One of the things I liked about Hargeisa was the colour of their stone. I will explain: the local stones are quarried and used extensively on street walls and houses, creating a restful collage for the eyes to browse. It stays with you.  I call it a collaborative form of street art. One of those compounds with the granite stones on my daily commute from hotel to fairground was the presidential compound. One day, our 4×4 took an unexpected turn into the premises and suddenly we were visiting with H.E. Ahmed Mahamoud Silanyo  the fourth president of Somaliland. I wasn’t even wearing my favorite shirt.

So lunch with the president went well. Jama rose, made a nice speech while I ate. The Foreign Minister made a well-versed intervention while I ate. Nadifa rose, made a school-marmish response. I ate… It all went pretty well. Then we did tea and talk, and took a nice group portrait as well. Then the creative instinct stirred and I thought… no: a subversive cartoon is no way to repay the generosity of Mr. President. Stick with a formal photograph, don’t put words into anyone’s mouth. And definitely don’t put thoughts into Mr. President’s head…

Then I paused again, and thought: nah…. if the hen were to forsake her clucking how on earth would she raise her chicks?


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