Monday, March 28, 2016

My Garowe

Garowe is the capital city of Puntland which in-turn means it is some sort of assistant capital city because we all know the true capital city of Somalia is Mogadishu aka Xamar aka the world's most dangerous city that is now so so beautiful and from what I hear not in any way the world's most dangerous.

Garowe is huge(I think) honestly though I do not know about this because I haven't really explored and I still get lost if I take a different route from the usual because my sense of direction is zero and I am a creature of habit therefore I stay within what I know which can be a bad thing that might not change(or will change things happen).It’s urban  as seen in this post The Review and I have never seen girls so into make-up like the ones that live here what!!!!!!!  9 at night and lipstick on huku kuna maneno na warembo (I guess)

I had this discussion with a colleague on if someone new came to Garowe what would he consider historical or some sort of landmark to show, he said there is nothing to show of that sort (how now??).  A year is a lot of time so if someone came to Garowe and asked me to show them the town and talked to me really nicely.I would show them………………………………….

The main vegetable market

Some parts of the market
It is relatively big and has a lot of variety in terms of what kind of vegetables you can buy and it doubles up as the meat market. There are these rahwein speaking dudes who sell juice and they have a lady who sits outside their place who sells samosas and mandazis,Together they monopolise the cold drinks segment in this market and I am sure a lot of the people coming to the market always add 4000 SoShs for juice and 1000 SoShs for mandazis in their money to carry to the market because their ka-joint is always full.

Why the main vegetable market: Because its unexpected right? Such a nice market and the juice place because I think as much as it's the true kibanda women who come to the market really like it so its something.

The Barhad

This is the main roundabout in the town and also the only traffic lights in the town that do not work but they are there to show this is the capital hello!!(maybe they do but I haven't seen them work yet).Its also I think the middle of the town assuming this is true then its the town's point zero. something worth seeing if the traffic lights aren't too appealing :-)

Why the Barhad: Because its near some government offices and therefore there is the chance to see the animal that is used as the national symbol………………………….they use a sheep and all the people I have asked do not know why sheep and not camel or any other animal,Also opposite the said office there are these tea joints that I am told serve the best street tea in the town.

Sunset chasing

Sometimes I get lucky and I am not at home when the sun sets,Ironic I know because a lot of people want to be home before the sun-sets and here I am always home early and the days I am late I maximize the opportunity and sunset chase and Garowe has on the days I have seen the coolest of sunsets.

Why sunset chase: Because it’s the Sunset!!! and it’s just nice.

Garowe Nights

Night time shoppers.

Garowe town is open until 10 PM atleast this is latest I have been in the town and a lot if not all of the places are open even tailors work at night.People here take afternoon siestas seriously :-) so a lot of the business are closed in the afternoon,the real reason though has to be the heat in the afternoons and not people wanting to take naps. They therefore stay open into the night to make up for lost time,

Friday night in Garowe is date night and no I am not joking people take their significant others out on Friday nights.I draw this conclusion from one Friday night that I took myself out, as in Rehema took Rahma out so the two of us just sat unaware of what day it was :-D :-D and everywhere I am seeing pink and blue and here I am pink and pink………………………. and I am thinking whats happening ??? but I decided to be like everyone else and just order for two(I joke I was out with a friend)  and point of this Garowe has  lot of nice places to eat out.

Why Garowe Nights: To see first hand that Fridays are truly date nights and that people shop at night without fearing that something might happen to them.

Shops that have really nice stuff

Look who got a make-up brush :-) Influence from reading This is Ess a lot. 

There are so many shops that sell a lot of the things that you would need if not everything and some serious variety too from food,clothes,cute note books and everything else.

Why shops that have cute stuff: Because why not?

Tuk-Tuk Rides.

The tuk-tuk stage near the vegetable market.

There are tuk-tuks and there are matatus but matatus go on certain routes only and tuk-tuks go anywhere for a flat rate of 4000 SoShs irrespective of distance and sometimes and in my case almost always my stop is the last one and mostly the tuk-tuk driver will talk to me and tell me stories after everyone else alights, usually nothing major but there was this one time the driver, this small boy who looked like he is  16-18 years old was driving like he had a death wish so I request him to slow down and he does, then he tells me this crazy story about how he is about to be taken to jail because of somethings he has done.

Why tuk-tuk rides: How else will someone learn what this town is about and you might just hear crazy stories.

There is more to Garowe than this as the town is way fancier that it seems here. :-)

Friday, March 18, 2016

Purple Hibiscus

Purple hibiscus in this book signifies new beginnings and happiness. The book tells a story of 2 siblings a brother (Eugene), his sister (Ifeoma) and their families.

Ifeoma has 3 children Obiora, Chima and Amaka. She is a lecturer at a university, her husband has passed on and she is raising her kids on her own. She is this good parent that allows them freedom to express themselves (within reasonable boundaries), laugh, argue and ask questions. But when they make mistakes she disciplines them in the best way by always ensuring that they understood why they were being punished.

……………………………I always preffered the stick to her slaps, though, because her hand is made of metal, ezi oktoum, Amaka laughed.” Afterwards we will talk about it for hours. I hated that. Just give the lashes and let me out. But no, she explained why you had been flogged and what she expected you to do not to get flogged again.

Ifeoma allows her children as much as they are catholics to learn about their traditions by taking them to see their grandfather often and him teaching them about their traditions through stories and the old man loved her for this and that she took good care of him.

I joke with you, nwam, where would I be today if my Chi had not given me a daughter? Papa Nnukwu paused.’’ My spirit will intercede for you, so that Chuktvu will send a good man to take care of you and the children.

Her son Obiora is a 14 year old so ahead of his age and takes on the role of the man of the house really well and casually drops big words like microcosm in normal conversation.

Ifeoma (his mum after giving tablets to the grandfather) : ………………’’He says tablets are bitter, but you should taste the Kola nuts he chews happily-they taste like bile”

Obiora (Laughs): Morality as well as sense of taste is relative.

Which 14 year old talks like this??

She loses her job at the university because of not being loyal to the government and decides to move to America with her kids to teach there and give them a shot a better opportunities in education.

Eugene has two children Jaja and Kambili and their mother. He is extremely wealthy and has companies, big houses, big cars, house servants, drivers and all that comes with wealth but man is crazy and wants to portray this image of perfection of his family to the outside world and especially his church. He is a dictator in his house for example no one can talk back to him, they always have to praise him, during meals nobody can leave the table before he does.  He expects his children to be always the top in their classes and they do not have a choice of subjects to take in school as they will only do what he wants. He has ingrained this sense of fear in his children that they do not know how to be happy, laugh and just be normal persons.

…………….I remained a backyard snob to most of the girls in my class. But I did not worry too much about that because I carried a bigger load-the worry of making sure I came first this term. School closed in early December for Christmas break. I peered into my report card while Kevin was driving me home and saw 1/25, written in a hand so slanted I had to study it to make sure it wasn’t 7/25.

For small mistakes they committed he punished them heavily and in most cases they had to be taken to a hospital. He battered his wife so badly and so often that she lost two pregnancies which results in her poisoning him. The community views him as an excellent man because he gives generous donations and acts like this holy Christian who even disowns his father who refused to convert to Christianity and refuses his children to visit the old man.

"Nekenem, Look at me. My son owns that house that can fit every man in Abba, and yet sometimes I have nothing to put on my plate. I should not have let him join the missionaries.

His sister manages to convince him to allow the kids to visit her and spend time with their cousins and they love living with the cousins despite their aunty not having much and they learn happiness and how to be with other people and Kambili even falls in love as is evidenced by these lines from the book J

‘His eyes rested on my face and it was too disturbing, locking eyes with him, It made me forget who was nearby, where I was sitting, what colour my skirt was……………………….’

‘I stared at the dashboard, at the blue-and-gold Legion oil Mary sticker on it. Didn’t he know that I did not want him to leave ever? That I did not need to be persuaded to go to the stadium, or anywhere with him? The afternoon played across my mind as I got out of the car in front of the flat. I smiled, ran and laughed. My chest was filled with something like bath foam. Light. The lightness was so sweet I tasted it on my tongue, the sweetness of an overripe bright yellow cashew fruit.

If you haven’t read it and are looking for something fun, easy and is a page turner then you should definitely read it J

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

If wishes were horses

The President's office.
A while ago I wrote this post here on how I would love to see the Villa Puntland and sit on a special task force well sometimes wishes do come true and I went to the Villa Puntland and sat in so many drought meetings and one meeting hence forth called the meeting in which the special task force was in attendance.Talking about wishes coming true it happens to some people in big ways look at Miss Sharon and her love for Maasai morans here  and here when she gets herself a fine Maasai.

Pastoralists transporting food and water.
There is a drought in some parts of Puntland (this increasingly feels like writing about work something I must avoid).This as a result of the poor rains during the last rain season and people are mostly pastoral therefore their livestock is thinner,gets them less money,food is more expensive in the market,water sources have dried up and people are eating less,have inadequate access to water and all that therefore the president declared the drought an emergency and sent out invites(more like a summon I think) for people to attend a meeting at his place to discuss these very important things but as fate would have it I was out of the town then and the invite was to my boss in the first place so I figured this going to see the Villa Puntland thing might not happen,during this meeting agencies were given a two week ultimatum to come up with response plans and do a second meeting with the president.So the panic begins and to say many coordination meetings have been held would be an understatement like every day there is a meeting!!

There is a special task force that has been established to specifically take lead on issues to do with the drought and drought response but its run by the government and therefore zero chances of me getting into it but I went for one meeting(the meeting) and all task force members were in attendance and I wouldn't say its something out of the usual meetings you go for but its really high profile and you have to watch what you say more or just play it safe and keep quite.

In these meetings sometimes you meet some serious high rollers like I met a certain HoA and he has a kabambe and he thinks I am judging him and honestly I was not thinking about why he has a kabambe because I also have a kabambe.He tells me 'you know my daughter just got a job and is buying me a new phone as a gift' , the pride on his face when he said this!!!! I wish his daughter knows how so very proud of her he is, but that's not even the point of this phone story, the point is this guy can easily afford to get himself  a phone but his daughter is getting him one, people take your daughters to school because they are the ones who'll buy you expensive phones you don't really need and make you so proud that you'll want to talk about them all the time.

Flags inside the compound of the Villa Puntland
I went to the Villa Puntland yaaaaaaaaaasssssssssss wish come true but it was unplanned because if I had known I was going say the night before I could have dressed up for the occasion because I went in a Dirac which was way too under-dressed so much so when I sent Mresh a picture and told her the story the first thing she says is 'Na ulienda na dirac si ulituangusha!!.The place is heavily guarded obviously and there are a lot of security checks as you get in, there are houses in the compound still under construction but I was at the president's place!!!Now I hope my other many wishes come true :-) :-)

Illegal Fishing

The sea in Eyl.
There are people from far away lands who come to the sea in Eyl/Somalia to steal fish because what else are they doing coming this far away to fish, pure broad day light(in this case mostly night-time) robbery.

They are mostly I assumed from places like Yemen,Iran based on the stories I hear but I met this Swahili speaking man and how I knew he speaks Swahili, he had a radio that was tuned to a Swahili station, at the tea joint because where else to meet new people right? at first I thought he had tuned to it by mistake, but he keeps on listening  and this joint of ours is small and therefore it has one sitting area, I quietly listen and he decides to pick a conversation with me in Swahili............................

Washangaa kumuona mtu anasikiliza Kiswahili hapa (and in a Swahili accent). I keep on looking at him because if anything I have learnt to be wary of friendly strangers but then he starts telling me the way he is prospecting for fishing opportunities here and that samaki wamekosekana kabisa Mombasa.Now I really look at him and ask him if he knows about illegal fishing and its dangers and he tells me the sea is a natural resource given/gifted to all of us by God and therefore what they plan on doing cannot be called illegal and as for piracy he goes like ahhhhhhh si hayo maneno yalienda na Captain Phillips.

There is something like depletion of sea resources (I have always thought the sea can never be depleted,its the sea!!)  because all the time we talk to the communities we work for to ask them to list the biggest hazards they face and those that live near the sea will always say xaluuf ka bada which translates to desertification of the sea(depletion of sea resources but desertification says that the situation is really bad ama?) and here are people coming from far away places to take even the little that is left because they have bigger boats/trawlers :-(

How do we get these guys doing illegal fishing discussion.

We spend a lot of time in the villages and some of the villages we go to are quite near the sea sometimes they will show us the boats doing illegal fishing and will tell us how they cannot even get near them as these people are not polite thiefs because they also carry guns and if any boat comes near them they shoot at it!!! I don't know about this but I have seen people fight like crazy over water and pasture (God given natural resources) and parties involved are not even of different nationalities just communities trying to prove who is braver than the other because to be known as a coward is a huge insult to them(them being Samburus,Turkanas and Boranas) so I pray and hope that the government finds some way to be effective in manning the boats that are allowed to fish in their waters.

Posing with the lobsters-the random life choose me :-)
There is xaluuf ka bada(look who is flaunting her Somali :-)) but some of the  fishermen fish out pregnant lobsters and who knew lobsters have such beautiful pregnant bellies :-) :-) the orange part is the pregnant belly, also they look quite scary and to catch them the fishermen have to go into the deep sea with oxygen masks and all.These are serious fishermen but why they catch pregnant lobsters they can't explain but when I ask them aren't they afraid to catch the lobster scary as they seem ,they look at me and say have you ever seen anyone run away from money,well this is our money we see lobsters and run to them(swim really fast) as they fetch the highest prices.

A lobster fresh out of the sea

Oxygen tanks belonging to the fishermen

A shark!!