It is 7pm and darkness has settled on the small town of Eyl on the Somali coast. Benefiting from the complete absence of light pollution, the starry African sky unfolds like a kaleidoscope above the heads of the crowd gathering outside the small town hall building. The cool Indian Ocean breeze carries a refreshing scent of saltwater that mixes with the distinct smell of human settlement. The air is filled with the buzz of anticipation and the scraping noise of plastic chairs against the dusty ground as people get comfortable. A diesel generator roars to life in a cloud of smoke. The gathered crowd of young veiled girls, bearded men, rowdy teenage boys and elderly women fall silent and turn to face the man with a microphone as he introduces himself in front an inflatable white screen. A few minutes later, the Puntland Development Research Center’s film on the social effects of maritime piracy captures the crowd.
Author: Peter Nordstrӧm