One thing I truly love about Somaliland is the night. Yesterday we travelled out of the city into the countryside west of Hargeisa, in the direction of the Ethiopian border. After dinner, we lay on blankets on the roof, smoked shisha, and watched shooting stars sprinkle past in the night sky.
In the big cities I have been accustomed to living in – London, New York, Montreal – and even in the more modestly sized cities I once called home – Philadelphia, Edinburgh, Tunis, Utrecht – I never saw the stars, or even noticed that they existed for that matter.
Now Hargeisa isn’t particularly small (the population is estimated to be anywhere around 650,000 to 1.3 million), but the total lack of street lighting, the absence of any big buildings which remain lit up at night, and the general paucity of electrically-generated light mean that the night sky stands out in a way I have never seen it before (save for those rare occasions on which I slept in the African bush or went camping). It’s a pleasure to go up on the roof at night and admire it. And even more so out in the countryside, the night sky is a feast for the eyes and the soul.