December 21, 2010


I'm now in Spain visiting my my aunt, uncle, and 3 cousins. When I arrived it was around 4 degrees celsius which I think is in the 40's farenheit. A bit colder than Djibouti. Yesterday I went into Barcelona with my cousin Juan Francisco to buy a few things and look around. I also went to Starbucks which was super cool since Djibouti may be the only country on earth that hasn't been touched by American food & beverage chains. On thursday we leave for Malaga to spend Christmas with my cousin's family so that should be fun. I also hear its much warmer in Malaga.

December 15, 2010

more observations

One thing here in Djibouti that I find disgusting is nose picking. This is an accepted part of everyday life and I see people engaging in this behavior in class, on the street, in the bus, and everywhere. There is no shame to be had in digging around in your nose for several minutes. Oftentimes in my class students will be digging for treasures for several minutes while they listen. Wow.

Another strange thing I witnessed today was a man kissing some children. I assume they were his children but affection or even communication between a father and children is rare. One of my students told me this morning that the only time he talks with his father is when his father asks him if he is passing his exams at school. Other than that, they don't speak to each other. In western culture fathers are considered integral to the upbringing of the family here they seem to just provide the finances and the muscle if discipline needs to happen. Or the experience of my students does not represent Djiboutian society.

December 13, 2010

Djiboutians in the street

Last night as I was walking near my house I saw some girls approach an intersection. There were 2 groups about 20 yards apart and they were screaming at each other. As I got closer one group stopped in the middle of the street and continued screaming while the other group came to meet them. Eventually there were about 5 teenaged girls screaming at each othe in the middle of the road. A taxi stopped and waited for them to move but they didn't and he drove around. i watched for a minute as cars approached and just drove around the group of hysterical girls. I felt compelled to take a video on my phone but it was close to dark and its hard to see, but you can hear the screams!

December 9, 2010

My Journey into Africa: To Never Have Enough

My Journey into Africa: To Never Have Enough: "I crawled into the bus and picked a window seat. While I was waiting for it to fill, a poorly-dressed man carrying a cane came to the window..."

STOP! Read the link before continuing

A Cop arresting a beggar near the University of Djibouti. I found this on Google Images.

This was written by another American living here in Djibouti. I've experienced all these things myself and have been pondering many of these ideas since I arrived.

I read a blog called Good Intentions Are Not Enough and she has written about this kind of stuff extensively. I emailed her to ask whether I should give money to beggars? She said no, give money to organizations that are working in your country. NGO's, the church, etc. I don't know if thats the answer but its a start. I still give money to beggars sometimes but I do have some guidelines.

If i have water I offer, most people have turned me down. I NEVER give money to people who pester mem walk by me, tug on me, harass me in any way. Giving them something only reinforces their behavior and I refuse to be a part of that. The ones I give money to are the quiet ones who are sitting on the sidewalk, usually mothers with toddlers or infants, or to old people. There are routes that I frequent and I see the same people there and some of them I give to semi-regularly. Outside one of the grocery stores there is a young girl who always talks to me, sometimes I give her food but if I don't give her anything she doesn't get mad at me like many of the children do.

What do you think?

December 6, 2010

Christmas plans

I am now officially going to Spain for Christmas/New Years. I bought my ticket yesterday and I can't wait to see my relatives and eat home cooked food! Feliz Navidad!

December 4, 2010

Djibouti Jones: Hot and Thirsty

Djibouti Jones: Hot and Thirsty: "Here is a great article about the heat in Djibouti, even at this cold time of year. The best, most accurate quote is, 'but I can tell you, t"his is indeed, a different kind of hot."

December 3, 2010

Djiboutian parking

Last night as I left a restaurant there was a giant traffic jam. Djiboutians honk their horns a lot but last night was deafening. Some very intelligent person had decided to park his pickup in one of the lanes. Both shoulders were already full of parked cars so him parking in a lane meant no one could move. The traffic was backed up for several blocks in both directions and people were yelling and blaring their horns. I laughed at them as I walked past them sitting in their cars. Parking in the middle of the street is common but normally its done on a wide road with multiple lanes not on a 2 lane road with cars parked on both shoulders. What a sight. i took a picture on my cell phone but I dont know how to transfer it to the computer.