With only 11 days left in Mogadisho, I’ve fallen into a bit of a reflective mood – looking back on my experiences in Somalia, as well as throughout all my travels this past year. Words cannot describe how grateful I am to have been able to spend my summer here – there is something so incredibly special and sacred about breathing the same air as your ancestors. Particularly, for Somalis, who have been displaced from their home for so long.
In many ways, I can definitely see myself working in Somalia for a year or two – it would be fantastic to better my language skills, understand the nuances of my culture, and spend tons of time with loads of family. Despite the lack of complete stability in Mogadisho, there is an overall ease and peace I feel here – it’s almost as though time moves slower, with the pace of life moving languidly. The frenetic and anxiety-ridden energy that exists in Canada has no space to flourish here. I suppose that’s the primary reason this summer has slipped by so soothingly – I was lucky to have very few negative vibes enter my space (which is the least I can say for Istanbul).
On the other hand, life in Mogadisho is far from perfect. In terms of infrastructure and public health, Mogadisho has a LONG way to go. Understandably so, considering we haven’t had a stable government in 23+ years. The water supply is heavily contaminated resulting from a lack of a proper sewage system, there is a ton of garbage everywhere, etc. So I suppose if I were to live here for a longer period of time, there would definitely be many creature comforts from back home that I’d miss. Clean water, smooth roads, efficient sanitation, to name a few. Truth be told, I’d kill for some frozen yogurt at the moment – but I’m going to have to push my bourgeois cravings to the side.
I can’t wait for the day that Mogadisho is re-instated to its former glory. I just wonder which Western power or institution will we become indebted to along the way? It saddens me that “African development” goes so hand in hand with Western financial subjugation of African nations. And even when you do receive help outside of the Western spectrum (i. e. Turkey, China), it still comes with a hefty agenda all of their own.
On another note, it’s freaking me out that in merely a few weeks, I’ll be back at my home university in Montreal. The last time I sat in one of those lecture halls was December 2013, which honestly feels like a lifetime ago. I guess what I’m mainly wondering is: how have I changed this past year? and will those changes cause me to see an old environment from a new perspective? I guess being away from any given place for 8 months is BOUND to change how you see it. I suppose what I want for myself is not to give in to the anxiety-laden bullshit that is so often pushed down your throat at large-scale academic institutions. What ultimately matters is that you learn and that you try your best – that is all. It’s a lesson I’ve gradually been absorbing since my first year of uni. In many ways, being abroad has really made my heart grow fonder for my university – so I’m hoping this upcoming academic year will allow me to absorb and attract positivity – leaving the BS behind.