I am writing to you completely exhausted (in the best of ways) from the comfort of my mattress, enjoying the breeze of the fan while spending this time to reflect. It is now Thursday evening, the first day of the weekend in Muslim culture. We have just completed our third day on the ground here in Mogadishu. We have been moving quickly and efficiently and I am very proud of the way the?Arc team, both the American and Somali have worked to overcome challenges while laughing all the while. I won’t try to give a play by play of the last couple days, because that will be boring for both you and me, but instead I will share some thoughts and hope that we will both enjoy this?
Somalis are some of the most resilient and resourceful people I have ever met. They do not have a place for ‘impossible’ in their lives. They do not believe that anything is broken. To them, there is always a way to overcome, to fix it – or as they love to say, “I will modify. I will make it better.” Broken is just an opportunity to make something better. Initially I was objective to their modifications, but with each passing moment, I am becoming a believer. I am worrying less and letting go more, just like them. The reality is, this is not Arc Solution’s project anymore. We spent months preparing for this time, but the moment we hit the ground the baton was passed from us to them. This is their project. Every day, they gain confidence and speak up more. “We should do this and we should should do that’, they say. And they are right more than not. And more and more, we are relinquishing? relinquishing control, relinquishing our say, relinquishing our power, relinquishing our position and asking the best question ever?”What do you think?” It is such a freeing question to ask. I feel rest wash over me as I let go and watch them grab the rope. They are owning this project and because of that?
I believe in this project. I believe it will be a success, I believe it will last. Not because we have a great plan or amazing technology, but because we have amazing people. We have Abdirashid, a Somali-American who came back to his homeland after being a refugee in America in order to make a difference. His life is constantly in danger, yet he leverages his plethora of relationships to get us anything or anyone we need. We have Shai, a man who stayed in Mogadishu through its entire 21 years of anarchy devoting his life to educate Somali’s children. This man is 58 years old, has never left his homeland, yet he exudes fervor and compassion. We have Hussein, a technician that has taken great pride and ownership of the water purification system. He protects it with his life and smiles all the time. He is full of joy and eager to learn.
In a nation that is failing, I see greatness. This is why we came to Somalia, this is why we believed we could do the impossible – develop a war zone. Underneath its covers, Somalia is full of these incredible people. I believe in this country. I believe in these people.
-Christian Taylor, Written during the installation of Project Hoyiga Xamar 2.01.13