Starry nights

Street lighting, African style.

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.

2 Responses to “Starry nights”

  1. i wish i could have seen that!

  2. I know exactly what you mean by this post!

    Last year I was in DRC visiting my brother, camping in a national park roughly 80miles from civilisation in all directions. At night we could see what we thought were “clouds” forming above the river. But when we saw them for the 3rd night in a row – identical each night – we figured they can’t be clouds… and after a bit of researching when I got home, I now know that they were galaxies of millions of stars! A sight I’ll always remember.

    Thank you for sharing your experiences in this blog! I stumbled upon this whilst trying to improve my understanding of how it is for Somali-expats, as my brother who I visted in DRC is on his way to Garowe, Somaliland this week.

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