Last night was a night of a different sort in Garowe. Many people stayed up late in order to witness the book launch of Author Maxamed Baashe Xaaji Hassan at the main conference hall of PDRC in Garowe. Close to 200 people attended the event and Author Maxamed presented his latest book Afka Hooyo Waa Hodon. The Master of Ceremony was none other a long-time friend of the Author who is also the current Minister Abdi Farah Saeed – a friendship spanning 30 years. Social media covered the live event and twitter was trending with the hashtag #GaroweBookLaunch
Author Maxamed was welcomed like a royalty in Garowe this week and various daily events were organized which included, among others, a tour to historic sites in Puntland. But last night was different than the other days. Last night Author Maxamed was hailed and praised with poetry, songs of heroism, ululations and stories of bravery. For many people the warm friendship and mutual affection as well as the exchange words of praise between 2 long-time friends was something new. Something people were witnessing for the first time. Or were hearing it for the first time straight from the mouths of the two friends. But not me. Those who know the two friends personally also know how far this unique friendship goes. They know that the friendship between Author Maxamed and Minister Abdi is stronger than any political, geographic or ethnic divide.
In May of 2012 I was part of a delegation that traveled with the Former Minister of Education of Puntland Mr Abdi Farah Saeed Juxa to Gothenberg for an official visit to participate in a Somali cultural event organized by the Somali community there. I worked then as a Gender Advisor to the Ministry and Author Maxamed also attended the cultural event. On the last day of the visit the two friends decided to visit the university where they both attended as students located in Prague called Charles University. I was privileged to travel with them on a historic journey of rekindled memories.
I captured the visit to Charles University in pictures and I tried to tell a story of the emotional visit, the reunion and reawakening of reminiscences of a special friendship spanning more than 30 years. But Chapter 5 ‘Prague, the First Night’of Minister Abdi’s book Pride and Prejudice tells the historic arrival day in Prague in 1987. Pictures tell their own story and I leave the pictures below to tell their story.