Decades of famine and war have sent millions of Somalis to seek a better life outside their nation.
This diaspora features prominently in the work of Somali author Nuruddin Farah.
In Farah's new novel "Crossbones," one of the main characters is a Somali-American teenager called YoungThing.
When we first meet YoungThing, he is wandering through the back streets of Mogadishu, lugging a massive bag of weapons across town to a safe house.
YoungThing's story is based on the real life tale of Somali-American boys in Minnesota who were recruited by the Islamist group al-Shabab.
Anchor Lisa Mullins talks to Farah asking him what might motivate a teenager in the American Midwest to join a Somali militant group.