March 13, 2011

some thoughts on Djibouti

Today my landlord was supposed to meet me at noon to collect the rent. She didn't show up or call so at 1 pm I left my apt. It's hot and the electricity was out so no use sitting in inside waiting all day for something that may not happen.

So here I am at the internet cafe, killing time until, well I guess until the electricity comes back on but I have no way of knowing that until I'm actually at home. As I was walking here I was thinking about the differences between how things operate in Djibouti vs. how things operate in the US. For example

Today I attempted to pay my electricity for either the 3rd or 4th time. The first few times I tried, in February, they told me to come back at the end of the month. It is now Mar 13 so I went back to pay and was told to come back at the end of this month. Previously I have paid my bill every 2 months. For example I paid in September, November, January, and so I naively assumed that paying in March would be the next one. I was wrong. Consequently, I know have no idea when or how often I'm supposed to pay this bill.

So i was thinking about things like this as I trudged through streets. In my limited experience in Djibouti, this is pretty normal. There seems to be little rhyme or reason for a lot of things like bill paying, scheduling, etc. I also thought that perhaps the bus system is the best functioning system in Djibouti. They are always going, they stop everywhere, they almost always give change promptly, they don't overcharge, and they always get to their destination barring an accident. 

Some days I wonder how anything gets accomplished here.

1 comment: