Dripping with perspiration, I jumped into the vehicle after visiting one of the Al Imdaad Foundation’s mobile clinics. The driver just got off the phone and informed us of an explosion that took place in Mogadishu. The locals, with a smile on their faces just brushed it aside and told us not to worry when we asked what exactly happened. This obviously was done so as not to make us fear or scare us. They took us to the beach to pass some time. Somalia’s shores are absolutely amazing and beautiful. After the beach episode, thinking that we returning to our base, we ended up taking another route and within minutes found ourselves found ourselves in a camp…but it was not ours…it was the Qatar Red Crescent camp.
After enquiring about the sudden change of plans, we were told by the locals that it is not a big issue but our base is not the safest place to be right now. As sneaky South Africans are, we found a computer at the Red Crescent camp and decided to see if there is anything on the internet with regard to what just happened. The headline on one website read ‘Bomb blast in Mogadishu, 55 dead, 65 injured’. It was only then that we realised the reality and seriousness of the matter even though the locals still kept their smiles so\as not to scare us. We ended staying at the Qatar Red\Crescent camp the entire afternoon. Eventually the news came that the blast took place about 5 buildings away from our base, the impact of which shattered windows of the house that we are staying in. The impact was so powerful that even the table we ate on broke. The glass door leading into the lounge was shattered and it was kind of weird knowing that the room which I slept in for the past two nights is now missing a window due to a bomb blast. Reports on local radio said that it was a suicide bomber. The explosion occurred just outside the education ministry on a day when students were present with their families collecting documents in order to fly off to turkey for a scholarship.
When the dust settled the body count reached 113 from which a good portion was made up of students aged between 15 and 20. It made me think once more that what guarantee do we have of life…one minute all happy and smiling thinking about attaining a degree in Turkey and the next minute you history. Reports say that the suicide bomber was a Kenyan citizen about 21 years of age. The boy drove a truck which was packed with explosives and pieces of metal. When the bomb exploded in front of the education ministry, the pieces of scrap metal shot in all directions so as to add more harm.
Some of these pieces landed up in the garden of our base. I managed to get my hands on them…they consist of bolts, nuts, washers and sharp edged pieces of metal etc. Overall it was a sad day for us, for Somalia’s people and for humanity. I realised how grateful we have to be for being safe at home. Yes, at times we might complain of the crime but believe me…that’s nothing compared to a day in a life of a Somalian.