobi 241

12 The Promised Land 255

Epilogue 289

Acknowledgments 295

Questions for Discussion 299

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