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Mid-City CAN Blog

City Heights Resident Returns Home to Help

The new Organizer for Mid-City CAN’s Access to Healthcare Momentum Team is not exactly new to City Heights. Although his face may be familiar to the community, Jama Mohammed has a deeply complex and rich history that hides behind his friendly demeanor and easy smile.

“What people complain about, for me, is a blessing: having a place to live, food to eat; the simple things in life are worth a lot to me,” said Mohammed.

Jama Mohammed, Organizer for Mid-City CAN’s Access to Healthcare Momentum Team 
Jama Mohammed, Organizer for Mid-City CAN’s Access to Healthcare Momentum Team

Born in Somalia, his family had to flee the country due to a feud between tribes. A bazooka hit their home, blasting it open as they packed up the car to leave. Heading south to Kenya, Mohammed’s family lived in a refugee camp for seven years while waiting to be accepted into the United States. Although they left the dangers of Somalia, this new home was by no means a safe one. His family faced many trials, including running away from local Kenyans often killed refugees and the kidnapping of his mother.

“The day that she finally escaped and met up with us at the refugee camp, she was smiling. I remember her smile most of all,” said Mohammed.

Finally granted U.S. citizenship, Mohammed moved to San Diego when he was nine years old. The transition to a new language and culture was difficult, but it taught Mohammed to take nothing for granted.

“Coming from that background with those experiences reminds me that no matter how much I struggle I can succeed and do something with my life. Those experiences drove me to be where I’m at today.”

Where he is at today, to be precise, is working full-time back in the community he grew up in after graduating from San Diego State University. He started at Mid-City CAN years ago as an interpreter, working on Access to Healthcare, Improving Transportation and Food Justice Momentum Teams.

“I spent my young days providing for others. Having that passion to serve. I think that’s what led me to work here to have to the opportunity to give back to my community,” said Mohammed.

Mohammed still spends his days providing for others. After his father passed away a few years ago, he stayed home to take care of this mother. He also volunteers to teach children Aramaic at the Masjid Al-Huda Community Center. Mohammed says it all comes down to passion.

“Having that passion to serve. I think that’s what led me to work here- to have the opportunity to give back to my community,” said Mohammed. “It’s a strength to have someone who is so connected to tradition and language. I saw the work Mid-City CAN was doing- so many things for the community, and I just want to be a part of that.”

As far as what Mohammed looks forward to the most through his new role here in City Heights, he says, is receiving fulfillment through giving back all community has given to him.

“Having that moment to say, ‘Wow. My life is not wasted. I’m giving back and it matters.’”

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