Headline Feb 23, 2016/ ''' ETHIOPIA : *DIMMING LIGHT - DEMURE HOPE*



MIAN MOHAMMED NAWAZ SHARIF -the Prime Minster of Pakistan, just two days ago:

Made a heart rendering message,  -as an appeal, to the students of Pakistan: ''Step forward, help lead and build Pakistan for the modern times and the future.'' 

*The students of Pakistan must heed the call of their Prime Minster*. See You all on Sam Daily Times  -the Voice of the Voiceless- ...............  AND !WOW!  -the World Students Society and the Ecosystem 2011.......

''The government has shown remarkable leadership so far,'' said David Del Conte, the deputy Ethiopia country director for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

''They have contributed a lot funding because they understand that support from the international community will take time to kick in.''

''But we're still in the early stages of what we believe will be a one-year crisis,'' Mr Del Conte added. A September report from his organization projected that 15 million people could be in need of food aid in 2016.

Since 2005, the government has been distributing aid through a system that delivers food to citizens in exchange for labor on development projects like construction, terracing or irrigation.

Those who are not able to work are also eligible for benefits. But the last round of the program ended in July, and has now restarted just this January.

*Mr. Yasin participated in the program in June, securing some cattle feed after he helped build a fence for school*. He has not received anything since, he said, contending that the government is not doing enough to help him.

While the safety-net programs is on hiatus, Ethiopia and international partners are handling out emergency aid. But limited resources have forced distributors to focus on the hardest-hit areas.

In Mieso, Taha Ido, 45, watched as government workers unloaded sacks of wheat not far from his home, even though his crops failed this year.

''The government is trying its best, but they only have a limited amount, so that aid was for nearby people who were faring even worse than us,'' he said. ''But It's O.K. We're happy for them. They are hungry just like we are.''

Like so many others in the area, Mr. Taha's family has resorted to selling firewood to make ends meet. 

In Mieso and surrounding areas, the main roads are lined with burlap sacks bursting with wood or charcoal. Women and children, hoping to bring in a sliver of income their next handful of corn or wheat, wait patiently with their wares as cars and trucks whiz by.

Others like, Mr. Yasin, will stick to selling livestock to stave off hunger for as long as possible.

''We've eating nothing but corn for a year, and now we're afraid of even losing that, too,''  he said. ''But I will keep trying, and selling animals, until I finish everything............''

And Ethiopia's,  one dear neighbour is the terribly failing state of Somalia.

EVERY AFTERNOON, student Raschid Mohammed goes to the Lighthouse. And I must mention here that the Lighthouse is not an obvious refuge.............

Built nearly a century ago, the Italian Lighthouse has been in disuse for years. It's spiral staircase in in a state of mid-collapse.

It's hollowed-out rooms smell of sea rot and horrid urine. Young men sit cross-legged in the rubble,  chewing qat  - a plant whose leaves contain a stimulant   -and playing a dice game called  ladu  for hours.

Some huddle in a corner and smoke hashish. They all seem like ghosts in a city left for dead. But the lighthouse is quiet and it is safe   -if any place in Mogadishu can be considered safe.

Mohammed, 18, comes for the view. From the top floor he sees the ruins of his neighborhood in the once illustrious  Hamarweyne district. He can see the remains of the former American Embassy,  the posh al Uruba Hotel, the Shangaani district, once teeming with gold merchants and perfume emporiums-

All now blasted away. A lone goat stands in the middle of the main road, while the centuries-old  houses alongside it slowly crumble, occasionally burying alive the squatters who inhabit them.

Ex student Mohammed can also see, just below the lighthouse, the small crescent of sand where he and few others guys sometime a game of soccer and the  *naked children*  clinging to chunks of discarded Styrofoam as they bob on the waves.

He can take in this daily paradox of joy and destruction if he wishes. But he prefers to gaze farther out, at the unspooling carpet of tranquility that is the Indian Ocean.

''I spend my time looking at the sea,'' he says, ''because I know that my food come from there.''

Former student Mohammed is a fishermen now. Every morning at five pushes out into the water with his nets in a small boat. Whatever Mohammed catches, he hauls by wheelbarrow to the market.

On mornings when the wind is not too hazardous, his catch fetches two or even three dollars  -which means that he, his parents, and his two younger siblings will have enough to eat that day.

A mortar blast incapacitated his father years ago, and his family has depended on Mohammed's income since he was 14.

He cannot afford the  $10  monthly cost to attend school. And anyway, all his former schoolmates have disappeared. Most have joined the extremist group Al Shabaab, which in Somalia's latest chapter of misery is locked in a ferocious power struggle with the-

Transitional Federal Government, a shaky alliance backed by the United Nations.

For young males like Mohammed, Al Shabaab is a tempting exit strategy from powerlessness. Then again, many of his former playmates are now dead.

With respectful dedication to the Students, Professors and Teachers of the world. See Ya all on !WOW!  -the World Students Society and the ecosystem 2011.

''' The LightBox '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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