Group of Somali women write book about journey to America

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) -- A group of Somali women living in Green Bay are coming together to share their stories with the community through a book called “The First Winter.”

It’s a collection of stories, poems and reflections about their culture and journey to America.

“I didn't feel like we were writing a book at first,” said Nasteho Abdi.

Abdi came to the United States when she was 11 years old.

“I was born in Somalia and then after the civil war, my mom and my family all moved to Tobia, and lived in Tobia for seven years. After that, my mom was like, I want a better future, a better education for my kids; so then we came to the United States and since then we lived here,” said Abdi.

She's part of this group of Somali women who call themselves the United ReSisters.

All of them are either students in the Green Bay School District or recent graduates.

One of Abdi's stories is about the observance of Ramadan.

“It lets us be sympathetic, empathetic to the people who are poor and how it connects us with God and also with other people who are poor. We know how they feel because we're fasting for the whole day,” said Abdi.

Another member, Zamzam Nur, was born in the United States, but her story reflects back on her journey to Somalia when she was 12 years old.

“It's about me, kind of, explaining to my 12-year-old self how the shocking things that are going to happen to me. Twelve years old is about when I moved to Somalia and it was a huge culture shock to me. I learned about family I never knew I had. I experienced things that I probably would never experience if I didn't go there,” said Nur.

She lived in Somalia for about two years and found her passion there.

“My passion is to become an OBGYN, and obstetrician gynecologist, because when I went over there I witnessed bad staffing in the hospital, and Somalia also has a high infant mortality rate, and I really want to help fix that,” said Nur.

She just graduated high school and plans to go to the University of Wisconsin Madison.

The World Refugee Day Celebration at Kennedy Park on Thursday was the first opportunity the group had to show off hard copies of the book and show the community who they are.

“One thing I really want them to take away is that we're more similar than different,” said Abdi.

Click here to learn more about the book and the United ReSisters.