Would you exchange three hundred she-camels for two income generating public toilets in Bosaso? Kkkk. This was then an ultimate insult to the nomad-owner of the camels.
This is a true story relayed to me by a friend of mine with the nick-name “Cidlow-Carar”.
A Bosaso business entrepreneur built rows of public wash-rooms in Puntland’s densely populated city. He also opened a teashop nearby to serve his daily visitors. One day came a visitor, a nomad who shows off in being the sole owner of 300 she-camels in the countryside. As the proud nomad continue to frequent these convenient public facilities during his short stay in Bosaso, the entrepreneur had befriended with the dignified countryman. One day the two men were having tea together. During the course of their discussion, the nomad started to impress the businessman on the signicance of having such immense wealth. The businessman looked at boasting nomad and offered, “Would exchange your three hundred she-camels for two of my public toilets?” The nomad got so angry that he almost slapped his interlocutor. The cool nerves of the toilet owner prevailed and saved the day.
One year later the boastful nomad had lost all but a few camels in severe drought. They met again with public wash-rooms still in full operation and the popular teashop joint turned into a decent city hotel. Now the wealthy businessman reminded the nomad of that past business offer. The nomad reminded the hotel owner of that insult.
This story reminded me of a conversation I had with a Swiss expert on governance during the first year of Puntland State establishment. Swiss Government sent him to assist us in our new efforts to consolidate our regional administrative achievement. Unfortunately, I don’t recall his name. He was heavy drinker of camel milk, a habit he had picked up in Mauritania as strange as it may sound for a white European to be a habitual drinker of camel milk in Garowe, Puntland, Somalia.
One evening the Swiss and I were having a chat over camel milk and tea at Zahra Islaan’s teashop in Garowe when our conversation turned to a discussion on the debilitating drought affecting the nomadic population at time. He asked me “why Somalis have to starve and lose their livestock in every drought? Why don’t they slaughter animals, make them dry meat and store it in sacks before the drought and enjoy eating it during the drought?” At time I laughed a lot.
In another story, two men were overheard, one asking the other, “why do Somalis prefer living in dryland instead of locations with huge rainfall and fertile oasis?” The other man responded, “Somalis love raising camels, and camels cannot walk on and slips in wet oasis. They just follow their camels pursuing dry land spots all the time. That is why Somalis ended up in drought-striken dryland”
The moral lesson of these stories is that Somalis are not Xoolo dhaqato, but Xoolo raac, and even not very good at it. For centuries of Xoolo raacnimo, they never improve. It is never too late for Somalia to plan and work out a strategy to save its nomadic population, its wealth of livestock and therefore its mainstay of the economy