Early life[ edit ] Dirie was born as one of twelve children into a nomadic family in in the area of Galkayo , Somalia. Her first name Waris means desert flower. When she was five, she herself suffered circumcision in the form of Infibulation. At the age of thirteen, she fled through the desert to Mogadishu in order to escape an arranged marriage to a year-old man. She first stayed there with relatives, but later she was told that she could not stay any longer because her escape was not tolerated. One of her uncles, who was then Somali ambassador to the United Kingdom, was looking for a maid.
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Although she embraced the traditions of her tribe and loved her family, when her father tried to marry her off to a much older man for the price of 5 camels, she knew her only option was to run away.
After living with various family members in Mogadishu, a city in Somalia, she traveled to London with relatives and worked as a maid for them for four years. But this career did not come easily. Her biggest challenge was over her passport.
She did not have a passport in London and therefore could not travel out of the country to model. To find ways to travel, she committed identity fraud, trusted shady lawyers who stole all her money, and eventually married a British citizen who became obsessive and dangerous to Dirie and her future.
Eventually, she was able to find a legitimate passport and her career was a great success. She traveled to New York, Paris, Milan, and all over the world for modeling shoots and fashion shows. Dirie met her husband, Dana, in New York and they quickly married and have a child Aleeke. Dirie agreed as long as they promised to find her mother, who she had not seen since she ran away from home at the age of Eventually, they found her mother and the two were reunited near the border to Somalia and Ethiopia.
Waris Dirie Quotes