Voices on the Page
|Title:||Never take risks|
|Theme:||homes, old, new|
|Story:||Back in the 1970s I was living in Mogadisho. It is the capital of Somalia. At one time I wanted to visit my home town, Habeedly. It is situated in the north of Somalia, which is nowadays is known as Somali land. That is the place I was born.
In these days when you wanted to travel from south or from north to south, there were two ways to do so. The first option was a very long way but it was safe. The journey took four or five days, whereas the second took two and half days. But it was a risky one. All you had to do was to cross the border between Somalia and Ethiopia. However if Ethiopian patrolling soldiers caught you, they would put you in prison. People always like the long way, as it was in the Somali territory. Seven hours after we left Mogadisho, we came to Beled Weyne. We ate some food, when we started to continue our journey we were told to stay overnight there. Next morning we left Beled Weyne. It wasn’t our plan to stay overnight in Beled Weyne, but we had to do so.
Twenty four hours later we came into Galca’oyo town. It was evening at the time we came there. After we had our meal, and got onto the lorry, we were told that the decision had been made, therefore we had to cross the border into Ethiopia. We crossed it and by the time we were crossing, it was very dark. It wasn’t only dark, but also it was raining heavily. It was approximately 10pm.
Two hours later the lorry sank into the mud. What if they caught us? It was so dark that you couldn’t see your hand. Thunder after thunder, lighting after lighting. But the goodness was, at least we had lighting in few seconds. Which enabled us to see something but only for seconds. Our six ton lorry had an open roof, as soon as it stuck in the mud, we started to dig it out. We manager twice and then we stopped.
When you can’t see anything you can’t do anything. Therefore we had to wait until dawn. Before it sank people were talking to each other, later you could only hear whispering. When it became dawn we dug again. Although we managed several times, it wasn’t significant, so we stopped at 8am. From the beginning, when we crossed the border, people started to think what would happen next. Since we didn’t know what else to do, we went into the jungle. Just to grab some wild fruits.
Four of us headed north, exactly where we were travelling to. We walked a bit further, and then one of us suggested if we could go further on. That was the place he thought there was a little village. Until now no one knows where he obtained the idea. We kept walking and walking as we were scouring the thick branches. After two or so hours, there wasn’t any sign of human life.
From that point, we realised that things weren’t working as we planned. Therefore there weren’t many options except to keep going whatever happened. Despite our empty hands, we decided to go ahead. Of course we felt hungry but not such a one that we couldn’t walk. Since we left our friends we hadn’t had any major problems. It would have been better if that hadn’t changed but that was our imagination.
We reduced some small hills. It wasn’t easy to climb from one hill to another. What was worse than that, we had left our shoes in the lorry. Because we thought that we would come back soon. The other reason was not to put mud all over the place. How could we walk with bare feet on stones we were in a dilemma, whether to go back or to continue walking. We decided, whatever happened not to go back. Tiredness and pain from our bare feet, was over shadowed by panic.
We had blisters on our feet from walking. No one was talking about food. All of us were teenagers. The eldest boy was leading us, until he started at once. “Look this is the footprint of a lion”. Those mountains were the worest moments in my whole life. Can you imagine if it had been a human flesh eater. There were some saying, that certain lions eat only human flesh. Who knows if had been that one. Although we didn’t see it face to face, yet our hearts were beating in our chests. We thought they might come out.
Everyone of the group wanted to be in the middle, so that the lion couldn’t eat them first. Before we saw the lion’s footprint we had been talking about whether to take a rest of not. Not, that plan was postponed. Even though everyone was frightened, Omar was completely different. He couldn’t stop fussing. “I shouldn’t be here. Why I have left my mother?” ever since he heard the talk about lions, Omar was not Omar any more, we became so panic stricken.
Young Omar was born in Mogadisho. He hadn’t been any where else. Even he didn’t see some parts of Mogadisho. A that time the sun was setting. That was the time, when all predators come out, from their caves. We raised our hands towards heaven and begged God. “Oh God save us from transgressors.” Luckily all the panic left and tranquillity came to us. While we were walking we heard the bleat of a billygoat. It was only one bleat, and no more. “Did you hear that,” we said to each other.
We had to change our direction and go towards the bleat. It was for certain that most Somali people live in rural areas. However, we didn’t know whether people lived here or not. After every few minutes we stopped and listened. At last we found two families. It was the best time for nomadic people, as it was a springtime. They had lots and lots of camels, sheeps, goats and cows.
We met a lady, who was standing in front of her hut. As soon as we came, Omar said, to her please we want to buy some milk. She was surprised by Omars impatience, as a normal, nomadics don’t buy anything, when you are their guest. She said angrily “no!” then soon afterwards she said, I think you have some money in your pocket but we are not empty as well. “If you are a proper guest, sit there are wait for us and see what we can do for you.”
A little later, her husband came. We told him why we are here, and what we want, and what happened. He said, don’t worry everything is going to be OK. He left and come back with some food and milk. When we completed our meal, he said, stay with us tonight with us and tomorrow I will tell where to go. Next morning he came, and he pointed his finger somewhere north. Go into that direction and you will get Galdogob (a village). We headed towards the north, as he said. After five hours walking use came to a village called Galdogob. I can’t say in words how we felt. The people were so nice. They brought us, some hot water and washed our feet. We spent our money, for what we could get. We had been waiting for our lorry for two days.
Twenty four hours later, I came to my own town.