Featured image credit: Ugaaso Abukar Boocow via Huffington Post.
In 2015, Ugaaso Abukar Boocow was working as a civil servant in Somalia. Although born in Canada, the 27-year-old had decided to stay in the country after visiting her mother.
Speaking to Huffington Post at the time, Ugaaso said: ‘I find hope in the resiliency of the Somali people. They’ve been through so much, but they’re so graceful, so wilful, so determined to move on. It’s impressive!’
In 1991 Somali experienced civil war. The ensuing years saw the country suffer economic collapse, government corruption, extremism and famine. But Ugaaso saw that these things did not define the country or its people, and she wanted to get this message across on social media.
So she took to Instagram, where she photographed normal life in Somalia. This wouldn’t really matter if you had as many followers as your grandma has Facebook friends, so it was lucky for all of us that Ugaaso had about 90,000 IG fans at that time (she currently has over a quarter of a million) meaning she could show the true nature of the east African nation.
Her most striking images were shot during Eid 2015. They feature hundreds of Somalis on the shores of Lido Beach, Mogadishu, celebrating the end of Ramadan by walking along the sand or wading in the radiant blue ocean. Ugaaso snapped these photos for the Huff Po Instagram feed, which she was asked to take over for a few days two years ago:
All hands on deck 🎶 I’m so excited to let you guys know that I’m taking over Huffington Post’s Instagram feed @huffpostrelig to show the world how my hometown of Mogadishu celebrated Eid! Stay tuned! #ViewsFromThe252 #JiiroWacbuudhan #LiidoBeach #Xamar #Mogadishu #Somalia #Africa #Eid #EidMubarak #Henna #HennaTattoo #TravelNoire #HuffingtonPost
Ugaaso’s pics really caused that summer feeling to take a hold of us, so we went on the hunt for more pictures of Eid on the beaches of Somalia. We stumbled on a small set shot by a photographer for the United Nations.
We’ve got to say, a quick dip in that ocean does look very, very refreshing:
And we’re big fans of those shades.
No one can deny the troubling recent history of Somalia. However, all the negative reports have resulted in some pretty unfair depictions of the country in movies, television and popular culture.
Photos like these do a lot to tackle these misconceptions, as they show that despite difficult times, there are will always be moments of unity and joy in Somalia.
Don’t forget to follow Ugaaso on Instagram.