.....(Hal-ku-dhigyo Dhaxal-gal Noqday) = ..... President, C/raxmaan A. Cali: ''Jamhuuriyadda Somaliland dib ayay ula soo Noqotay Qaran-nimadeedii sidaa awgeed, waa dal xor ah oo gooni u taagan maanta (18/05/1991) laga bilaabo''...>>>>> President, Maxamad I.Cigaal:''Jiritaanka Jamhuuriyadda Somaliland'' Waa mid waafaqsan xeerasha u-degsan Caalamka! Sidaa darteed, waa Qaran xaq u leh in Aduunku aqoonsado''...>>>>> President, Daahir R. Kaahin: ''Jamhuuriyadda Somaliland waa dal diimuqraadi ah oo caalamka ka sugaya Ictiraafkiisa''...>>>>> President, Axmed M. Siilaanyo: ''Jamhuuriyadda Somaliland, Boqol sano haday ku qaadanayso helista Ictiraafkeedu way Sugaysaa! Mar dambena la midoobi mayso Somalia-Italia''.....[***** Ha Jirto J.Somaliland Oo Ha Joogto Waligeed *****].....

Monday, July 25, 2011


Barry Scowen who lived almost four years as a child in Somaliland from 1957 to 1960 recaptures his memories in those impressionable years. In the following article which he sent to Awdalpress, he writes his memories about the places he visited and towns in which he lived such as Berbera, Hargeisa, Borama and Gabiley. The pictures accompanying the article are Barry and his parents while they were about to leave Somaliland in July 1960 and the membership card of the Somali National League (SNL) with the signature of Mohamed Ibrahim Egal on the reverse side of the card. Egal who was a friend of the Scowen family had given the card to young Barry and autographed it for him.  

It was in the summer of 1957 that my Mother and I were met at Hargeisa airport by my father and his newly found friends; he had only been in Somaliland for a few weeks, his first venture outside the U.K. since returning from action during WW2 in the Western Desert. I distinctly remember although quite warm the difference in temperature it was compared with landing in Berbera en-ruote from Aden as we travelled into Hargeisa, and for a boy from the countryside of East England life looked to me as though I had been transported back to biblical times it was a whole new world, one I was to become to love and one which still holds many fond and happy memories.

After a few days my Father took us to where he had taken up temporary residence a small village called Gabaliee where he was putting the final touches to a new boys’ school. After turning off the main road we eventually arrived at the village and met the local people, I assume it was the head man who explained the excitement that our arrival had caused as my Mother and I were the first white woman and child to arrive there in living memory. To us it seemed quite strange that with the amount of Europeans living only an hour’s journey away in Hargiesa no-one had visited their village before -I did however understand the longer I was in Somaliland, most Europeans were there to help themselves not there to help the local people –shame on them.

With-in a week or so it seemed logical to move to Boroma. My father had ongoing work in Boroma, Gabeelie, Tugwa Jalah, Abdul Khadir, plus other places that now escape my memory, and our new residence was central to all these contracts many of which were to construct new small health centres. Boroma at that time was a small town somewhat different to the pictures I see on the internet today. There were only six European residences in Boroma our bungalow which overlooked what was the reserve and the air strip for the desert locust control aircraft. The residences of the head of police, The forestry man and his family, Miss Holt the single school teacher and the District Commissioner( more of him later) No! Let’s talk about him now, when the dry season arrived water was in very short supply and the water for Boroma was pumped from deep in the ground from Amoud, yes the very same place which was then a well known boys’ school which now I learn is a University.

In the dry season the water had to be turned off periodically to allow a head of water to build up otherwise the pumps would run dry and fail. My Father in his wisdom would turn off the water at night and everyone was aware of this. However at times the water was only on for a few hours each day as the supply could only just keep up with demand and Somalis would walk great distances to the tap in the village to fill a single 5 gallon can of water to take back to their village. One morning at this time my father to his surprise saw the District Commissioner’s gardener watering is lawn with a hose while going to work he was so angry he had the water supply to his house turned off. The D.C came to my Father office in a rage only for my father to explain that in his mind the local people had priority over his garden and he did not care what went on before his arrival no one was to think their garden was more important than the local people. Father won this battle and the lawn soon blended in with the local landscape.

Whilst stationed in Boroma we travelled with Father to all his other jobs including Abdul Khadir what a wonderful journey the landscape and the wildlife were amazing. This journey was made a number of times, once we took local leave and drove to Zeila and spent the day in Djibouti. I loved Zeila. The house we stayed in known as the Rest House I later learnt was the very same house General Gordon stayed in en-route to the famous battle of Khartoum.

We left Boroma and eventually made our way to Berbera all those we met in Hargeisa thought being posted to Berbera was a punishment as it was so hot there. We did find it hot to the start but after a few months we had taken it in our stride. I imagine our house is no longer in existence. It was positioned in a square which contained the old Government House which backed on to the sea we lived in the one next door to the mosque. I spent most of my time fishing and soon became friends with a number of the local fishermen. I also went with my cook and wonderful man who was well known in Hargeisa as Ali Tukaree. We used to do as we did in Boroma and go to the magala on regular shopping times. He would buy cigarettes and a bunch of khat, in fact I tried khat before starting to smoke it was OK made me dizzy so it didn’t become regular thing.

My Father’s main project in Berbera was the construction of the buildings and foundations for a radio relay station designed to boost the signal of the overseas service of the BBC. I do understand that although completed it was never in operation but mostly dismantled and rebuilt in an island of the Yemen coast. As independence drew closer we knew we had to leave in fact we were told to prepare for it we had no choice. Our friend Mohamed Ibrahim Egal –Please excuse all of my spelling mistakes in this document – was elected. I still have a small brown card of the SNL signed by him which he gave me in Berbera. So we had to leave.

I cannot express my love for Somaliland and its people and know I have a computer I can keep up to date by looking at pictures and reading articles on a regular basis. It was only when the bad things occurred that we would read about Somaliland in our national press in fact now (June 2011 we hear of the drought, hunger, and dying animals in The Horn of Africa). I do hope this small document gives an insight to times gone by and a few of us Europeans especially my late father did a little to help in those few important years in your country and my life. The editor of this will have my E-mail address if there are any questions this article may pose to any young Somali he may forward any relevant communications on to me.

By Barry Scowen

End Note: Barry Scowen now lives in the UK just outside Woodbridge in Suffolk. He said his parents both enjoyed their time in Somaliland and had far better memories than their next contract which was in Ghana. Barry’s father died in 1987 at the age of 70 and his mother died in 2005 almost reaching the age of 90.

Source: Awdalpress.

No comments: