GoneDesert Flower by Waris Dirie Summary Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of GoneDesert Flower

Plot Summary Part 1

Waris is a young black Muslim girl who is born into poverty in Somalia. If you can't find Somalia on a map, look on the map for wherever civilization is. Once you find civilization, look for the farthest point from it. And that's exactly where you'll find Somalia.

When we first meet Waris, whose name is odd enough to rhyme with p_nis, she is running away from home and she encounters  a lion in the desert.  Waris finds the lion to be "sexy", which shows that she's been in the desert too long. Anyway, the sexy lion does not eat her, and Waris takes it as a sign from God that God wants her to live.

Waris, who is 13 at this point, is running away because her father wants to marry her to a 60 year old man so he can get some nice camels as payment. Mr. Waris values camels more than his own daughter. This is very common in Somalia.

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Mr. Waris chased after the runaway Waris, yelling her name, but Waris was quicker and ran away from the father she loved who was trying to sell her to an old man.

Some time later, Waris got thirsty and saw some camels grazing and so went over and started sucking on a camel's breast. A herdsman interrupted her interspecies relations and whipped Waris until she ran away. Nipple sucking, whipping--it's almost like a rough porn film, isn't it?

Waris made her way to a tiny village. Waris was amazed. She had never seen even a tiny village before. There were streets of hard packed dirt. Waris was astounded. She had never seen a road before, even a dirt one. Cars started to drive by and Waris didn't know not to walk on the road. The drivers yelled and her and told her she was retarded.

Waris got a ride with a man who was chewing khat, which is the local version of cocaine. After Waris rode with the man for a while, the man decided he wanted to ride Waris for a while. This is normal in Somalia. He took Waris into the back of his truck and tried to spread her legs. Waris refused and he slapped her. Finally she agreed to spread her legs if he would let her urinate first.

The man agreed and Waris went to urinate in a corner of the truck. Urinating inside a vehicle is normal in Somalia. But instead of urinating, Waris hit the man on the head with a rock and then fled the truck. The man's friend claimed that Waris killed him, but Waris doesn't care about that. She just runs away.

Waris came from a family of wandering nomads who raised cattle, sheep and goats, roaming all around Somalia to let them graze. She had no single place she called home. In Somalia, a man's life is worth exactly 100 camels. If a man is killed, the killer's family must be paid 100 camels in compensation.

Waris claimed that while she occasionally ate rice, most of the time the only food she had was camel's milk. I find it hard to believe that anyone could survive on a liquid diet, but this is what Waris claims.

At the age of six Waris became responsible for taking care of 60 or 70 sheep and goats. Waris had a favorite goat named Billy. She fed him extra well and he got fat. Then a hyena ate Billy. Waris was sad, but the hyena was very happy.

Waris had a brother who was born with grey hair. To make fun of his disability, the family called him Old Man. They thought he was brilliant because he looked like an old man, and people came from far and wide to seek the advice of a six year old boy. Waris said that he was brilliant, but given her low IQ, the bar was already set pretty low.

Waris had 11 brothers and sisters. One time her brother Ali stole her rice. So Waris stabbed him with a knife. Ali pulled the knife out of his body and stabbed her back. It is very normal in Somalia for family members to stab each other.

Waris' family was taking care of the camels of her rich Uncle Ahmed. One time Waris asked rich Uncle Ahmed for shoes, because she had to walk barefoot through the desert, and he was so cheap that he bought her flipflops instead, and she was so angry that she threw them back at him. Relatives treating their poorer family members terribly is very normal in Somalia.

One time a good friend of Waris's father came to Waris one night. He wanted to tell her a special story. The telling of the story involved sticking his p_nis into Waris' pre-teen v_gina. Waris felt "something had and wet pressing against my v_gina. I froze at first, not understanding what was happening, but I knew it was something very bad. The pressure intensified until it became a sharp pain." Waris cried for her mommy.

Rape among family friends is very common in Somalia.

Waris tells us that Somalia did not have a written language until 1973. What? No written language at all? That's correct. Without written language there is no history, no science, no education, no nothing. And this is how Somalia was until fairly recently.

Waris's mother had 12 children, and each time she got pregnant she would suddenly disappear for several days, then reappear with a baby. There was no hospital, and of course the father did not help in any way. This is quite common in Somalia.

One day Mrs. Waris complained she was too old to have more children. Her husband took that as advice and went and found a teenage girl who he made his second wife. This too is quite common in Somalia, especially in Muslim cultures.

Wife #2 was not especially popular with Waris and her brothers and sisters, especially since she was very bossy. So Waris and her brothers forced Wife #2 to go with them to a secluded spot, remove her clothes, and then they hung her upside down by the ankle from the branch of a tree using a rope.

When Mr. Waris found out what Waris did to wife #2, he started to beat Waris.

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