Somali-Canadian journalist Hodan Nalayeh returned to Somalia in May to document what life is like in the African country. Her goal was simple: she wanted to show the world that Somalia wasn't as dangerous as everyone thought, despite the country's struggle with war and terrorist attacks.
Nalayeh took to Instagram to share her excitement, saying for the first time in 30 years she was living in Somalia.
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Beautiful thoughts create a beautiful life. What a blessing to be back home in #Somalia after 30+ years away. This will be my first #Ramadan back home. InshaAllah, let’s make dua for our country & people! Leave your duas below ???? reading positive words changes your brain chemistry ?????? #myafrica #africaisthefuture #Somali #Muslim #ramadan2019 #NaagIskaDhig #everydayafrica
She frequently posted pictures that showed how beautiful Somalia is.
Thread: I’ve developed a passion for photography. Starting to take photos daily to share with my twitter fam??— Hodan Nalayeh (@HodanTV) July 11, 2019
Spent the day on the island of Ilisi near #Kismayo with the local young men who bring fish to our city. Incredible to witness their joy & love for fishing. #Somalia pic.twitter.com/4H1oowmUaJ
The island of #Ilisi is an hour away from #Kismayo and only local fishermen live there. It’s so clean & breathtaking. A perfect place for a day swim with the family. #Somalia pic.twitter.com/xwnx05SpIo— Hodan Nalayeh (@HodanTV) July 11, 2019
The catch of the day is not your ordinary fish, but lobsters ?? #Ilisi #Kismayo #Somalia pic.twitter.com/E6Wk6jWpK1— Hodan Nalayeh (@HodanTV) July 11, 2019
How beautiful is this??— Hodan Nalayeh (@HodanTV) July 11, 2019
Dried fish is big business on the island of #Ilisi
They call this fish “Shabeelka Bada” (The tiger of the ocean) #Kismayo #Somalia #IndianOcean pic.twitter.com/ZO6AoC7E6p
It was an incredible day to witness #Somalia’s beauty on the island of #Ilisi ?? #Kismayo #Somalia #MySomalia pic.twitter.com/KRr0AgGgtK— Hodan Nalayeh (@HodanTV) July 11, 2019
But fast forward eight weeks later and Nalayeh is dead.
According to CNN, Nalayeh died when a terrorist attack took place in Kismayo, about 300 miles south of Mogadish, the capital. A suicide bomber had detonated a vehicle outside of the Asasey Hotel and multiple gunmen opened fire inside the hotel. Nalayeh was one of the 26 people who died at the hands of the gunmen. Her husband, Farid Jama Suleiman, also died in the attack. Another 50 were injured.
The Islamist group al-Shabab took credit for the attack, which was the worst attack the city saw since 2012, BBC reported.
Nalayeh was born in Somalia in the 1970s but her family moved to Canada when she was six-years-old. She founded a YouTube channel called Integration TV, with the mission of "building a community of inspiring and uplifting stories for Somalis worldwide."
Her family took to Facebook to share the news and ask for privacy while mourning.
"She spent her life devoted to serving the Somali people and reporting on positive, uplifting stories. Her dedicated mission was to spread light and love to the Somali world through her work in journalism," the family said. "She died serving the Somali community everywhere and doing what she loved most. She brought inspiration and hope to the Somali people through story telling. She will be deeply missed."
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