A long road to Jigjiga and the Somali Youth Summit

My friend Mohamed Omer invited me to attend the Somali Youth Summit, which took place in Jigjiga between 25 and 27 November this year. I had never been to Jigjiga before, and I was interested and excited to visit the town and engage with its people. There is no direct flight from Mogadishu to Jigjiga. The two options I had were a transit to Addis Ababa or a flight to Hargeisa and then make road trip to Jigjiga. I wanted to maximize my travel experience and opted for the latter option. Read more

10 Years of Blogging

I have previously written two blogs reflecting on ten-year milestones. The first, which was widely read and shared, was a reflection on the ten years I lived in Mogadishu. The second blog was about my ten years of teaching. Now, it is the ten-year milestone for my blogging journey. I thought it would also be appropriate to write a blog for this landmark. I published my first blog 10 years ago today – 15 September 2013. I reflected on my journalism experience. At the time I wrote and published that blog, I was a school teacher, not a journalist. I reflected on how, in 2008-9, being a journalist was my dream job but I ended up being a teacher. Read more

Experiences and observations: my visit to Dar es Salaam

This is the first travelogue I am writing for a trip outside Somalia. When I first started these travel blogs in 2014, my mission was to document and share my experiences and observations in the Somali cities I visited. Although I frequently travel to countries in the Horn, I often don’t write about these visits. Dar es Salaam Tanzania, unlike other regional cities I visited, has many similarities to Mogadishu, and this is probably my main motivation to write this piece. Someone familiar with Mogadishu and Dar es Salaam told my colleague traveling from South Africa to Dar es Salaam for the same meeting that Dar es Salaam is like the old pre-1991 Mogadishu. Read more

City inspirations and elections in the air: my visit to Garowe

I have been writing travel blogs about the towns I visit in Somalia since 2014. I was not, however, able to write about my previous visits to Garowe. 2014 was the first time I visited Garowe, but it was a short trip and spent only two nights there. While heading to Burco, I stopped over in Garowe for about an hour in September 2016. In August 2019, I stayed several nights, all in transition to three other districts – Badhan, Buuhoodle, and Gaalkacyo. In February 2021, I traveled to Garowe for a study I was working on with Somali Public Agenda and stayed for about a week. I did not manage to write a blog post on all these occasions. The time to write one for Garowe has finally come. Read more

Abdullahi Shirwac: A Tribute

In the early morning of May 29, 2022, I woke up to the terrible news of the death of my friend, the long-time peace activist Abdullahi Shirwac. Following a sudden stroke, he was in a coma for about a week in a local hospital in Mogadishu where he died. It was entirely unexpected heartbreaking news for me as well as his close family, friends, and acquaintances.  I could not digest the news for a while. Read more

Memories of Beledweyne

In March 2022, I traveled to Beledweyne for a Somali Public Agenda study. Since I concluded my secondary level education in Beledweyne in mid-2009, this was my fourth trip to the town. In the past 13 years, I had the opportunity to visit  in 2010, 2018, 2021, and now 2022. This time, the Ugaas Khaliif Airport had a new terminal. Read more

Mahad Waasuge: Sanadguurada 4-aad ee Somali Public Agenda

Ten Years of Teaching: A Reflection

Today marks the tenth anniversary of my teaching; I started teaching at SYL Primary and Secondary School a decade ago today. It was the first time in my life I entered a class, introduced myself as a teacher, and wrote and explained a lesson on the blackboard.

Read more

Catching up with Kismayo

After about five years away, I traveled back to the coastal city of Kismayo, the capital city of the Lower Jubba region as well as the interim capital of Jubaland state. It was my fourth trip to the city. I traveled to the city in 2014, 2015, and 2016. Sayid Mohamed Abdulle Hassan, the famous religious and military leader of the Dervish Movement, had the city’s airport named after him in May 2019. Upon landing there, things were smooth, unlike the past where I was interrogated and asked of a guarantor before I was allowed in. Read more

Feeling the heat at the border: my visit to Dolow

I have had the privilege to travel to many towns in Somalia in the past eight years, but I did not visit any of the towns in the Gedo region. Recently, however, I had an assignment in the border town of Dolow, and everyone I asked told me that it is the safest town in the Gedo region. Nevertheless, I departed Mogadishu feeling unsure about how my trip would work out. Read more