Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Like Lady Di for a day!

Yes, today, we visited both a primary school and the hospital where I was born, which sometimes made us feel like Princess Diana.

The school we visited was the one mentioned a few days ago - the Fadumo Biixi school, named after the girl who had lost her legs to a landmine explosion. We were taken there by Farxan, from Edna's hospital and we were greeted by hundreds of school children, who just happened to be having a (long) break!

We were introduced to the headmaster who quickly skipped through the story of Fadumo Biixi, before she herself arrived. We had all the pens we have been carrying to give away, along with some blank exercise books and some boxes of Smarties which we had picked up in Addis airport. Not much said the headmaster, but maybe he didn't mean it that way. We were shown to an empty classroom, which children were kept away by a man waving a stick! They got their chance to get into a photograph as we made our way back to our bus. Very enthusiastic they were!

Farxan let us out at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which was opposite the General Hospital, so we popped over the road. Here we were told to wait for the Hospital Director before being shown around by a friendly obstetrician (what on earth do they do? I was afraid to ask....). He showed us to the payment ward which is where Edna said I would have been delivered... private wards, one bed per room. There were two such buildings, each with seven rooms, numbered 1-7 and 8-14. This felt more like it! The place where I was born. Amazing to be back here. I posed outside rooms 1 and 2 for the photos. We later met a Somali Dutch national, the daughter of the general we had seen a couple of days before and her mother had told her she was born in room 1 and she will be going there later in the week!

Edna said that Dr Ali would have been the doctor and that the midwife would possibly have bene a man (?) from Egypt, whose name I have already forgotten.

So, after all that excitement, there was time to wander around town and have some lunch down by the Tug. Somali rice again! Mmmm! . Barely 20 meters could we go before someone was calling out after us, or giving us their hand.... and this was before we became media celebrities....

This being because we were interviewed for Somaliland National TV Hargeisa earlier this evening.

We had bumped into the head of the TV station at the Foreign Ministry earlier and a chap we had met a couple of days before Ismail Ali mentioned that he might be interested to have us on TV, me being born here and all that.... so the team turned up at 5 pm, one cameraman with camera and two journalists. We were seated on the roof of the Ambassador Hotel, with the sun setting straight into our eyes, as the evening got cooler and cooler. It was a nice chat and I managed to look and sound extremely happy to be back in my homeland!

The programme has not yet gone out (if indeed it ever does), but we are keeping a half eye out as we 'work' on the computers here in the lobby.

Indeed, it seems as if it was 10 years ago since Princess Diana gave her famous interview to Panorama!

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