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After a decade, Somalis at home in Lewiston
Date: 12/18/2011 Album ID: 1380740
Photos by Andrew Cullen
The first Somali families moved to Lewiston in late Jan. 2001. Ten years later, nearly ten percent of the city's population is Somali. The decade in between has been tense at times, but Lewiston's resilient Somalis have made the city their home, making the it a more dynamic place as residents work to share and understand each other.
Hussein Ahmed, left, talks on the phone while ringing up a customer at his shop on Lisbon Street. Lewiston has come a long way since he moved here in 2002, he says, and he believes an even brighter future is in store as the city and its Somali and other immigrant populations increasingly work together.
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Awil Bile was one of the first Somalis to move to Lewiston,  arriving with his family from Portland in late January 2001. Bile, who worked in the finance ministry of Somalia's government before the civil war there, now volunteers at Trinity Jubilee in Lewiston.
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Ghali Farah, center, tries to get a moment for herself to eat lunch while babysitting other Somali parents' children. Farah is one of many women who earn income by providing informal childcare full time for working parents, often watching over a dozen children at a time.
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Somali girls watch young boys playing outside at the Hillview housing complex. Conservative Somali gender roles have perplexed some Lewiston residents.
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Hussein Ahmed helps his daughter Hibo,8, to read the Koran in Arabic at Ahmed's shop on Lisbon Street. Ahmed's four oldest children attend classes at the Islamic Center for several hours each Saturday and Sunday, learning about Islam and reciting from the Koran.
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A Somali woman shows intricate henna artwork on her hands.
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Ghali Farah, standing, serves lunch to the children she babysits at her home at Hillview. A number of Somali women, particularly those that do not speak much English, earn income by providing child care to other Somali parents while they work at formal jobs.
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A Somali meal of spiced chicken and vegatables over rice.
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Somali boys watch television at home. Somali parents struggle at times to balance their own culture with America's, which they say follows them even inside their homes.
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The Somali community has enthusiastically participated in a number of community programs and resources, from homework tutoring to citizenship classes to public gardening. Abdikadir Ismail, 16, an intern with Lots to Gardens, says he joined the program because he thought it would help him build leadership and public speaking skills.
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Sisters Asha, left, and Ayan Qanyare vote at the Multi-Purpose Center during the Nov. 8 elections. A growing number of Somali refugees in Lewiston have gained citizenship and followed the local elections closely, especially because for the first time, two Somalis ran for public office in 2011 by running write-in campaigns for an at-large school board seat.
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Replica flags of Somalia, Kenya, and Sudan hang in the window of a Lisbon Street shop. Lewiston's population has diversified greatly since 2001, and the city is now home to residents who were born or lived in each of the east African nations before immigrating to the U.S.
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