It’s been a while since I made a post; actually I never wanted to be away that long but due to some circumstances, good circumstances.
I have been in a travel to Somaliland, Hargeisa. And in this page I am going to talk about some of what I saw and learned in this journey.
To start with Hargeisa is the capital of Somaliland. Somaliland is the North of Somalia, claiming for the recognition from the United Nation. Thus the country is developing and in continuous progress. Houses are being built in enormous designs, hotels, markets, gas stations …. When I went there I was seriously not expecting it to be that good or even to reach that level. However, I was so glad to find that people there are so educated and the conditions are not as bad as we imagined.
Electricity and lights, water supplies have reached every house… Internet and computer as well. Small huts that have computer and internet! Children there are studying the IGCSE system; they are studying in English and doing mathematics calculations, algebra, and calculus; all in English. Though their accent is not perfect but when it comes to studies – they are really studying so hard and obtaining higher grades. Many of the children got scholarships abroad to countries like USA or even the European countries. Whereas there are millions who graduate and yet they find nowhere to go and no job but to roam in the streets like the rest of everyone over there. Education is yet one of the issues that the ministry have to solve. Universities are not organized on the international base.
Orphans and abandoned children is a view that you will see a lot and get used to. You get to hear many stories that parents left their kids and travelled, others that try to migrate illegally, and many that can’t afford their living so they just drop them in the mosques or road.
Hodan a 12 years old girl, a shy girl. Never smiles and when she talks to you she never looks to your eyes. There is no eye to eye contact; her head is facing the ground all the time. Hodan is a result of a collapsed family; divorced parents. A mother which never comes home but rarely and father who has his own family & don’t even know where his kids are. Food is never available home. Clothes and books and money is something she never gets like any another child. She spends each night in a house. From her mother’s, sometimes to her father but she never get along with her step mother who tortures her and unfortunately her father never believed her or never wants to. Sometime she sleeps with her step brother from her mother side, which is married and kind to her compared to the other people in her life. Yet, the reason behind her not settling in one house is that everywhere she goes she hears screaming and yelling that it reaches to physical abuse. She runs away in search of any home but never found one.
This poor little girl has dropped studies many times & when I met her once I encouraged her to continue her studies & that with education only she can face the world. When I was about to leave after a month, one day before my flight, I saw Hodan and she said she is back to school. That filled me with happiness. Nevertheless her future becomes unknown.
From the other hand, I went to a visit to the SOS school. One of the biggest charity schools in the world. They have more than 200 schools all over Africa and Asia .
” SOS Children is the world’s largest orphan charity. We directly help over 70,000 children in our family-based SOS Children’s Villages in 124 countries around the world. We give children who have nothing and no-one a family, a home, an education and a future.”
I recall meeting Amin there, 5yrs old orphan smart boy. And he told his teacher once,” Why I don’t have parents?”
Orphans in that school have got another hope in world as I see it; It gives them life but not family.
It’s about to mention the “Khat “it’s an addicting leaves. Being one of the main reasons of destruction of people in Somaliland, Somalia and many parts of Africa. It’s business for some people and entertainment for others, addiction for some. Khat is available in every corner in every place that I have seen. While going in the main street ; almost in every 4 meters you can find a small cabin where a lady sells Khat and offers tea … men sitting around and having Khat.
Khat comes to Somalia from Ethiopia, in single day Ethiopia earns around one million dollars from supplying the Khat to all over Somalia. Some African countries plant it along with Yemen.
At 7 am of everyday you can find trucks of Khat in the streets and they are distributing it. The poor who only have 5 $ can spend it in Khat though his kids might be dying from hunger. The educated, the rich, the young almost everyone is just spending hundreds of money on Khat. All the income that a man get is spent on Khat; parents separate because of quarrelling over such issues , carelessness of the fathers lead to divorce and the result is lost kids.
And if you try to argue with them or convince them, it would be just hard … they will prove that you are wrong & that it helps them. Some developed diseases and others died because of it, yet, they don’t see that aspect.
I believe if we are able to just stop Khat from entering the country and treat it as a prohibited item; only then people will improve, country will flourish, and families will be able to have something to eat.
Being a nurse, healthcare was my interest and thus I have to mention it. I have observed couple hospitals and also heard many incidents of ladies from several hospitals about how hard the healthcare is in Somaliland. Pharmacies are spread everywhere without even any authorisation. The funny part is that anyone can open a pharmacy without even being a doctor. My father once told me that he was having an abdominal pain associated with diarrhoea, so he went to the pharmacy asked for the right treatment because hospital is not always the first choice for the local people. He said that he gave him plenty of medications of different kinds and colour and to be taken together. While he was going out he saw a lady standing out looking one of her medications; Daddy asked what she complained of she said severe headache. As he looked at her medications it was the just the same as his. Then, my father has thrown his medications all away.
So cheating is all over there. They prescribe the same treatment for all and the purchase them expensively.
Hospitals varies in care, those who are acceptable are more than expensive for the people and that which are easy and for all ; have bad care but somewhat high in rate of course compared to the low income people. They have no choice but this.
The weather in Hargeisa is more than awesome. Cold, lovely wind, blue sky. It was raining heavily when I was there. Where I can from; on April it’s so hot and sunny! So for me… I was just standing under the rain and playing over. Great feeling!
I evened climbed a mountain at the Gantalaha , somewhere is the end of Hargeisa . And here are some views from there.
Goats, is running everywhere in the streets, near the shops … near the houses. And if I forget to close the gate of our door, they will enter and try to feed on the grass and leaves on our house. They use to say that during Seyad Bare presidential time; people weren’t allowed to leave the goats in the city they had to take them to mountainous areas away from the city. However, Seyad Bare is dead now. And I can’t imagine why I have to see a goat in every corner in Hargeisa. Can’t there be a special area to put them at!
I travelled to Berbera , all the way from Hargeisa to Berbera is guarded by huge mountains . Which is so mighty .I saw the international sea port and went to the beach. Took some shells; a memorial from my land. Berbera is hot, just like Kuwait . It wasn’t hard to adjust . But what really scared me was the crow. Yes, there are crows in Berbera. Scary ones in fact. They are big and many, almost everywhere you go in Berbera you will find them watching and waiting for a chance to snatch anything. I was so afraid of them that I kept my necklace and ring inside; as far as I knew from movies they take glittering things. People in Berbera say that they never had crows but a ship that came from Russia carried them and released them in Berbera. I don’t know how true that is but all the people of Berbera told us so. Anyway that was a reason why I didn’t go around Berbera for a long time.
In this first visit I was able to meet my family for the very first time, I can say it was a strange feeling but I was really happy. And I met some special people that could be part of my life & could really change it .
In a day where the sun shines on Africa , the lost continent , no one knows how their future may turn. No one knows how that little kid ; right opposite to our house end up in the coming days without a family. Nor how Hodan will find her way up. But I can predict that Amin, is going to have a promising days for he is an outstanding little boy .
Leaving you now with some pictures .