Somalia: A Nation of Poets

Fondly referred to as the 'horn of Africa', Somalia is an incredibly special place. Its culture is a melting pot of influences from neighbouring civilisations, including parts of North  East Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, India, and South East Asia.

Their exotic cuisine is heavily influences by South East Asia. Generally the Somali diet is low in calories and high in protein. A significant number of Somalis are nomads that own camels, cattle, sheep and goats. They mostly eat ghee ( clarified butter), canjeero (pancakes), pasta, meat and camel milk. Eating food with their fingers from the same plate and drinking from a shared cup when drinking camel milk is customary.

Oratory is very important in Somalia. The Somalia culture is one that exalts poetry, storytelling and singing. Poetry and singing is usually accompanied by drumming. This tradition is known as Gaaf. Once the drumming starts and the Gaaf is initiated, everyone becomes silent. The crowd listens to the person reciting the poem or singing, in order to assess and judge the worth of his/her work.

Somalis are also skilled artisans. In front of  these wooden camels are two wooden carved bells called Koor. These are tied to the camel's necks.  Behind the camels are containers called Dhiilo. These are colourful containers used to store food. They are used throughout Somalia but the technique of making them differ in North and South Somalia.