We are flying out today. It is two days earlier than our original plan, but we have managed to get everything we need to get done, and the political situation is getting increasingly tense with a split brewing between the President and the Prime Minister which increases the risk of political violence which would be in addition to the existing insecurity. Basically this would mean the Mogadishu becomes an even more difficult place to live in for the average person. But even when the international staff leave the clinic will continue, it is fully staffed by a skilled set of professionals, experienced doctors nurses and medical staff which keep the clinic open six days a week. The international team will be back soon, this in and out method is how MSF has to operate for now, not a preferred option but sadly the only option. But the team is managing more in than out, which makes MSFs approach to the delivery of humanitarian aid quite unique in Somalia. It is hard to work in Somalia, I think that is clear, but should not be considered impossible. You just have to look around, speak to people to see there is a desperate need for more direct assistance (not just medical) to people in Mogadishu.
On the way to the airport we manage to stop by the mobile clinic, this is a rarity that you are able to move somewhere beyond our accommodation and the clinic. By mobile clinic we are referring to a small minivan, with an MSF sticker stuck on the side filled with the relevant materials (it may not be pretty but it works) and then the team sets up a temporary facility to see children in the IDP camp. Today it is in an empty abandoned house in the camp compound. The camp is a typical Mogadishu IDP camp. It is crowded, and chaotic, small round tent like structures made of sticks and covered with layers of bed sheets, fabric, I think I even see a goat skin. These layers are patch worked across the rough wooden frame and most (but not all) have a piece of plastic sheeting which falls over the top, and that will hopefully make it waterproof to some degree. The ground is dirt and rubbish is scattered throughout. Some of the shelters have a small barrier of sticks around them (a kind of yard) where mothers sit on the ground with their babies, washing hangs all around.
There is a rather chaotic line of mothers with armfuls of children. Actually as you look around we notice you pretty much only see women, there are a few men, but certainly majority women. During our discussions some of the women say that majority of the women here are alone with children, the numbers vary but they say most of the women are either divorced, their husbands have left to find work outside of Mogadishu or some their husbands left because of the desperate situation, and they don’t know where they are. The social impact of years of violence is something we have not touched on, and is a longer discussion than there is time for today.