Born to Somali parents in Italy and raised in Tanzania, Sheik was among a number of expat entrepreneurs who went back to Somalia to open businesses, following the country’s two decades of conflict.
“On a daily basis [people] witness bombs going off and see bodies and hear of death. They help those injured and bury their dead. They mourn and pray that God helps them. Then they move with their lives. The next day is again the same and nothing seems to change.
“To me flowers bring in a new light, a solution to the problems faced. It provides an opportunity to see beauty and gain sanity from all the problems surrounding us.”
Some people thought his decision to open a florist’s was mad, he said. Security was always a concern, and fresh flowers had to be imported from Kenya.
But his business grew steadily, with international UN staff making up the majority of his clients, as well as young couples on Valentine’s Day.