Somalia

Does Somalia Need You or Do You Need Somalia? by Yasminah

Yasminah is a Somali American Artist living currently in Bosaso, Puntland, Somalia

Why You Need Somalia more than Somalia Needs You?

I have been in Somalia for almost two years now. I’ve spent the past two years breathing the unpolluted fresh air, munching on unrefined & inexpensive organic foods, and reveling on the serene scenic views of the ocean and the highlands. Growing up in the west, we tend to forget what we have is more than enough. Living in Somalia has given me the ability to control my inner needs and appreciate life a bit more.

Some Diasporas think Somalia is prison, a death sentence to an individual who has grown accustomed to the life in the west. They complain, that there are “no burger joints, no milkshakes, no hot baths, no internet… I’m not willing to forego my snapchat and Facebook.” Worst of all, they gripe, “there’s no Starbucks.” I’ll explain to you why living in the motherland is better than any white mocha with an extra pump of white chocolate.

Here is the honest, and simple truth; 

The Perfect Diet Awaits:
While the west boasts the best hospitals and physicians in the world, I have been leading a healthy life. I have lost weight due to eating healthy fresh foods, my skin is glowing from the unpolluted air, and I have become less needy for fat-food and sweets. I eat fresh caught fish, newly-picked vegetables, and I drink mango, guava, pineapple, and/or coconut juices daily. And guess what, everything is organically grown, nothing is genetically modified to cause my body any harm. If an apple-a-day keeps the doctor away, imagine the health benefits of an all-organic, fresh picked fruit and vegetable diet, low in salt and fats. In addition to a healthy diet, living in Somalia also guarantees that you will live an active lifestyle. From visiting loved ones to socializing, you are sure to walk and play more. Somalia offers you the community and freedom to socialize with people of all ages, which by consequence ensures that you are active in visiting family and playing ball with the neighborhood kids.

Remember the bit about glowing skin, turns out there’s some solid science behind that. Anyone who knows about healthy living, should know about Free Radicals, which is formed when the oxygen in your skin reacts with foreign molecules found in the substances in polluted air. These free radicals, in addition to causing skin damage, can also be a contributing factor in the development of cancer, diabetes, and heart problems. If there is one thing that living in Somalia guarantees, is that you won’t be concerned with pollution in the air you breathe or the food you consume.

Aside from your physical well-being, living in Somalia can have some benefits for your mental health as well. As you can imagine, life in Somalia is extremely stress-free. For starters, people here are flexible with their time. The daily timetable here is divided into three parts: 7am-12pm which are work hours; 1pm-3:00pm which is nap time; and anything after 3pm is social hour where people sip tea and mingle-with-friends and family. Most locals don’t wear watches, not because they can’t afford one, but because they simply don’t need one. This balanced lifestyle disables burnout, stress and depression. This explains why everyone is in high spirit, and smiling all the time. Working long hours, leaves no time for relaxing and socializing, which can lead to burnout, stress, and even physical exhaustion.

Rekindle with thyself:

Though there is internet available, the low speeds disables your ability to surf the internet like you normally would in the west. Less internet usually means less online interactions which leads to harmonizing with your lone self. Social media, I’ve observed, has turned us into narcissistic egomaniacs. We buy fancy clothes and spend hours doing our make-up, often for no other reason than to take the perfect selfie, the one that will garner the most likes from perfect strangers. Begging for attention or the urge of wanting to be noticed is a disease. In fact, psychiatrists have labeled such a disorder, it’s called histrionic personality disorder.

The reality is that this lifestyle has turned most of us who live in the West into unsatisfied humans. We may have 1000+ friends on Facebook and 5000+ Instagram followers, but who among us can count such a large number as true friends? Living in Somalia requires that you discover yourself. You socialize less online and more in the real world. You will be forced to identify your inner strengths, your ability to overcome obstacles, all while building a stronger Imaan. Seeing people who have nothing will teach you to appreciate the little you have. You will learn to care for humanity, socialize and intermingle with people filled with wisdom and endless stories. You will read a book at the beach, play ball with local kids, and connect with elders over Shaah. In essence, you need Somalia as much as it needs you.

Article was first published at Bosaso.com by Yasmin Mohamed

Side Note by the AUTHOR: I know, you will whine that Somalia is too dangerous. Too much of a risk, since all you read and see in the media is horrific stories of how people are dying or starving. Bad publicity pays, and creating fear pays more. I live in Bosaaso, and since I have been here, only three people have been killed. Now, please ask yourself, how many killings have occurred in your city in the past two years? Exactly!

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