Djibouti Travel Blog› entry 2 of 3 › view all entries
May 19th, 2008 – by: spunkyfugu
14 December 2007- June 2008
This mission was going to be different from any other mission I've ever done. I went back to the US for some training, and a few weeks later I was bound for Djibouti.
In the school I go to there's two students that will stand up in front of the class and present their discussion with so much passion and research in a topic, it's absolutely amazing! There discussions are always the highlights to our discussions. We'll talk about everything from world peace, the future of Africa, role of women in Djibouti, the role of men in Djiboutian society, Khat, AIDS, falling in love, and so on and so forth. I've learned so much just from going to the schools, and then I could in books! It's an experience that is irreplaceable!
Working with the French Veterinarian and volunteers at the Cheetah Refuge has been great as well! There are three Cheetahs that are in this 200 acre or so enclosure.
So after a while of working, I wanted to go out and play. I went to Mousha Island, located 30 minutes out from the port. The island is about 800 square meters and has little vacation huts on it. There I went to the dive shop and set out to get some dive time in the area.
Walking around town the streets are live with little souvenir shops and clubs. There's at least 11 clubs within walking distance from the main square. The vendors have a lot of masks, wooden animal statues, jewelry, and clothing apparel. The main problem is they are extremely aggressive about getting your money. Haggling is a huge key out here. If you're not interested in anything, they try so hard to find
Something you want, or at least point you in the right direction for a small fee. The hardest part is when kids come up to you asking for money for food, when you pay them, they take off to their parents and they use the money to buy the drug Khat. Khat is an opium type of drug that suppresses your hunger, makes you thirsty, and some people get hallucinations. There's a big misconception with this drug out here. A lot of the users feel the drug is harmless, and it's cheaper then paying for food. It actually costs more for a bushel of Khat, then a schwarma sandwich. A lot of the users save half their income for Khat, and spend the other half on their family and selves. It's really sad.
I think one of the craziest things that have happened since arriving here is when my friends and I were walking with Joe, our friend from Somalia, and this undercover police officer came running up to us and started hitting Joe in the leg with the stick. He was arrested because another guy from the streets told the police he beat him up and stole his business (guiding my friends and me around the city). The odd part is, none of that was true, the guy was just jealous. So we had to go to the chief of police to explain everything and get our friend out of jail. That was a night I'll never forget.
There's a hotel that my friends and I go to a lot on Sunday, since it's our day off of everything, called La Siesta. This place is great for 75 dollars US; you can get a day room, and hang out at the pool all day long. We've made friends with the bar tender and the life guard, to where we all just sit around the bar and share stories.
Overall this journey has been a great experience and it has opened my eyes to a whole new aspect in life! I'll be going back to Sicily in June, and a part of me wants to stay to continue the humanitarian work, while another part is ready to get back.
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