By: Mwajuma Pendo
Somaliland sun – I first came to know about Somaliland through a friend who was already living here.
It had been long since I communicated with her, a somalilander of Kenyan origin whom I knew and grew up with in Eldoret, Kenya and when we did make contact, she told me she was in a place called Hargeisa, Somaliland where she asked me to join her since there were job opportunities especially for teachers just like myself.
To me, there was only one Somalia. A Somalia that people killed each other with bombings here and there every day with no peace at all based on what the media tells us back at home, Kenya. And so for that reason I refused to join her because apparently I was not ready to die yet.
She explained to me how Somaliland was different from Somalia and even told me to Google it. So I did my research and found out it was true, a small self declared country called Somaliland existed. But still I was adamant about joining her because to me it was still Somalia.
After too much insisting from her I decided to accept her invitation and pay her a visit for just some few days then go back home. Upon my arrival everything was just okay but I was still trying to be careful just in case someone threw a bomb and then we all die and like I said I was not ready to die.
With time I realized it was quite a peaceful place perhaps even more than home. The people were so kind and welcoming that it felt like home. I couldn’t help but fall in love with the place.
The peaceful streets, the kind gesture from the people especially towards women and the old while taking buses, the enthusiasm of people wanting to know more about you since you are not a Somali, the small peaceful gatherings of men chewing khat discussing their own things, the oneness of people during prayer time even at the market, the beautiful beach in Berbera where people always go to have fun on weekends which according to me is a very good tourist attraction.
All this made me want to extend my visit and so I did. After some time I had no choice but to agree with my friend that Somaliland was quite a good and peaceful place to be at. I decided to stay and looked for a job and now I’m a teacher here in Somaliland. I teach such beautiful, intelligent and good children of Somaliland.
Despite the security, openness of its people and the abundant employment opportunities available for skilled professionals and the non discriminative nature, living in Hargeisa has only one drawback for foreigners and that is lack of entertainment places where one can go relax on weekends.
And as for the hijab for me a Kenyan Muslim it is a part of my life thence not an issue.
All in all Somaliland is quite a place to be.
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