Phnom Penh Hash House Harriers: Fwd: In the Spotlight - Somalia

Fwd: In the Spotlight - Somalia

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From: Hazukashii <>
Date: Thu, Nov 16, 2023 at 5:17 PM
Subject: In the Spotlight - Somalia
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In the Spotlight – Somalia
By Ed "Hazukashii" Howell
16 Nov 2023


There are thirteen countries that span the equator, seven of them are on the African continent, and Somalia is one of them, according to  Occupying the eastern most point on the continent, Somalia is also referred to as the 'Horn of Africa' due to its unique shape.  The country is divided into 5 states (Galmudug, Hirshabelle, Jubaland, Puntland, and South West), and they are broken down into 18 administrative regions, according to the World Atlas.


It is believed that the area of modern-day Somalia has been occupied since at least the 25th Century BC, and that Egypt had trading partners along the area for over a millennium.  Various Arab and Persian traders settled on the Horn of Africa and were prominent until the late 1800s when Italy and Great Britian set up colonies in the area, until 1960 when Great Britian granted independence to the region.  The former British and Italian regions then merged to form the Republic of Somalia.  The new republic was fairly stable for about 9 years, until a coup brought General Barre to power, which lasted for 22 years until his overthrow in 1991, when the region fell into chaos causing a humanitarian crisis, according to the World Factbook.  International relief was brought in, but was met with resistance from guerrilla forces.  The United Nations has proctored several transitional governments over the ensuing years, but the country remains basically a failed state.    


Despite the recent turbulence in Somalia, the Hash House Harriers did in fact maintain a presence in the capital city of Mogadishu.  Originally founded by Andrew McPherson in 1980, there is scant info about this club.  While researching, an account was found that just one month ago, Ra recorded a podcast with Condom Man who ran with the Mogadishu H3 for about 18 months in 1987-88.  He mentioned that it was a small but solid pack at that time. 


Ironically, I may have the most recent information about hashing in Somalia, as it was the third country I ever ran a hash trail in.  While deployed there under the humanitarian mission "RESTORE HOPE" of the United Nations Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM) from December 1992 to March 1993.  The Aussie contingent gained approval from the Combined Task Force / US Joint Task Force Commander to hold a hash run.  Somehow, I got word of it, and was one of several dozen runners that took part in what may likely have been the last hash trail ever run in Somalia, on 10 Feb 1993.  There is a more detailed account, with pictures, in this Hashing & the Military article.  In the late 90s when the internet was emerging as a common thing, I did a search for the Mogadishu H3 and found an old page that had some of the final accounts of a hash held on the beach sometime around mid-1990.  That would have been just before everyone evacuated the country when chaos started consuming the city.


In another weird twist, a week or two after I ran the hash trail organized by the Aussies, I was getting off shift for the evening.  At night, the bandits would shoot arrent rounds over the Embassy Compound where we were camped, and on this night a round went just over my head.  As I looked up, I noticed it was a full moon out.  I jokingly wrote up an account about this, stating I did a light jog around the back end of the camp, up over a mortar pit, and took a swig from my canteen as a down down and called it the first running of the Somalia Full Moon H3.  I sent the account back to the Aloha H3, where I had been running before being deployed, and it was posted in the hash trash.  Somehow, a copy ended up in Bill Panton's hands, and it was recorded as an entry in the HHH Genealogy (I actually removed it when I made updates last year), but it still exists in Magic's booklet of hash clubs and on his web listing.  That was over 30 years ago, but I still have fond memories.


For many more articles like this on the history of hashing, check out . . .   



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