Here a short introduction of our 5 protagonists:
Abdi Fatah Jamal
As student, Abdi needed a part time job which he found in the Digaale refugee camp. Today, after he has finished his BA-studies in Geology, it became his full time job. He is responsible for running the current generator from 4:30 pm until 1 or 2 am and collecting money from the „electricity customers“.
Just a half an hour-car ride away is his „second life“ in the middle of Hargeisa: Abdi is 25 years old, he grew up with peace in Somaliland and it’s the only way he has ever known his home country. He lives with his parents and siblings. Founding a family on his own is not on his mind right now, he’d rather find a job which is more appropriate for his education and qualifications. Right now there are not enough jobs in his discipline, but he is quite hopeful for the future as Somaliland is growing and developing rapidly. He thinks, he could be at service for his country with his skills and knowledge of Geology.
Abdi connects all protagonists with each other: He is Marwo’s grandson, Hamsa’s cousin and works in the refugee camp where Sahra lives.
Sahra Cumar Xasan
Sarah’s life takes place inside just a few square meters. She sleeps works and lives in and around her small shop located in the Digaale refugee camp. It looks like many shops in Somaliland and offers tea, bread, tomatoes, onions, canned groceries, washing powder and all sorts of things you need for everyday life. The vegetables she gets from farms not far away, the bread is baked in the camp’s own bakery.
Sarah opens her shop early in the morning. Her grandson (actually her nephew’s son) lives with her. In the refugee camp everyone knows each other, whether customer, supplier or pedestrian – everyone likes to pause for at least a little chat at her shop. Thus it became a meeting point, where people discuss the major and minor events ranging from everyday life to politics.
At noontime (from 12:00 to 15:30) the shop is closed – the hottest time of the day is resting time in whole Somaliland. In the afternoon and evening hours Sarah juggles the requests of her customers, and continues to chat about the world and life and cares lovingly for her grandson. Long after the nightfall Sarah closes the shop and transforms it into her bedroom
Hamsa Bashe Jama
Hamsas’s family fled to the Netherlands when he was still an infant. Later they moved to Germany, where he studied international development. For the last six years he moved back and forth between Germany and Somaliland until he decided to finally to move to Somaliland in 2018. He is employed at the ministry of infrastructure where he is responsible for business contacts between Germany and Somaliland. Hamsa is fluid in 4 languages: Somali, German, Netherlands, and English.
Hamsas initial motivation for his first trips to Somaliland was a solar panel container-project he came across in Germany. The idea is to bring those containers to villages in developing countries and cover their energy demands with solar energy.
His biggest motivation though, to stay in Somaliland, is the culture, the positive attitude towards life: Work usually is done before noon, the afternoon is reserved for leisure time and family. Ideals of community and support are very important. In the evening, Hamsa likes to enjoy the lifestyle in high-class bars and places which are a meeting point for the upper class and the Diaspora community.
Marwo Hassan Said & Nimco Kaysa Jama
Marwo and her granddaughter Nimco live on the countryside not far from capital Hargeisa as farmers. They start their daily routines every morning before sunrise and after the morning prayer: cooking and preparing food, beating butter, baking Lahox bread, doing the dishes and bringing water from the well – the life on their small farm is shaped by tasks like those.
The family also grows vegetables, but due to recurring droughts the harvest tends to be small. Their most important product is milk that they get from their sheeps, goats, cows and camels, and which grants their survival. Still, they have to buy groceries like rice, wheat and sugar in Hargeisa.
Although their life may seem simple, they enjoy their life as farmers. This lifestyle is actually very well respected in Somaliland, as until not long ago 80% of the population lived as farmers. The 17-year old Nimco is also happy on the farm, and has no plans to move to the city so far.
pictures: Laurenz Korber