Fatuma – An Incredible Journey

Fatuma – An Incredible Journey

The face of Tour de Vail 2021

During Tour de Vail HYBRID, we are delighted and honored to feature clubhouse member, Tour de Vail veteran, and recent addition to our Board of Directors … Fatuma! Fatuma is an amazing ambassador for  Vail Place and has taken unbelievable steps in her recovery journey.

“I am originally from Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia. Before the war, we used to put rugs on the floor and we would watch the stars and enjoy the light of the moon, but when the war began it became too scary – the sky would light up with bombs and gunfire. Our neighborhood was destroyed. A bomb hit our house and my brother died. We moved to my grandfather’s farm and on the way out there, there were dead bodies all along the way.”

After immigrating to the U.S. as a child, and dealing with decades of undiagnosed, untreated mental health issues, Fatuma found her way to Vail Place. From that point on, she says her whole life was changed.

“I fell in love with this place. I’ve been welcomed. I don’t feel alone, and I no longer feel different. My whole life, people have been judging me. English is my second language, but no one cares at Vail Place. Everyone understands me, and they really listen to me. I have friends here who I talk to about things, like my paranoia, and they talk to me about their problems. We understand each other.”

Since she’s been at Vail Place, Fatuma has completed a one-week course on the subject of mental illness, which taught her a lot about her challenges.

“There is no cure for mental illness, but there is a recovery. You can learn to live with it,” she said, adding that she received a certificate for completing the course.

“I cannot explain how grateful I am. I didn’t know what I was missing during all that time I was lonely and not socializing with people. I would have come to Vail Place a long, long time ago if I knew how great it was. It is amazing!