Republic of Somaliland Requests Exemption from U.S. Executive Order Intended to Prevent the Entry of Foreign Terrorists

Republic of Somaliland Requests Exemption from U.S. Executive Order Intended to Prevent the Entry of Foreign Terrorists

For Immediate Release


Hargeisa, Somaliland – The Republic of Somaliland today sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly to request an exemption for Somaliland residents from the January 27 U.S. Executive Order restricting entry into the United States by individuals from Somalia and six other nations.

In the letter, Somaliland’s Foreign Minister Dr. Sa´ad Ali Shire urged the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security to take this action in light of the fact that Somaliland is an independent, democratic and stable nation that– unlike the nations affected by the Order – does not suffer from what the Order describes as “deteriorating conditions… [that] due to war, strife, disaster, and civil unrest increase the likelihood that terrorists will use any means possible to enter the United States.”

The letter also explains as the collapse of Somalia’s governing institutions and civil society dominated global attention and vast resources from the United States and other nations, Somaliland focused on building strong state institutions, maintaining peace within its borders and creating a sustainable economy. Having met the requirements for sovereign recognition, Somaliland functions as an independent government and nation, as well as a model for others. Unlike the nations subject to the suspension imposed by the recent Executive Order, Somaliland has full control over its territory and has not experienced the emergence of terrorist organizations. In fact, no acts of terrorism have occurred in Somaliland since October 2008. In contrast, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism has collected data indicating that Somalia has endured no fewer than one hundred terrorist attacks each year over the same period, and a significant increase in these numbers in recent years.

The letter notes that despite Somaliland’s accomplishments, “As a result of the January 27 Executive Order, Somaliland residents may not travel to the United States to visit family, pursue educational advancement or strengthen commercial ties between our two nations.” The letter also states that, “The mutual benefits realized through these contacts are immeasurable, and contribute both to our nation’s continued vitality and its ability to serve as a reliable partner to the United States in a challenging region.”

The Foreign Minister’s letter appeals for the U.S. Government’s favorable consideration of this exemption, which would “not only relieve Somalilanders of the unintended and undue burdens caused by the Executive Order, but also acknowledge – for Somaliland and others in the region and the world – that strong and responsible governance provides a foundation upon which America’s partners can secure progress for their citizens and contribute to shared international objectives.”

The Republic of Somaliland is a sovereign state in the Horn of Africa sharing its borders with the Republic of Djibouti, Federal Republic of Ethiopia and Federal Republic of Somalia. The former British Somaliland Protectorate achieved full independence from the United Kingdom in 1960 and subsequently united with Somalia, thereby creating the Somali Republic. The Republic of Somaliland reclaimed its independence in 1991.

Report from Volunteer at Edna Hospital

Report from Volunteer at Edna Hospital

Judith Thompson is an Australian nurse, trained in London, who was actually born in Hargeisa. She came back in order to volunteer at Edna Hospital, and here is her report on her time spent with us. She brought along her husband, Dr. Rod Thompson an orthopaedic surgeon; a bunch of medical supplies from Australian Doctors for Africa; and enough money to fund the construction of our new Radiology Unit. Here is Judith’s story.

I am blessed and privileged to have been taught by and inspired by many strong women with common sense, intuition, and compassion. They include Nightingale nursing tutors and ward Sisters, Dame Cicely Saunders Palliative Care, Sister Kilian, compassionate, intuitive St John of God Sister. Inspired also by strong Cockney patients, and as a pupil midwife the long suffering Docklands mothers as I pedalled my bike complete with black delivery bag around Rotherhithe.

I absorbed more as ‘Sister Julia’ from the sometime stoic, sometime violent patients in the frantic Kings College Casualty through the Brixton riots, bombings and train crashes. Moving to Country Western Australia in 1982, I am also inspired by the coping mechanisms of suffering women, country, farming and pioneering and the strength of couples struggling with infertility.

edna-stairs Somaliland’s Edna Adan is another hugely energetic, truly inspirational woman. We were both born in Hargeisa Hospital, in 1951 and 1937 respectively. I was inspired by my Colonial Service Father John Hunt, who wrote the still widely used General Survey of British Somaliland. She was inspired by her Doctor Father training as a nurse and midwife at Borough/ South Bank Polytechnic London where I did Clinical Teaching. I always meant to return to Somaliland but it has taken a long time.

Edna, now aged 76, is not the typical, subservient, fatalistic Muslim, Somaliland women. She has been Foreign Minister in her own right, Prime Minister’s wife, and worked for the World Health Organization (WHO) for years. Edna is an outspoken pioneer in the struggle to abolish female genital mutilation, and change the tribal rape laws, but her primary mission is to improve the health of Somaliland women.

Refugee Camp

Refugee Camp

Most of Hargeisa was destroyed by the Somali Civil War and all the Health Care workers fled. On retiring from the WHO, Edna spent her savings and pension on building a hospital for her poor people, opened in 2001. Refugee

Somaliland’s Health statistics are amongst the World’s most dismal, reputedly both 1 in 8 neonatal and maternal mortality rates. Somaliland (the old British Protectorate) is recognised by the UN as an autonomous stable state but not a sovereign entity.

Pleas to be recognized as an independent country are ignored. Somali piracy, bombing in Mogadishu’s Turkish embassy, the Al Shebab attack in Nairobi are all shocking atrocities in which Somaliland wants no part. The World draws its collective breath and looks the other way. Medcins sans Frontier have pulled out and currently there are 200 polio cases in Somalia with minimal healthcare and now no International Aid. That is a world problem!

The author, Judith Thompson, with Dr. Rod Thompson

Judith Thompson with Dr. Rod Thompson

My husband, Rod, an orthopaedic surgeon and I had been in contact with Edna by email for a year. “Come, I need midwives and have plenty of orthopaedic patients, but no instruments!” What to do? We had a Sundowner / fundraising party at our home, mobilized longsuffering, good friends and family to cook and serve, Vintage Rock Band to play, a dancefloor, artwork and wine to auction and raffle and begged for donations.

Donated medical supplies from Australian Doctors for Africa

Donated medical supplies from Australian Doctors for Africa

We thank all of our generous supporters. Most of the funds raised are building the new Xray Department at the Edna Adan Hospital, which we were able to inspect daily as we could see it from our bedroom window.

Huge excitement also as we received a container of Medical equipment shipped by ADFA including donated and purchased instruments we’d collected. Rod also carried in a case of surgical instruments.

Edna is a brilliant woman with a wicked sense of humour, huge energy and charisma. She is the director, matron, engineer, architect, teacher, spokeswoman on Women’s Rights, sometime rally driver, farmer, water diviner. She bought a farm 40kms out next to the CocaCola plant (the only hi tech laboratories and green lawns in Hargeisa) to sink a well. 2 trucks of water daily supply the hospital. Sometimes the taps are empty. Sometimes there is no power so she is working on solar power.

Edna plays hostess to the itinerant band of AID workers within her flat on the second floor of her hospital and we are virtually under house arrest as she cannot risk any AID worker being hurt. Edna presides over a United Nations Table d’Hote, including Somalilander Doctors, Ethiopian pharmacists, and Public Health Lecturers, Kenyan anaesthetists, a Dutch medical student, Swiss FGM researchers and we 2 Australians working under the auspices of ADFA, Australian Doctors for Africa, a Perth based charity. There is always plenty of goat stew, spicy goat livers, rice, water melon and oranges from her farm. The food is cooked downstairs outside on open charcoal braziers.

Click Here to see building construction Being shown around, we saw Edna in full flight multi-tasking. First the Xray department being built from our fundraising. [See HERE for Construction Photos]

“No, too narrow for trolleys, move that pillar!” Before rushing off to harangue a man unloading matresses from his car. “Of course I always have room for the patients and their carers. NOT room for these bug infested things. OUT!”

Inside the hospital she is attending a patient waiting for minor surgery, before berating staff for not having an emergency theatre available. In the Maternity Ward she was busy fixing a baby on a breast whilst scolding and demanding the midwives give some hands on care and empathy in the delivery room. She spoke, everyone jumped!

new-mother-infant Edna driving through Hargeisa’s filthy streets, trees adorned with various coloured plastic bags, mercifully not stinking as the goats had done their scavenging, recycling work. Shooting through potential spaces, ostensibly driving on the right, but many cars so old they are still left hand drive. Brightly clad smiling women alighting from buses in the middle of the road, traffic converging from all sides including donkey carts laden with water drums, apparently suicidal goats meandering, lorries with highly decorated windscreens almost obscuring all vision, laden with people and bunches of yellow plastic water containers of all sizes and shapes. Every few minutes someone would recognise our driver and the chant would start “Edna, Ha Edna!” Everyone knows and loves Edna.

Only once did I see a shadow of concern. Driving through the maze of narrow dirt tracks and pathetic humpies of the refugee camp near her hospital, the crowds looking pretty hostile. “Bother, Now I am lost!” says Edna. Suddenly, an urchin shouts “Edna, Ha Edna!” The mood changed, everyone was laughing and shouting, directions were given.

Somalilanders shout all the time in person and on the phone, sounding aggressive, but the conversations usually end in smiles and hugs, Edna tells us it is because they are nomadic people with their camels wandering the desert far apart.

Edna’s mobile rings continually. “Edna, the light bulb is broken.” “Edna, there is no water.” And from her farm, “Edna there is a snake in the room!” “What do you want me to do? You want to hold the mobile phone next to the snakes head and I will ask him to go away?” I hear the tirade down the phone.

When we did get out, it was with an armed guard Askuri complete with loaded AK 47. I felt most at risk as he sat next to me tapping it on my foot. Or when Edna, who wasn’t impressed by the need for Askuris, ensured they earned their wages by picking oranges, digging, weeding, all still with AK 47 nonchalantly slung on the back.


Boys Do Clean
My aim was to get daily cleaning and emergency equipment checked. I typed out small lists attached to the drawers in Labour Ward, Operating Theatre, Special Care.

The nurses do the best job they can with the knowledge and equipment they have, and serving as a Regional Centre, the serious condition some patients are in when they arrive, some having travelled for days. It must be difficult having yet another new, well meaning Aid worker arriving, scolding, dogmatic, preaching and with new priorities. You don’t change the World in 5 minutes and Edna taught me.

“Baby steps.” Firstly I had to get the trust and respect of the Midwives, teaching by example, turning up each day still cleaning and advocating basic ABC and care. They would laugh saying “We cleaned yesterday” and I’d say, as I watched another fly buzz inside the incubator, landing on the 28 week premmie’s face, “Yes and we clean again today!’

And then there was “Boys don’t clean.” That was a learning curve! They found with me that “boys DO certainly clean”. And of course they make very good caring nurses too.

Many patients had little education and certainly no antenatal care. I nursed pathetically grateful fistula patients and at least two with full blown eclamptic fits every week. Edna took us out to breakfast to celebrate Eid, the end of Ramadan, everyone dressed in their bright finery. Everyone, including Edna was giving out little presents of money to children and those whom have helped them during the year. Returning to the hospital, I found a packed delivery ward. Three mothers about to deliver, each with between 2 and 8 female attendants milling around. 6 emergency C sections in that 24 hours.

28 Week Preemie Prem baby with respiratory distress syndrome and severe rib recession. Finding one woman, bandages on her hands and cottonwool up her nostrils, I thought I had the wrong patient. 34 weeks pregnant, painlessly bleeding for a week, she had continued cooking, sweeping and fetching water. She had no platelets. Her Hb was 2.1 and amazingly she and her baby survived. 5 Premature babies less than 28 weekers in Special Care, with only 1 phototherapy unit, 2 incubators and one “hot box” (warming electric light bulbs underneath, but you had to be careful, not TOO warm.)

The babies had CPAP continuous positive airways pressure with oxygen nasal prongs, one end bubbling through an ordinary water drink bottle. Whilst bubbling it was working! Reciprocal learning, we worked together and learned from each other. Necessity is indeed the Mother of Invention

hargeisa-book-fair Edna took us to the gala closing of the International Hargeisa Book Fair. Firstly, the panel consisting of cabinet ministers, Doctors, Sultans, elders, tribal leaders, religious leaders and lawyers, apologised to the huge crowd in attendance. “Now you are all here, we have to talk about two very important women’s issues, FGM, Female genital mutilation and rape. Please listen. FGM must stop and if a 13 year old girl is raped, then the ridiculous tribal law says the man who raped her must marry her must stop.”

Edna gave an inspirational, impassioned speech which was well received, loudly cheered and applauded. All the leaders were agreed. Edna remains optimistic for the future for women in Somaliland who need education and healthcare. She needs help, support and a succession plan. Edna is an energetic, vibrant, inspirational lady with a brilliant mind and the compassion of a midwife. I am humbled to have helped her just a little.

Further donations to an ongoing worthy cause are always welcome and can be made fully tax deductible through ADFA Australian Doctors for Africa a Perth based charity, now, excitingly, recognised by Ausaid.

Thank you all again for your generous support and wishing you a Happy Christmas and Healthy Fulfilled 2014

Report for ADFA

Dr Rod and Judith Thompson

March 22nd 2013
Sundowner fundraising event Australind. Graham Forward attended and spoke. Funds in excess of $20,000 raised. Financial Donations, Auction, silent auction, raffles. Food and drinks. Vintage Rock Band, dancefloor. Lots of fun was had by all. Huge support from family, friends and generous donations from many SW families, businesses and artists.

Thank you to all supporters.

Funds raised allocated by ADFA to new Xray department Edna Adan Hospital Hargeisa Somaliland where previously no radiology was available.

Monday 29th July – Monday 26th August

Flew Dubai Berbera and were met by Edna’s driver for what should have been 3 hour roadtrip but storms, flooded tug (Dry river bed) extended this time closer to 6 hours. (A Somaliland Sultan was swept away and drowned at this river crossing 2 weeks later whilst we were in Hargeisa.


Teaching opportunities on daily Ward Rounds, tutorials and in operating theatre in a Clinical setting both at the Edna Adan Hospital and at Hargeisa General Hospital. Ramadan is best avoided for surgery as most medical staff and all students in all faculties are away. The maternity side however was extremely busy.

Networking with NGO’S. Omer, who supervised the unpacking of the ADFA container. We also had dinner with Omer, the Minister of Health, and a Doctor doing research from London.

“Judith worked as midwife in Delivery, Special Care, Post natal Antenatal, Operating Theatre and educator. Edna’s advice of baby steps “was invaluable. There is a reputed 1 in 8 both neonatal and maternal mortality rate. The Edna Adan Hospital acts as Regional Hub receiving many very sick patients from Hargeisa and also from, the Bush up to 4 days travelling.

I found it took time to get to know the staff. Although they were always friendly and smiling, I found that only by working alongside the staff, doing Clinical teaching, were the best results achieved. Edna Adan has many AID workers from different countries, all with their own ideas, philosophies, priorities and goals. It took a few days for them to realise that I was going to keep on coming back and STILL get them cleaning and caring and with emphasis on ABC. The staff and patients tended to be very fatalistic if things went wrong.

Only by consistently emphasising the need for basic hygiene and thinking ahead with preparation of equipment for potential Emergency care did we progress. I found it best to carry around my own bulging pockets in my scrubs, antibacterial hand gel, scissors, dermafix (gentler for premature baby skin), butterfly needles, saline, stethoscope, thermometer, fetal stethoscope. A neonatal pulse oximeter needed.

Grandmother and Mother of Mohamed, the preemie

Grandmother and Mother of Mohamed, the preemie

Somaliland women were on the whole very stoic in labour, most receiving no analgesia and not making a sound. I encouraged the midwives and students by example to give back massage, help the Mothers into different positions and to give hands on care and empathy to the labouring women. I taught the grandmothers and their other support woman to do this and they were mostly receptive.

In Labour Ward, the three delivery beds were not at all ideal, do not go into an upright position. I helped the woman to sit rather than be flat on their back which surprisingly seemed to be the norm. I encouraged the midwives to check full dilatation of cervix as found many Mothers were encouraged to push when the Grandmother said they were ready and often started pushing, without a fully dilated cervix. The female anatomy was often challenging due to FGM,(female genital mutilation) grades 1, 2, 3, 4.

Powerpoint presentations of care to the qualified midwives and nurses in an effort to emphasise firstly the things they were doing well but to encourage them to improve standards and teach the students the correct things in a Clinical setting.

Antenatal Clinic SOPHA

Asopha teaching opportunity here to educate re FGM, taking folate and good antenatal care. Sadly the ladies seemed only to be presenting here in the third trimester. This is a good facility which needs to be promoted and Women encouraged to trust and use. Perhaps the timing of the free folate could be when the woman gets married, as we saw large incidence of spina bifida babies. In the hospital saw large percentage Eclamptic fits, roughly 2X per week and women with placenta praevia who had been bleeding for up to a week. This resulted in patients presenting with Hb of 4, one of 2.1.

Pre pregnancy education and Antenatal Education could make a huge difference to neonatal and maternal mortality and FGM rates.

Attended the “arrival” of the ADFA container arriving from Perth. This was very useful as it is unpacked and dumped in a side street and the various beneficiaries are notified by Omar a helpful NGO. The different hospitals and NGOS arrive with their vehicles, and there is a bit of a scrum to grab the boxes. We were able to sort some of these viz, boxes of surgical equipment for Hargeisa General Hospital and some for the Edna Adan Hospital. Also material and sewing machines etc for NGOS women’s groups, and some clothing for the orphanage. As the Ultrasound machine emerged there was great excitement, it was for the Edna Adan hospital and was very gratefully received.

We attended the Hargeisa Orphanage 3 times and supervised the allocation of clothing. This was very well received and obviously very much needed.

Accompanied Edna to the “Gala dinner” of the Hargeisa Book Fair week and there were many International visitors including some from UK, Holland and America. There was a panel consisting of Doctors, Lawyers, Sultans, tribal leaders, Immams, religious leaders. Political leaders including Cabinet Ministers were present. The crowd was told that actually there was important business to discuss now that all these leaders and important people were present. This focussed on 1) working towards eradicating FGM, and 2) Changing Tribal Law – if a girl is raped, the Tribe says the man who has raped her must marry her [punishing who ?]

Some Urgent Needs Identified

  • Surgical training for Doctors.
  • Pre pregnancy and Antenatal education.
  • More Outreach Clinics for this education in remote areas.
  • Try and gain trust from population, particularly the grandmothers, for these Clinics. Getting Grandmother “on side” made huge difference when going for best practice with Mothers.
  • Getting folate to Mothers pre pregnancy.
Inspired to Make a Difference in Maternal Health

Inspired to Make a Difference in Maternal Health

by Sarah David

Originally published to The Huffington Post

As a registered nurse, I love to connect with my patients on a human level, positively impact their health, and empower them through education. It is rewarding to interact with patients and see their physical and mental health improve. But I’ve always wondered if there was more I could do beyond the walls of a hospital.

Then a friend suggested I read Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity For Women Worldwide. I pored through the book and within a few days, I felt like my questions had been answered. Reading about the stories of Urmi Basu, Edna Adan, and Somaly Mam showed me that anyone can be an “agent of change.” We can make a difference in one person’s life or in a whole community. We can address an issue, raise awareness, or even provide a solution. These powerful stories of women from across the globe shed light on my own life and I began to ask myself, “How can I be an agent of change?”

One issue in Half the Sky that resonated with me was the inadequacy in maternal health and maternal mortality rates internationally. What Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn pointed out was unbelievable: While child mortality rates have plunged and longevity increased, maternal mortality rates in 2005 have barely budged with one maternal death every minute. Lifetime risk of maternal mortality in poor countries like Sierra Leone and India is one thousand times greater than countries in the West!

Working in a hospital that treats all patients despite their ability to pay made it very difficult to stomach the struggle that pregnant women face when accessing health services in poor countries. Determined to get involved, I reached out to One Nurse At A Time, a non-profit that encourages and empowers nurses to volunteer abroad. They connected me with five other women who have the same craving to use our skills as nurses to give back to patients in need and raise awareness about health disparities.
Under the umbrella of One Nurse At A Time, us five nurses joined forces and used our inspiration from Half the Sky to form Nurses for Edna. Together, our group will travel to Edna Adan’s Maternity Hospital in Hargeisa to team up with Edna and her local staff to serve the women of Somaliland. Edna has stated that teaching is the greatest need, so Nurses for Edna will share nursing knowledge, theory and skills with the local staff and nursing students. We have been asked during our first trip to provide a course in Basic First Aid and General Physical Assessment to the nursing school. We will also supervise student nurses working on the hospital floors.

Our vision for Nurses for Edna is to create a pathway for other nurses to get involved and become “agents of change.” We aim to raise awareness of Edna Adan’s hospital and the life-saving work her hospital provides. The time is ripe for a new liberation movement to empower women worldwide. Inspired by Half the Sky’s agenda, Nurses for Edna is joining the movement and hopes to prove that we can make a different whether big or small.

Please follow us on this journey as Nurses for Edna travels to Somaliland! We encourage you to get involved. For more information on how you can help, please see our Nurses for Edna page.


Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

A little story about how things get done. In Somaliland. And on the Internet.

At Edna Hospital, we have been facing a problem of having too many newborn babies with breathing difficulties and those who are premature. As many as six infants occupy our our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at one time, but we have only one incubator, which is both unsafe for the babies and un-professional but we had no alternative.

We are fully aware that making premature babies share an incubator is dangerous but had no other option when we have become the only hope for the survival of these small babies in Hargeisa…

This entry has been moved into its own permanent page. Please continue by clicking below.

See Full Article


Somaliland: An Epic 4000 Kms Journey on Foot for Edna Hospital

Somaliland: An Epic 4000 Kms Journey on Foot for Edna Hospital

Here is an article from the Somalilandsun celebrating the arrival in Hargeisa of Christopher Stansfield, who walked from Cairo in support of Edna Hospital.

• “Yes I have indeed reached my final destination. It’s been a gruelling four months and couldn’t have asked for a warmer welcome from Edna and everyone here at the hospital in Hargeisa. After seeing the hospital with my own two eyes and meeting all those involved, I can solemnly say that I do not have a single regret” – Christopher Stanfield

• “I am very touched about the fact that somebody I don’t know, never met before has made an effort and big sacrifice to go through so much hardship , to walk 4000 Kms for our hospital and to support it and my country Somaliland” – Dr Edna Aden


Christopher Stansfield

By: Yusuf M Hasan

HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – A step forward in Cairo has concluded in Hargeisa after a gruelling 4000 Kms walk through hostile terrain thence prove that “A Small Axe Can Chop A Big Tree.’

Trekking over land and sea, across the vast barren desert of north east Africa, from Port Sudan down through the Red Sea to Djibouti, across the immense Djibouti terrain descending into the rugged mass of Somaliland, continuing on to his final destination Edna Adan’s Maternity hospital Christopher Stansfield has completed the first phase of his quest “To raise funds for Edna Hospital and awareness about Somaliland.”

This epic journey that was started on September 8th, by Brit Christopher along with U.S. film maker Dave Adams saw the Brit under take the rest of the trek alone after only four weeks after his compatriot was denied entry into Sudan due to political differences between that country and the USA.

This was revealed to the Hornnewspaper by Mr Stansfield during an interview at the Edna Aden hospital where he is ensconced and under the personal care of Dr Edna Aden whose amazement with the sacrifices of the young man are had to hide.

Christopher Stansfield

As narrated by Mr. Christopher Stansfield his epic journey of 4000 Kms through one of the worlds most difficult terrain had a single major objective “to highlight the health of the people of Somaliland, and raise £100,000 to go towards helping the Edna hospital to continue to flourish.”

The idea for the epic journey came after I undertook a fundraiser in Spain for the Edna Hospital and having found that people were not only unaware of the hospital but Somaliland as well I decided to do something that shall reverse this lack of awareness.

On the 9th of September 2012 Christopher and David Adams and camel FALCOR given the Brit by an Egyptian friend started their journey of mercy in Cairo upper part of the pharaoh country to Aswan the lower part in a period of five weeks at 30 Kms a day, from Upper Egypt in Cairo to Lower Egypt in Aswan in five weeks at 30 Kms a day.

Christopher Stansfield

Unknowing the young Briton was to complete the rest of the journey solo following the refusal of Sudanese authorities to Allow both David and Falcor entry into the country, Falcor was denied entry because the law in Sudan does not allow animals to be brought in while David had to turn back because his country, the USA, was at loggerheads with Sudan for one reason or another.

Devoid of the services of Camel Falcor, the egyptian friend came to the rescue of the now bewildered Stanfield who was availed a cupboard like carrier with four wheels that he used as a replacement for Falcor carrier of his luggage.

Pulling his four wheeled carrier the Brit left Warihafa for Khartoum travelling at between 40 to 50 Kms a day From Khartoum headed east as far as Galabat and then south to the Ethiopian border then eastwards crossing mountains into Gamba then south to Adisamon then East again to Waldiya which is 14,000 feet above sea level thus descent from the mountains to the desert all the way to Milie, then north to Djibouti via Galafi.

After the first day’s 45 Kms trek in Djibouti he was arrested by local police who failed to understand what a Caucasian was doing walking and solo in their country. They took him to Obok town where he was detained for one day and a night then transferred to the capital city where spent another day in police custody on accusations of either being a terrorist, spy or a person intent on causing mischief to the tiny Horn Africa country.
Christopher Stansfield
After recording a statement he was released “ON CONDITION THAT I present myself at the police station the following morning but fortunately the entire issue ceased like that I was let free” Said Stansfield.

Having won his freedom of movement his plans of traversing the desert as usual ‘On Foot’ were curtailed by non existent roads thus a 4X4 vehicle that took him all the way from Djibouti to about 15ks out of Hargeisa where he completed the final leg of the 4000 epic journey in style and in company of the illustrious Dr Edna Aden founder of the hospital of his quest.

Apart from a few items like clothes and tent that were provided by sponsors and other well wishers The youthful Brit who is now a hero in the yet to be recognized country funded the epic journey solely from his own savings.

Explaining on the purpose of the gruelling journey that lady Edna has termed as a momentous sacrifice Mr. Stansfield informed that his motivation was derived from a desire to do something bigger and grander and daring than the Spain fundraiser thus make people aware of the existence and good work of the Edna Aden hospital let many people around the world through walking which would achieve purpose of raising awareness and through this contribute towards realizing hospital objectives as well as get better and keep improving.

“I Also wanted to show that it is possible to do anything which though at first looks impossible is possible if you have a strong heart, strong mind everything is possible” said Christopher


Christopher Stansfield with Edna

Said Stansfield “Since learning about SL and found out about it I have wanted to come here, I was inspired by the fact that after a short time the country has changed from a war torn to where it is now peaceful secure and developing fast and not through support by any nation but through sheer resilience of its people.

I thought it was more important to support a successful story, a successful country than to be supporting countries where there exists disharmony thus my feeling that supporting Somaliland would make disjointed countries take note of Somaliland and aspire to emulate it.”

Family Reaction

Quote’ Telling my family about my trek was the easy part since they had already learned of my decision from a story written by a local newspaper in my hometown in England. My family and friends were angry and fearful for me since they did not know about Somaliland but only about Somalia,
But after careful explanation about Somaliland and my mission they begun to not only understand my mission but became appreciative.
On leaving four months ago they were still scared but supportive and on calling them upon arrival in Hargeisa they were very relieved and their fear has turned to pride.


A visibly moved Dr Edna had this to say of the brave young Briton.

“I am very very touched about the fact that somebody I don’t know never met before has made an effort and big sacrifice to go through so much hardship , to walk 4000 Kms for our hospital and to support it and my country Somaliland, is something I feel very touched about and very grateful
I find this a great personal sacrifice to put his life in danger, to walk such distances, without benefit to himself but carry out a mission he had promised himself he would do and I wish him all the best, he is a young man, a very brave young man whom I hope that whatever he achieves big or small, to me, to see him now is a great gesture.

“What will come out of his journey, what will come out of his future support only god knows, but I’m already satisfied to see that someone has morally supported our hospital our people and our country.

“I wish to thank him and his family for having thought of us and I hope that we will be worthy of his ambition, that we would not have wasted his energy and efforts, and as a Somalilander I say thank you Cristopher Stansfield.”

Christopher Stansfield

This extraordinary adventure that took approximately 4 months covering over 3000 miles across some of the world’s most harsh and politically challenging terrain is to be made into a documentary aiming to show the diverse nature of each country, incorporating the lives and culture of the people, highlighting the impact their health care systems have on them. It will also encapsulate every emotion, every triumph and every difficulty encountered in their rawest forms. The expedition will have an underlying theme to provide an inspirational distraction from our modern lives and ultimately show that despite our world’s current problems, there is still so much hope to be had.

And just like Edna’s hospital is an inspiring white light in Somaliland, this expedition is an inspiration to many round the globe… ‘ A small axe can chop a big tree’

For more, please look at Christopher’s Travel Blog:

Click for Christopher’s Travel Blog


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