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My life as German in Somalia


This picture shows the German boy club in Mogadishu in 1985. I loved that club!


by

Peter Bern
Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I arrived with my family in Mogadishu, November 1984, I was 15 years old and was looking forward to all the experiences that awaited me in Somalia, my father was sent as an engineer from the West German government as part of West Germany's aid to Somalia .

We got a nice house in the Hodan neighborhood in Mogadishu, Mogadishu was so peaceful that one could walk at night without fearing anything, the women’s  were modern and well dressed, Mogadishu was one of the world's most beautiful cities, the city also had world-class universities, and there was no garbage on the streets. I was sent on "American School of Mogadishu," which was an international school for foreign children, after school, we all used to go to the Lido beach, it was a paradise!

Our Somali neighbors in Hodan was incredible friendly and tolerant, they made it easier for us to get used to Somalia, I became friends with many of the children in the Hodan area, I never learned to speak Somali, although my Somali friends tried hard. On weekend’s we visited Hotel Al-Uruba who had a good nightclub, Mogadishu had generally a dynamic nightlife.  Often my family went with our neighbors to go to the farms between Mogadishu and Kismayio, it was a paradise! My family was Catholic and every Sunday we used to go to the largest Catholic Church in Africa which  was in Mogadishu, right next to a mosque. Every Wednesday the European boys were selling cookies around Mogadishu, our cake was bad, but the Somalis used to buy them not to hurt us.

 
But when the European club members ran marathon race through Mogadishu, the Somalis though that we were crazy!  And at night! Mogadishu was a safe city….

In December 1990 we were evacuated by the U.S. Army after a rebel group called the United Somali Congress attacked Mogadishu, I came to Somalia in 1984, a beautiful peaceful country, and I fled from a burning Somalia in 1990. 

I thank the great Somali people for having me and my family as guests in their beautiful country for so many years, and I pray they get peace and prosperity.  


Peter Bern
E-mail: [email protected]