Somalia was the toughest country assignment in Africa, if not the world. Most volunteers were teachers, but there were school builders and health volunteers. In 1968 there were around 100 volunteers in country. While there were in country successes and lasting friendships made, around half the Volunteers did not finish their two years of service. Isolation, both culturally and physical distance, separated most volunteers. Despite training, many were unprepared to deal with Somalia's level of in-country stresses.
In-Country leisure activities
On the lighter side, Volunteers developed the sport of "Tortahzing", an almost mythical beach sport. Required a rope, a land rover, a (empty) Tortoise shell and one of Somali's lovely long beaches. The idea was to skim over the wet sand, avoiding the surf while holding onto the rope for dear life. Another activity was "Duneing". Only done on a full moon. A gaggle of PCVs (usually well fortified with liquid) would arrive at the large sand dunes outside of Mog. There a series of mini games would commence. Hide and Seek, watch the bats, and how far can you roll were typical amusements.
The most unusual assignment was probably being a roadie for a traveling Peace Corp Band, called "The Many Mushrooms"(cira 1968). The band featured a young Somali drummer and a volunteer who sang popular Somali love ballads. He got standing ovations from Borama to Galcaio. Three other talented musicians rounded out the core group. For a while the Many Mushrooms rehearsed and traveled with the Radio Hargesia Players, a state sponsored band. The Many Mushrooms also played rock and roll tunes. These included some of their own compositions. Concerts took place in Borama, Hargesia, Berbra, Burao, Galcaio, and a few others towns before the band settled into the Mogadishu night club circuit (earnings went to charity projects).
The Many Mushrooms was not the first traveling entertaining group in Peace Corp Somalia. The United States' Ambassador had also sponsored one or two traveling group of Peace Corp thespians in previous years.
The Somali land has a beauty, similar to the Southwest portions of the United States.
Peace Corps News
The following is automatic RSS feed of Peace Corps news for this country.
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