Juicy goodness.

My childhood is laced with memories of eating watermelon in the summertime… at barbecues, at the beach, at picnics, in the backyard. So it always puts a smile on my face when I eat watermelons here in Somaliland, called xabxab in Somali.

We are entering watermelon season, so you see more and more roadside and street-side stalls with towering piles of massive watermelons. You can buy a whole watermelon for about $3 or $4, or you can buy a slice of watermelon that the seller has chopped up for customers to eat on the spot.

Like most fruits and vegetables, the watermelons aren’t grown locally but are imported from more fertile Ethiopia. They are tremendously juicy– eating a few pieces is like drinking a glass of water! And they are way pinker and tastier than any of the bland, white-ish watermelons you’d buy in a supermarket back home.

12 Responses to “Watermelon”

  1. Your been ripped off. $3 for a watermellon in Hargeisa. When I was there 6 years ago I use to buy it for $1.05. Or is that things have gotten expensive.

    • africagrows Says:

      Well, it’s possible, often merchants want to charge higher prices to foreign people! But I also ate another watermelon that was bought by Somali friends and they paid the same price. So I think maybe the price has just gone up. I will try asking around to see!

  2. Watermelon is grown in Somaliland. It also grows in the wild in the countryside (where pits become lodged in the ground), esp after the rainy season.

    Actually, a lot of fruit (lemon,grape-fruit,papaya) and some veg (tomato, onion, potato, cabbage) is actually grown in Somaliland’s fertile western region. Some types of fruit, mainly banana and mango, are ‘imported’ from Somalia and some types of veg (more so than fruit) are imported from Ethiopia.

    • africagrows Says:

      Yes, I realised I made a mistake in this post when I was later speaking with some Somali friends over lunch. They told me that some of the watermelons are grown locally in Somaliland, others come from Ethiopia, and others from the south of Somalia. Like you, they said there are parts of Somaliland that are fertile where there are farms.

  3. Here is an article with lots of pictures o Somaliland produced watermelon 🙂

    The title “Hargeisa overflowing with excess watermelon as farmers of the Western regions experience bumper harvest”

  4. Great post thanks, just two corrections to Elyas and africagrows:

    1) I was in Hargeisa during Ramadan of Sep 2009, the price was even higher than that about $4 to £5 for good medium sized watermelons. I was surprised myself but that was the shortage season. When I came back to the UK I read in watermelon overflowing was a NEWS, and that you could buy lot and lots for less than that

    2) Watermelon does grow in Gabiley, Wajaale, Awdal and all fertile regions inthe west.

    3) Charging foreigners for higher prices is common in a lot of places in the world even as a Somalilander, when people realise that you are from abroad they will begin from high, then you have to bargain, which is fun.

    Enjoy and thanks for the posts.

    • africagrows Says:

      Yes, a friend there mentioned to me that the prices lower a lot as the season progresses. In terms of overcharging foreigners, I think this occurs in many places (as you mentioned), but based on my personal experience I think it happens less in Somaliland than in other African countries that I have lived in or been to. There seem to be a lot more touts and people out to rip you off in places like Morocco, Kenya, etc., probably because there are more foreign tourists there. I found Somali people to be very honest, and in some instances when I accidentally overpaid 500 shillings at a local shop (it’s easy to make mistakes when counting out all those bills!) the shop keeper would even hand me the extra money back.

  5. Barry Scowen Says:

    When I lived in Boroma in the 1950’s we bought water mons from the gardens at Amoud when brought to our door by young Somalis they cheat ed double which we paid plus a few extra cents.

    • Barry Scowen Says:

      My iPod seems to spell for me the youngsters CHARGED not Cheated us double apologies for any offence.

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