Coming back to live in Hargeisa, Somaliland after many years in the United States, I came in completely ignorant to what living in Africa entails. I have been here for the last three years and thinking back to the proses or the different emotions that I had to go through, I came to the conclusion that there are three different stages for acclimation. The first stage is criticizing and whining. Whining about the state of things, complaining about not having things or services available to me when I need them or simply not seeing Africa for what it is, simple, natural and laid back. Then comes acceptance, looking around you, and opening your eyes to your surroundings and realizing how lucky you are to have had the chances that you have had in life; Basically to be thankful. The last stage of this life changing proses for me was pride and self-respect. This last stage was the most important for I started to look at things differently with new eyes and heart which lead me to ask new question.
My new Africa is pure, its people are real and its land plentiful so why can’t the world stop ruining it by disposing of their unwanted trash in our back yard? Why is china flooding our markets with their low quality products? Why is all of Asia poisoning our people with their low quality and sometimes fake meds? More importantly why are our governments not doing something to protect us from harm? Where are rules and regulations when it comes to Africa?
These problems and many more are affecting everyday life of every African, Alas I can only talk about my own experiences here in Somaliland. As I start to pay attention to my daily activities in and around Hargeisa, I notice what is happening. It started with small and funny incidents such as when I go out to get a cup of coffee for takeout and the establishment always serves me a takeout cup with the wrong led, or at other places they give you a cup with the wrong lid and to make up for the first mistake by raping this hot cup of coffee with foil I can say that in both occasions my coffee ended up on my lab scorching me. When I asked them why they never seem to have the right lid they say this is what they received from their suppliers in the Middle East. I also noticed that our friends from Middle East are supplying us with different food items sold in our so called supermarkets; Things such chock let bars with no chocklet content, fruit juice without the fruit with high sugar content and the list goes on.
If you look around our market, or stores in Somaliland all you see is cheap low quality products, when it comes to clothes and furniture, in Hargeisa the shiniest the better. In all our stores and markets it looks like china spewed one us. From personal experience I can tell you that one time use is the name of the game; one time use, for Top dollar. I personally have been affected by these low quality products that are sold here, while it might to be easy to swallow one time wear clothing, it is hard to except building materials and home accessories such as bathroom and pluming materials that are when installed are known to be faulty, and break when used. I personally have endured the pain of realizing that when my guest house was finished everything that the builder has installed in my five bathrooms was replaced as soon as we opened. And when I went to buy replacements there was nothing available that was of better quality. The most alarming thing that I have noticed was meds that are being dispensed by pharmacies with or without prescription. Low quality meds and sometimes fake meds are being given to people by some of our pharmacist and physicians.
I believe that my criticizing led me to opening my eyes to what is happening to Africa, the fact that we are being robed on a daily basses of our peace, our hope and most importantly our natural treasures. Our livestock is being shipped off to rich Arab countries, and what is left of our trees is being burned to be sold outside our land and in return we have become the dumping ground of the world at large. My acceptance of where I come from its faults and attributes is why I’m still here after three years, and the reasons why I have decided to continue to enjoy the peace of mind that this continent has provided me. Pride and the need to protect my country led me to see what the world things of us as Africans. I’m sadden to come that the world be leaves we deserve no better then Used cars, used Russian planes, bad meds, corrupt governments and clueless NGO’s. Wake up my people as I have and realize that in the end you as a nation end up paying the price.