• “Yes I have indeed reached my final destination. It’s been a gruelling four months and couldn’t have asked for a warmer welcome from Edna and everyone here at the hospital in Hargeisa. After seeing the hospital with my own two eyes and meeting all those involved, I can solemnly say that I do not have a single regret” Christopher Stanfield
• “I am very touched about the fact that somebody I don’t know, never met before has made an effort and big sacrifice to go through so much hardship , to walk 4000 Kms for our hospital and to support it and my country Somaliland”-Dr Edna Aden
By: Yusuf M Hasan
HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – A step forward in Cairo has concluded in Hargeisa after a gruelling 4000 Kms walk through hostile terrain thence prove that “A Small Axe Can Chop A Big Tree’
Trekking over land and sea, across the vast barren desert of north east Africa, from Port Sudan down through the Red Sea to Djibouti, across the immense Djibouti terrain descending into the rugged mass of Somaliland, continuing on to his final destination Edna Adan’s Maternity hospital Christopher Stansfield has completed the first phase of his quest “To raise funds for Edna Hospital and awareness about Somaliland”
This epic journey that was started on September 8th, by Brit Christopher along with U.S. film maker Dave Adams saw the Brit under take the rest of the trek alone after only four weeks after his compatriot was denied entry into Sudan due to political differences between that country and the USA.
This was revealed to the Hornnewspaper by Mr Stansfield during an interview at the Edna Aden hospital where he is ensconced and under the personal care of Dr Edna Aden whose amazement with the sacrifices of the young man are had to hide.
As narrated by Mr. Christopher Stansfield his epic journey of 4000 Kms through one of the worlds most difficult terrain had a single major objective “to highlight the health of the people of Somaliland, and raise £100,000 to go towards helping the Edna hospital to continue to flourish”
The idea for the epic journey came after I undertook a fundraiser in Spain for the Edna Hospital and having found that people were not only unaware of the hospital but Somaliland as well I decided to do something that shall reverse this lack of awareness.
On the 9th of September 2012 Christopher and David Adams and camel FALCOR given the Brit by an Egyptian friend started their journey of mercy in Cairo upper part of the pharaoh country to Aswan the lower part in a period of five weeks at 30 Kms a day, from Upper Egypt in Cairo to Lower Egypt in Aswan in five weeks at 30 Kms a day.
Unknowing the young Briton was to complete the rest of the journey solo following the refusal of Sudanese authorities to Allow both David and Falcor entry into the country, Falcor was denied entry because the law in Sudan does not allow animals to be brought in while David had to turn back because his country, the USA, was at loggerheads with Sudan for one reason or another.
Devoid of the services of Camel Falcor, the egyptian friend came to the rescue of the now bewildered Stanfield who was availed a cupboard like carrier with four wheels that he used as a replacement for Falcor carrier of his luggage.
Pulling his four wheeled carrier the Brit left Warihafa for Khartoum travelling at between 40 to 50 Kms a day From Khartoum headed east as far as Galabat and then south to the Ethiopian border then eastwards crossing mountains into Gamba then south to Adisamon then East again to Waldiya which is 14,000 feet above sea level thus descent from the mountains to the desert all the way to Milie, then north to Djibouti via Galafi
After the first day’s 45 Kms trek in Djibouti he was arrested by local police who failed to understand what a Caucasian was doing walking and solo in their country. They took him to Obok town where he was detained for one day and a night then transferred to the capital city where spent another day in police custody on accusations of either being a terrorist, spy or a person intent on causing mischief to the tiny Horn Africa country.
After recording a statement he was released “ON CONDITION THAT I present myself at the police station the following morning but fortunately the entire issue ceased like that I was let free” Said Stansfield
Having won his freedom of movement his plans of traversing the desert as usual ‘On Foot’ were curtailed by non existent roads thus a 4X4 vehicle that took him all the way from Djibouti to about 15ks out of Hargeisa where he completed the final leg of the 4000 epic journey in style and in company of the illustrious Dr Edna Aden founder of the hospital of his quest.
Apart from a few items like clothes and tent that were provided by sponsors and other well wishers The youthful Brit who is now a hero in the yet to be recognized country funded the epic journey solely from his own savings.
Explaining on the purpose of the gruelling journey that lady Edna has termed as a momentous sacrifice Mr. Stansfield informed that his motivation was derived from a desire to do something bigger and grander and daring than the Spain fundraiser thus make people aware of the existence and good work of the Edna Aden hospital let many people around the world through walking which would achieve purpose of raising awareness and through this contribute towards realizing hospital objectives as well as get better and keep improving
“I Also wanted to show that it is possible to do anything which though at first looks impossible is possible if you have a strong heart, strong mind everything is possible” said Christopher
Said Stansfield “Since learning about SL and found out about it I have wanted to come here, I was inspired by the fact that after a short time the country has changed from a war torn to where it is now peaceful secure and developing fast and not through support by any nation but through sheer resilience of its people
I thought it was more important to support a successful story, a successful country than to be supporting countries where there exists disharmony thus my feeling that supporting Somaliland would make disjointed countries take note of Somaliland and aspire to emulate it”
Quote’ Telling my family about my trek was the easy part since they had already learned of my decision from a story written by a local newspaper in my hometown in England. My family and friends were angry and fearful for me since they did not know about Somaliland but only about Somalia,
But after careful explanation about Somaliland and my mission they begun to not only understand my mission but became appreciative.
On leaving four months ago they were still scared but supportive and on calling them upon arrival in Hargeisa they were very relieved and their fear has turned to pride.
A visibly moved Dr Edna had this to say of the brave young Briton.
Quote ‘I am very very touched about the fact that somebody I don’t know never met before has made an effort and big sacrifice to go through so much hardship , to walk 4000 Kms for our hospital and to support it and my country Somaliland, is something I feel very touched about and very grateful
I find this a great personal sacrifice to put his life in danger, to walk such distances, without benefit to himself but carry out a mission he had promised himself he would do and I wish him all the best, he is a young man, a very brave young man whom I hope that whatever he achieves big or small, to me, to see him now is a great gesture,
What will come out of his journey, what will come out of his future support only god knows, but I’m already satisfied to see that someone has morally supported our hospital our people and our country
I wish to thank him and his family for having thought of us and I hope that we will be worthy of his ambition, that we would not have wasted his energy and efforts, and as a Somalilander I say thank you Cristopher Stansfield.”Unquote
This extraordinary adventure that took approximately 4 months covering over 3000 miles across some of the world’s most harsh and politically challenging terrain is to be made into a documentary aiming to show the diverse nature of each country, incorporating the lives and culture of the people, highlighting the impact their health care systems have on them. It will also encapsulate every emotion, every triumph and every difficulty encountered in their rawest forms. The expedition will have an underlying theme to provide an inspirational distraction from our modern lives and ultimately show that despite our world’s current problems, there is still so much hope to be had.
And just like Edna’s hospital is an inspiring white light in Somaliland, this expedition is an inspiration to many round the globe… ‘ A small axe can chop a big tree’