Badri is a young and energetic shoe-shiner who does his business at the campus of Amoud University, almost 4 kms west of Borama. He hails from a poor family and through his business; he does not only
survive but support the life of his family. The young man apparently carries out his work confidently and assertively. He carries out his work- ostensibly a monopoly type of business- shining the shoes of student population of Amoud University. Understandably, Amoud has a student population of around four thousand students but the university has different campuses inside the town. Thus, the said shoe-shiner offers his services to the student population that goes to
the main campus at the university.
The young man attracted the attention of the city dwellers, obviously not merely doing his work, but setting a record and urging students, teaching staff and the community at large to partake and contribute to the construction of the asphalt road between Amoud and Borama. He attended a fund-raising ceremony where Amoud stakeholders were raising necessary funds to construct the said road. Everyone generously opened his/her pocket and donated whatever they could. Lecturers and teaching staff donated their whole monthly salaries, students and parents also made contributions as per their financial abilities.
Influenced by the moving nationalistic speeches made and the generous donations of many of the attendees, the shoe-shiner could not resist anymore. He went to the platform and took the microphone, introducing himself as the “Dean of Shoe-Shiners”, announcing his contribution to the construction of the tarmac road. He donated the whole sum of money that he might have worked on that day for the very sake of constructing a tarmac road that connects Amoud University and Borama town, hence, improving access to education. Upon witnessing the donation of relatively this poor shoe-shiner many followed his suit and made pledges both in cash and in kind. On the other hand, the move of this young man shows local peoples’ commitment to education and development of communal infrastructure. It also demonstrates the inclusive participatory approach that was put in place where even shoe shiners are part of community initiatives!
The title he introduced to himself was not less interesting than the meager resources he contributed. As he works in a tertiary education environment, the jargon used over there influenced him and as such he dubbed himself as the Dean of Shoe-shiners.
His business is said to be growing as he reportedly took a move forward and bought a mini-bus that works in the town as part of the city’s bus transport network. Interestingly, he did not quit his primary task and source of all his income- shoe-shining, but continues confidently and elegantly.
By. Abdirahman Adan