Discovering Somalia; How a Work Trip Kindled Curiosity about my Country PDF Print

I have never been to Gaalkacyo.

I was born and raised in Somalia but I have not travelled much within the country.  I have been to Nairobi in Kenya more times than I have travelled to any other city in my own country.

The organisation I work for, CISP, works with communities and authorities in Gaalkacyo to increase access to education. When the opportunity came for me to travel and train media partners in Gaalkacyo on the ‘Girls Education Challenge’ project, I welcomed it.

My two colleagues and I went through the standard procedures at Adden Adde International Airport in Mogadishu; the security and document checks. We boarded at 10 a.m.

Mogadishu shrank below us as the plane ascended into the clouds. The captain announced it will take us 90 minutes to cover the 715 kilometres to our destination. I couldn’t help but compare it to the one hour it takes to reach Wajir in Kenya, this was longer and I would still be in Somalia.

Somalia is long: It covers an area of 637,540km that stretches alongside the eastern borders of Kenya and Ethiopia.  Mogadishu is at the bottom edge and Gaalkacyo somewhere around the middle.

Flying over these parts for the first time was thrilling: When the fluffy clouds cleared below, I spotted tiny clusters of buildings scattered across the vast landscape.  The sandy terrain seemed like one large pale-brown canvas from the air; the monotony was broken by various shades representing change in elevation of the land below.

All this may not sound particularly exciting; for me, it was more the notion of where I was that got my heart beating. As the journey progressed, I would imagine which region we were flying over and what the people below were doing.

We were picked up by colleagues from Abdullahi Yusuf Airport. Gaalkacyo town is energetic: Like Mogadishu, there are many construction projects going on. The freshly paved streets and new buildings painted in vibrant colours are evidence of the dynamic economic activity.

In the afternoon, the streets were filled with children in uniforms of different colours walking home from their schools.

I visited schools and vocational training centres. I saw men, women, boys and girls striving to make a contribution to the development of our country.  I felt part of a larger group; like I was meeting relatives for the first time. This experience will stay with me forever.

As the sun set, casting an orange glow on the town, I wished to see other parts of Somalia. I hope to one day take a road trip across the country, see the places and people up close.

By Salad Ghedi, Communication and Accountability Officer, Mogadishu.




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The presentation of the information in this website in no way represents the expression of a political opinion whatsoever on the part of CISP. Country, region, district and community names are used solely for ease of reference and do not indicate a political or territorial preference.The geographical names transcription is the one in use by UNOCHA.