1BACK FROM THE SUBURBS TO RUN A PATCH OF SOMALIA .
2Above the shimmering horizon , in the middle of a deserted highway , stands an oversize figure wearing a golf cap , huge sunglasses , baggy jeans , and an iPhone on his hip , not your typical outfit in war-torn Somalia .
3But then again , Mohamed Aden , the man waiting in the road , is not your typical Somali .
4The instant his guests arrive , he spreads his arms wide , ready for a bear hug .
5`` Welcome to Adado , '' he says , beaming .
6`` Now , let 's bounce . ''
7Aden , 37 , is part militia commander , part schoolteacher , part lawmaker , part engineer , part environmentalist , part king -- a mind-boggling combination of roles for anyone to play , let alone for a guy who dresses -LRB- and talks -RRB- like a rapper and recently moved from Minnesota to Somalia in an effort to build a local government .
8Think of him as the accidental warlord .
9And a shard of hope .
10In less than a year , Aden , who was born in Somalia and emigrated to the United States at age 22 , has essentially built a state within a state .
11With money channeled from fellow clansmen living in the United States and Europe , he has transformed Adado and its surroundings in central Somalia , which used to be haunted by bandits and warring Islamic factions , into an enclave of peace , with a functioning police force , scores of new businesses , new schools and new rules .
12Somalia is one of the most violent countries on the planet , and at times Aden has had to speak with the business end of a machine gun .
13His patch -- which encompasses around 5,000 square miles and a few hundred thousand people , most of them desperately poor nomads and members of his own Saleban clan -- is now one of the safest parts of this broken nation .
14Even outsiders are noticing .
15`` When I landed here , I was taken aback , in a good way , '' said Denise Brown , a U.N. World Food Program official who visited Adado in March .