The street cleaners of Mogadishu: Doing Somalia’s riskiest job

by | Jul 21, 2022 | World

Mogadishu, Somalia – It is an hour before sunrise in downtown Mogadishu. The Somali capital is fast asleep with eerie silence hanging in the warm salty air blowing from the Indian Ocean.Apart from a small group of women wearing dark-coloured clothes and flip-flops on Maka al-Mukarama road in the heart of the city, there is no other soul in sight. With few street lights working, the women blend almost perfectly into the pre-dawn darkness.
Each is carrying a plastic broom, a shovel and sack, and works about 300m (984 feet) away from the other. They barely make any sound as they get to work.
“It is best not to be seen for your own safety,” one of them, 50-year-old Maryan Salad Mohamed, told Al Jazeera. “We do our best not to be seen and even better if no one hears us. There are many dangers when you do our job.”
Maryan and the others are street cleaners working for the city’s local authority – one of the most dangerous jobs in the Somali capital.
“Before I leave the house I pray. You don’t know if you will come back alive,” the mother-of-seven, told Al Jazeera in a low, soft voice.
There is n …

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