Especially for those you who grew up or were around in the 1990’s, Somali was always in news for its unrest and conflict, especially during the Clinton Administration.  To clarify, Somaliland has been a breakaway state since the 1980’s, still dangerous by western standards, but working extremely hard to change its image internationally.  In fact, the government spends nearly 50% of its GDP on security for its citizens and visitors.   As Americans, however, we still were potential targets for kidnappings, terrorism, and petty robbery.  Fortunately, our hotel was heavily guarded, with armed soldiers, well barricaded, and located right next to the British Police Consulate.  Each morning we ate breakfast with private security personnel and even played pick up soccer matches with UN and British Special Forces operatives.  Walking alone around the city wasn’t a safe option though we found the majority of Somalilanders very friendly and welcoming.  Security measures were most apparent upon our departure from Hargeisa Airport… ten security checkpoints!

Even field trips require armed guards!
Check points everywhere!
Our wonderful guards that accompanied us to the caves.