This is the view from my hotel room in Hargeisa. A hotel room I hadnt really expected to be in, since the plan for this trip was to go to ‘the area of most need’ which is unlikely to be the capital city. But there have been issues getting started, in order to travel we need permission from the government, and permission is slow to gain. Whilst we wait we sort our supplies, procure medicines and analyse maps and security reports, read research papers on Somaliland, drank copious amounts of tea and had many formal and informal meetings.
This evening we met the Minister for Education, State Minister and some other important looking people. We explained our case, our plan, what we needed (essentialy just permission) and still we need more meetings.
Luckily though, Ole, the german social worker working closely with us, is a man with a plan. He identified a second possible location and is waiting permission from the sultan of that area and security confirmation that we can go. The plan is to set up a hospital as a referral centre, and then to undertake mobile clinics in the most affected areas, IDP camps etc. But for now, we wait…
The drive from Stockholm to Gothenburg took 4hours and 35mins. Roughly. I was DJ, and also chief animal spotter. I am particularly good at spotting horses since Ive been doing so my entire life, but I was after something more exotic this time. An elk. Although my friend told me, stone face coldly, that the greatest chance I had of seeing an elk was if we hit one with the car. But fear not, for Swedes are taught how to minimise the damage/chance of death should this happen (aim for the back of the animal apparently). Not too reassured we pressed on, past a lake called, I think, Vättern (not lake betty as i had thought for the first few hours of the trip). A massive expanse of choppy water and Swedens largest lake. The trouble with roadtrips in Sweden is that there is not much other than forest and the occasional chocolate box house. A welcoming splash of red in an otherwise monotonous, yet still beautiful (just not from the inside of a car on a motorway) landscape.
Never has a zoo enclosure been so much fun!!
“When the going gets weird the weird turn pro”
I probably should get out and explore the city. I thought about renting a bike and cycling around. But when its 32degrees out its just too tempting to sit by the river, or the pool or the other pool. Berlin has an abundance of outdoor pools and swim parks, some with slides and play areas for kids, others look out on to the river and bang out techno while you are watched by eerie street art. Equally as lovely is a perch by the river, under the shade of the trees we passed time chatting and climbing trees and playing boules and running around. And when all that activity wears you out, theres always a sausage on hand to build you up again.
It was my friend Hannahs birthday a week ago. Since I wasnt in Berlin then we celebrated today. We packed up some sparkling wine and took ourselves to the river Spree. For the princely sum of €20 we whiled away a few gloriously sunny hours on a paddle boat, exploring the river, waving to sunbathers, trying not to knock down other dingeys. Alex went for a swim, and then got abandoned on an abandoned boat adorned with the graffiti “I’m on a boat.” We gave the boat back and laid on the grass, putting the world to rights. I had a wonderful deserved nap and we strolled back along the river to eat.