Our first full day in Hargeisa began with a full tour of the city via a virtual scavenger hunt for supplies. James, accompanied by American college student Tyler, picked us from the Ambassador Hotel.  I use the term hotel loosely, because the Ambassador is more like a fortress.  Providing nice standard accommodations, except instead of room service, they offer concrete barricades, 24-hour armed guards, and shared property lines with UN and British Security compounds.  If you stay within city limits or immediate outlying areas, you can traverse many areas without the required SPU (Special Police Unit) escort.  So, the four of us went it alone, into the bustling, noisy, goat infested streets of Somaliland’s capital city.  If you need a hammer, glue, and some paint it’s an hour-long trip to your local Home Depot. Here, its not so easy, most basic items are imported and its real hunt of the many local shops to find everything on your list.  Shopping is definitely a process, but it gave us the perfect opportunity to take in the local sights, sounds and smells… as we sped through the pot-hole laded dirt streets we were surrounded by people going on with their day, cats and goats running and climbing on everything, donkey carts delivering the only source of fresh water, and even a few young camels chewing on the dead branches of a lonely tree.  This was our first taste of Somaliland and the preface to our time here as laborers, big cat trainers and strangers in the strangest of lands.

Every day water is brought in and distributed via donkey.