All posts filed under: Somaliland

what’s to eat #38

For millions (billions?) around the world, there’s nothing especially thrilling about this bread. But I cherish those foods that reach across continents, and infiltrate entire hemispheres, because of their practicality and facility as a template for local iterations.

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on an upswing

Somewhere in there I lost myself, I tipped into the darkness that comes around every now and again, pays a visit without invitation, overstays its welcome. The darkness of old would shock me into submission, steamroll me to the point of immobility. And, looking for something to blame, I’d get lost in arguments with myself about the origins of my own depression – circumstance, coincidence, fate, dumb luck, or my own mistakes and missteps. I’d resisted the shadows as best I could, thinking I could hold them back. Once I realized I could not, I opened the doors and welcomed them: Let’s have a go, let’s make our way down the stairs, and sit for a while in the darkness at the bottom.

on Roda, and resilience

Roda invited us into her tea shop, a wooden frame of sticks and crunchy, curled, leaves shading customers from the sun. We had made our way into rural Somaliland for monitoring activities, and at one stop we chatted with Roda, businesswoman and single mother of six. A tea kettle sat on smoking logs, and we sat on woven mats on the ground. birds flitted through the leaves above us, chirping away. At the time, Roda was doing pretty well for her family: she had a decent income from her tea shop, and she owned a couple cows. She was making it work, holding it together. I’ve been thinking about Roda during the past few weeks as the drought in Somalia and Somaliland slides quickly into something much worse. Of all the things we’re able to control in the modern day, the weather just isn’t one of them (yet), and this corner of the world is especially vulnerable to climate change. I think also about community, and its power to manifest resilience in the individual. In this place, community is fierce; a Somali with …

on winter in the Horn

‘Tis the season here in Somaliland: winter winds, chilly temperatures, and thick layers of morning fog all around. It’s enough to keep you in bed much later than you intended. Truth be told, I’ve been waiting for this moment; last winter surprised and delighted me, cold weather devotee that I am. I hadn’t imagined I would wrap up in sweaters or pull on socks in this relatively arid climate – camels, cacti and wool hats seemed like unlikely pairings. But here we are again, and I’m doing my best to take full advantage. Thanks to later dawns and earlier sunsets, I snuggle in bed as long as I can. Breakfast under cover (quite literally) has become a beloved ritual. When I manage to peel myself off the mattress, a polite but impatient (canine) spirit awaits me, ready to charge the clouds of fog and greet the day. (Don’t let her fool you, though–given the right bedding she’s as lazy as they come). Winter morning walks in our neighborhood are truly stunning, once you shake off the …