Djibouti was once a French possession

Djibouti Travel Blog

 › entry 10 of 11 › view all entries
The official language is stated to be French for the country of Djibouti. The reality is the language is capitalism. The Djiboutian people in general understand how to make a buck. Everyone in Djibouti agrees that the French are cheap and have nothing to offer, seriously that is what government, business, and local people say. The French are tight wads and do not help the economy. I was told that this is why the Americans were allowed to come and set up their base. And they said that ever since then the economy has done better, and the French have been seen outside of their compound trying to compete with the Americans in doing civil projects; which they never did in the past.

One thing I find interesting is that English is now being taught in all grades. It is not uncommon to find anyone under the age of 20 who speaks a little English, if not good. And they are all happy to do so. Why is that? Well it is because the American's have money, and they understand their customer. To bad We as Americans do not understand this principal. We complain that people who come to America do not speak English, yet these people (illegal or not) all have money to spend, so we should be adapting to them--we are so much like the French in this regard, obnoxious.

I ask my self why I do not try to learn French? What for is my answer, because everyone knows English.

It is easy to see that this country is slowly transforming from a French speaking country to an English one. Sorry Frenchies Djiboutians don't like tight wads.
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
I was working on a project and found out something of interest. It really should not have been a surprise, I am not so naive. Maybe I am. I was looking for a water well driller to help with possibility installing a new water well. I had learned from my co-workers that this had been attempted in the past with miserable results due to no capability existing in the country. No water well drillers located in all of the country of Djibouti.

Well this is where networking comes into play, which can only happen by talking to the local people. I went with a friend, consultant, to a business meeting he was having with a local businessman. During this meeting I met a guy who drills water wells! I got a price and provided it to my client.

Then it was time for my consultant friend to return to the states. The next day I get an email from him. He met a guy who said he (Saudi) is setting up a Alfalfa farm in Djibouti on 4,000 acres of land. He just had 10 water wells drilled this past month at a cost of $1 M USD. I was amazed. Wow a real farm in the desert.

I then talked to business friend of mine to is well networked in the community. I asked him if he had heard about this farm. He laughed when he heard the details I provided. He said no this man is not really going to set up a farm. He said this is one of the typical money laundering schemes that is common in Djibouti. He told me to think about what it would take to set up a farm, and what exactly would be the purpose? Ethiopia is very near by and there is no problem with water, or fertile soil, so why try to raise a crop in the desert that has no fertility?

I thought about it and did my homework on Alfalfa. Sure enough it needs lots of water (good quality not the salty one we have here), and neutral pH soil. The soil in this part of Djibouti is acidic so they would have to incorporate lime to neutralize the soil--big money. Then there is the issue of fertilizer---lots of it and more big money. And why? At the end there would be no profit and only big headaches......

So as my friend says when someone wants to hide money bring it to Djibouti. Give a little to a Minister of government, and then pretend to startup some business that loses a lot of money.