Free lifts

Need a lift?

Most foreign workers who live in Somaliland have their own cars and or a “company car” with a driver, owned by their organisation, that escorts them around town. Since I work for a local institution that doesn’t have nearly enough money for that, they arrange to take us to and from work in a shared van, but other than that I am car-less most of the time. That means I often take the local buses (see my previous post on this), and sometimes accept free rides.

In fact, not having a car isn’t much of a problem at all, as Hargeisa is a fairly easy city to get around. Also, people are very generous with offering you rides when they see you walking down the street under the hot sun. It has happened to me several times that random Somali people driving past have offered me a lift. I usually always except, unless if I am alone at night, because it is very safe here.

One time I was walking from the airport, since there is no public transport direct from the airport, and a man stopped to offer me a ride. I initially expected him just to give me a lift to the closest bus stop (which is where I was walking to), but when he asked me where I was going to and I told him my neighbourhood, he said he would take me all the way there. It was clear across town, and completely out of his way, but he insisted and dropped me off at my door!

We have also had a few Couchsurfers come through that managed to hitch-hike through Somaliland. They did it the old-fashioned way, standing on the side of the road with their thumbs out, and were able to get to Berbera and Ethiopia this way (there are, however, serious issues around travelling without a guard, and obtaining police permission to do so). But the point is, you can get far around here with your own two feet and thumb!

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