Month: May 2015

on independence

Perhaps the most enthusiastic Independence Days are celebrated by nations that go unrecognized.

on top chef, somaliland

The ceremony began late evening, after guests were welcomed to the courtyard of the college. Friends, family, loved ones and supporters of this very first graduating class were excited to see their new skills put to the test. Even the Somaliland Minister of Education was in attendance, and full of pride. And after… ahem… a rather extended introduction from esteemed guests and college figures, interrupted only briefly for the maghrib prayer, the new graduates, led by their beloved instructors, made the way to their ceremonious spots. Who are these graduates, you ask ? Mostly Somali or Somalilanders, mostly women, with all manner of spectacular goals, from opening their own restaurants, to establishing their own culinary non-profits, to feeding their luckiest of families. Once the ceremony was completed, and degrees and certificates distributed, the real challenge got underway. as night fell, and while onlookers and guests salivated, dish after delicious dish appeared on tables set before the judges, looking their best for the ultimate taste test. Guests oohed … and aahed … and loaded up Hargeisa’s digital social networks with image upon …

on a last look

Bamako: city of dust, city of bougainvillea. The friends who turn out to be heroes; The ones we break bread with who nourish our own hearts; The colleagues who become family; The neighbors who anchor our days; The greetings that never end; The showers that bring relief, both from dirt and sweat as well as from anxiety over the season’s harvest; The mornings that stun you into submission; The village chiefs whose class and style are unmatched; The history that keeps you guessing; The magic around every corner. After two years in Bamako, i’ve said (a long, rather drawn-out) farewell. Hopeful to be back soon and see an old friend with fresh eyes. Until then, starting over again somewhere new: [View of Hargeisa, Somaliland]

on a taxi, and being cheerful

There are moments in life when good cheer is at a deficit. It’s no one’s fault, but you’ve looked under the cushions, in the back of the refrigerator, you’ve peeked into the neighbor’s yard and interrogated the donkey lazing on the corner, and you simply haven’t come upon any good cheer. Not to worry. There is a formula. It consists of the following: Bright yellow walls added to bright green leaves, Multiplied by an airy courtyard, plus friendly patrons. Multiplied again by sweet and spicy juices, the freshest around, and a menu to satisfy the most discerning palette. With the addition of friendly faces, and beautiful spaces, all divided over good company, squared for good measure. And what do you know, just like that good cheer sprung forth, just in time for lunch. Where have you found good cheer, lately? . . sending joy from Taxi Bamako, café and petit hotel, Rue 224 Porte 1018, Hippodrome.