It is 6 am and already the alarm is going. These are early days for HIJRA‘s ambulance driver in Mogadishu, Ismail Mohamed.
Ismail is not one to oversleep but today he is more tired than usual, having been on call for 24 hours. This morning it takes him a few extra minutes to clear his head of sleep, and realize that the alarm has gone off. But once he’s awake he moves immediately. Today he has started so early that even his wife, up preparing breakfast, is surprised to see him up and dressed, already grabbing his keys and heading for the door.
By the time Ismail reaches the clinic he is full of energy. He reviews the day’s work-plan, and heads straight out for his first patient; a pregnant woman experiencing labour complications. Ismail is an experienced driver and does his work well, easily navigating the narrow roads of the neighbourhoods to deliver the young mother to the clinic.
His work today will gradually take him all over the city. He will transfer malnourished children, collect patients from neighbouring camps for the displaced, and assist the doctors with administration.
By 8 pm, it’s dark and Ismail has finished his work. Arriving home he reflects on his day, describing some of the challenges of his work
“It is very difficult battling the traffic in town, even with my sirens on, no one pays attention!” Ismail exclaims. “Today I was unable to transfer a patient for surgery, as I wasn’t able to get through on the roads, to get her to the doctors on time. For the patient, Mulimo, it was just knee surgery but for others those delays will cost lives.“
Tomorrow is another day, and Ismail will once again be up early, transporting the ill and injured of Mogadishu.
HIJRA is an implementing partner of Oxfam, providing humanitarian aid to those in need in Somalia.