Kadra And Africa

My Acquaintance With Africa I thought I knew enough about Africa, this wonderful
and strange continent with a hot tropical climate and a wealthy nature, which is
populated by many different nations and tribes. I saw many movies, mostly about

African nature and often read newspapers or magazines about frequent wars and
economical problems. But I never made acquaintance with people who originated
from Africa. Thus, it was really interesting to talk, even if a little to my
classmate Kadra, who not long ago, two years, came here from the small East

African country Djibouti. I was interested in how she has lived and thought and
what problems have worried this young, beautiful black woman. In the period of
two years, since I came from Ukraine and have lived in Chicago, I have known six
or seven Afro-Americans. Although we worked together we had never talked about
their problems. Maybe, it isnít done among the black people, all the more
among the Americans. So, I really know nothing about native Africans. No wonder

I always thought they are very poor, not well educated and cut away from world
civilization. It was a big surprise when Kadra told me that she finished
high-school in her motherland and whatís more in French, which is the second,
after her native Arabic, official language in Djibouti. Kadra speaks English
sufficiently, clearly expresses her thoughts and doesnít stop to find the
suitable words as I often do. She plans to continue going to college in order to
get a degree in English, find a better job and probably go back to motherland
where she can teach English to her compatriots. Of course, Kadra told me about
her native country Djibouti, which I know nothing about. It is a beautiful
country located on the East coast of Africa, on the shore of the Red Sea. The
territory, divided into a low coastal plain, with mountains behind, and an
interior plateau, is arid, sandy, and desolate. The climate is generally hot and
dry. Two main ethnic groups, Somali and Afar, live there and almost all people
profess the Muslim faith. Itís a republic and the head of state is a
president. The economy is a weak development and people often go to other
countries hoping to find a job. I was interested that people in Djibouti are
mainly Muslim, to whom I never talked before. So I began to ask questions about
this topic and discovered the huge, mysterious, and alien Islamic world. It
seems to me religion has great importance for Kadra; it is her spiritual
universe, itís like her second "I". It is strange that in the USA, with
its furious rate of life, with its interlacing of nations, cultures, religions
and as a result- a prevailing ideology of idealism, on the top of which is

"I" and "myself", Kadra continues to live in her closed Muslim world. I
found many new things in her world and heard about the customs and laws ascribed
to respect and help older people and parents. Muslims are not allow drinking
alcohol, never using drugs and are faithful in marriage. I found that Islam
allows getting divorced, if a man or woman doesnít love anymore. It changed my
assumption about a woman in the Islamic world as a slave who carries her own
cross to the end of her life. On the other hand, I have understood, or to be
more specific, I felt how dangerous and awful is Islam. Since childhood Kadra
has followed Muslim laws, gone to the Muslim school and known only this world
because she lived among people who blindly submitted to Islamís canons. When I
asked her how her world outlook has changed for the last two years and how she
imagines her future life here, in the USA, I was shocked by her firmness to live
further in the Muslim world and her confidence that nothing can change. At first
it seems she, as do most of us, works, goes to college, and drives a car. From
the outside she looks like everyone, nothing particular, but what acts in this
young soul, as though the black darkness covers her. I had this feeling when he
told me her husband, relatives and all her friends are Muslims and only among
them she has found happiness. Then I noticed she talks with hardly hidden
disgust to other people (I understood that for her the "other" means the
people not other race, nation or culture, but who donít profess her religion).

She truly believes