I haven’t opened my blog in so long it actually kicked me out and I had to remember my password, which took awhile. I haven’t checked on the various sites I write for to see if they have posted my essays lately and so I haven’t shared them. This morning I finally had a few minutes to look and the scraps of energy it requires to post links. So, here it is.

Quick link: To Find a House, to Make a Home

This is published by EthnoTraveler and is about the challenging search for housing when you live in a country with no realtors, no newspaper ads, no internet searchable data bases. I take that all back. There are a few of each of those. The internet help I found was months out of date and the realtor who supposedly worked for the rental agency wasn’t actually in the office, which was rarely open.

Anyway, here is a short piece about what it is like to find housing in Djibouti and about what it means to expats once we finally feel we’ve settled.


Ajuuro wandered miles of dirt roads, rocky paths, and narrow alleyways. He knocked on the doors of strangers, pestered the guards sitting outside the houses they protected, and fumbled his way through conversations using Amharic, Somali, English, and French, some languages flowing more fluently from his tongue than others. He demanded phone numbers, house keys, landlords’ names and addresses; he insisted on access to locked rooms. Then he called up the people who had employed him to schedule a day of house hunting.

Ajuuro was a dilal, a house finder. He was Ethiopian, living in Djibouti, trying to support a new wife and earn enough money to care for his weakening body as chronic sickness took an ever stronger hold on him. His job was an unofficial one. He had no website or business card. He was paid in cash. The only way to contact him was on a phone he sometimes answered and that sometimes had enough credit on it to return the call. The only way to find out about him was to know someone who knew someone who knew him and that is the way most independent expatriates – not employed by government, military, or high-end businesses – find housing in Djibouti…

Click here to read the rest: To Find a House, to Make a Home