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Rider's Almanac Blog

Where I'm From

Where I’m From: Atra Mohamed, bus operator

Posted by John Komarek | Thursday, July 7, 2022 10:51:00 AM

Metro Transit employees come from many cultures and backgrounds. To celebrate this diversity, employees who are proud to share their heritage and identity will be regularly featured on the Riders' Almanac blog. Read more stories here.

Tell us a little bit about your background.

I’m originally from Somalia, but I fled the Civil War. Since then, I’ve been mostly on the move. I’ve lived in Kenya, Uganda, and South Africa. During my travels, I met my husband in South Africa and had two children. In 2014, I made the journey to the United States. Sadly, I had to leave my husband behind temporarily as my children and I qualified for immigration program as Somalians, but my husband did not as a Pakistani. First, we arrived in Wichita, Kansas. It wasn’t long before I decided to move to Minnesota in 2015 to be with a strong Somalian community. The United States is so big and it’s important to have community. Eventually, I was able to sponsor my husband to immigrate and reunite my family. 

How did you come to work at Metro Transit?

When I arrived in Minnesota, I started driving school buses. I enjoyed working with the kids, but the work wasn’t year-long. At a job fair, I met people from Metro Transit who told me about the benefits they offer bus operators. It sounded great then and it’s still great today. I joined in 2018 (the same year my husband finally joined me in Minnesota) and continue to enjoy being a part time operator at Nicollet Garage. It’s great schedule that helps me support my family and work around schedules. The schedule event allows me to have the time to go to school and continue my education.

How do you continue to celebrate your culture today?

Being Muslim is an ongoing daily practice, but at certain times of the year there’s more to observe, like Ramadan. At Metro Transit it’s easy to work through schedules or request time off if needed to observe an important event. In Minnesota, there’s a strong Somalian and Muslim community that I can observe and celebrate Ramadan and its conclusion Eid. It’s a great time of year when we gather and celebrate with our families. When I can, I try to go to the “Super Eid” but if I can’t, I go to my local community celebration.