THE EYE OPENER :The Story of Hope in the land of Somalia

Women at a marketplace in Mogadishu, Somalia, ready their produce for sale during the hoy month of Ramadan on July 11  ILYAS A. ABUKAR

From 2010, I have travelled almost every part of Somalia but in a map. I thought I had a wealth of experience on Somalia but I know I was wrong after a visit to Afgoye on the 29 May 2013. This visit changed my view of Somalia completely. I had taken keen interest in the Somalia situation from 2010 where I sought to understand the clan dynamics and the politics of Somalia. However, it had never crossed my mind that there was so much I had to learn about Somalia until we begun the journey to Afgoye farm on Wednesday afternoon with the staff of the Information Support Team for the African Union and United Nations, Officers of the Ugandan Defense forces and I.

The senior officer shows me the KM 4 round about and tells me how long it took AMISOM to expand their hold from the airport to KM 4. I could just imagine the numbers of Al-Shabaab and the weapons they had then as well as the fear in which the locals had for the militia at that time. As our convoy snakes through the city, I could not miss to see very young children between three and five years waving with sincere smiles at us. One thing was certain, the air of change and the hope of better times swept through the people of Mogadishu whom for more than 2 decades had been under the hold of Al-Qaeda linked Al-Shabaab militia.

There was a lot of traffic on the road from Afgoye heading to MogadishuCity; Some with passengers and some, ferrying fruits from the farms beyond. We also met Lorries ferrying loads of charcoal. Meeting local herders with hundreds of camel besides the road was a sight to behold. We stopped briefly at ShabelleRiverBridge. The wooden planks fastened on metallic rails at the sides of the old bridge tell a story. It says for a number of years no renovations on the bridge has been done. I walk cautiously to catch the glimpse of the big river and the signs of agricultural activities along the riverbanks. It is a beautiful sight.  Finally, we reach a certain farm. The gate is secured by one pole cut from the trees around the farm. We learn that the owner had left for Mogadishu but the brother was there and told us more of what goes on in the farms. The expanse of the plantains and the citrus fruits paint a different picture altogether and for a moment your mind drifts away making you wonder if you are still in Somalia.

Setting on sail to the land of Somalia from any other country in planet earth, many thoughts would start creep your mind. It does not matter the mode of transport, you will always imagine the sight of Al-Shabaab with their covered faces with crude gangs and eyes that shout they are ready to butcher you. In fact, no good thoughts about Somalia can come to your mind if you are visiting it for the first time. My case was no different, having understood the Somali crisis from a few years back; I had mixed feelings when I learnt that I was to visit Mogadishu, not for a week, a month but a total 12 months. Nonetheless, what is destined shall be and so on April 9th 2013, 6 minutes to three o’clock; our UN chattered flight touched the hard tarmac of Mogadishu International airport. One thing was certain, our stay had just begun. It was my first day in Somalia and the first day in Mogadishu. My mind was glad that we had arrived safely but I was still unsure of what really awaited us.

Getting the chance to travel to the Afgoye made me realize the potential of Somalia as a hub of trade, agriculture and industry. The reception of the public to us was overwhelming. It showed with fact that there is hope in the eyes of the natives. In the more than two decades of war, you could see resilience and fortitude of the Somali people. In the people, you would see the hope of a better future. Somalia must rise again by the help of God. Peace will be the best gift, not to the world or Africa but to the people of Somalia who have stood the test of time and never lost hope. May peace in abundance prevail in the land of Somalia.

Source: Anonymous

  • Peniel Cheptoo

    A good master piece. Indeed we do pray that our brothers and sisters in Somalia may find everlasting peace by God’s help. Good article. I hope to visit Somalia too just to tour the said great Horn of Africa Nation.

  • ubah

    since i have never been to somalia this encourages me to atleast visit the place really nice piece.