Close  

In Somalia, Mogadishu playground means kids can have fun

/ 08:31 PM February 03, 2015
In this photo taken Saturday, Oct 4, 2014, Somali children splash around in a swimming pool at the Mogadishu Guest House, in Mogadishu, Somalia. AP

In this photo taken Saturday, Oct 4, 2014, Somali children splash around in a swimming pool at the Mogadishu Guest House, in Mogadishu, Somalia. AP

MOGADISHU, Somalia — Somali kids just want to have fun. They climb on a jungle gym, ride bikes, splash in a swimming pool and laugh — a scene normal in many parts of the world, but new in Mogadishu where decades of bloody battles have kept children indoors, their parents hiding them from violence.

The Mogadishu Guest House opened a children’s playground recently in hopes of reshaping the lives of children in a city where stability is increasing after the ouster of al-Shabab militants from the capital and surrounding towns.

ADVERTISEMENT

“It’s sort of a strange business, but helps to reshape our children’s lifestyle,” says Salim Salad, the manager of the hotel that invested in a playground, basketball court, gym and children’s toys.

Parents like Sadiya Muhummed say this helps their children grow in an atmosphere free of guns.

“A much needed service, our children can have fun finally,” said the Somali-American who returned to Mogadishu with her three children five months ago from the US.

In this photo taken Saturday, Oct 4, 2014, a Somali mother walks with her children, one carrying a plastic toy gun, towards an area with children's toys to play with at the Mogadishu Guest House. AP

In this photo taken Saturday, Oct 4, 2014, a Somali mother walks with her children, one carrying a plastic toy gun, towards an area with children’s toys to play with at the Mogadishu Guest House. AP

Weekends are especially busy, with about 60 kids a day, Salad said.

But playing doesn’t come cheap. The hotel charges $2 for each child’s one hour entertainment service, a price only very few can afford. About 43 percent of the population lives below $1 a day, and 73 percent below $2 per day, according a 2012 study by the World Bank.

Security concerns, however, still prevail. The children get patted down before entering the hotel to play. Weeks ago a suicide car bomber blew himself up at the gate of another hotel which was being used by a delegation of Turkish officials in Somalia’s capital, killing three Somalis and shattering windows.

“Regardless the challenges, our city has dramatically improved, peace will prevail,” said Abukar Abdulle, a 46-year-old father of four at the hotel’s playground. “Such things would have been unthinkable three years ago.”

On a recent day, beaming parents watched as their children splashed water on each other in a swimming pool, while others peddled bicycles. They never stop laughing and smiling, a rare sight in a place that has known war for so long.

RELATED STORIES

ADVERTISEMENT

Somali lawmaker shot and killed in latest attack

Police: 6 killed by car bombs in Somali capital

 

Read Next
LATEST STORIES
MOST READ
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.
View comments

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: Abukar Abdulle, Al-Shaban militants, Children of War, Mogadishu, Mogadishu Guest House, Sadiya Muhummed, Salim Salad, Somali, Somalia
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.
newsinfo

2 rebels killed in Catanduanes clash

September 22, 2019 10:04 AM

usa

NFL: Jaguars Thump Titans 20-7

September 22, 2019 09:36 AM



© Copyright 1997-2019 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.