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 :-)