The streets that had been muddy last July have now dried up. 2 Months ago did the last raindrops fall. The country is dry and barren; I’m anxious to go and find out how the situation is in the camps down south – desert area. The smell of hay mixes with thick diesel smog. I am, once more, making my way to the Somali refugee camps to run a training with the local health workers. Once again 3 days driving down south and afterwards the long 3 days back up again. All the way across a magnificent country.
The seemingly endless stream of youngsters in their pink and purple suits reveal a school in the neighbourhood. We slow down for a bunch of mules on the road. Cars, busses, trucks, and wood-and-rope-barrels pass by, passionately pressing their horns; the animals are not easily impressed and won’t move a single bit. A boy takes advantage of the little hold-up and tries to sell some sweets and cold drinks. A girl carries packages of chewing gum, neatly positioned side by side and selected by colour, in a wooden draw upon her head; bags of chips dangle on the side. She knocks on the window of the car, holding up her hand – then stroking her belly as to signal ‘I’m hungry’. The driver nods a determined ‘no’ and receives an indignant look in return.