Hey ya’ll and welcome back. It’s been a while. I know i’ve been MIA lately , but i’m back. I hope you’re enjoying the last couple of days of 2017.
Todays post is about my first trip to the motherland Somalia 😀 . So if you’ve read my “Get to know me” post you’d know that i was born in Somalia but raised in Denmark. I left the country at the age of four and never had to opportunity to go back, until March 2017.
I have waited so long for it to finally be my turn to visit my country. Every time i wanted to fly out, there was always something holding me back, whether it be school, work or just life. But Alhamdulilah i finally got to book the long awaited plane and pack my bag.
I stayed in the capital city Mogadishu and my trip lasted for almost 2 months. One of the first things that shocked me was the weather. I mean i thought i knew what hot weather was, until i landed and was hit a by wave of burning heat and i’m not even exaggerating. Apparently my trip coincided with the hottest months of the year, and i must admit, adjusting with everything else was easy, except for the weather/ heat.
While i was there, i got to experience life as a local. I got to roam the streets of Mogadishu with an iceream in one hand and a cold water bottle in the other, and was pleasantly surprised by how peaceful it was. There was no such thing as stranger-danger, people were interactive and mostly friendly, however there would be the occasional stare from randoms. Anyone who has been back home to visit, especially women would know what i mean. The locals say that they can recognize a “newbie” by afar. It’s apparently in the way you walk / talk/ dress. It doesn’t matter how hard you try blend in, you’ll always be recognized as a “diaspora”. But you get used to the stares rather quickly.
You all know by now that i’m a foodie, and the food there was nothing short of amazing. I must admit though that, due to the extremely hot weather, my appetite to eat full meals, or hot food in general just disappeared. If fructose was poisoning though, i think i would’ve been deceased by now Lol. I’m convinced that Somalia has the best fruits, mango, watermelon, guava, guanoabana, spondias just to name a few and they’re just so ripe and juicy and delicious, and it’s making my mouth water right know 😀
So Somalia has been a war torn country for such a long a time, and it’s safe to say that the war has left its marks. Many historical buildings were ruined and roads left unstable. I was however so fascinated by how the locals just seemed to go on about their daily lives, and make due with what they had left of the city.
Around the time that i went on the trip, part of the country was unfortunately troubled by a famine, and one the biggest experiences of my life was to be able to accompany a local non-profit organization, in aiding the victims who were forced to flee their homes / farms and migrate to the bigger cities, including Mogadishu. I’ll let the pictures below speak for themselves. Though i went there for a vocational purpose and family visit, this opportunity i could not let me pass by.
I’ve never seen such hopelessness and distraught looks in peoples eyes up until this day, and i will never forget how this made me feel. There were however many organizations involved, in the project of providing for the affected families with food, water, shelter, sanitary products and so much more, right up until the rainy / moonsoon season had begun months later. Alhamdulilah for that.
On a lighter note though, i got to go “sight-seeing”, well sort of anyway. What made me so inspired and fascinated was how quickly new buildings were being built and old ones revamped. This made me so proud of my Somali people, and their ability to build themselves up and hustle in every aspect of life ;).
Pictures below show many of the places i visited, including the two most famous beaches Liido and Jazeera beach, Beerta Nabadda (aka The Peace Garden), Mogadishu Mall etc. Also Mogadishu Mall was a newly renovated shopping centre with lots of different shops inside. And Just outside the mall was the great “Xamar weyne” market where any person coming from abroad would find familiar products / brands etc. and feel at home. 😀
I still to this day can’t believe that i got to go back 23 years later, and experience so many things while i was there. Mogadishu is such a vibrant, busy and cool city. The streets are jam-packed with “tuk tuk’s” everywhere, which were one of the main transportation options around the city. The people are hardworking and business booming, and everyday is an improvement from the day before in many aspects.
I enjoyed getting to know my country again and contemplated how different my life would’ve been if i never left. Traveling back home has been one the biggest eye-openers for me, and i know that it’s sort of a cliché, but it really made me appreciate my life and the privileges i have. It also thought me to not be so focused on the little things and to live in the moment. I’ve met so many kids and adults alike, who appeared to have nothing of material value to their names, yet their smile, contagious laughter and genuine spark in the eyes was just so inspirational, and i wish more of us found happiness in the things that truly matter in life.
If you’ve read thus far, Thank you. I hope enjoyed reading this rather personal and semi nostalgic post today. Have you visited your motherland (if you don’t already live there)? Share your experiences in the comment section below, i’d love to read about it. until next time, Salaam which means PEACE. 😉