(KMSP) - The impact of the deadliest terrorist attack in Somalia's history is being felt especially hard by Somalis in the Twin Cities.
An unlikely trio of Minnesotans - who were just there this spring doing humanitarian work - are devastated to learn their host was among the victims.
The tragedy is not just affecting those with direct ties to the country, but a Richfield city councilman and a father of five.
They fed starving families and raised funds for local hospitals, all while there they were hosted by Mohamoud Elmi.
Elmi was killed in the terrorist attack over the weekend while working for the government’s humanitarian relief efforts.
“I still don’t believe it,” said Saciido Shaie. “I just remember him and I still see his smile.”
“He had an easy smile that masked the incredible confidence and courage he carried himself with every day,” said Richfield City Councilman Simon Trautmann.
Shaie, Trautmann and local videographer Ethan Miller are in disbelief that the man who befriended them and protected them while in Somalia is among the hundreds killed.
“Getting to experience and know the people and knowing their hospitality and their warmth, knowing that has affected them…it’s unreal and it’s just really hard to take in,” Miller said.
Shaie left Somalia at 7 years old and is now a prominent community activist in Minneapolis. She met the city councilman through her work.
After learning her uncle died in the famine that has plagued Somalia for years, she wanted to do something to help her relatives.
Trautmann wanted to join and recruited miller to document their experience.
“It was something that was bigger than us, it was a call,” Shaie said.
“This just isn’t a Somali story but a Twin Cities story,” Trautmann added.
And now the group of friends is more inspired than ever to go back and help repair the broken lives decimated by more violence.
“At the end of the day we are all one because that human to human connection is what ties us,” he said.
There are many fundraising efforts taking place here in the Twin Cities to help families impacted by this tragedy, especially for a Bloomington man who died in the blast and leaves a wife and children behind.