My Dilla-Gorayo Awl Travel Nightmare
By Noah Arre
Ten days ago this week, a close friend and relative of mine told me he was traveling to Borama to join his family. Then I asked him who was taking him. And he said “I will catch a bus or will go with friends.” And since I have all the free time in Hargeisa, I thought it would be inconsiderate of me not to help. So, I decided to take him in my Toyota Mark II car which is of course a great car when it is in city streets.
However, I had not been on Hargeia-Borama roads driving for decades but had of course seen many people coming from Borama almost on daily basis. And though I heard a lot of complaints about road Dilla-Gorayo Awl conditions, I did not give much attention to that.
So, at exactly 1:00pm, we left Hargeisa and it took us only an hour to reach the neglected but historic town of Dilla, the birth place of Somaliland co-education, which is today no more than a ghost town.
During our journey, we rarely noticed the hour-long time because with not much worry about road conditions, we were rejoicing the company, fully absorb, laughing, chatting, singing and occasionally reminding each other of the hey days of that part of this country when farm produce was abundant, livestock was fleshy, fat and plenty and the youth both men and women often danced the rhythmic dhanto and the xoogweyn on festivals on broad day light and of course without any worries of any possible interventions from the Grand muftis of the day who always saw that literally as nothing more than a sinless youth self entertainment to dispose off their innate youth energy.
True, there were many stories to recall, and many things to rejoice and the emotion rousing sights of the area hills and valleys which seemed to leave you with lasting memories, of the golden days of drums and the great nights of lightening, were certainly ones to behold!
But as soon as we passed Dilla, our driving nightmare started to unfold as the road turned ugly, rough and bumpy. And just after Tulli, we heard a loud noise and an unusual heavy car jerk coming from the left rear of my car. In fact, it was so loud that we thought we ran into a road bomb and so shocked, we stopped to check.
When we did, what we saw was ugly….one of my car rear tires busted and shattered into bits and pieces thanks but no thanks to the sharp knife-like rocks that literally make the whole roadway a waste land. So, we had to remove and replace it with my doughnut spare tire and resume the journey.
But worried of what might come next, we had to drive as slow as a snail. In fact, we tiptoed from rock to rock for the rest of the journey and finally reached Borama at exactly 7:00pm; had dinner at Rays Hotel…. That means our journey took 6 hours; nearly five of them between Dilla to Gorayo Awl.
After a short dinner chat, I drove my friend to his home and went to a hotel, after of course leaving my car with a garage attendant next to my night repose.
But since my day was relatively long and exhausting, I fell immediately into deep sleep possibly snoring in minutes till next morning.
The following day, as usual I woke up early; walked to Harowo Hotel which was only a few blocks away; had a cup of coffee for refreshment hoping to jump to my car; visit my relatives many of who live in Borama and then head back to Hargiesa. I had to rush back to Hargeisa because I had an important assignment to finish the next day.
Unfortunately, when I came back, I saw my other rear tire totally flat and I had to scramble for help. Fortunately, someone inflated it from his truck; and I drove the car to a garage to fix my flat. But even then, I would not or could not dare to drive it because, considering the rocky roads on the way, any of my tires could bust again and I should keep my doughnut tire only as spare anyway. So, I decided to buy one or two new tires.
Strangely enough, however, I could not find any new or used tire that could fit my Toyota. And at one point, I had contemplated to tow it and take a ride. But after a long struggle with a lot of advice and help from friends, since there was no way to buy a new or used tire, someone told me there was a guy who owned similar tires who could have a used one from his van. That was a big help and here at last I got one from that guy, happily paid him, inflated all other tires and put my doughnut spare in the trunk.
At about, 11:30 am that day, I drove my friend home as he was all the time with me and I had to forget everything else and hit the road to Hargeisa.
But at Borama control, a police officer stopped me and approached for a regular check and then a young guy not in uniform followed, pulled a check book and wrote me a ticket. Surprised, I asked, “What is it for?” and the guy politely said “Sir, it is for ASRDA, the road guru volunteers remember?”
Taken aback and my tongue tied, I paid the deserving tax and silently said “This project needs the attention of all! It is a necessity to levy all Awdalians to fix it! It is even right to make a mandatory charge of $100.00 per person per year on all Awdalians who can afford it and even put those who refuse to pay in jails! It is noble charity and a great gift to the community and the country!” Then I drove away.
Within few yards, I caught the expressway to Ayaan daran farm hoping for the best but truly anxious and worried of the rough ride that would soon follow and could possibly shatter my tires again.
Friends, one thing is certain, the sacrifices of those great Awdalians, I tell you, are enormous and worth noting. The job they do is noble and should be remembered forever. Their will, their dedication and determination deserve your support.
In fact, I would suggest that their names be engraved on a golden statue that becomes a land mark or symbol of hope for Awdal. And I would even suggest that ASRDA becomes the nickname of Awdal and call who contribute toward this cause Asrdans!
And last but not least, may I suggest the following?
- Our country needs business people who collectively invest their resources to generate jobs for the community
- It needs selfless and sacrificing leaders who take it out of the current doldrums and despair and puts it on track.
- It needs cooperating communities whose goal is to pull the country out of poverty
- It needs volunteers who win the fight against hunger and poverty, against ignorance, and against all health and social ills.
- It needs leaders whose vision gives hope to the youth whose future is bleak.
- And it needs the unwavering moral and material support of ASRDA leaders whose sole purpose is to make a difference
- But no, it does not need free riders who do not contribute toward social programs and yet enjoy all the benefits.
- It does not need social parasites who want to live on welfare in a whole community that is struggling to make ends meet and yet tightens its belts to help.
- It does not need neo Machiavellians fighting for unknown supremacy and/or domination!
- It does not need people who want to play politics for personal gains and accordingly put its (country’s) whole future in jeopardy!
- It does not need people whose actions can damage or destroy its centuries old civility.
- And it does not need men or women who blow up false alarms for their ulterior motives.
By Noah Arre