I have just sent GP Abdi to buy me a Somali kikoy to tie around my waist. A kikoy is a colorful piece of cloth used in East Africa to wrap around the body. It has been unbearably hot and humid today. From a reliable source, this is the sign of impending rain. Yes, it rains in Somaliland. As a matter of fact we are just about to enter into the rainy season, which will last for the next 3 months. In that period, the land will undergo a magnificent transformation. From how you currently imagine it into a land of rolling green hills.
GP Abdi is a young man who lives in the gate man’s house in my walled compound. He is about 17. GP stands for General Purpose. In the last 2 days I have lived here, I have seen Abdi, among other things, man the gate, maintain the electricity generator, fix the water filter, position the TV satellite dish and garden.
GP Abdi lives with an old man in his tiny house. I asked him when I first got here who the old man is. He told me that he is his grandmother. I tried to correct him, by explaining to him the difference between his parents’ father and mother. Abdi insisted that it is his grandmother. I was a bit worn out from traveling on that day, so I did not argue any further with him.
Today, I asked GP Abdi who the old man is. Again he told me it’s his grandmother. When I tried to explain to him for the second time, he cut me off and did the explaining himself. He made it plain to me the differences between a grandfather and a grandmother – with the benefit of sign language. Again, he told me that this bearded man who was wearing trousers today, is his grandmother. I will seek a second opinion.
For your information, his spoken English is just fine. Check out his courtesy – All his sentences end with ‘Thank you’, or ‘Thank you very much’.
I asked him earlier, ‘Abdi, what time will you go to the market?’ He replied, ’5 o’clock…thank you!’ Then he realized he had already said ‘thank you’ in his previous reply, so he corrected himself by saying, ’5 o’clock…thank you very much!’
GP Abdi is back. Let me see what he got me.