Tag Archives: Africa

Ahoy, Matey! Care for a drink of water?

images-11Well, it might be hard to get one here. In Djibouti, next on our list of countries that people might conceivably be from in the data base, it’s dry. Really dry.


And crowded.

It should be the cover photo for Friedman’s “Hot, Flat and Crowded”. Talk about your strategic location, location, location, though. It’s smallish formerly French country on the horn of Africa. With a lovely harbour for shipping and piracy. And the saltiest lake on earth, Lake Assal. Well, except for Don Juan Pond, a tiny spot in Antarctica, named after the helicopter pilots that found it and yet, only one of them is named Don. Neither are named Juan. Hmm. I suspect self-aggrandizement. Those helicopter pilots are all the same.

They struggled to independence despite the French, who vote-rigged to extremes around 1958 and threw out all sorts of Somalis who wanted to join with Somalia. Instead they remained French for a while longer.

Djibouti now seems to be surviving independently despite poverty and totally desertified land, and have prioritized education with a view to the future. Kuwait is helping them out.

The French Foreign Legion has an office there, should you romantically wish to join the Legion. You can probably even wear rags tied across your face to keep out the sand.

Impressively, they had an election in 2005 where there was only one candidate (who won!) and an amazing 78.9% turnout.

Given that we can’t dig up more than 30% in our wonderful democracy here where we have many candidates, I wonder about this. Are they all just really really happy with the current leadership? Or did they learn something from the French? In any case, it looks good on paper.


Unlike their financial state (bad), unemployment (60%) or their maternal and child mortality, all of which are shouting “Danger, Will Robinson!”

But they pretty well all can read, they speak nine languages throughout the country, and in the interest of equality, they circumcise around 95% of both men and women. Isn’t that nice?

I want to marry Stephen Lewis…

Stephen-Lewis-FlickrNever mind that he’s already married, I think, or that I am perfectly happy with my current partner. I just adore the man, and wish all men would be more like him.

Why? Because he loves women.

Not in any sordid way, I mean. I mean he is fighting just as hard as he physically, mentally, and emotionally can to get people to start thinking of AIDS-HIV as a disease of women. Many many many many women, in Africa, in poverty, in partner situations where things may be violent or forced and the options for avoiding AIDS are few.

And for the children they leave behind when they die. The men are long gone, usually, off spreading AIDS to others, searching for the cure through having sex with virgins, or something, I don’t know. I know a lot of grandmothers are raising children, and a lot of orphans are raising themselves.

Lewis is a driven man. He’s probably a bit of a workaholic. But I think he could manage to make me forget about his absences by just talking to me. His speeches never fail to move me to tears or fighting fury.

He was recently at a fundraiser for women in Africa –“Hope Rising!”. Please check it out, listen to the fabulous music, the pleas from African women and from my dream husband.

From the description of the event: Hope Rising!, a benefit concert for the Stephen Lewis Foundation, was an inspiring evening dedicated to the role of women who are turning the tide of AIDS in Africa. Women are at the epicentre of the AIDS pandemic in Africa. They are most affected, and infected, and also are at the heart of the community response.

And of the Foundation: The Stephen Lewis Foundation (SLF) works with community-level organizations which are turning the tide of HIV/AIDS in Africa by providing care and support to women, orphaned children, grandmothers and people living with HIV and AIDS. Since 2003, we have funded over 700 initiatives, partnering with 300 community-based organizations in the 15 African countries hardest hit by the pandemic.

These grassroots groups are the lifeline for their communities: they provide counselling and education about HIV prevention, care and treatment; distribute food, medication and other necessities; reach the sick and vulnerable through home-based health care; help orphans and vulnerable children access education and work through their grief; and support grandmothers caring for their orphaned grandchildren.

And, once you’ve listened to the music and read about the cause, maybe make a donation to the Stephen Lewis Foundation.

Think of it as our wedding present.