Sunday, March 30, 2014

Somalia-three months on

Officially 3 months in Somalia yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay.The amount of challenges I have faced can make for very good stories for many days.I always knew working in Somalia is complex but hearing about it and actually implementing here are two different stories.

I have grown in my Somali wisdom, courage(you need to have some level of courage to work in Luuq trust me) and most definitely understand this context better now.

Amongst many things these 3 months I have learnt silence is good in-terms of giving out project information to beneficiaries and everything else.So me and my beneficiary transparency and accountability did sensitization and told them all about their correct entitlements and now drama that I have to take care of.........................only Allah knows,the overall project boss is on my neck,the rains are coming,targets are so un-met and I have to answer why(A lot of prayers needed here)

I have the poorest negotiation skills on the planet(ok maybe not) just that I cannot read people's mind and can't actually tell when people are lying to me.I over think stuff and take forever to make decisions and sometimes I change my mind for the record if you are implementing in Somalia key lesson you need to learn is you'll need to make decisions quickly and never ever change you mind.

Nothing ever goes according to plan so forget about work-plans, strict timelines and just go with the flow.You'll make the best plans and one week into the work-plan issues arise like beneficiaries refused to work,the local authority doesn't want to see you,insecurity and such issues.

Gatekeepers are real and will stress your life if you do not agree to what they say.So trying to do things the right way with no influence from external parties has caused me more headaches,sleepless nights and worry like I have never seen in my life.The local authority has interests,powerful traders have interests,beneficiaries have trust issues and then there is me and my transparency/accountability which I have learnt as much as its key you have to learn how to do so that it does not cause more harm than good.

I have had my moments when I have considered calling it quits but I'm not that kind of person and there are all these people who are rooting for me to do an amazing job on this project so I'll face my challenges head on and pray that Allah makes this project a success and my days here easier :-)

Friday, March 21, 2014

Reflections at the airport

I'm on transit from Dollow to Hargeisa at the Mogadishu airport,the waiting time is a whole 4 hours.........................I'm too lazy/my mind just wants to wander and do random stuff rather than catch up with work or do anything that involves actual thinking plus I have learnt the value of living in the moment(with age comes wisdom) so somewhere in between facebooking and reading random stuff on the net I actually did some work related stuff(4 hours is pretty long) and spent time just thinking and looking at the other passengers(weird of me right?)

I see mothers who are travelling with their kids there was one that had five small kids, mothers are the official stars of each family getting tea and snacks for their kids(the airport in Mogadishu has a coffee place how cool is that :-) ) and trying to convince them that they do not need the sweets and the chewing gum that some lady was selling but finally buying them because the kids insisted.The kids joyfully chatting about very interesting stuff,checking out the planes and just having fun and recording stories they'll go tell their friends in very interesting ways I'm sure.Conclusion reached the joys of motherhood are immeasurable(I have always known this) what beats these small people who want your attention so much they keep on pulling on your clothes so that you look at them when they are talking to you.With this said I'm getting a really big family InshaAllah.

Home will always be should see the Somalis from the diaspora at the airport I could tell because some had these passports from other countries, others from their dress code and others well I could just tell from how unused to the heat they were like there was this dude whose shirt was soaked in sweat and it was a relatively cool day.Somalis are so patriotic each of these people spoke in Somali.

There are women soldiers in the AMISOM!!!!!! I saw women soldiers with the AMISOM uniform at the airport..............shock what!!!!!! I always knew there are women in the army but the fact that they sometimes go to very dangerous missions like this one I didn't know so maybe me living in Luuq isn't too bad.

Lastly seeing people waiting to pick their loved ones made me miss the days when my mum would come pick from the bus station when I travelled home now I'm too old I guess but she still cooks for me chapatis each time :-) so cherish all the little things because someday you'll realize they were the big things.