Somaliland: Who is to Blame? The Boys, the Neighborhood, the Community or the Government


Without publiclhy provided playfields only the affluent can afford privately owned grounds like this one at Madars wonderrland in Hargeisa somaliland

Somalilandsun – It was a Thursday, and I returned back home after work in the afternoon; not often I do this. As I was physically drained, I decided to take a short nap. It took me some time to fall asleep since I am not used to afternoon naps. Eventually I drifted to sleep, only some noise disrupted it.

This was a noise from a group of boys between the ages of 7-11 who were playing football on a dusty narrow street between our houses, opposite to the outside window of my room. I wanted to get up and disperse them, only on second thought I realized that their presence gave a safety to my car that was parked outside — thieves could not break in the car while in the vicinity of the children.

Yet I could not bear their noise. It was not just normal noise; they hurled all sorts of insults at each other, and bad mouthed their mothers. I became curious about this group of children and started to follow their chaotic play. Every fifteen minutes their play was brought to a standstill, as a car hooted and negotiated for a driveway. They would stand on the side to give a space, while the dust and fumes the car left behind is still in the air they would immediately converge and continue playing.

I became worried for their safety and opened the window of my room. The boys looked skinny and dusty but in a playful mood; an outsider may have mistaken them with street children yet they were from a middle-income neighborhood. While I was watching them, some of them noticed me; one of them asked those learned against my car to get off. Now that they noticed my presence, I gestured for one of them to come to me. He ordered a younger one who was sitting next to him to answer my gesture, and the young boy walked shyly towards me. Once he approached me, while I was still standing on the other side of the window, I greeted him with a smile and asked him which neighborhood he was from. He introduced himself as the grandson of the owner of the house next to my house.

I put to him a second question: Why they were playing on the street?. He answered, “Khadija [not her real name] chased us away from the playground”! As I do not know of any playground in the whole subdivision, I then asked him, which playground? He finger-pointed at a small plot of land. He also pointed with his tiny finger at a second place that had a larger space and said, “We tried to play there but Fatima [not her real name] chased us away, also”. I asked him if there was any playground. “There is no playground,” he said in an unhappy tone, and while I was still interested in conversing with him, he turned around and left.

Ahmed Musa I delved into a deep thought wondering who is to blame for this. The neighborhood women, who chased these boys away to this risky narrow street? The community, which is failing to discipline the boys? The government, who did not plan any playgrounds for the youth and the community at large? Or the boys themselves, who were not kind to each other? Who is to blame?

Ahmed Musa

Copyright: Somalilandsun, 2016.