Quick link: Djiboutian Women at the Gym

I’m happy to share this piece today, published by the excellent Sahan Journal. I love the girls in these photos, their dedication and their focus. I’m thankful for the gym and the owner, who so warmly welcomes them to train. They are entering the season of National Championships now, April and May and I wish Nasra the best. Just saw her running out in the desert yesterday morning and she looked strong.

Djiboutian Women at the Gym2

Kebabs roasted over a charcoal grill outside the men’s gym on Rue de Guelleh Batal. The cook used baguettes to slide smoking pieces of beef off the sticks, then loaded the bread with onions, tomatoes, French fries, and a generous dollop of mayonnaise. He wrapped aluminum foil around the bread to keep it warm and added it to a growing pile on the side of the grill. If he worked at a precise pace he would have all the food prepared before the evening’s last call to prayer. The men would finish lifting weights and pour out of the gym to purchase a sandwich on their way to the mosque or home.

Nasra would not buy any food, not tonight or any other night. She didn’t have the money to spare and didn’t want to draw any extra attention. The owner of the gym welcomed her and none of the men bothered her but she maintained as low a profile as possible, one of two females in a man’s domain…

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