IT relocation to Somaliland from Spain

The first time I moved to Spain from Sweden through Portugal and 15 other countries, and I had no plans to stay in one place for a long time. And at the beginning of 2011, at a time when they had been actively mining Bitcoin for almost a year, I had the idea that it would not be bad to start a mining farm in neutral territory.

It turned out that a school in Hargeisa in Somaliland had opened a new project – a higher technical educational institution combined with an MBA (Master of Business Administration). The university is private. Here’s a link to the website this institution.

This is a marvelous place in an unrecognized country adjacent to MI6 headquarters and a secret American military base, which was also used for all sorts of purposes. Previously, there was generally a Russian missile base and an alternate Burana airfield. By the way, why was there … a runway with a width of under several hundred meters and a sufficient length with ideal coverage is still in place in the port city of Berbere.

Since Hargeisa itself is about 2000 meters above sea level on the coast and is in fact located in the Mountains, the climate there is quite attractive in winter.

This school has already purchased about 20 powerful computers and there were rumors about the completion of the laying of two fiber-optic Internet lines. It was assumed that somewhere in April 2011, this university will be provided with fast Internet.

Only volunteers worked there, but the entire boarding school was paid and given $ 100 a month to each teacher. And I was offered the position of vice-rector for the technical part. Because my predecessor decided to move out. Weird. Why would it leave such a heavenly place?

Well, there are small details that are not so important. As an armed guard at the place of residence, hiking into the city only accompanied by a soldier with an M-6 rifle with live ammunition. A completely Islamic state, so there is no beer, music, fine arts as a class. And even after the end of May, due to the heat, there are terrible epidemics in Hargeisa every two years. Those who catch such an infection begin to simultaneously expel streams from all orifices of the body and have about 30 minutes to get urgently to the doctor and take a very strong medicine for this infectious disease. If you do not have time, then the tissues of the esophagus will be drilled in a matter of hours and internal infection with a fatal outcome will go.

Other not entirely legitimate parts of the former Somalia have such pretty flags:

As partly a sailor, this flag seemed vaguely familiar to me:

Exactly in this form, I have already seen a similar flag. Well, I just needed registration for my yacht, because the old one is over. In general, the stars were forming well and it was urgent to get ready for the road.

Flight to Somalia

The university ordered me tickets. It took a long time to fly with a stopover in Djibouti. Moreover, the last transfer was on the IL-18. The permanent recreation center (a whole villa) for our pilots who work in Somaliland was in Hargeisa.

This is the same plane that can land on all country airfields (such rammed land pads) and all the necessary instruments with him. Including crowbar and sledgehammer and welding machine, which is enough to repair this legendary aircraft. I’m not sure that the pilots of this perfect machine constantly need GPS. In my opinion, they know how to sit down almost without instruments when visibility is good.

The road, especially to Djibouti, took a whole day.


I was placed in a separate wing of the common villa, where all the teachers lived. They were mainly teachers of English for junior and senior courses. Highly qualified teachers were only from Russia. There were also volunteers with higher education from America. From places like Connecticut, which is difficult to call America, given the local dialect.

We also had a chic lounge for general relaxation.

Pictured above is my extracurricular workspace.

Place for receiving guests. Only big people in SomaliaLand could afford such a luxury.

Another perspective on this room. This is a professorial refectory, as well as a place for joint examination of control tests. A local young girl pulled herself on the housework and especially on the preparation of food until she got married. Apparently, by Hargeisa’s standards, such a workplace is at the level of the diplomatic corps and, most likely, this girl, as a bride, was worth much more than three camels. Perhaps even the kalym was like 6 camels or one car.

Our housekeeper and nurse
Our housekeeper and nurse

Note the marriage patterns on her arm. If I do not confuse such patterns, girls are decorated only for a big holiday.

The university

Our educational institution was located in the premises of a general education school and worked in the afternoon.

Classes were necessarily interrupted for a prayer break. And on this very rug, our students, with the exception of the most torn hacker Ayanli, celebrated their customs.

My chair

I had my own computer lab with the most advanced equipment in all of Somalia. Personally, I had 2-3 monitors and a personal lectern made of cardboard boxes.

All this gave the impression of unprecedented luxury at the level of Rococo or Empire. The class was equipped with a “home theater” (what do you think there is on the tabletop of my lectern from the boxes 🙂

Please note that all furniture is made by a local manufacturer, and the metal inserts are made of real cast iron and steel, painted with perfect paint. In the foreground is the edge of my professorship.

What went wrong

At the beginning of 2011, after practical lessons on conducting a local network in the classroom, we had quite decent computing power, we could do at least one block per day. But the Internet was all over the city of Hargeisa in one weak modem. Unas at the university was part of this strip, although by local standards this is exactly the same as the strip at the local “Hayat” hotel.

But unfortunately, this Internet speed was not enough to return the found number, since the connection via WiFi in the classroom was less stable than in the teacher’s room, where the router was located. And additional branches of optics did not ripen by April 2011 in Hargeisa.

As it turned out, due to the tight-fisted nature of the owner of the university. And this was a young guy whose family actually worked on Wall Street in America. And he himself made money as a broker. And he spent $ 1,000,000 on this school.

So our university did not cover the costs of corporate events every month in the amount of one hamburger and one Pepsi for each of the participants. The holiday was at the expense of the rector and his own funds.

Yacht registration

So I decided it was time to start the registration process for my yacht. For this, I asked our rector to use all my international connections at the very top of Samaliland.

Berbera port
Berbera port

It was hard work, but the brand of our university shone like the brightest star on top of mountain Hargeisa. Our leader had to make 2 or 3 visits to the Minister of Defense, the Minister of Maritime Transport and maybe even send a Skype message himself !!!

And the miracle happened, for the first time in the history of Somaliland a real sports yacht was assigned to the port of Berbera. It was a very important step and a special sign of trust. From that day on, I could carry the Somaliland banner at the stern of the sailboat Zeelanna.

Real yacht registration
Real yacht registration

Putland pirates (neighbors of SomaliaLand where the very Somali pirates live) and other warships have never violated the sovereignty of SomaliaLand on the deck of my yacht. You can say I justified the trust. All this time on my yacht I had only a small kitchen knife for peeling potatoes.

Studying proccess

We built an advanced course based on the MIET program, where I did my postgraduate teaching practice. We started from scratch. We studied computing systems. Scratch and Drakon made a smooth transition to Python. And after 4 months of intensive second year training, they began to collect their own botnets. There were 6 subjects in total and 4 of them were on computer topics.

The most demanded was – Computer architecture. Where we studied the composition and protocols of computer networks. As well as a laptop device. Because the students were already intimately familiar with desktops.

Programming went with a bias on the Web. From the Joomla PHP that students studied before my course, they quickly moved to more advanced Python frameworks.

Mathematics in the senior years was studied with a great bias in discrete mathematics, and I would even say binary algebra and calculus systems with bases 2, 3, 8, 10, 16. They spent a lot of time doing oral calculations. And many needed to tighten up fractions.

Lectures and teaching were in English.

All my students were able to independently conduct a local area network. And I taught senior courses and only the basics in the junior stream to get accustomed to future students.
Out of about 17 people, about 5 became super-pro in the computer field. About 3 people walked around for show. And almost 10 other students became confident users with average (for the level of a Moscow university) knowledge in the field of computer science.


Window in my room
Window in my room

Hargeisa is a heavenly place. With a wonderful winter climate. With exceptionally friendly neighbors. Such as Seychelles, Oman, Ethiopia. With a very rich and ancient culture. I have not told here about a trip to Berbera with a visit to the rocks with ancient writings of the antediluvian era of Africa. With very friendly people.

The country is surprisingly adapted for movement in an armored infantry vehicle, but always with air conditioning. Practically safe. I believe that the Pecheneg on the turret of your car is quite sufficient and even in some places redundant. People are very curious and have strong beliefs. Only large American bills can shake them. Almost all are billionaires. And in order not to carry cars with money, they used SMS banking in 2011. A country with a very developed banking system… The translation service is much more developed, inexpensive and convenient than WU.

They live in a primitive communal system. There are no problems with living space, you can build a house from any bush, but only if you are a native SomaliLander and you have your own plot of land. Now, as far as I know, there are no problems with the Internet.

In Moscow, I lived in the village of Usovo. My neighbor across the house was Dmitry. His passing car at 12 o’clock in the afternoon with security often interfered with the passage of all other fellow villagers. Well, in general, Somaliland is all the same as in our village in Moscow, only the climate in winter is much milder.

My former students often invite me to visit. If there is any other opportunity and need, I will definitely visit this blessed land again.

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