Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Travel day to Djibouti.. East Africa

Almost to Djibouti

This guy is awesome, I want to know his story
Making coffee at the airport in Ethiopia

Ethiopia is green and mountainous
 I started reading about this place on the plane, the French Territory (this is what they speak) of the Afars and the Issas became Djibouti in 1977. They also still use francs for money.. Its $1- 1.55 francs, maybe the us isnt doing as well as we think!

Unrest among the Afars minority during the 1990s led to a civil war that ended in 2001 following the conclusion of a peace accord between Afar rebels and the Issa-dominated government. In 1999, Djibouti's first multi-party presidential elections resulted in the election of Ismail Omar GUELLEH; he was re-elected to a second term in 2005. They still do not have what we would consider a government.

Small little ghettos all over
Djibouti occupies a strategic geographic location at the mouth of the Red Sea and serves as an important transshipment location for goods entering and leaving the east African highlands (which is barren). A French territory until 1977, France's naval base and garrison generate about half of the country's income.

The present leadership favors close ties to France, which maintains a significant military presence in the country, but also has strong ties with the US. Djibouti hosts the only US military base in sub-Saharan Africa.

Sept 11, 2011- Travel Day to Dijibouti.
We made it!
We started off already in the airport in Kuwait. Our flights go to Addis Ababa- Ethiopia to connect to Djibouti, Djibouti. Other than us everyone else on this flight was hired help for rich Kuwaitis- these Ethiopian girls where wearing all of last year’s stuff…. Expensive stuff. I bet the families that hired then hooked them up. They were so excited to be heading home- they work for two years then switch out. When the plane arrived you saw Ethiopian women (that look like the ones in the commercials) getting off and seeing their friends decked out in bling and Louis Viton is getting on! They were so excited to see each other they would start hugging.

Airport Parking lot
They talked the entire flight and when we landed they started cheering and doing the lelelelele Thing I always associated with the Middle East. I am wondering if they learned that from the Kuwaitis or if they do that as well.
Now we are in the Africa I thought of
We got off the flight and Addis Ababa and waited- the Ethiopian land was A LOT different then what I thought- It was green Mountainous with little ghettoesh neighborhoods spread out. The airport was small but nice and all the fear they gave us about losing luggage didn’t happen. In fact I talked to some really great people while waiting.

I also noticed a big difference then the middle east- I think there are way more women here and allowed to talk and use money. I met an Ethiopian woman who asked why I was here, she told me she is very proud of her country and married a Kuwaiti man and is moving there. She hit the lotto- this is her way out!

This is one of the nicer huts
I met a couple people from Long Island who is volunteering and they said the people are wonderful they are just extremely poor- they would give you the shirt off their back if they had a shirt on their back.

The capital of this resource-poor nation profits as a regional banking center with a free port and modern air port. Terminus of the railway from Addis Ababa, it handles much of Ethiopia's trade. A civil war in the early 1990s ended with a power-sharing agreement between the two main ethnic groups, the Issa of Somali origin and the Afar of Ethiopian origin. Now They still use the airport to funnel in.

Creepy people walking along the railroad tracks
I went into a little shop and the Women working their Messe (pronounced Miss Say not the American Missy) knew I was from North America but kept on insisting I was Mexican and Kevin was American. She was really cool and said she dreams of coming to NY and going dancing at a real American nightclub (foreigner girls have the same dreams as dummy girls in America- maybe she can hang with Paris and the Kardashian slobs).

Garbage everywhere

Boarding the flight to Djibouti is when it really sank in- We are in a 3rd world country. These people herded over to the gate like cattle. Kevin and I developed a system called Pace Caring that makes it so people cannot cut the line.

Old and New School clothes: same color

Oh thank god we are here! I thought Sally Struthers and Santa Claus was going to show up and ask for a small weekly donation!

Goin boatin

We arrived and we were in what would be considered what I imagined Africa would be like. I’ll admit to being a bit scared- the train track is riddled with garbage and scary looking people in little huts and shanties.

Is It a Plane or a helo?

Aries our MWR women is from the Philippians and is as nice as a person you could ask for. The base is defiantly rougher than we are used to and much stricter. There was a situation when we were eating that everyone got called to READY position. I was a bit freaked out but never once felt danger. Just realizing we are in a place where these people have absolutely nothing to lose.

The Bunks

We are not allowed out of our bunks and have no clearance to do anything yet, the heat here is humid and unbearable- Its easier to dry off in a pot of boiling water and a wet towel than it was after my shower. My room is what I imagine Paul Newman went through in Cool Hand Luke- in the hot box theme. Once we settled in and figured out the AC everything was great- Kev and I even went to the 11 degrees North for a local beer. Tusker is great! It is American flavor but i bit stronger... It went down real nice in this heat.

It is hot even at night.. Real Hot.. African Hot

 Kevin and I went to the MWR and watched football and drank African beer with the troops- Even over here The games are exciting, maybe even more so then back home. The troops are from everywhere so people are cheering and energy high.
Dijbouti Facts: 60% people are unemployed. 3 Americas can fit in North Africa- Alaska and The Sudan are roughly the same size.

Population: 757,050