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April 28, 2012 at 9:00 PM

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Somali seniors gather in Seattle for education, exercise


ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Sahra Farah, director of Somali Community Services of Seattle, standing in center, jokes with her mother Fadumo Mahamed, right, during a game of fresh fruit bingo at the Rainier Valley non-profit. The game helps seniors expand their English vocabulary and learn about nutritious foods. Twice a week, the Somali and Oromo Senior Nutrition Program offers fitness routines, cooking demonstrations, language classes and nutrition education. Farah said the program is an important social connection for seniors, who sometimes live in isolation. Group members also formed a Somali elder advice group that visits the sick, counsels family conflicts and collects money for those in need. A Somali flag is behind them, but the seniors come from a variety of backgrounds and speak Somali, Amharic and Oromo.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Seniors play bingo with fresh fruit during the Somali and Oromo Senior Nutrition Program at Somali Community Services of Seattle. The game helps increase the seniors' English vocabulary and their nutrition education.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Mohamed Abdi, 63, exercises during the Somali and Oromo Senior Nutrition Program at Somali Community Services of Seattle.

ERIKA SCHULTZ/ THE SEATTLE TIMES

Mohamud Hashi, center, raises his hand when winning a game of fresh fruit bingo during the Somali and Oromo Senior Nutrition Program at Somali Community Services of Seattle. The game helps increase the seniors' English vocabulary and their nutrition education.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Javin DeHart Jr. plays with a flag at Somali Community Services of Seattle. DeHart is the grandson of Sahra Farah, director of the Rainier Valley non-profit.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Geilani Ali, center with scarf, participates in an exercise routine during the Somali and Oromo Senior Nutrition Program at Somali Community Services of Seattle.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Seniors practice speaking and writing in English during the Somali and Oromo Senior Nutrition Program at Somali Community Services of Seattle.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Ali Ido, right, practices speaking and writing in English during the Somali and Oromo Senior Nutrition Program at Somali Community Services of Seattle.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Kyndra Cox, right, instructs a language class during the Somali and Oromo Senior Nutrition Program at Somali Community Services of Seattle.

ERIKA SCHULTZ/ THE SEATTLE TIMES

Ahmed Osso boards the bus to leave the Somali and Oromo Senior Nutrition Program at Somali Community Services of Seattle.

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