Mogadishu, November 11, 1988. She was 7 months pregnant carrying her fifth child. She was in a hurry to deposit money to send to her children in Burao where war just erupted.
Like any other mother, her main concern was her children. �That�s the only way to safely send money during that time� she said.
She never made it to the bank; she was getting inside the vehicle when their car was hit. The impact was so strong that her right leg was torn open. �I was at Madina Hospital for 16 days. The doctor did not inject any anaesthesia and just hurriedly wrapped my leg with a cast. He didn�t even close the wound. Blood didn�t stop oozing out. I cried and cried in pain.� She narrated.
Her relatives worried that the accident would affect her pregnancy had to bring her to Nairobi in Kenya. �I didn�t sleep for 2 weeks because the pain was unbearable. I couldn�t imagine walking, much more climb the stairs to get into that plane,� she said. �When you reach the tarmac, look at the airplane, then you�d know what to do,� a female relative told her.
In Nairobi, she was greeted by grim news. �Whoever attended to you in that hospital wants you dead,� the Kenyan doctor informed her. By that time, her right leg was already black. Gangrene crept in. Apparently, the medicine given to her in Mogadishu increased the infection. They were left with no choice but to amputate.
In Somaliland, people with disabilities are called names, heckled, teased and seen as an eyesore to society. Children with disabilities are locked inside homes, they do not go to school because family members are afraid to be branded as keeper of bad luck. Having a physically or mentally challenged family member is a bad omen, they said. Women with disabilities suffer the same fate, worse even their fellow women ridicule them for they are perceived as unattractive, infertile and unproductive individuals that are better off kept inside the house never to be seen by the public. They are described simply as�useless.
Deep inside, Anab Hassan Mohamed, knew that she wasn�t unproductive, but it took her 1 � years to muster all the courage to step out of her house. �I still remember the depression, I felt like garbage, I was ashamed to be seen by people whom I know would ridicule me, but I had to step out, I had to do something!� she said.
Anab has a litany of stories and experiences as a woman with disability. But one thing she also has is a long history of courage and determination that made her even stronger. Two months after the accident, she gave birth to Khadra her 5th child, after Khadra, she had 3 more healthy children.
It has been more than a decade after the tragic accident. She speaks with confidence as she narrates her story. She speaks with pride as she explains how together with 10 other women they were able to organize HAN or Somaliland Disabled Women Organization, the ONLY organization in Somaliland composed of women like Anab.