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
Djibouti is located just south of Ethiopia and west of Somalia in Africa. Djibouti will be the 2nd country GAC will be working in. Here we are focusing on water and education which are two of the greatest needs in Africa. There is an American military base located here, as this is a central location in the fight against piracy in the Red Sea and fight against terrorism with it’s proximity to Yemen. The population is made up of two different ethnic groups the Issa and the Afar. The government is also a balance of these two groups with the President from the Issa tribe and the Prime Minister from the Afar tribe. One of the challenges in working here is to be balanced in helping the people from both groups. One of our assets is we have made strong connections to both the President and the Prime Minister. While I was visiting the country I had amazing support that was essential for my ability to assess the needs and for making partnerships to achieve our future goals. The cooperation we found from the Army, Coast Guard, the Ministry of Agriculture and all the community leaders was very helpful and gave me a taste of what to expect in the future. Read More