This Page

has been moved to new address

Djibouti, Africa

Sorry for inconvenience...

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service
Running Down A Dream: Djibouti, Africa

This Page

has been moved to new address

Djibouti, Africa

Sorry for inconvenience...

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service
zzzzzz Running Down A Dream: Djibouti, Africa

This Page

has been moved to new address

Djibouti, Africa

Sorry for inconvenience...

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service
Running Down A Dream: Djibouti, Africa

Running Down A Dream

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Djibouti, Africa

I am sad to report that Africa not only lived up to, but surpassed the stereo-type I had in my mind. It was even dirtier and more impoverished than I expected. There were people everywhere - but they were all living in shacks that can barely even be called "shacks". Some were built out of leaves and sticks and dirt. And I saw an entire area where all the shacks were built out of stacks of tires - some had sides to them (just cloths or scarves) but most just had some leaves on top of 4 stacks of tires. TRASH and filth was everywhere. Just everywhere. You would look across a desert landscape and see piles of trash everywhere - which doesn't really make sense - unless it all got blown by the wind... it isn't like people would go that far out of their way to dump it there. Or maybe they do. I don't really know.

Now this isn't to say all of Arica is this way... I know there are beautiful parts of Africa. But I also knew going into it that Djibouti is not very well off... so I had expectations in my head - I was just hoping they wouldn't be met. Oh but they were...




We didn't stay on base in Djibouti - our hotel was about 20 minutes away. So that was how we got to see parts of the actual city. It was crazy though - it was miles and miles of desolate areas and people and then BAM! Right next to a run down and dilapidated neighborhood, there's a HUGE 5 star hotel that overlooks the water on it's own compound. You didn't see flowers or nice landscaping anywhere except for at the hotel which had immaculate landscaping. We were told it was owned by the Chinese. And it was one of the nicest hotels I have ever stayed in. They came in and turned down our bed while we were gone, and laid out slippers on a towel next to the bed. And the night stand had an automatic sensor light in the bottom of it - so if you had to get up in the middle of the night in the pitch black - you could see to get to the bathroom. It was on a timer and would just go back off shortly after.

But in the midst of such a beautiful place and great service - the bathroom smelled like sewage. And I immediately regretted
brushing my teeth with the water - it was salty and tasted awful. I knew enough not to swallow any... but yeah. That was gross.

James got some really cool pics as we were driving along of a group of children praying


And we kept passing this beach that always had tons of people swimming - no matter what time of day or night.


Some of the most interesting stories about Djibouti are things that I haven't found any confirmation for in my research, but these aren't exactly the types of stories that would be advertised. But here's what we were told:

The government doesn't clean up the trash because the worse off they look - the more aid they get. These poor people live in worse conditions than they have to because the government thinks they can get more money out of it.

Also - there's a drug that really popular called khat or qat (sounds like "cot"). It's a leaf you chew on that provides euphoria and is known for suppressing appetites and keeping one "mellowed out" if you will. It's illegal in the U.S. But in Djibouti, the President's wife flies in 11 tons daily from Ethiopia to sell to the people. We kept passing "khat corner" where all the huts are selling it. It's not only extremely profitable for her, but it keeps the population from uprising.

Even though I haven't found a whole lot of publications about either of these subjects, I did find this excerpt from an article published in Esquire magazine a couple of years ago:

"But only in Djibouti—where the drug is popular at every level of society, from beggars on the street to President Ismail Omar Guelleh—do these leaves also play the wider role of desensitizing an entire population. Here, the tree of paradise suppresses dissent, helps assuage suffering, and basically keeps the place from coming apart at the seams. Thus Djibouti’s passionate affair with khat has elevated this woeful little outpost on the Horn to more than just your average narco-state, like, say, Colombia, Peru, or Afghanistan. No, Djibouti is something unto itself. Because even though khat isn’t a narcotic, Djibouti is perhaps the only country in the world that truly fits the definition of a narco-society: a place where a drug is not so much a business as a way of life. And where khat is—quite literally—the opiate of the masses."

Being in Djibouti sure made me thankful for the life we have here.

Peace. Love. Fiddle.
~natalie

2 Comments:

Blogger Natalie's Favorite Farm Boy Fan : ) said...

Hay : )

God please be with the people of Djibouti and all the other poor and suffering people on earth.

My favorite Bible verse is John 3:16, if we believe we are saved.

Another verse that helped me to survive my loss (corporate theft) of medical insurance benefits while having my cancer surgeries is Ephesians 6:12

I think that verse may even help explain how the Djibouti leaders profit off the people being poor. It seems the same is happening in Haiti and all around the world.

Thank God that if we believe we are saved and in the end everything will be love, because "God is love" which is also one of my favorite Bible verses in John 4:8

God please be with the people of Djibouti and all the other poor and suffering people on earth.

July 27, 2010 at 9:59 AM  
Blogger Natalie Stovall said...

Amen

July 28, 2010 at 4:06 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home