Hargeisa International Book Fair: The Sixth and Final Day
This was the young people's day. In the morning we had presentations from the young regional Readers' Clubs. They had come to the book fair from all over Somaliland and beyond, including Sweden. They spoke passionately about reading. I gave each of them a copy of the BBC Network Africa Proverb Book which seemed especially poignant as this was Network Africa's final week on air.
|Handing out BBC proverb books|
We then received a surprise visit from the British ambassador to Somalia, Matt Baugh, the head of DFID Somalia, the British deputy ambassador to Ethiopia and others. They strolled around the book fair looking at the books, art, fruit and other items on sale. It was all very relaxed and they did not arrive with a big security apparatus (at least not one that I could see).
|The British ambassador Matt Baugh|
Mr Baugh then addressed the crowd. The organisers of the book fair said they considered him the British ambassador to Somalia and Somaliland. He said Britain would soon open an office in Somaliland which would eventually perform consular services. He was presented with a Somali pot, books and a big Somaliland flag.
Later we had a huge treat. The Somaliland Circus!
|Watching the circus|
|Clearing up after the circus|
|These two guarded the door to the hall. The woman checked the ladies' bags, the man the men's.|
|This soldier had to negotiate with those who tried to charm their way into the stuffed hall|
|This time he let the girls in but told the boys to wait outside|
In the evening we had another delight. A play called 'Visualising the Future' by the Somali playwright Artan. It was a series of short sketches and had the audience weeping with laughter.
|The playwright Abdirahman Yusuf Artan|
|Nadifa and I in our new outfits. We are sitting with Cambridge PhD candidate Ridwan Osman|
|Zahra Ahmed of Nor Mode|
|Actors in the play|
|The day after the book fair. Book fair organisers Jama Musse Jama and Ayan Mahamoud were tired but happy|