- In the turbulent Horn of Africa, Somaliland is an oasis of relative quiet and order. Twenty years ago Somaliland declared itself independent. Since, however, no country has recognized this tiny state in the northeast of Somalia. Broad, slightly sloping streets in a whitewashed city. A jumble of donkeys, water tanks, qat stands, goats, camels, people, jeeps, buses, taxis and uncountable shops. Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland is at a two-hours drive from the Ethiopian border. ‘In 1991 ninety percent of Hargeisa was destroyed. Four years later it was completely rebuilt’, says Lady Edna, who has a hard time hiding her pride. ‘So, we deserve to be independent.’
We are in Edna’s office, in a hospital that has her name because she is the one who established it. Besides being the minister of foreign affairs, Edna Adan Ismail was also the former First Lady of Somaliland. She was the wife of the “father of Somaliland”, the late president Mohamed H. Ibrahim Egal (1993-2002). This year Lady Edna becomes 75, but that does not stop her to daily run her women’s hospital with a lot of energy and to advocate the independency of Somaliland.