Reflecting now on my 18 days in Hargeisa with Edna Adan and her brilliant medical staff continues to be a source of great inspiration for me. Before I embarked on my volunteer experience with Edna Adan Hospital, I only knew that I wanted to meet Ms. Edna Adan herself. She is the amazing woman, who built the maternity hospital, despite endless resistance and adversity. Her hospital provides critical medical care for women in the region.  Feeling entirely inspired by Edna’s mission and work prior to my journey, I continued to be inspired by her in person.


I  am a Registered Nurse in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at a pediatric hospital in the United States. We are a high acuity facility and treat extremely premature infants, sometimes as early as 22 weeks of gestational age! What happens in the NICU in our hospital involves sustaining life at all cost using the most technologically advanced forms of treatment for our preemies.  However, with all my NICU experience in the U.S, I learned exponentially while assisting the nurses and medical staff in the small NICU at the hospital. You must bring everything you think you know as a nurse and then be open to using only your basic common sense nursing skills. It is eye-opening to assist and help treat premature infants without so much of the technology we rely on to treat our tiny patients. As a nurse, embracing these differences is challenging, and life-changing. It has entirely impacted the way I think, work, and relate to my patients now.

Beyond the NICU, I also had the honor of experiencing several deliveries in Labor and delivery while assisting the midwives. This being an area in nursing that I am interested in pursuing.  I was struck by how strong the Somaliland women are at giving birth.  The medical staff are passionate about their work and helping their patients. It was so valuable to witness their healthcare model and learn from its more humanistic nature, as it differs so greatly from our own.

The Edna Adan hospital is a unique and special kind of medical center because of its founder, where it’s located, intention, and staff.   The humanistic spirit of patient care for all people in need is central to its focus. My volunteer experience was only 18 days but filled with life-changing experiences that will continue to impact my work and life for a long time.