Monday, April 28, 2014

Conflict sensitivity

Just the other day we had this Do no  harm  training/desk review, I always thought I knew what this is but to say the least I was in the dark. I never thought its any thing to do with conflict but just ensuring that projects implemented are aligned to the common community practices  such that you do not maybe cause inflation or increase wage rates because the project you are implementing is paying more that the prevailing wages in the market or overlooking local markets and bringing in stuff that can easily be bought and the supply is sufficient or something close but no its a conflict sensitivity analysis tool(quite timely for me considering how many small conflicts I have been in)

We had these discussions on Luuq and now I can hold a decent discussion on the clan dynamics and power play in Luuq town Marehan Vs Rahwyn , who feels more aggrieved and how we can make it better by fighting/better dialogue with the DC aka Sanjeh (see Somalis love nicknames).Sanjeh means one who has this war marks on his mouth dude was in the army and still wears combats on some days, in totally unrelated stuff even Kagame was in the army which means not all former warlords are bad leaders.

One of the many things that I have come to appreciate is always asking so how is the town mostly I'll get the situation is normal and calm but sometimes very scary news like  7 prisoners escaped from the prison and the Ethiopian forces have arrested the OCS and deputy OCS  because of this and like 2 days before this I heard that 5 women who are wives to the al-shabab were arrested and were in jail so maybe they are amongst those who escaped (how do you marry a guy who is an AS this is something I have to find out) and apparently its not by force and they have very pretty wives as supposedly women like danger really??

I now listen to BBC-Somali ok maybe not out of free will  but because everyone else listens so I just sit and we listen together and news has never been scarier members of parliament were killed in Mogadishu,some guys were be-headed in Baidoa and closer to us a well-known peacemaker was shot dead in Beleth-Hawa :'-(

Talking of do no harm there is a conflict likely to come up in Beleth Hawa that is  revenge killings  people from the clan of the peacemaker will revenge by killing some guys from the clan of the people they suspect shot the elder.This is war gentlemen there are no rules!!!!!!!! (relevance of this statement to this story none but I have always wanted to say this) so clans are dividers(local capacities for war) and in Somalia amongst the first things people will ask you is what is your clan and I always say  Marehan and I wonder why they never believe me.

There is this mosque near our office and everyday in the morning the imam makes dua in Somali I always try to make out what he says,he mostly prays for rain(rob) and peace(nabad) and of late I always hear him mention shabab in his dua and I think to myself 'guy doesn't fear these people.There is a lot of respect for religious leaders and elders and they can therefore easily sort any conflicts hence they are  connectors(local capacities for peace)

Since now I'm more aware of connectors and dividers hopefully I do not get into any conflict or get into them knowing how to get out easily(the power of knowledge :-) )

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Taking stock :-) :-)

So the first 3 months of the year are gone(Alhamdullilah) soon we will be in June InshaAllah and it will be mid-year and soon after December.Lazy me has been unable to finish writing her resolutions for this year.I began in December set a timeline to be done by January 15 and still I'm unable to, not that I don't want to but every time I sit down to do it I think let go and live what harm will it do you..................... I guess its me silently hoping that Allah will surprise me by answering all my prayers without me having to write them down and looking at them every 3 months to see how I'm doing(yes I'm that/used to be that focused)

These three months have been an experience to say the least I have learnt to sleep with both my ears open,fought with the DC(this was a crazy thing to do) looking back I shouldn't have but I have learnt to pick the battles I want to fight and the ones I think are not worth it/too big for me which is a good thing.

I have grown in my appreciation of  listening more and talking less.There is so much you do not know and there are times that all the things that you have read on implementation guidelines cannot work so flexibility is key and asking/listening to people who have done it here( in this case Luuq) will always be helpful. Like now I know as one of my workmates put it silence is good if you are unsure about dates say of food distribution never ever gives dates based on anything be vague and say in the next two weeks this will save you a lot of agony lesson learnt the hard way if I had listened to peeps I work with I'll have not insisted so much on putting all the information out there as much as its a good thing sometimes it comes back to haunt you.

I spent some time in Mogadishu and now I know why its called Xamar  :-) (dream come true) I'll say this the town will surprise you in a really pleasant way it's really nice, has tarmac roads and even traffic,free internet at the airport, buildings with really nice rooftops that you could sit on the whole night,very nice people and for me very nice food.You'll not believe the large number of Kenyans living and working in Mogadishu.So maybe just maybe the GoK should go easy on this deportation of Somalis(just saying they might be doing more harm than good)

Hargeisa is another Nairobi(read city)  talk about having a KU,JKUAT and Takaful in Somaliland these people should watch out soon it will Tuskys/Nakumatt halafu Equity and then kwisha its a Kenyan town.Seriously though guys working in Hargeisa are having an easy time they go to the  field on tarmac roads!!!!!!how unfair is that? us guys have very bad non-existent roads such that each time we take different routes because there are no roads so anywhere can be a road provided there are no houses,we live in constant fear of the AS and there is the local authority made up of former warlords to deal with.These people are having the time of their lives(ok maybe not but definitely easier than us).With this said I think its only fair that we should never be compared in-terms of achievements simply put they are in some fancy high schools and us guys are in those schools where the only thing happening is the will of the student to pass with flying colors.

I have saved the best for sister got the most beautiful little girl.Thanks Allah for blessing my family with little Rilwan the joy(read very happy sleepless nights) she has brought in our lives cannot be explained and may she grow up to make all of us proud :-)

So after all with or without resolutions life goes on and so far this year has been beautiful Alhamdulillah, I became an aunty, travelled a lot(all the villages I visit count as travel right?) laughed a lot,cried a bit,met so many  new people,made new friends and watched 6 seasons of how I met your mother :-) so lets see how it goes from here InshaAllah but I have decided no resolutions just be happier, give my absolute best in everything I do,listen more,be kinder,pray more,be a better muslim and have a lot of fun while at it.....................clearly old habits are hard to shake off maybe I finally finished on my resolutions :-)