Sharing in the Islamic heart of Somaliland, with Caritas

In Hargeisa, we work through Caritas Somalia, with several schools in the city. One of the schools is Salaam School, they are a group of five schools spread throughout the English-speaking city and Somali. There we were able to do several workshops in three of the five centers because the students in the refugee camps that Caritas Somalia provides education go to these schools. These are Islamic schools, so we had to follow several restrictions to respect the local culture, for example, that the classes of children were separate.

The workshops were very good, the children were excited to be part of the workshops and everyone got involved from the start. In addition, the attendees crowded to be volunteers in each activity. It was a gift to see so many faces of happiness, so much talent and so much desire to participate! That made our work very easy … The level of development of the children in the school was much higher than for example in the refugee camps, so the level of activities is higher.

The truth is that the female groups were exceptional, with exceptional creativity, an ease that left us surprised … The way they expressed, individually and in groups, was fantastic, very careful, with great accuracy … How happy we made us see so much talent and the generosity of showing it to us … A privilege …

The last workshop we did in a school in a very poor area of ​​Hargeisa. We went to that school thanks to the contact of Edna Adan, a former minister of Somaliland and the founder of a hospital and a university medical foundation to provide doctors throughout the country.

The school was in a barracks district, very poor. When we entered, dozens of children, hundreds … all eager to greet us and interact with us … We went to the room where we were going to do the workshop … and in a few minutes the group was entering … It involved about 50 girls and boys between 7 and 10 years old.

In addition, at the end of the room also entered about 20 curious adults who did not miss a moment … Everything was great, all wanting to share and experience, the audience was also delivered, applauding and supporting the brave volunteers who They took to the stage … A joy of experience, for them and for us …

And so we finished our first experience in Africa, completely exhausted but with a heart full of sensations, emotions, love … With the faces of all the children with whom we had shared in memory, where they will remain for a long time … This is our job, dedicated to what matters, happy to see happiness and fed by the laughter and smiles of the children … Surely we will return … See you soon !!!!!

Digale Refugee Camp, sharing with children from the desert, and Caritas Somalia

The next collaboration was in the refugee camp of Digale, in Hargeisa, through Caritas Somalia. It is a field that is not in the city, but in the middle of the desert near Hargeisa, it is called Digale refugee camp. The refugee camp was formed due to the harsh drought conditions of Somalia, Ethiopia and Djibouti, and also due to the numerous conflicts between these same countries.

After crossing a few kilometers through the desert we found the refugee camp, full of the logos of NRC and UNHCR. The place assigned to make the workshops was the social center of the field. It is about facilities with some rooms, a park with swings and a soccer field with beautiful artificial grass donated by the Arsenal Foundation! The truth is that it impresses such a soccer field, brand-new green, in the middle of the desert …

Because the first group was high, we had to do the first workshop on the football field. The 50 attendees, between 8 and 12 years old, were expectant, nervous and shy, not knowing what they had borrowed … And we started the workshop !!!!

At first it took a while, of course, we were looking for concentration and a bit of discipline, and we were on the grass of a football field, which even made me want to ask for a ball and play, but based on intensity and art, we got them hooked and they got involved to share with us.

In addition, as time passed, the entire refugee camp came to the site to see what we were doing; we had hundreds of people around, watching … it is not the best environment to get the children to let go … But despite all the distractions, everything was great, and the children were willing to play with us. s!

At the end of the first workshop we made the clown with the people who watched, interacting … and they started laughing! They loved being part of it, they were scandalized, they hid from shyness, they fled … but always with a lot of laughs !!!!

The second workshop we decided to do in one of the rooms available to have a little more privacy … It was about the teenagers … This was very good, they were happy and grateful to share that time with us. We had a great time together, and they got involved and made an effort in each of the activities we did … It was a joy, even the heads of the refugee camp laughed and encouraged the participants … All a gift …

So we finished the workshops in the digali refugee camp, after many emotions, having given everything, every effort and calorie, and in return, we got love, happiness and much laughter. We could not ask for better reward!

We rode in the SUV and returned to Hargeisa … Thinking and remembering the experience we just enjoyed, with each smile recorded on our person, without exception … That’s how we like to finish, reflecting on what we have lived … among thousands of sighs …

On route through Djibouti, visiting humble schools across the country

From the capital of the country, Djibouti, we left in a 4×4 route through the country. From Djibouti we took a ferry that took us to Tajoura, then to Obok, from there we went to Ali Sabieh and finally to Art. Four villages in the heart of Djibouti, all of Muslim religion, all schools located in small Catholic missions.

We started in Tadjourah, in the mission where two French women run a small school that provides education to more than 200 children. Tadjourah is a humble little fisherman on the coast and children in general do not go to school. So the work of this school has no price for the future of the children …

The workshops were great, in a room covered with carpets, all the children sitting, impatient to start … And we all enjoyed it! we share our experiences and creativity, now Tajoura does theater, expresses and enjoys the voice of the youngest … it has no price …

From Tadjourah we went to Obok, a small town on the northern coast of Djibouti. The town is very picturesque, full of children fluttering through its streets … There we were in the little school run by Diocese.

The groups were about 50 students each, very young, excited, we had a great time !! they gave everything, happy to show the class their skills, their talent, and the excited class responded with applause and cheers … What nicer moments, see the faces of these children sharing their illusions and dreams, between them and with us …

The next day we went to Ali Sabieh. It is a city near the border of Ethiopia, and near the route of trucks that transport goods from the port of Djibouti. There we spent three days in a school run by charming Italian and Nigerian nuns, who told us incredible stories of their experiences in Africa …

The school is quite large, with about 500 children … We did the workshops in a large room, a little dark, but sheltered from the heat from outside and with enough capacity for the large groups with whom we were going to work …

The children as always were charming, super excited and willing. They enjoyed all the activities that we proposed, without saving anything, sharing all their abilities, without keeping anything in the inkwell.

What a gift for us, all the workshops were great, super rich, where the children expressed and experienced to the fullest. Joy and happy faces gave us the reason for what we do, for our work…

And the last stop was in Arta, a small village on the road to Djibouti, there are the summer homes of the French military settled in Djibouti. The school was very small, only two classes, and it was carried by three very nice Congo sisters …

There we did two workshops, with about 100 children in total. The assistants were between scared and excited. It took us a while to get their confidence to be able to start working together, but at the moment they started to enjoy they gave themselves without hesitation, and enjoyed it very much.

Their faces of happiness, of enjoyment, as with a new toy just discovered … We only gave them the tools and they did the rest. In the end they were all wanting more, to continue enjoying … And we were satisfied for doing our job well, making happy children!

At the end of the trip we were exhausted but very very happy, for having received the gratitude of so many happy students, for having shared so many experiences, for having provided the tools to expand imagination …

We take a little bit of them all with us, in our hearts … See you soon, we will miss you !!!

Sharing happiness in Djibouti schools, a smile in Africa

In Djibouti we had the opportunity to visit three schools in humble neighborhoods of the city of Djibouti, the capital of the country. There we were able to present and work with several groups of students. In total we share our time with more than 500 children of different ages, from 6 to 17 years old.

The groups were quite numerous, which made it difficult to keep everyone attentive, and to this we must add that everyone was very excited and excited by our presence.

Only get to schools, as often happens, the novelty attracts the attention of children who run, laugh and scream around us. As it usually happens, we start making the clown with them and then a bond is created based on the common interest of having a great time …

See their innocent faces, smiling, happy and happy for the opportunity to live a different experience … In addition, dressed in their best clothes to go to school, you can see the importance that they and their families give to the opportunity to go to school. school, something vital and fundamental to not get to the extreme poverty in which some of them live and in Djibouti, poverty take on another meaning … desert, dust and rock …

Horn of Africa is an English-speaking school that is located in the Djibouti mission. It is a small school run by the nuns of Mother Teresa of Calcutta. The children were very savvy and active and it was a pleasure to work with them. From the beginning they were excited.

We shared experiences and experiences, life and emotions, with naturalness and generosity, we did what they wanted to do, flowing with theater, full of talent, happy to express for their class, for their own, from the most shy to the most extroverted. A whole experience where we discovered pure talent!

La Salle and Boulaos schools are French-speaking schools in the suburbs of Djibouti. Both are led by nuns, Catholics, although the children who mostly attend, as in the whole country, are Muslims.

We shared our workshops with children between 7 and 12 years old, they were super motivated. They were very cute !!!! Those little faces were a gift for us, the over-excitement when we asked for volunteers, all with hands raised, even to repeat, lifting everything they could until they finished all crowded in front of us …

The desire, the motivation, the nervous faces before you start, your relaxation and excitement at the end … These are the signs that tell us that we are doing well what we do, that it benefits them, that it brings something new, a new point of sight, a new fitness, something that they will not easily forget …

We, after a great effort, until we were exhausted, we were happy and satisfied for having done a good job, for having made many children happy, taught a new point of view, in their imagination, in the same reality in which they live, but from different perspectives … We are going to rest from so many emotions, from so much love, from their part, from ours … We love our work !!!!!

The street children of Caritas Djibouti

Finally we arrived in Africa, and precisely in Djibouti, a strategic enclave in the Strait of the Red Sea just off the coast of Yemen. Here there are a number of soldiers from different countries guarding the passage to the Suez channel of the Somali pirates. In addition, this country is visited daily by emigrants from Ethiopia who walk long distances on foot to reach Saudi Arabia in search of a job, a better life …

These migrants are not only adults, there are also children of all ages who pass from Ethiopia to Djibouti, and they have nothing, they live on the street, and what this country has is that if you do not have anything, there is nothing you can have … because everything is dust and stone … A way to escape from misery is to inhale glue, in this way they forget hunger, thirst and misery, but they also fry their brains …

In this country we work with Caritas Djibouti, through them we carry out several training projects throughout the country, but the one that most impacted us was in the center of Caritas in Djibouti capital. Every day there are dozens of children and chic @ s of the street to find a safe place.

Many of them take advantage simply to sleep, since they have not been able to do it in the insecure streets of the city, either by the police or for another reason … There they also provide them with some care, food, clothing and medical assistance …

We there did two workshops for the kids. The ages ranged from 5 years of Simona, to teenagers of about 20 years … We started to summon them to the basketball court with the help of caregivers, and the picture was funny … About 60 boys and girls, boys and girls, all they had wounds or injuries, marks on their faces … At the minimum there was a small conflict, they launched themselves to hit without warning or preliminaries …

We calmly started the workshop, we needed first of all to draw your attention, and we did it little by little, with concentration exercises … As we advanced the most reluctant people sat on the floor to look or directly to sleep, but the most enthusiastic They were motivated and shared excited with us.

After a while the Spanish military arrived to bring donated materials that they brought, that was the perfect excuse for the kids to disperse and get upset …

However, thanks to the push and professionalism of Mayra, we managed to continue with a group that was very motivated, willing to continue sharing with us … That was a gift, a precious moment that justified our work there. Mention and thank one of the soldiers who gave us the photos he made while we were doing the workshop.

We finished the workshop exhausted, we had given everything to keep the attention, motivation, have them enjoying and sharing with us … and it had been worth it …

We still have recorded in memory the dances that were stuck, how they wanted to teach us their skills … Sofia, 5 years old, who had suffered experiences that we will not relate by creepy, did not stop hanging from my neck laughing, with an exceptional grace , carried out the activities super applied … that love of little girl … Some boys and girls living in atrocious conditions, without anything or nobody, and with desire to continue being children …

In the afternoon they took us to visit some people who live in the old train station. There we basically found barracks, and people living in infra-human conditions … However, we all came out to receive with joy, especially the children, with whom we began to play without stopping, I ended up sweating !!!! and happy and happy, following us without stopping to say hello to us with a smile from ear to ear … If the children are always oblivious to the barbarism of the world …

The next day we returned to give a workshop to Caritas. The group in theory was different, but this place is open to necessity, so whoever came in, and in the workshop we had many of the participants from the previous day … It was even better, they were much more motivated! and get to do much more, laughing, enjoying and learning, all together, from each other …

An unforgettable experience that only teaches you humility. Seeing the difficulties in uppercase of some people of this country you realize the relative of the circumstances, of the subjective valuation, and of the unbalanced that this world is … We are convinced that we can return to continue working with them, with the great work of Caritas and with the street children of Djibouti …