ACTNews, MOGADISHU – To inhale and exhale dust is one way to spend day in Mogadishu. Two eternal icons: dust and badland that embrace Mogadishu in the background. A same cover, even though two Eids have passed.
On Eid al Adha this year, a chance to visit Mogadishu came once more. Global Qurban Team arrived in Mogadishu few days short before Eid eve. We arrived, once again, with mission to pass over Eid al Adha blessing from Indonesia. For that mission, we would jump far to dusty refugee camps at the end of Horn of Africa.
Year after year pass, and the irony still lives on. Somalia’s two slogans—Nabad and Nolol—actually are prayers whispered from every corner of the county. Nabad means life, and nolol means peace.
“Maybe they haven’t maximized their effort. Somalis’ effort to rebuild their country, and international effort to lend their hand as Somalis do so,” Rahadiansyah, Coordinator of Global Qurban Team for Somalia, mused.
Mogadishu is the capital city that also happens to be the central of all crisis. In this spot, poverty, tension, conflict, and thousands of internal displaced persons (IDPs) flock the street, from dusk until dawn. It is a social reality in dusty Mogadishu.
Fear of conflict is also apparent. It’s easy to find civilians carrying rifles and guns around the country, just to protect themselves. Their left hand carried rifles, and their right hand carry prayer beads as they silently uttered their zikr.
What could they possibly do, as long as conflict still brings deep fear to all Somalis?
Even in Mogadishu, economic principles still apply. No work means no money. Meanwhile, thousands of IDPs in Mogadishu only have one treasure: a tent, made of clothes and tree branches.
The United Nations stated that more than 70% of Somalis lived with less than a day. Without money or job, only with dust and drought. Looking for water at reservoirs donated by government or international agencies. That’s how days passed in Mogadishu.
Celebrating Eid in nation of dust
According to the last census, Somali population is about 15 million people. From that number, more than 95% of the population are Sunni Muslims. It’s no wonder that Mogadishu only has short celebration every Eid, just to forget poverty and IDPs issues.
One day earlier than Eid in Indonesia, Eid al Adha in Somalia (21/8) started with rain after the dusk. But drops of rain only wetted layer of dust on street. After that, dust continued to fly everywhere, following our footsteps. All stores were closed, just like Indonesia, as all Somalis, women and men, children and elderlies hurried to mosques.
"Yes, this is the custom every Eid. We have to hurry to the mosque as the Eid al Adha prayer starts early in the morning," said Numan, a Global Qurban partner's representative who accompanied us in Mogadishu.
After doing Eid prayer at As Sahaba Mosque, Hodan, western of Mogadishu, we left for the slaughter place. Hundreds of cows had been prepared, a form of love from Indonesians to Somalis.
While waiting for the slaughtering to finish, a butcher, Abdurrasyid, told us that every year the best meals only came on Eid al Adha. He still also remembered Global Qurban label on a t-shirt he wore.
Stuttered in English, he told us how he and his family lived in a tent near the slaughter place.
“Last year, I butchered cows from Global Qurban right at the same place. We worked hand in hand, as Muslim brothers, to help our Somali friends. Masha Allah, thank you,” said Abdurrasyid.
Near asr prayer, people have finished butchering. Numan said that these qurbani meat from Indonesia would be brought to a camp right on the center of Kaxda District. A district in the center of desert, recently built in the last few years, just to accommodate the refugees.
“Kaxda just recently became a new district. The majority of its residents are homeless Somalis. Each camp has a camp leader. Their houses are shelters made from clothes and tree branches,” Abdullah, photography volunteer for Global Qurban in Mogadishu, revealed.
Stepping in Kaxda really showed how arid and dry Mogadishu was. Desert dust covered its surface before blown off by strong wind. Just like sand that stuck on clothes of Somali kids who greeted us at Kaxda Camp entrance.
That’s right. In the midst of escalating refugee crisis and poverty in Somalia, Eid al Adha was celebrated in colorful clothes.
A truck filled with cow meat was discarded slowly. Global Qurban plastics were handed over. “This is the face of Somalia. We still queue with manner. We are the face order and friendliness that Muslim are taught about,” said Abdullah.
Fatima, a 40-year-old mother, sent her prayer to Indonesia. “I express my gratitude to our brothers and sisters in Indonesia. May the qurbani bring you blessing. Happy Eid al Adha,” said Fatima.
More than Mogadishu, Global Qurban for Somalia also brought qurbani meats to other locations, other centers of refugees.
“In total, Global Qurban allocated no less than 1.100 cows for Somalia. We brought them to Mogadishu, Baidoa, and Middle Shabelle. Hundreds of kilometers away from Mogadishu,” Rahadiansyah concluded.