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Huda Omar: “Life is about who you marry, not the type of home you live in”

Inside Mogadishu’s Rajo camp, cheers can be heard from the family and friends of Mohamed Noor and Huda Omar, a Somali couple, who have just married.

As they walk arm-in-arm through the place that will be their home, onlookers and guests dance in celebration of the start of their new journey. “Life is about who you marry, not the type of home you live in. I love him” Huda Omar told Reuters photojournalist and reporter, Faisal Omar, who visited the makeshift camp and documented its colourful nature in the days leading up to the wedding, as well as the celebrations that followed.

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Mohamed Noor and Huda Omar walk through Rajo camp during their wedding ceremony in Mogadishu. Feisal Omar/ Reuters
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Young boys dance during the wedding ceremony of Somali couple Mohamed Noor and Huda Omar in Mogadishu’s Rajo camp. Feisal Omar/ Reuters
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Mohamed Noor and Huda Omar feed each other during their wedding ceremony in Mogadishu’s Rajo camp. Feisal Omar/ Reuters

The Rajo camp is home to roughly 400 internally displaced people and is located in the capital of Mogadishu. Most of those who live there came during the early 1990s, as fleeing the famine. Years of conflict ravaged the Horn of Africa gave them no choice but to remain at Rajo.

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The newly married Somali couple Mohamed Noor and Hoda Omar are seen inside their home in Mogadishu’s Rajo camp. Feisal Omar/ Reuters
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A woman paints henna on bride Hudo Omar’s feet in Mogadishu’s Rajo camp. Feisal Omar/ Reuters
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Newly married Huda Omar rests at the family home in Mogadishu’s Rajo camp. Feisal Omar/ Reuters
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Newly married Huda Omar and her sister-in-law Rahma Noor look at tomatoes at Mogadishu’s Rajo camp. Feisal Omar/ Reuters
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Mohamed Noor and Huda Omar sit with their family in front of their home in Mogadishu’s Rajo camp. Feisal Omar/ Reuters

Noor has built a simple home for himself and Omar to start their new life, a small shack, divided into a bedroom and eating area which is part of Noor’s family’s larger makeshift house. Omar left her family hut in a farming area in Afgoye, roughly 20 miles away, for Rajo to live with her husband. For the wedding, the couple’s bedroom has been decorated with colorful balloons and flowers. “We have loved each other for a very long time,” the 20-year-old groom said. “I could not afford to build a house and marry her, so my mother helped with the little money she had.”

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The family home of newly married Mohamed Noor is seen in Mogadishu’s Rajo camp. Feisal Omar/ Reuters
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The bedroom of newly married Somali couple Mohamed Noor and Huda Omar is seen in Mogadishu’s Rajo campFeisal Omar/ Reuters

Noor, who was born in the camp, works as a mason with his father. His family were forced to move out of their hometown of Baidoa, after losing their livestock to the famine. Other’s who live in the camp are builders, or sell sweets, nuts and stick toothbrushes to make money. Some beg around the seaside city, which like the rest of Somalia has been gripped by violence since the toppling of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991. “Life is tough here. Sometimes there are explosions nearby and the roads are blocked so I can’t get to work,” Noor explained to Reuters.

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Newly married Mohamed Noor walks home from his job in Mogadishu’s Rajo campFeisal Omar/ Reuters
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Newly married Mohamed Noor prepares to take a shower after returning from work, in Mogadishu’s Rajo campFeisal Omar/ Reuters

After the wedding, the couple celebrate a week-long honeymoon at their new home. After seven days, Omar is joined by other women for more festivities, during which guests bring presents, utensils and cakes. The bride’s mother and mother-in-law place a coloruful scarf on her, in a symbolic gesture indicating she is married.

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Huda Omar feeds her husband Mohamed Noor at their home after the end of week-long celebrations for their wedding in Mogadishu’s Rajo campFeisal Omar/ Reuters
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Women dance on the last day of week-long wedding celebrations for newly married couple Mohamed Noor and Huda Omar in Mogadishu’s Rajo camp. Feisal Omar/ Reuters
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A woman dances on the last day of week-long wedding celebrations for newly married Somali couple Mohamed Noor and Huda Omar in Mogadishu’s Rajo camp. Feisal Omar/ Reuters
Mogadishu wedding
A woman dances on the last day of week-long wedding celebrations for newly married couple Mohamed Noor and Huda Omar in Mogadishu’s Rajo camp. Feisal Omar/ Reuters
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The bride Huda Omar walks to a ceremony where women put a scarf on her to mark the end of week-long wedding celebrations in Mogadishu’s Rajo camp. Feisal Omar/ Reuters
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The families of newly married Somali couple Mohamed Noor and Huda Omar gather to give them gifts for their new home in Mogadishu’s Rajo camp, Somalia. Feisal Omar/ Reuters

In the days that follow, life returns to normal. Omar will undertake chores at home, while Noor goes back to work. “I hope we will have children and I will be able to educate them,” Noor said. “If I get a good job, I will save my money and open a shop for my wife so she can become a trader”.

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Newly married Huda Omar cleans outside her house in Mogadishu’s Rajo camp. Feisal Omar/ Reuters
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A wedding photograph of newly married Somali couple Mohamed Noor and Huda Omar is seen on the dressing table in their bedroom in Mogadishu’s Rajo camp. Feisal Omar/ Reuters
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Somali couple Mohamed Noor (L) and Huda Omar pose for a photograph at their makeshift home during their wedding ceremony in Mogadishu’s Rajo camp.. Feisal Omar/ Reuters

The photos were taking by Feisal Omar for Reuters. The story first appeared on International Business Times. Read rest here

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