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Aujourd'hui nous sommes le mardi 27 octobre 2020. C'est la fête de Sainte Emmeline.


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Djibouti

Greetings from Keith & Margaret

Newsletter for November.
So, N.Z. won the Rugby World Cup!    We couldn’t actually hear the cheering from this distance, but we certainly read it as we accessed the N.Z. Herald Online.    We’re not aware of any other Kiwis in Djibouti at all to celebrate with and the only group here who would be likely to even comprehend rugby would be the contingent of the French troops in their base here – not likely candidates to join our celebration I think.    So, we’re being quiet doing it alone!   
The main celebration for us is that we’ve completed two months in Djibouti.    The weather is cooler , albeit  in the low 30’s, but that’s so much better.    We’ve not run out of water and power cuts have been only minor.    Classes are stabilising and most students have at least got themselves books.    Attendances are still erratic, but we’ve learnt that’s in the nature of the place and the local culture.    However, we’re developing good relationships with those who come regularly.    Some have big problems in trying to become fluent.    For others their challenges are more complicated, which is not surprising in a land with over 50% unemployment and huge inadequacies in its education system.
We’re getting a bit more used to this strange city, at least learning to find our way around in it.    Driving a clumsy Toyota Land Cruiser on appalling roads is still a bit hairy, but not so daunting as at first now that I think I understand how traffic moves (or doesn’t).    The basic “rule” seems to be to drive forward into whatever space is in the direction you want to go.    If this happens to be in the path of oncoming vehicles and/or a jam develops, sound the horn.    Smaller, older vehicles should eventually give way.    However, registration plates are important too.    They’re colour-coded which helps determine priority.    Red is for government and green for diplomatic vehicles.    Best not mess with either.    We have a blue one as an NGO, further down the pecking order, but it helps a bit.    Most of all everyone just muddles through, but that’s just Djibouti.
About a week ago we had several hours of heavy rain.    Wonderful  in some ways.    Downside is that humidity rose and worse, the unsealed dusty roads turned to mud.    These have mostly dried out since, but in many places large puddles formed and many of these have remained, because there is no storm-water drainage at all.    The result is that the stagnant water has combined with the ever-present garbage to become fetid and stinking.    The fly population has soared, and we’re told, the mosquitoes will follow soon, especially as more rain is expected.
We’re currently focussed by the fact that the Rohrbachs (in whose house we’re now living) are due back from Switzerland in just about 4 weeks – so we need to find somewhere.   As with all of our challenges, Lutz is a patient, helpful friend with us as we begin our search.    So far our priorities have been impossible to combine in one place – they’re affordable rent, workable plumbing and other facilities, not next to a dust bowl or a stinking puddle, and it’d be nice if it’s not too far from school and with a reasonable outlook (i.e. just about anything but a garbage heap).    It’s early days yet, so we’re still hopeful.

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