Douda is a small village near Djibouti City. When I visited last time I felt moved to help them. They live a simple life there, with small agricultural plots and creating crafts to get by. Elana and I went there our second day and it was a wonderful experience: we brought soccer balls donated by the Rowdies and both Elana and I took turns kicking the ball around with the delighted children. After our meeting and their sweet presentation we talked about their needs. They described their needs for a schooling structure as well as a way to make their craft creation process more efficient. We decided to give them one of the shelters for a school room and suggested a microloan program to purchase sewing machines for their craft making. One lady painted Elana’s hands and wrists with henna in a time honored tradition which was a bonding experience between Elana and the village. You will see video of that and the welcoming ceremony, playing soccer and finally the erection of the blue med shelter by Djibouti Army members and US Navy Sea Bees. The Sea Bees, who were serving at Camp Lemonier helped us immensely by bringing a bulldozer to the site to level the ground and training the Djiboutian Army to construct the new schooling shelter there.
There were six shelters and originally we were bringing them all to a remote village called Katatbisan. When I visited that village in 2015 they had one tattered UNICEF tent left and that was the only school room which caused many children to miss out on schooling. We wanted to use these shelters to get the children back to school and open up more opportunities for them. We ended up sending three shelters to that village. The Djiboutian Army set up these shelters after we left and sent us photos of their construction and of them being for classes. This is an important step in making sure that as many children as possible are granted the quality education that they deserve. Read More
This March, Elana, Global Action Coalition’s first intern and I traveled to Djibouti. We were there to meet a shipment of Blue Med Shelters donated by Alaska Structures and carried from Dubai by American President Lines. Thanks to generous donation by these two companies we were able to bring these new shelters to this country and do some amazing things with them. Here is the story of our travels told through pictures and videos.
I first traveled to Djibouti to scout out sites for solar powered water pump sites in January, 2015. With Colonel Mohamed Farah, who previously had served at CENTCOM as the Djibouti Senior National Representative as my guide we traveled most of the country. One of my trips we headed above Lake Assal, a beautiful salt water lake west of Djibouti City, the capital. It was a rough road but after 4 hours we reached a small village on a windswept plateau. The people of Kalatbisan had seen us coming for many miles on the torturous rocky and broken road and the women and many children were waiting for us, or rather for me. I was coming and there was hope that I would bring some help to a people living on the edge. There were many small yurt like homes dotting the landscape and a tattered UNICEF tent and a dome. The dome contained food that the World Food Program sent to feed the children that attended school. The tent was the last remaining one as the others had been blown away by the unremitting winds. In that tent we met with the village elders. Read More