Somaliland holds the title as the newest country I’ll be visiting on this journey — it did not gain independence from Somalia until 1991. Even though its independence isn’t recognized internationally, its 3.5 million inhabitants have a fully-working government with their own currency, police force and government organizations. Because of its separation, Somaliland has been able to avoid most of the conflict pressuring its neighbor, Somalia. What does that mean for the rest of the world? Hidden gems — like Laas Geel, one of the largest collections of perfectly preserved neolithic rock paintings, some over a meter tall. Somaliland’s marathon takes place in Hargeisa, a blooming would-be-capital filled with the contrast of tight-laned outdoor markets and fresh cafes alongside glass-walled office buildings. Somaliland is a hidden gem from a global perspective and I’m happy to have my eyes on it!
Why the Edna Adan Hospital Foundation?
The Edna Adan Hospital Foundation was born out of the Somali Civil War in the 1980s. With the health system virtually destroyed, Hargeisa-born Edna Hadan set out to not only deliver good care to those in need, but to educate and inspire the next generation of nurses and doctors in the region. Today, the Edna Adan University Hospital in Hargeisa has a newborn survival rate 75% higher than the national average, over 1,000 enrolled students, and “dedicated to funding and advocating for initiatives that improve the status of health care and the quality of life of women and children in Somaliland and the surrounding regions.”