My name is Boramaa and I am a city in the middle of nowhere;
I’m lost between many mountains that surround me;
No road goes out and no road comes in;
That keeps me in isolation from the rest my country;
In the good old days as I remember;
People used to go to Hargeisa and come back in hours;
Now going to Hargeisa is fraught with danger;
That scares me, as I get older and bigger;
I have no government to take care of me;
I don’t know where my sons and daughters might be;
I am afraid they might have deserted me for good;
As they remain scattered all over the world;
Those remained, are the old and the helpless;
The people who lived here were like a family;
I loved them and they loved me too;
Now I am told there is more than a family;
Tribes and sub-tribes I hear:
That scares me and sends shock waves to my bones;
The elderly people no longer play hockey here;
A landmark which I was known for;
Children don’t play football as they used to do;
Happy faces and friendly people are no more;
As many more people come to me more than I can take;
My problems likewise expand too;
But all is not doom and despair;
Those who called me home have said;
Your sons and daughters made a firm oath;
Mama Borama you will be never forgotten;
Your sons and daughters though everywhere;
Have already built you a water system parallel to no one;
An educational system that remains the best there is;
A medical hospital that will remain the pride of our nation;
We are determined to take you out of your isolation too;
With a firm determination to fix that deadly road;
So that people can go out and come back faster and safer.
But other more daunting fronts still remain;
Mama Borama you will never be an orphan anymore;
And you will ever remain the sunshine you are;
Home of education and innovation for all.
Having said that differently, the fact that road between Dilla and Borama is under construction is welcome news for all— three cheers for the concerned citizen of Awdal Region. The good news has rightly inspired others to take a similar action in other parts of the country. It was overdue and the initiative will surely not only safe lives but will also take Borama out of isolation from the rest of the country. The road has taken a mammoth toll and the last fatality was sadly Dr. Abdishakor. To put the importance of the initiative into proper perspective, read this article which I have written some years ago when I visited Hargeisa.
“One morning, I woke up and went straight to the reception of my Hotel… the Imperial Hotel as I routinely did every morning.
At the front desk, there were a number of local newspapers, which all look alike and contained eight black and white pages. I did not read any of them. However, I used to give a cursory look at the front page. This time I saw a big title, which said, “believe it, or not, it happened”. I was curious and started to read more. I read it and the news broke my heart… a real breaking news. I will try to remember as much details as I can. The news read like this.
A man wanted to build a furniture factory in Borama. Since qualified technicians were not available in Somaliland, he went to India to contract two Indian technicians (it is cheaper to import labor from India or Ethiopia). He brought them to Hargeisa and after a couple of days took them to Borama where the factory was located. On their way to Borama, a big incident happened. After the car carrying the Indian technicians passed Dilla, the road started to deteriorate and finally disappeared all together. The two Indians were surprised in fact shocked that the road totally disappeared. Immediately they smell a rat. Something is wrong somewhere. After some thoughtful thinking, they realized that they have been had. They thought the whole factory business was just a camouflage to kidnap them. As the road got from bad to worse, the two Indians immediately sensed danger.
Before they came to Hargeisa, they heard that Somalis are adroit kidnappers. In fact they were advised not to go to Somalia because of that. The two helpless Indians did the only option that they could think of at the time and that was to run for their lives… jump out of the car and disappear into the mountains. It was a shot in the dart, but the situation was that desperate. For them one thing was crystal clear, the road would not lead to a town or even to a small village. There was no visible road in sight in the first place. While the car was moving very slowly, the two Indians jumped out of the car and ran as fast as they could into the mountains. The driver and owner of the factory were taken unaware and did not know what happened and what to do immediately.
After some serious thought and consultation, they decided to stop the car catch them and ask what happened and why they were running away into wilderness. The owner and the diver thought of many other things, but the nature of the road never crossed their minds. The two Indians were finally captured with the help of the local people. They were handcuffed and loaded to the car. They wept, cried, and said, “What have we done to deserve this? We have no money, what are you going to do with our bare bodies? We want to live, please leave us alone,” they pleaded.
The man who brought them tried to cool them down and tried to convince them there will be light at the end of the tunnel. The Indians insisted that there could be no town at the end of this drive. We are convinced you are driving us to the mountains and to nowhere. The owner pleaded for their patience and told them; “please bear me for one hour only, as the town is only 20 miles away.” A group of men forcefully kept the Indian technicians in the car. The woes of the Indian technician only increased as the road got worst. After one hour or so, the car and the Indians arrived at Borama and the two Indian technicians were elated as they realized that they were not after all kidnapped.
“Please forgive us we were all wrong,” they pleaded and started to giggle. “Although we come from a poor country, we have never seen a road like this in our life. Do you call this a road? In India, we do not call this a road. May be Somalis call this a road,” they giggled. The driver disagreed and said, “No it is not a Somali road… it is a Dilla/Borama road; it is unique and it is the only one of its kind that leads to a major regional capital city. Borama is in reality a remote area far away from the rest of the country. It is the wild wide West. It is the inaccessible land. It is a no go area at the far end of the World”.
Now we are full of hope that the problem that made the two Indians run for their lives is destined to have a happy ending and Borama city will be a stone throw away from the capital city Hargeisa.
By Dr Omar Ibrahim Hussein