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Title 2. 1983 – 1985, Institute of In-service Teacher Training, Mogadishu, Somalia.

The situation in Somalia was stable and calm, when I first arrived with Alitalia from Rom via Addis Abeba. I was met in Mogadishu Airport and taken to Hotel Juba, where I was to stay until my shipment of personal equipment would arrive from Copenhagen by boat to Mogadishu. My car, a Toyota Tercel 4WD, was also shipped from Copenhagen and would hopefully arrive earlier than the enormous wooden boxes which contained my “home”. The staff bus picked me up every morning from the hotel and drove us to the Institute of In-Service Teacher Training, where we in cooperation with the academic educated Somali staff were engaged in In Service Teacher Training for primary school teachers in refugee camps and Refugee Adult Education, activities which had started in 1981 by UNHCR and ended I 1990, when the Civil War started.

Before 1941 South Somalia was an Italian Colony with Mogadishu as Capital City while North Somali was an English Colony with Hargeisa as Capital City, but Mussolini was driven out of Somalia in 1941 and the British decided to make a Great Somalia, which would include South Somalia, North Somalia and the Ogaden Desert. During the Peace Negotiation after Second World War, the British plan was vetoed by the Ethiopians, as the Ogaden Desert was considered Ethiopian country, and the British had to leave Ogaden Desert in 1954 and leave the desert to Ethiopia, while Italy again was given the authority of South Somalia. At the Somali liberation in 1960 the borders towards Ethiopia was decided without asking the Somali population, and families and relatives were separated and traditional grazing fields were no longer available. This led to several border conflicts with Kenya and Ethiopia and resulted in 1977 in a Somali invasion of Ogaden Desert in Ethiopia, a war Somalia lost, and the country had to accept the present borders between the countries of Kenya and Ethiopia. More than a half million Somalis fled from the Ogaden Desert to refugee camps in Somalia, and they have not been able to return to their homes since, and as long as a conflict exists.

The Somali President Siad Barre had been in office since 1969, where the military took power of Somali in a bloodless coup. When I arrived in Somalia President Siad Barre was marked by old age and illness, and even if his central position in Somalia, as a strong leader, was weakened, he still managed for several years ahead to hold the six main clans in Somalia working together for the prosperity of the Country.

As soon as my goods arrived by ship from Denmark, I rented my predecessors house near the IITT office, and I moved out of Hotel Juba into my Italian inspired Somali residence, and soon a skeleton staff was employed. The few hours of daily free activities was scheduled between the American Golf Club and swimming at Sharks Bay or Mosque Bay every Friday together with friends.

Else arrived in Somalia in January 1984, with her family following her to Mogadishu in June 1984. Else had a contract until June 1985 with DANIDA, working as a tailoring expert at a women’s project in Mogadishu. The family had been stationed in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania from 1980 to 1983, where Else had been functioning as Spouse and volunteer tailoring expert at Njumbo ya Sanaa (House of Art).

Click here to see Title 2 photos scanned from a family scrapbook collection.

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