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The energy to stay: Senegal’s village of women In northeast Senegal, the Sahara Desert is encroaching and the men are emigrating. But a group of women have pooled their resources and sought out new farming methods to save their villages.

yellowdressThis oasis on the banks of the River Senegal, along the border with Mauritania, is home to a community of small-scale farmers spread across a handful of villages who for centuries have been channelling the river’s water to grow and consume local produce.

But in recent decades, the aridity of the area, which lies at the gateway to the Sahara Desert, has increased dramatically. Arable land has become tougher to find, food production has slowed, livelihoods have worsened, and the men have left in search of work and opportunities abroad.


“The desert is advancing on us,” says Fama Sarr, gazing intensely. The elegant 63-year-old is one of the oldest inhabitants of Sinthiou Diam Dior, a village here in the Matam region.

“The heat has become so extreme and the rainy season so short, that our agricultural activity has decreased year by year and food insecurity is gaining ground everywhere,” she says. Temperatures now regularly exceed 40 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit), and less rain means the river water is drying up.

In the centre of the village is a small adobe mosque and a square with a large Acacia tree, which offers shade during the hottest hours. The low-lying houses are surrounded by walls that protect them from nocturnal snakes and hippos that occasionally wander in from the river.

The tributary that provides villagers with enough water to drink and to nourish the fields is called Moyo in the local dialect, Pular, and life here revolves around it. It is where ancient generations first spotted foreigners coming from unknown, distant lands. During the dry season, little water remains and people cross it by foot to trade with the Mauritanians.
Now, more and more, the desert is encroaching. The change has been slow and gradual, yet constant over time: Cracks appearing on the walls of homes with greater regularity; market days becoming less busy; children asking the women where their fathers have gone.

But what worries the community of Sinthiou Diam Dior the most, is the shortening of the rainy season – and its effect on their main sources of income: agriculture and farming.

“It rains once in July and then it stops for a month, so families often lose their crops,” Sarr says. “We became so poor that my husband had to emigrate to Gabon and my son to France.”

A village of women

In Sinthiou Diam Dior, at least one person from every family has emigrated, most of them men. Across Matam, the women remain behind as the lifeblood that animates and nourishes the villages.

Abandoned, they are at the core of family life but also the economy of the villages: They have a key role in managing resources, food production, animal husbandry, consumption choices and raising children.

Inside her house, surrounded by fences to guard the goats, Sarr feeds her granddaughter in a large, blue room buzzing with old, rickety fans. A loud television holds the attention of a group of children lying in a corner, while women chat on the colourful sofas surrounding the room.

Fama Sarr

Sarr lives in the mud-brick building with 22 other people, 16 of whom are women. Each bedroom houses as many as five people. It is a common arrangement, with the village’s 400 men making up just a third of the total population.

After sharing a large bowl of thieboudienne, the Senegalese national dish of fish, rice and fresh vegetables, Sarr sips on a sugary ataya tea.

“Being the wife of a migrant is very difficult. Love is missing, physical affection is missing,” Sarr says.

“Sometimes we talk on WhatsApp and see each other on video calls, but often the line doesn’t work and we need to walk to other villages [to find a signal], and it’s hard to get phone credit.”

During the day, the heat forces life in the villages to move at a slow pace, measured only by the muezzin sounding the Muslim call to prayer five times a day. At night, the perfect silence and the starry sky blur together.

“When it’s so hot, you can’t live,” says Sarr. “The kids look sick and they stop playing.”
In Matam, poverty affects as much as 75 percent of families, and more than a third does not have enough food to eat, making them even more vulnerable to the consequences of desertification – which is rapidly escalating in the area, according to the United Nations.

Overall, the UN desertification organisation says every year, 12 million hectares (nearly 30 million acres) of productive land around the world are transformed into deserts – an area greater than the size of Portugal. And the pace of land degradation is more than 30 times the speed recorded in the past. UN data also projects that there will be 200 million climate migrants by 2050; northern Senegal is one of the countries that will be affected most severely.

‘Life is really hard here’

When husbands leave, life for women in Matam grows more challenging. Married, but alone, they wait for a visit that often does not happen for years, and for money that sometimes stops coming. They are left in limbo, unable to start a new life.

Coumba Diallo is strong and beautiful. She is in her 40s but says she does not know her exact age. She studied in the capital, Dakar, before moving to the village when she got married in 1991. But her husband has since left.

Coumba Diallo

“When we got married, my husband was always here and we were happy,” says Diallo. “But money was too little, so he decided to emigrate, first to the Ivory Coast, then to Gabon.”

Since he left 10 years ago, she has had to till their field alone. She does not have children, but helps her sister-in-law with her four children. One of them was born with cerebral palsy, and so the mother must constantly tend to him, leaving Diallo alone in the fields.

Every morning Diallo wakes up at dawn. After eating a slice of buttered bread and carrying out religious ablutions, she takes a large, colourful basket filled with tools and heads towards the fields that stand along the river. But for years she has struggled to produce enough food to support herself and the rest of the family.

“Life is really hard here,” she says. “Especially after my husband told me he didn’t have money to send us food any more. That’s why we started to work more and more on the fields.”
She is now involved in every stage of the agricultural process, working the land with the use of new technologies and going to regional markets to sell her produce – mainly tomatoes, onions, aubergines, and rice.

“Since solar panels have been installed in my field and provide energy for water pumps, I don’t need to spend all my savings to collect water for irrigation,” she says.

The income is divided into a portion for herself and the family, and a portion for the community. The rest covers maintenance costs and the purchase of new machinery.

When the men leave

For the men (and few women) who leave home, the conditions are notoriously complicated, with most facing treacherous journeys, racist abuse and violence, along the way.

According to the UN, up to four million Senegalese nationals out of the domestic population of 15 million live abroad, ranking it as one of the countries with the highest number of emigres in West Africa.
But even for those who stay, life is not easy. Left alone by husbands, sons and brothers, women are often forced to leave their studies and take care of the land and children. Many also find themselves marrying younger.

“The women stay. The man marries you, then emigrates and leaves you there,” says 35-year-old Dieynaba Niang who moved thousands of miles to Matam from Gabon to follow her husband, who in turn left for the United States five years ago.

“And you, you have to take care of everything, his family, his mother and for this you have to leave school. Once you are married everything you will do is prepare food and take care of your family.”

Dieynaba Niang

Niang lives on her own with her five-year-old daughter, far from her original family, and further from her husband. But she hopes to join him soon. “He left, but I needed him here, with me,” she says.

“Hopefully, what happened to me won’t happen to my daughter,” Niang says. “I’ll let her finish school. And all the men who want to marry her will have to wait for her to finish, for her to find a good job. Only then can they marry her.”
But in Senegal, as is the case in many African countries, gender inequality is still very high. Although women represent 70 percent of the continent’s agricultural force, produce 80 percent of food and manage 90 percent of its sale, according to the World Bank report on Women and Agriculture in Africa, their rights are not recognised and they have very little decision-making power.

Patriarchal society in Senegal prevents most women from directly managing the land they work on, and in most cases there is a man who enjoys the fruits of the labour carried out by women.

“Here are the women who are strong and work in the fields,” says Niang. “It is basically the women who do everything.”

The old ways

Back when most of their husbands moved away, and with the threat of desertification literally at their doorsteps, the women of the villages dedicated all their strength and energy to agriculture.

But their outdated, inefficient equipment and the rising cost of fuel, ratcheted up financial pressures.

“We have always had to pay for the fuel to drain water from the river and irrigate the fields,” explains Sarr. “But in recent years, more and more of it was required and we ended up spending most of our money on gasoline.”
Then, a beacon of hope appeared five years ago in the form of renewable energy. Desperate and eager for change, dozens of women from the villages joined forces. With the support of the NGO Green Cross, they launched the project Energy to Stay. New technologies have since been installed in the villages to draw water from the river and irrigate the fields.

Instead of using expensive gasoline to pump water, solar panels now power a water collection system. The new system also irrigates the fields using pipelines buried in the soil to gradually deliver the water over time, as opposed to the old method called “flooding”, whereby the pump released water into channels dug in the ground. Green Cross estimates this change has led to a water-saving of 70 percent.
“We stayed and decided to learn solar engineering to irrigate the fields,” says Mame Yaye Pam, the president of the village Koundel, 45km (28 miles) south of Sinthiou Diam Dior. Solar panels allow them to reduce gasoline consumption by 2,700 litres a year, she says.

In each village, year after year, the solar irrigation system allows the cultivation of more than 60 hectares (148 acres) of land, in turn producing enough fruit and vegetables to feed more than 900 people.

Mame Yaye Pam

“This has been the best year of harvest thanks to solar power,” says Diallo, looking at the fields along the river, where green shoots have sprouted in patches that had once turned brown.

“This has allowed us to increase our income, thus reducing poverty and having quality vegetable consumption in families. We’re doing well, we can feed our children and even save some money by selling at the market.”

The aim of the operation was to rehabilitate farmland in an environmentally sustainable manner, and in so doing ensure that the local population has a supply of fresh produce they can eat and sell to generate an income, says Alessandra Pierella, the manager of the Green Cross project.

“Now the women have learned to use the machinery and manage the fields, becoming entirely independent,” Pierella says. “We managed to eliminate the women’s expenses and their carbon dioxide emissions are now zero.”

Alongside the technology, more sophisticated farming techniques have been developed, such as crop rotation – which reduces waste and optimises production, President Yaye Pam says.

To help formalise the structure of the operation, a women’s association has been formed for the region and in each village, a president, a treasurer, and a secretary has been elected.

Community space

The Energy to Stay project is, in a small way, an attempt to reverse Senegal’s societal norms. While there is a lack of female presence in the most important positions in the country, for the first time in this area women not only work, but also take part in decision-making processes and hold positions of responsibility.

“The group is very well organised and women are so dynamic,” explains Diallo, who is secretary in her village. “Every month members meet to contribute to emergencies, if there is a possible breakdown or if there is something to do.”

Within the last five years, in addition to selling agricultural products, travelling to regional markets and taking care of their own business, women have become owners of land parcels.

“The land belongs to the group, but then it is distributed in plots and given to each woman according to the quota she has decided to pay,” explains Diallo.

Diallo shares an eight-hectare (19-acre) field with two dozen other people, and works on her own parcel of land every day. She uses part of the harvest for cooking, part for stocks, but the majority she sells.

From the money the women earn, each also puts in an amount to pay for expenses such as seeds, the caretaker and the pump. Diallo collects contributions from more than 200 women each month.

In this way, year after year, hectare after hectare, the women of the Matam villages have slowly managed to reclaim the deserted lands, improve living conditions and create job opportunities, thus generating an alternative to migration.

‘A little is enough’

It is midnight and Diallo, Sarr and Niang are getting ready to join the other women on the rooftop of a house near the mosque.

The women are all wearing traditional, wax-print dresses with beautiful patterns and fancy jewellery. Taking turns they reach the middle of the rooftop and dance for about 30 seconds, in a climax of energy and rhythm.

The village is celebrating the wedding of a young couple who, thanks to their parents’ money, are studying in the capital Dakar, some 500km (310 miles) away. They have returned home to celebrate their union.

But they are not the only ones who have come back.
Some men, fathers, cousins, friends, childhood companions, are also present at the wedding. They are sitting on the floor and offering money and gifts to the groom, who, according to tradition, must be at a separate celebration for the men only.

Some of the men are here to visit their families, spend a few months in the village, and leave again for Gabon, France, Italy, Germany. But others, many of them, have decided to stay after seeing the transformation of village life.

“I heard things were getting better here,” says one of the husbands, who two weeks earlier returned home after more than 10 years in Gabon. “My wife is so happy that I decided to come back and help her with the field.”

Improved living conditions and new job opportunities brought on by technology, as well as the hard work of Matam’s women, are beginning to halt the climate migration.

“The problem is why we were leaving: it wasn’t a choice,” says the husband.

“But since there’s more money in the family, we live better now. And if we live better, we’ll be less and less under pressure to seek better luck elsewhere.”

“A little is enough to gain the freedom of having a choice again.”

Meet the Namibian actor who helped gross $60m for the 1980 film ‘The Gods Must Be Crazy’ and was paid $300

Meet the Namibian actor who helped gross $60m for the 1980 film ‘The Gods Must be crazy
THE GODS MUST BE CRAZY
Meet the Namibian actor who helped gross $60m for the 1980 film ‘The Gods Must Be Crazy’ and was paid $300
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Nǃxau Toma_Photo: Facebook
Born in Namibia and a member of the San also known as Bushmen, N!xau Toma, famously called the African bush farmer, was an actor who spoke fluent Jul’hoan, Otjiherero, Tswana as well as some Afrikaans which are dominant languages in the south of Africa.

He shot to worldwide prominence after an appearance as the lead role of the 1980 comedy film, The Gods Must Be Crazy. He became one of the most improbable and reluctant international celebrity after taking the role.
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N!xau Toma_Photo: Realtime News
In the movie, N!xau appearing as Xixo portrayed a gentle leader of a local tribal clan of Khoisan people. He was also a sober bushman with a comic smile who discovers a Coca-Cola bottle thrown out of an airplane. Upon discovering the bottle, he sees it as an alien object and it sets off into a comedy of errors.

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Scenes from The Gods Must Be Crazy_Photo: Egypt today

This comic role endeared him to viewers especially those in Asia who were convinced that he makes three eccentric movie sequels. The movie grossed $60 million dollars and according to Jamie Uys, the South African director who discovered the actor, N!xau, did not know the value of paper money and he let his first $300 wages blow away.

Despite his inability to attract heavy financial resource in the first movie, he had learned the value of money and demanded several hundred thousand dollars before agreeing to a recast in the film. He insisted that the money was needed to build a cinder-block house with electricity and a water pump for his family comprising of three wives and their children.

With patience and good humor, he toured the world and after 10 years of the glamour life, he stressed that he has seen enough of the “civilized” world, hence his decision to return to his home in the Kalahari.

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Scenes from The Gods Must Be Crazy_Photo: African Film Festival
N!xau uses the local dialect when filming, however, the interpretation and interlocking plots were explained by a narrator. He made it clear that he enjoyed the film and was excited to see himself on screen.

Mr. Uys was criticized for being cruel to N!xau and not taking him out of his environment but to his defence, he said he [N!xau] was born to act. ”All Bushmen are natural actors,” he said in a 1990 interview with The Associated Press. After the sequel, N!xau appeared in Hong Kong films and the Chinese film ”The Gods Must Be Funny.”

His inability to manage his income and have less value for material things was as a result of cultural practices.

Image result for Nǃxau ǂToma in The Gods must be crazy
Scenes from The Gods Must Be Crazy_Photo:yasminroohi.com
When his film career ended, N!xau returned home to a newly built brick house. He tended his cattle and raised corn and pumpkins. He had a car for a while, but had to employ a driver because he had never learned to drive, The Namibian reported.

The entertaining actor N!xau Toma was found dead in late June 2003 near his home in Namibia after he reportedly went out to collect wood. He was believed to be 59 years old, and the exact cause of his death was unknown. He had suffered from tuberculosis in the past.
The Gods Must Be Crazy II (2)
His name, N!xau is pronounced with the typical Bushman click used in southern Africa.

Africa Times
Shakir Essa

2 Canadian women freed from Somaliland prison say they endured extreme abuse Maymona Abdi, 28, and Karima Watts, 24, arrested in January, released in April

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Two Canadian women freed from a prison in Somaliland say they endured extreme abuse “bordering on torture” while they were detained for two months overseas.
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Maymona Abdi, 28, and Karima Watts, 24, originally from Ottawa, arrived at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport on Sunday. They were arrested by police on Jan. 19 for allegedly drinking alcohol in the Somaliland city of Hargeisa. They were held without trial and released on April 23.
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Consuming alcohol is illegal in Somaliland, a self-declared republic still internationally considered to be part of Somalia. The women disputed the charge, but were detained at the Koodbuur Station Women’s Prison in Hargeisa.
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Canadian women released from jail in Somaliland
“I feel a lot of relief. It’s been really hard,” Abdi told reporters at the airport shortly after their arrival. “I’m super tired and anxious.”
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Maymona Abdi
Maymona Abdi spent more than two months in jail in Somaliland (CBC)
Abdi said she thinks they were released because of media coverage of their plight. She said Canadian consular officials did not help them as much as they needed.

According to their lawyer, Mubarik Mohamoud Abdi, the women signed confessions under duress, hoping to avoid being detained. They were sentenced to 2½ months in jail and 40 lashes. He said the prosecution in the case did not prove before the court that the women drank alcohol.
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‘Name a place where it isn’t dangerous to be us’
In a prepared statement that she read aloud, Abdi said people have asked them why they went somewhere as dangerous as Somaliland. She said the two felt an obligation to help women facing violence.

“Name a place where it isn’t dangerous to be us. Where is it safe to be a woman? In reality, it is women on the ground, who look like us, who are sacrificing everything.”

Her family retains property in Somaliland, according to Abdi’s mother Fahima Hassan.
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According to Jason Jeremias, a human rights activist based in New York City, Abdi was working to intervene in the protection of women at extreme risk of gender-based violence, but they did not go as official representatives of a non-governmental organization.

Karima Watts
Karima Watts stands in Toronto’s Pearson International Airport on Sunday. (CBC)
Abdi said she and Watts were subjected to extreme emotional and psychological abuse as well as “physical retaliation” in prison. She said they were denied medical aid, legal counsel and, at times, food and water.

According to international human rights conventions, that denial constitutes torture, she said.

“We burdened our struggle in silence,” she said. “For two months, while we were being detained, the world had no clue where we were and what we were being subjected to.”

Silence enables violence, she added. “We will stand up for each other as women wherever we face violence,” she said.

Jeremias, who is connected to the organization the Price of Silence, spoke up on their behalf, drawing attention to their case, she said.

Don’t give up fight for human rights, she says
Abdi, whose sister is in Toronto, said she plans to go to the hospital to be assessed. She said they also have to decide where they are going to live.

She added she would like Canadians not to give up the fight for human rights and to remember many people around the world are suffering in silence.
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“I want them to know, there’s people out there that go through things but nobody really knows,” she said. “Be aware of it. Open your eyes.”

Maymona Abdi and Karima Watts
Watts, left, and Abdi take a break after Abdi spoke to the media in Toronto. (CBC)
Shirley Gillett, project co-ordinator of I Do! Project in Toronto, said she believes the charge of consuming alcohol was trumped up. The project works with survivors of forced marriage and those at risk of forced marriage.
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Gillett said Abdi, who lived in Vancouver before heading overseas, has done work with the project. She said Abdi contacted her after she had arrived in Somaliland.

“They’ve been through a lot of stress. They’re exhausted as well. They were living in conditions that were deplorable, to say the least,” Gillett said.

“We’re just relieved that they’re home. We’re just looking to getting them to good health, supporting them in any way they can.”

Avoid all travel to Somalia, Ottawa says
In a statement earlier, Hassan had said: “Maymona and Karima were born and grew up in Ottawa, Canada, as best friends. When Karima’s mother died, she became our daughter.”

Canadians are urged to avoid all travel to Somalia, according to the Canadian government in a travel advisory that was last updated on April 25.
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“If you are currently in Somalia despite this advisory, you should leave immediately,” the travel advisory reads.

“The security situation in Somalia is extremely volatile and the threat of domestic terrorism is high, particularly in south-central Somalia and in the capital, Mogadishu.”
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Shirley Gillett
Shirley Gillett, project co-ordinator of the I Do! Project in Toronto, says she believes the charges were trumped up. (CBC)

Reporter: Shakir Essa

Young somali boy found $100,000 and returned to owner

Recently, Maqadim Abib found a nylon bag stuffed with $100,000 in cash lying next to a garbage bin. At the time, he was a Somali port labourer and the money, if he would have kept it, could have changed his life. But Maqadim did the right thing.
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Instead of keeping the cash for himself, he found the owner and returned his money.
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The owner of the cash went to a local mosque to ask if any of the worshippers had seen the money. Maqadim, coincidentally, was in the same mosque and handed the money to the owner, a local businessman.

“I first counted the money in a secured area of the port and to my shock; it was $100,000 in cash, in two bundles of $50,000 each,” he said.

“I earn $170 a month and greed would have gotten better of me but I kept the cash for five days before I found the owner.”

As they say no good deed goes unrewarded, the businessman gave the honest port labourer a $5,000-reward.

“As a token of appreciation, he gave men $5,000 of the cash which helped me in many ways because the most I’ve ever had in my account was $1, 000,” Maqadim added.

The extraordinary success story, this story can change your mind

It was no ordinary test for Mubarik Mohamoud. As the first student from the Abaarso School of Science and Technology to be accepted into an American school, Mubarik could create untold opportunities for his schoolmates with a successful transition to Worcester Academy.

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On the other hand, if he stumbled, his peers’ hopes might be dashed.

Jonathan Starr, a former hedge fund manager who started Abaarso eight years ago in the breakaway African republic of Somaliland, chuckles as he recalls his demanding expectations for Mubarik. When he learned that his prize student was worried “the entire future is on his shoulders,” he responded, “Good! He’s been listening.”

Starr, who lives in Westborough with his wife and baby daughter, spent four years in Somaliland building a high school campus out of the unforgiving rubble on the outskirts of the capital city, Hargeisa. He has just published a book, “It Takes a School: The Extraordinary Story of an American School in the World’s No. 1 Failed State,” about his rash decision to bring a rigorous education to the former region of Somalia, and the remarkable group of teachers and students who brought that vision to reality.

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By his early 30s, Starr had amassed significant wealth and achievement as a systems savant for Fidelity Investments and later with his own hedge fund, Cambridge-based Flagg Street Capital. But he still felt a nagging desire to do something meaningful with his life.

While working in finance, he volunteered as a Boys and Girls Club basketball coach. After leading a winning season with an underskilled team from the suburbs, he jumped to another club closer to Boston, where the players were more talented. But they were growing up in dysfunction.

“The kids lived such chaotic lives; we had no shot,” Starr says.

It was a hard-earned lesson: Create a positive, pervasive culture, and success would follow. But how and where?

A movie buff, he was drawn to inspirational classroom films like “Stand and Deliver,” the 1988 story of East Los Angeles math teacher Jaime Escalante. And for some time, he writes in his book, he had harbored an idea “to start a school for really talented kids who have great potential that will otherwise go wasted.’’

He was aware of the challenges of students in Somaliland because he has an aunt who married a man from there. Growing up, he loved playing Somali card games on family vacations with his beloved Uncle Billeh, who worked for the United Nations. In 2008, it all came together.

When Starr first set out to find a location for his project, he had no experience building a school — or even teaching, for that matter. He would become the school’s first headmaster, turning over the reins to his assistant in 2015. What he did have, besides determination, was money: He initially put forth $500,000 and to date he’s funneled nearly twice that into the school.

When he first arrived in Somaliland, almost all of the republic’s schools had been destroyed or run into the ground by the Somali civil war. Covering grades 7-12, Abaarso, named for the town the school is in, now serves 212 students on its walled, multibuilding campus. Acceptance is competitive. The staff has grown to about two dozen teachers who come from various corners of the world. They each wear several hats and earn a nominal salary — about $3,000 for the school year. They do it for one reason, Starr says — pride in a job well done.

And there is much to be proud of. To date, Abaarso has placed more than 80 students in international boarding schools or colleges.

Mubarik graduated from Worcester Academy — Starr’s alma mater — in 2013. This spring, after majoring in electrical engineering and computer science, he’ll graduate from M.I.T. Having specialized in autonomous robotics, he’d like to help engineer driverless cars. It’s an astounding trajectory for a boy who grew up in a world so rural, he mistook the first motor vehicles he saw to be some kind of bizarre domesticated animal.

“I do not feel exceptional,” says Mubarik, “but I do feel lucky.”

For Starr, his belief in the young people of Somaliland was simply a practical matter.

“If you get the kids to see it’s actually worth investing in their future,” he says, “then they’ll do well.”

Because Somaliland is considered an autonomous region of Somalia, the Trump administration’s recent ban on travel from seven mostly Muslim nations — including Somalia — has plunged the Abaarso community into a spiral of uncertainty.

“It definitely makes me nervous,” says Mubarik, speaking on the phone recently during a break in his studies. “But I am hopeful.”

Starr frets that the travel ban could mean Abaarso will have to stop sending its best students to America for college. If he could show Mubarik’s progress to the president and his administration, he says — in fact, the school’s story is scheduled to be featured in an upcoming “60 Minutes” segment — he believes they would recognize the need to make exemptions.

Though he has returned to Massachusetts to start his own family, Starr still spends several weeks each school year at Abaarso. He continues to work full time, and then some, on behalf of the school, planning, fund-raising, and advocating for its students at American colleges and boarding schools.

Besides Mubarik, four other students from Abaarso’s inaugural year are set to graduate from American universities this spring. One of them, an intensely goal-oriented young woman named Nimo Ismail, is completing her studies at Oberlin College.

“She’s known I want her to be the attorney general of Somaliland for so long,” says Starr.

At least two of the graduating seniors plan to return to Abaarso to join the faculty. For Starr, that’s a milestone he’s been eagerly awaiting.

Mubarik may stay in the United States to work toward his master’s degree, or he might go back to help introduce more Somaliland kids to computers. Either way, Starr wants all the students his school sends overseas to become the future of their homeland.

“Here he can be great,” he says. “There, he can be king.”

You can buy at #Amazon the completed story book

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Breaking news:UAE has accepted somaliland passport

DUBAI– The United Arab Emirates has accepted citizens traveling with Somaliland passport can enter to it’s country and further allowed that the UAE can issue visas with Somaliland travel documents.

First, people who will be allowed to travel to the UAE are those holding Somaliland diplomatic passport in the first place. Second, business people are permitted to go the UAE with Somaliland passport. Third, anyone holding with Somaliland passport can travel to the UAE.

Reports confirm that this has been facilitated by FlyDubai airways which has recently started direct flights to Somaliland. This is an important diplomatic step taken in the right direction. The UAE has banned people traveling with Somali passport cannot enter into her country.

Citizens with Somaliland travel document can go to the following countries:-

1- South Africa

2- Ethiopia

3- Djibouti

4- Belgium

5- United Kingdom

6 – France

7- South Sudan

8- Kenya

Somaliland is a broke away republic that seceded from Somalia in 1991 but it has not been recognized.

Turkey, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya have diplomatic office in Hargeisa.

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