Monthly Archives: March 2013

A Soldier’s Memories

Abdi (not his real name) fought the government of Siad Bare in the 1980s. Now, knowing how to handle a gun, he is a guard for the University. He was my armed escort around Somaliland on a number of occasions. The first time I met him was at the airport and as we drove back … Continue reading →

Posted in: Somaliland

The Guurti

Even though Somaliland, Somalia, and the Somali speaking parts of Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti are all ethnic Somalis, they are comprised of different clans. The British, in the north, and Italians, in the south, had different approaches to colonization with respect to clans. The British asked each of the northern clans to choose a representative … Continue reading →

Posted in: Somaliland

Laas Geel Cave Art

Being Friday, the start of the weekend in Somaliland, we took a field trip to see some ancient cave paintings. Located about 60 km from Hargeisa on the road to Berbera, these exotic paintings can be found under  the rocky outcroppings overlooking the convergence of two dry riverbeds. The name indicates “the place where camels … Continue reading →

Posted in: Somaliland

Cultural Change

I have heard it said that for a young Somali man to prove himself, in the “old days” he would take the camels out to the bush for an extended period of time and live only on what the camel and the bush provided. ‘Ano Geel’, camel’s milk, is very rich in nutrients …a complete … Continue reading →

Posted in: Somaliland

Weaver Birds

There are many species of Weaver Birds in Africa. The Vitelline Masked Weaver hangs out in the trees surrounding the guest house. Gregarious and social, these birds are busy weaving new nests out of strips pealed from palm fronds or elongated needles from the pine trees.   I am watching the progress of a new … Continue reading →

Posted in: Somaliland

Tea Time in Hargeisa

Tea time in Hargeisa means sweet Somali tea and sambuusas. The tea is rich with milk and heaped with sugar. Cardamom, cloves and cinnamon are some of the spices that may greet the drinker and tingle the taste buds. Sambuusas are known as somosas further south along the East African coast line as well as … Continue reading →

Posted in: Somaliland

University of Hargeisa

The University of Hargeisa (UoH) began as a primary/secondary school in 1969. After Somaliland declared its independence as a sovereign state in 1991, the need was ever greater due to years of neglect of the north by the southern led government. The University was founded in the year 2000 and has nearly 5000 students. Their … Continue reading →

Posted in: Somaliland

Hargeisa

Somaliland, the North Western part of the country, is a self-declared republic roughly based on the territory laid out as a former British Protectorate. Scrub covered semi desert, this arid part of the country is cut by an escarpment which rises off the ocean to the cooler higher areas inland.   The largest city of … Continue reading →

Posted in: Somaliland

The Meaning of the Flag

The flag of Somalia has five points. These represent the five different areas that had fallen into unnatural geographical borders forced on Africa over the past 120 years by different colonial powers. These geographical areas included 1) Southern Somalia which was once claimed by Italy, 2) Northern Somalia (now Somaliland and Puntland and a former … Continue reading →

Posted in: Somaliland

A Little Bit of History

For thousands of years nomads inhabited the bush lands that make up present day Somalia, located in the Horn of Africa. The source of camel domestication, spices, incense, and grazing animals for much of the ancient Middle East, Somalia has the longest coast line on the continent. Ruled by Sultanates, Somalis formed alliances of convenience … Continue reading →

Posted in: Somaliland