At the end of every month, Ahmed Abubakar walks to a local money transfer agency in Memphis, Tennessee to send money to the Horn of Africa. Abubakar, 29, works as an accountant and the cash is wired to his mother and siblings who now reside 8,000 miles away in Nairobi. It also goes to friends, former teachers, and distant relatives in neighboring Somalia, some of whom Abubakar hasn’t seen in years—or in some cases, never met.
Some of the recipients, like his former madrassa instructor, are getting married; a childhood friend just had his first baby; a distant cousin or an extended aunt wants money for the upcoming Eid holidays. Whatever it costs, Abubakar receives the calls, plans his finances, and one way or another sends whatever he can.