Five things that remind me I’m in Somaliland…..

 
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  1. Hot water costs not only money but the use of your pretty pink razor

After cold showers for a week, bucket showers for three days, the last sacrifice I was forced to make for the hot water heater in my bathroom was my lady schick razor. Apparently, using someone’s razor while completing plumbing duties is perfectly acceptable behavior, because they didn’t even try to hide it. Black hairs everywhere, on the sink, in my razor, I couldn’t help but laugh with a disgusted look on my face.

2. Carbs on carbs is a staple in this new household

When I first got here, I was thrilled to hear that our house lady cooked us lunch everyday. That was until I knew our menu went as follows: rice, spaghetti with potato stew, rice, spaghetti with potato stew, rice, spaghetti with potato stew, rice, spaghetti with potato stew, rice, spaghetti with potato stew. Carbs on carbs on carbs. Everyday, when I evaluate my ability to take one more bite of rice, I wonder if tomorrow will somehow miraculously be different.

3. The reflection in a window is the only option for assessing that carb on carb diet

I honestly haven’t been able to see if my clothes match, fit, or are dirty for the past three weeks. However, matching is fairly easy when you have only six options for maxi-skirts and ten for tops. There also hasn’t been too much rain so mud leg isn’t a huge fear for the dirtiness factor. And from what I can tell Mr.Horton and I are doing an okay job of battling the carbs on carbs on carbs: ‘Do your best and forget the rest’

4. Its sometimes a cost-benefit analysis between how bad you have to go and how many cockroaches there are

I’ve officially seen ten cockroaches since being here, and every single one has been standing between me and the queen’s throne. Currently, we are at a draw about who wins.

5. Entertainment requires creativity

  1. I have been pleasantly surprised at the innovation that the expat community here has shown in their creativity in a very conservative Muslim culture. So far, on Fridays (our only day off), I have been able to play disc golf, bocce ball and basketball, attend an expat band practice with guitars, drums, and microphones, listen to live local music, eat mexican food and dance. Life truly is what you make it.

—–I can honestly say that this is one of the most difficult places I have ever lived, but also one of the most intriguing. Throughout my work, and my interactions with the community around me, all of the things I believed about this place when I dreamt about coming here, have been reinforced. These people are truly resilient and strong willed. They really will not compromise what they believe in for anyone. They are complex and frustrating. They are hardworking and smart. They are a beautiful mixture of determination and stubbornness.

 

So when everyone asks me how it is, my answer has always been: an adventure. Everyday I find myself facing paradoxes that make be evaluate the things I believe and the strength of humanity. Everyday I find myself assessing my own strength and limitations; my aspirations and my fears. Everyday I am reminded that not everything needs a label, it is okay sometimes to just be right where your feet are.

 

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