Hargeisa, 22 June 2009 – Emily will be writing about her experience in Somaliland and will be offering tips to anyone who may want to visit the unrecognized republic along the way – discover Somaliland from a Non-Somali perspective. This is the Third article – It is a great privilege to be here in Hargeisa.
To Read her second part, Click Here
To Read her First Part, Click Here
Here are some pictures as promised. I’ve decided to set up this article as a photo narration to give you an idea of what you are looking at.
First, I thought you might enjoy seeing for yourselves what the plane looked like which brought me safely from Addis to Hargeisa, as I described in the last article.
Next, I couldn’t resist including an image of the famous traffic lights which the Somaliland government and others proudly advertise. I had been eagerly looking for them since I arrived, and finally counted a total of 3 traffic lights in Hargeisa, none of which function or ever seemed to have for that matter.
Yesterday I drank fresh camel milk from the market, and despite numerous warnings I am proud to say it did not make me sick and was rather tasty. It had a sort of smoky flavor and when you buy it at the market it is poured into a plastic bag so you can take it to go, or you can drink it on site in a ceramic cup.
Camels such as those in the picture below can be spotted throughout the city’s periphery, whereas in the city itself you find more goats than camels. I have had many conversations about goats and camels since I’ve been here, and learned about the great respect Somalis have for their camels. The never ride the camels because the animals are very well respected , and instead keep them as their companions and investments which can be used to pay dowry, to buy and sell for cash, and also for milk. Goats have a similar purpose, and you can find them wandering the streets by day, and in the evening they return faithfully to their owners.
One gentleman I met here told me that he accidentally hit a goat once while driving, and has been paying the owner of the goat for three years. When I asked why he couldn’t simply replace the goat with another, he said “if your brother is killed and you are given a new man in his place, can this man replace your brother?” It is the same with goats, for that goat was his goat, and it was different than any other goat.
A few nights ago I went out with some friends to a new, local restaurant called “Obama Restaurant and Café.” I ate with the owner, a funny and interesting man who was very hospitable. He told me that there was a big party when the restaurant opened on inauguration day, and it was reported in many local newspapers. I couldn’t resist including this picture of Hargeisa’s tribute to Obama.
To give you an idea of the landscape and architecture here, I’ve included this picture of a part of the city which in English means “camel camp”. Each part of the city has its own police station and mosque. As you can see, Hargeisa is surrounded by shallow mountains and many houses are made of different colored stones and bricks. To protect the houses from intruders, whereas in the U.S. you can find barbed wires and fencing, in Hargeisa many homes place shards of colored glass atop of their walls, fences or gates. I’ve included a picture of one of these. It is a lot more attractive to look at than barbed wire, and serves the same purpose.
Finally, a photo entry would not be complete without at least one picture of the active marketplace. Here you can find a young man pushing a wheelbarrow which contains a special tree whose branches are used as a toothbrush. The leafy part is discarded and you can find lots of people chewing on the branches to clean their teeth or to pass the time.
I will soon be visiting other parts of Somaliland and I hope to have more pictures and stories to share upon my return.
Warm wishes and thanks for reading,