A Traveller’s Tale from Kismayo, the Jerusalem of Somalia

Published: July 24, 2015

The southern port town of Kismayo is where I am heading to. It is the home of many of my immediate family members. They were born there, grew up there, now earn a living there,sheltered there at the height of the civil war and became hostages there and still stayed put.
They witnessed the town changed hands a couple times from 1990s until 2010s. They buried there the elders of family members who passed away not because of old age’s natural causes but because of a lack of basic health care.
I am not only excited to visit this town but I am also very anxious, and apprehensive. I am excited because I am going to meet my family members, relatives and friends whom I haven’t seen for over a quarter of a century. I am going to sleep in the same rooms of the family houses that I used to relax during my late teens and early 20s. I
am going to sit on the white sands of (Farjanno,Faanoole and Calanley).
I am going to feel the coolness and moist textures of this ‘bacaad3
’. I am going to dig my feet into this ‘bacaad’ just to let my body feel and sense that I am in Kismayo. That it is
real and not a dream.
My uneasiness about this Journey could be attributed to, first and foremost, the security situation. Yes I know that there are security forces from the AU as well as from the regional army who are eager to defend the town and its environs and protect its inhabitants. However, it is unlikely that the presence of these troops in the town may allay my fears.
I have never heard the sound of a gunshot save on TVs and movies. I have never witnessed gunshot wounds and blood and casualties ever in my life. I have never heard or witnessed an explosion of a bomb or any fire exchange between two fighting armies or militias. How then would I react, survive or protect myself if by chance, God forbid, skirmishes or intense fighting or guerrilla attacks/invasions start in the town? I honestly don’t know. That is the root of all my profound trepidations. However, I would convince myself that since there are residents in the town I should cope the situation just as they would deal with it. With or without any incidents, I should live like any of the town’s residents. And live I did successfully, humbly, proudly and confidently. I mingled with the towns’ folks in the best natural mimicry that an organism could develop, maintain and evolve into. I felt like an old hat, or an old shoe in a foot; very compliant and totally in place. That fear has evaporated like the few raindrops which has welcomed me in Kismayo International airport.
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