Sunday, September 18, 2011

New life in Hargeisa!

Just last month, living in Hargeisa never crossed my mind, and certainly not by September! I arrived yesterday, 17th, but I think it will take time for this new reality to sink in.

A month ago, I was in Johannesburg dreaming about working in Mogadishu and in talks with the Ministry of International Cooperation. They didn’t get back to me in time with a concrete offer so I decided to take another offer with an NGO, for a post that is actually more suited to my area of work and interest.

Fast developments and sudden change of direction has become normal since I packed up my life in London and showed up in Mozambique with no plans, 4 years ago. I love this unpredictable life and being a nomad again. Downside is the inability to plan anything beyond a month!
What makes this move interesting for me is that it will challenge my views on the separation of Somaliland from Somalia. When I first learnt about the proposed separation in London and heard the reasoning, I was not sold at all and I am still a sceptic. Not because I am a supporter of a "greater Somalia", I was born in Kenya and feel more East African than Somali, after all. But because I felt a level of aggressive and forced selling of the idea. I don't know of anyone who likes to be forced to believe and I felt maybe Somaliland advocates in London have unintentionally done more damage to their cause by chasing people away with that aggressive attitude.

I am here now, with an opportunity to learn from people on the ground and I am keen to hear what they have to say. My first impression tho, is that people here, like Puntland and the rest of Somalia, just wanna get on with their lives.

I am used to borders, born in Kenya, grew up between Kenya, Somalia, and Uganda. Went to school in China, lived most of my life in the UK, and a bit in Mozambique and South Africa. Borders don't mean much to me but it seems in Somaliland, it is everything. Maybe people here know something I don't know, I am all ears.

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