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 …

Daami Refugee Camp, in the heart of Somaliland with Caritas

And with Caritas Somalia we reach Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland, an independent republic in the country of Somalia that nobody recognizes, not even Somalia … However they have ensured that it is a safe place to gain international sympathy in contrast to the dangerous Somalia.

There we made several very interesting collaborations through Caritas Somalia … And among them, in the Daami refugee camp. It is a refugee camp that has been absorbed by the capital of Somaliland over time, and now it is an urban refugee camp.

And once we arrived at the place we started to do work. It was a different experience … When we arrived at the room where we were going to do the workshop, it was already full of children … so far no problem … the only limitation we found was that instead of the 40 or 50 children who have our workshops as a maximum, massively expanded from the 30 maximums we normally do, we are about 120 children sitting on the floor waiting for us … All crazy!

We did reflection and instead of throwing half of the people we decided to improvise and adapt the workshop to the new conditions … It was very funny !!! full of energy!!! Everyone was super excited! giving everything! crazy to leave as volunteers … and also the adults of the place helped us to control the situation … It was great, everyone happy and sharing with us.

The conditions of the second workshop were going to be the same, about 100 students, the problem is that in the street there were many more adults fighting or that their children entered the room of our workshop … To the point that the man we had hired as security almost did not give to vast, not even with the help of one of the mothers, apparently head of the place, that with a shoe in hand drove away a large number of people …

Finally, the capacity was more than complete, and we were able to start our workshop !!! We had dozens of excited children willing to go out as volunteers, wrapped in the applause and cheers of all … The happy faces said it all, and that is our greatest reward … All together, different but equal, sharing , enjoying, discovering another way of looking at us, seeing our insignificant differences …

At the end we left, quite fast for safety … although there were still the children with whom we had shared, crashing palm trees without stopping, saying goodbye with light in their eyes, telling us until later … We left full of experiences and emotions … difficult to express what I am now feeling as I write those memories … the emotion is hard to describe … We will see each other again !!!