World Food Programme, Mogadishu

Since everyone already knows what happens to Amanda and Nigel, the calmness of the prose is creating a very tight knot of tension in self’s stomach. She’s almost to the halfway point, and the pair are still gallivanting around Mogadishu.

pp. 120 -121 describes the World Food Programme in Mogadishu. Guess it would be too much to hope for this book to contain photographs; it doesn’t. Because self is intensely curious, she looked up Amanda and Nigel’s photos in news articles from the time: She finds a handful taken right after their rescue. Nigel went full-bore Muslim (did he have a choice?) and sported a long beard, mullah-style. Amanda’s covered from head to toe in dark, shapeless clothing, but her eyes are alert. Self also decided to check if the US still has an embassy in Mogadishu. It does!

A humanitarian organization named the World Food Programme is giving out food:

Because of the fighting, because of the pirates on the ocean and the bandits on the roads, food shipments came sporadically. There were days when people turned up only to be sent away.

When the gates opened, those who’d been waiting rushed forward. The noise amplified. Government soldiers used batons and tree switches to hold back the crowd. Children wailed. The men pushed and brawled their way toward the front, while the women in line remained poised in single file.

Once they reached the feeding vats, the men were given three ladlefuls of food; the women got two; the children one.

Night after night, Amanda types up her stories for a Canadian publication called the Red Deer Advocate. The idea of risking all and going to Somalia for the sake of a byline in Red Deer Advocate makes self want to cry. Did she tell the National Geographic team who she was writing for? Or would she have been too embarrassed?

The next chapter’s title is Taken, so self figures that’s when she finally returns how the operation went down. Amanda learns afterward that the kidnappers were watching the hotel, because they knew foreigners were there. They didn’t know who they would take, they didn’t know about the National Geographic team (National Geographic has to be thanking their lucky stars: if not for Amanda and Nigel, their team might have been the ones kidnapped)

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Uneasy in Mogadishu

Airport security use whips to keep order in the Mogadishu Airport, one barely grazing Amanda’s head. Amanda’s traveling with her ex-boyfriend, who left his job as a gardener in Glasgow to have some thrills. But on the flight to Mogadishu, he projects uneasiness. Amanda’s managed to snag an actual assignment this time, but the organization pays for hotel, transportation and food only, NOT security. Since she is not completely reckless, she’s arranged for a private security firm.

Once on the ground, it is immediately apparent that Amanda and Nigel are rank amateurs. They’re targeted almost immediately, this Canadian woman handing out $5 tips and this Australian man tagging along to take pictures he can hopefully sell.

They are met at the airport. Aside from the driver, there are two other men who pile into the car with them, all holding weapons. They take off for Mogadishu at high speed, at one point passing “a pickup truck with four lanky teen-age boys riding in the bed, their arms clamped over a mounted machine gun that pointed like a spear out the back.”

And yet: “The city was beautiful despite itself.”

Self is beginning to understand how Amanda Lindhout survived her experience. But Nigel? The jury’s still out on Nigel.

It turns out there is only one private security firm, and they’ve assigned their best people to escort a team from National Geographic. Amanda and Nigel are assigned the B Team. One guy quits before he even meets them. That leaves ONE inexperienced guy to provide security.

Amanda asks the National Geographic photographer (who is French) what places they’ve been, and he politely but firmly declines to tell her because “In Somalia, you can’t do the same thing twice. They will catch you.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Cee’s Flower of the Day (FOTD) Challenge: Planting from Seed

Self has never successfully grown anything from seed.

Nevertheless, this week, she will try planting sweetpeas. Fingers crossed.

Posting for Cee Neuner’s Flower of the Day Challenge.

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