Desert Flower: The Extraordinary Journey of a Desert Nomad
Waris Dirie, Cathleen Miller
Waris Dirie ran away from her oppressive life in the African desert when she was barely in her teens, illiterate and impoverished, with nothing to her name but a tattered shawl. She traveled alone across the dangerous Somali desert to Mogadishu—the first leg of a remarkable journey that would take her to London, where she worked as a house servant; then to nearly every corner of the globe as an internationally renowned fashion model; and ultimately to New York City, where she became a human rights ambassador for the U.N. Desert Flower is her extraordinary story.
Maid 10. Free at Last 11. The Model 12. The Doctors 13. Passport Dilemma 14. The Big League 15. Back to Somalia 16. The Big Apple 17. The Ambassador 18. Thoughts of Home Acknowledgments Copyright About the Publisher AUTHORS’ NOTE Desert Flower is the true story of Waris Dirie’s life, and all the events presented are factual, based on Waris’s recollection. While all the people portrayed in Desert Flower are real, we have used
again, especially after my torture passing through customs at Heathrow. I was glad that Marilyn forgave me, because she was indeed a good friend. And once again, I had to call on that friendship. When I returned home to London, I thought my modeling career was just beginning—especially after the back-to-back successes of working with Terence Donovan and being in a James Bond movie. But as if by magic, my modeling career vanished overnight, disappearing as suddenly and mysteriously as it had
“What happened? What did he do to you?” I could see it all clearly: if I told Dana the truth, he’d kill Nigel, then he’d go to prison and I’d get to raise my baby alone. “Nothing. He’s just being an asshole, as usual. Wouldn’t give me my stuff.” I blew my nose. “That’s it? Oh, Waris, forget that shit. That’s not worth crying over.” Dana and I took the first flight we could get back to New York. When I was eight months pregnant, an African photographer heard I was having a baby and said he
27,000 New York State women have had or will have the procedure performed. For this reason, many states are passing laws to make FGM illegal. Legislators feel that separate laws are necessary to protect the children at risk, because the families will claim it is their “religious right” to mutilate their daughters. Many times an African community will save enough money to bring a circumciser, like the gypsy woman, all the way from Africa to America. Then she’ll cut a group of little girls all at
that He brought you to me. You fulfill me more than words can say. To my darling Dana, thank you for shining your light around me. It was destiny that our paths crossed. I love you. To Dana’s parents, thank you for taking me in and making me one of your own. It’s nice to have a family close to me again. Especially to my granny, who was there every inch of the way. I love you more than you can know. To Christy Fletcher and her associates at the Carol Mann Agency, for being the most trustworthy,