I started writing this piece when I was listening to one of Dahir Ga’amey Somali songs that he composed after his visit to Buulaburte. In the song, he vividly described the natural beauty of the city – lyrics that resuscitated my dormant memory.
The story started as follows. One day I Googled Buulaburte. All of a sudden, countless images and songs popped up. I then clicked one of the songs listed on the top. Even though I don’t listen to songs that much, that day I watched the musical slide show, full of interesting pictures of the city and its residents.
Apart from the sweet tune of the song, images of the town were very captivating. Among those I saw in the musical slide show included my friends’ pictures with whom I used to play football. I also saw the historical bridge that was built sometime back in the 1937, the famous mosque in the middle of the town and many other places that resonated with my mind.
This was the exact moment when my mind started remembering the good old days in Buulaburte. For everyone, the place in where you were born and grew up is always unique. In Buulaburte, I spent from the day I was born until I left the city years ago to pursue my education.
I put off writing my piece for a moment because I was having flashbacks to my days in Buulaburte. Even after the song was over, I sat there silently as the pictures reminded me of my old friends and football teammates. There is no doubt that the town was good at all types of sport. Most importantly, Bulaburte produced the greatest football players in the region of Hiiraan before and after the civil war. Although I was not among those famous players, I used to play for Bagabeeso Junior, team from my village, as a striker. Unfortunately, my teammates are now scattered all over the world, only a few have chosen to stay in the town no matter what the circumstances are. The picture of the mosque in the slide show touched my heart the most because it was from where I studied Quranic Tafseer, Prophetic Traditions (Hadiths), Islamic Jurisprudence (Fiqi) and Arabic Grammar (Nahwa). While I was having such emotional recollection, pictures of my friends, classmates, teachers of my Quranic Madrasa and Ahmed Gurey school were constantly before my eyes.
Unfortunately, that joy and remembrance of the good old days did not last that long. My mind started thinking about the present. This was the moment when the mood has changed into sadness. I started feeling pain. Many things have changed considerably ever since. The current situation is very different from what I experienced back in the day. Almost all of my colleagues left the town. Many migrated to Europe via the perilous trip to Libyan Desert and the Mediterranean Sea. Surprisingly, Bulaburte has become one of the most migrated cities in Somalia, with almost 95 percent of the young residents of my age left the city.
After years of peace and stability, the people of the town tasted the bitterness of the insecurity. In March 2014, Somali troops backed by the AMISOM contingent entered the town and forced Al-Shabab to flee. Buulaburte was one of Al Shabaab’s most stronghold towns, and they blocked all trade routes leading to and from Bulaburte were blocked. The trade blockage rendered the whole town standstill. Nearly one year and a half, the residents suffered as the price of the food and other commodities skyrocketed, and the situation of the poor families changed from bad to worse.
After more than a year of painful sufferings, a beacon of hope is once again on the horizon. Some of my friends who left the town some years ago are now organizing themselves to help the poor families. The first time in history, some young Reer Buulaay men and women in Europe are collecting money to give Iftar (fast-breaking meals) to the less priviledged in the upcoming Holy Month of Ramadan. This act of humanity and humility illustrate their social responsibility and compassion toward their people. Because of their assistance, we are grateful to them for their caring effort to contribute to their people. Their contribution gives a clear picture of how committed they are to assist Buulaburte residents. Regardless of the dire situation, people eventually started helping one another.
Half of my day ended with a mixed feeling as I sat there remembering about my good and bad days. I hope peace will come back to Buulaburte so that I shall get the opportunity to go back home and spend time with my family and friends sometime soon.
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