After more than a year of dreaming, thinking, planning, pushing and pulling, getting off track and finding the way back again, we’ve managed it at last, setting up shop in Hargeisa’s international airport. There were delays of the self-indulgent and self-doubting varieties: Is this the right path among all those others? Is it the most profitable? What about that other shiny-looking opportunity over there… Does anyone really buy t-shirts? (Turns out, to our great relief, yes they do).
Like most cross-cultural foods, there are a zillion and one recipes for loxoox, from Somalia and Somaliland to Djibouti, Yemen, and even as far as Israel. Locally, loxoox is eaten for breakfast with Somali tea, or honey and goat ghee, or olive oil. Oftentimes , Somali breakfasters plop a small stack of loxoox on a plate and pour tea right on top of it. Usually cooked on a cast iron skillet with a thin veneer of vegetable oil rubbed across it using a folded piece of loxoox, the batter is drizzled onto the center of the pan and then pushed outwards in a circular motion with a spoon, spatula, or the bottom of a cup, creating a beautiful swirl.
I’m living for the weekends lately, for the deep breaths and slivers of free time. It’s Wednesday in Hargeisa, so we’ve got one more day until we can relax (work on side projects). Here are a few links to get us all through!
Fashion in Hargeisa is reliably modest. Lest you conclude, however, that it’s boring, allow a group of young professionals to prove you otherwise. Herewith, images and a few words on beauty, confidence, and modesty, from some intelligent, stylish, and fierce Somali women. Says Salwa on confidence: ” I wasn’t born with confidence. I wasn’t confident when I was very young. I think with experience, life makes you more confident. You learn how to deal with different situations, and you gain confidence from each one you’ve been in through your life.”
A squadron of chefs from China pitched a restaurant concept to the Somali owners of a Hargeisa cafe. Their mission was to impress; ours was to stuff ourselves.
With contributions from staff, chef supreme Xukun prepares a daily office lunch. Our mid-day fare ranges from Somali standards like spiced rice and camel meat, to lentil stews, to my personal favorite, fried fish with chapati. Chapati is a bit time consuming, as it’s prepared piece by piece on the stove. But today we lucked out–Xukun turned out round after round of flaky bread. Around 1pm, we tucked into a goat stew, a creamy mix of chard, onions, and peas, along with chapati hot off the skillet, and salad. As they say around here, Qado wanaagsan – Bon appetit !!