(Federal Republic of Somalia,
Jamhuuriyadda Federaalka Soomaaliya,
جمهورية الصومال الفدرالية,
Jumhūriyyat aṣ-Ṣūmāl al-Fiderāliyya)
• Location: Horn of Africa
• Capital: Mogadishu
• Language(s): Somali, Arabic
• Population: 9,401,123
• Total Area: 637,658 sq km
• Currency: Somali Shilling
• Curious Alcohol Fact: Much of Somalia is under the Sharia Law and alcohol is strictly prohibited especially in the southern parts governed by al-Shabab.
• Annual Average Liquor Consumption Per Capita: 0.09 liters
• Most Popular Drink(s): Fruit juices
NB: It must be noted that for the past two decades, Somalia has been embroiled in a bitter civil war and tourists may be exposing themselves to grave danger by visiting the country, which has been classified as a failed state. Nonetheless, Somalia is an enchantingly beautiful country full of beautiful people.
Somali Republic occupies a unique geographical position on the African continent. It is perched on the tip of the famed Horn of Africa and in addition to this; the country has the longest coastline on the continent. Upon taking a closer look at the country, it is easy to see that it is a nation of strategic importance. It is close to the Gulf of Aden in the Indian Ocean, and that is a major gateway for international shipping. Somalia is also not too far from the countries of the Arabian Peninsula like Saudi Arabia, which has the largest reserves of crude oil in the world. On the continent itself, Somalia is bounded by Kenya, Djibouti and Ethiopia.
Somalis are famed and known all over the world for their graceful frame and outstanding physical beauty. A typical Somali has the features of an African and an Arab, the look is unmistakable and unique. One thing that I find very amazing about Somalia is that the whole country is sharply divided into different clans. These clans are like small federating units and each clan has its own leader. Therefore, when in this country, you are likely to hear of clans rather than ethnic groups and tribes found in other African countries. Great emphasis is laid on clan loyalty. These clans include the Darood, Hawiye, Sab, Rahanwain, Isaaq and the Dir. These are the major clans and it is also interesting to know that in each major clan, there are smaller clans. This is a pattern I find unique to the Somalis.
Forget the scars of war and the boom of the guns, Somali cuisine is simply fantastic. In my ranking, Somali foods are some of the finest on the continent. The diversity of the meals is staggering and the taste? Heavenly! For millions of Somalis, the staple diet is made of kanjiru, and this is a type of bread made from flour, and it is normally taken with various kinds of soups and stews. Many tourists get addicted to the kanjiru and even prepare it themselves. My case was not different. There is also a package made from chicken and pasta, and is normally served with stew full of sauce. In Somalia, chicken is prepared and called deegag and you will surely enjoy it, especially if it was made by the ethnic Somalis. The taste can be compared to none.
Drinking in the Horn
Somalis are masters when it comes to having what to drink at meal time. And do not imagine something else, it is not alcohol. I was intrigued with the generous provision of fruit juices for all when eating. There is one made from guava and is called zeytoon. There is also another made from lemons, and so on.
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Special thanks to our contributors:
Daniel Krasnopolsky (Woodmere, NY, USA)
Adebayo Ahmed Adebola (Ilorin, Nigeria).
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