by Nouri Omer Abdillahi

My last trip to Addis was a very pleasant one. I was there to pick up my daughter Layla who was arriving from New Orleans as an unaccompanied minor; therefor it was nice for me to meet her at the Airport. When she got there we got to hangout, and ate some good Ethiopian food


Aside from the little irritations caused by the local service workers such as taxi drivers, and restaurant waiters who greatly abuse the word “Ishi” which apparently means OK in their language, everything else was enjoyable. Although a very pleasant nation of people they have a habit of acting like they understand you by saying “Ishi” when they clearly didn’t. I know this because many times my taxi driver and I were lost in the city even though he said he knew where he was going. Also a lot more times then I would like to remember I was served the wrong food, or drink at a restaurant because of this particular word.


Arriving at Hargiesa airport after a ride on a very small eighteen setter plain, Layla and I were very happy to be on the ground. The ride was a very short one, an hour and twenty minutes, but I can’t say it was uneventful. While flying above Hargiesa we encountered some heavy air bumps, that sent the little plane dipping from side to side, which got the passengers to let out a couple of screams.


Things were going smoothly after that till I found out that my Mother took off that morning to her house in the country with our car with out any explanation. At the airport we were luckily met by NihNih, my sister Shukri’s driver at work, who saved us fro walking home dragging our bags behind us. Although it may seem to you that this story is about our trip, I’m sorry to disappoint you, because this is a story about some goats, so let me get on wit it.


When my mother came back from her sudden getaway to the country, along with her arrived a mother goat and her new baby goat, also with them was my aunt Khdan and her two young grand children, and what looked like their whole house hold. When I asked about the new arrivals mom informed me that due to the drought my aunt and the kids moved to Hargiesa for the summer, and that they will reside in the two servants rooms in the back of our house. As for the animals the Mama goat is a gift for me and the baby goat was a gift for my doughtier Layla. I accepted this gift against my better judgement, not that I had any choice in the matter.


The fact was that as usual my mother has made one of her out of the blue, make you scratch you head decisions such as moving families, bringing goats, and building a new kitchen in the back of the house. As expected I was supposed to sit there and watch the drama unfold, at least that was my plan till I was somehow forced to be a part of the whole thing.

My blessed gift started the whole drama the first night of its arrival. I woke up when I heard some noise in the back of the house, fallowed by the sound of both goats. It sounded like most of the reqous was being caused by the mother goat. My first thought was “Oh Shit the dammed things are being abducted.” so I woke my sister Shukri and proceed to the back to check what the problem was. In the mean time my mother wakes up, sees us and immediately assumes that we came outside to smoke. What fallowed was a big blow up between all three of us, accusations, shouting, and even some hand to hand combat. As I said before lets not get away from the story after all it is about a goat.


 After my mother realized that the house was not big enough for all the new settlers she created a commotion with me in the middle of it just because I complained about the mother goat who made a b line for my prize, maybe not so much prized flowers, that I planted and were surprisingly blooming into actual tulips. After that she decides to move my aunt and the kids to another house, off course I was the askape goat for this move. I was completely blamed and was told by my mother that I was making everyone uncomfortable, when my only concern was the damn flower, and plant eating mama goat.


My gift has become a trouble making nightmare. In a couple of days my poor untie and the boys moved to our house in the middle of the city, yet the animal in question remained. Also the next day I look in the backyard and there it was the grandmother goat that I was told arrived by truck from the country to join her family just that morning. I started to pay close attention to the goat’s and I notice that the mommy goat is always making noise, hitting her baby and is just mean. By now she is eating us out of house and hold, and is giving nothing back except for a half a cup of milk a day that my mother whitens her tea with. I started to develop a dislike for my gift, and having evil thoughts about accidentally leaving the front gate open for her to take a long nice walk to never return. Yes I feel bad about my bad thoughts, but what can I say, the goat is not nice.


I came close the other day to getting rid of my present when we found out that she was missing. My first thought was “good” then second, was “Shit” knowing my mothers reaction to her missing and the blame placing that will follow. The search and rescue was deployed, short of a Helicopter sweeping the area from the sky. After a few mixed emotions on my part, mostly about what about the milk for the afternoon tea, and the little money I might have brought if the thing was sold, I settled for a final thought which was “good reddens.”


I realize that it serves me right if I’m accused of kicking a horses gift in the mouth, but I don’t really care, I might seem to some people that I’m  ungrateful yet I don’t give a flaying F. the thing is my gift although giving to me in good thought, turned out to be the gift from hell. To ease the mind of any one that might have sympathized with this goat “She is baaaaack!” after Abdi the gate keeper who was responsible for watching them searched high and low for her, he walked in with her in toe, maybe not in toe necessary, but definitely fond. I’m happy for him that he found her, since his job was on the line, but I can’t say that I’m delighted that the Khat, eating, tea drinking, baby kicking and fence jumping goat is back in my life.


    • misslovely, have you ever milked a goat? My last trip to Somaliland, I spent about a week with some members of my family in the countryside so I tried to milk a she-camel but I was not able to milk it well. After that, I asked my uncle's wife if I could try her goats for practice then everybody laughed at me and later I was told that men don't milk goats. Anyway, it was a nice holiday for me and learnt lot of our pastoral culture.

  1. "Qudo ma naaylaaaa" said the women that visited Aden for a couple of weeks and then saw camel through the plane window as it approached Burao airport. KKKKKKKKKKKKKKK

  2. Nice to know Nuri is family is employing so many Somalilanders the gate keeper, the house maid, the driver, the, the …………..and not to mention all the other staff in the country home. This reminds me of the former Somaliland Protectorate books written by Ms. Margaret Lawrence.