Friday, November 25, 2011


This is how I will forever remember Djibouti. The area I was in was hot, brown, and unfriendly.

There are many areas of this small country that are warm, beautiful, and welcoming, but I didn't see those. So this is the way I remember it.

Maybe the day will come when I can visit again with tourism in mind.

Speak the local English, not yours.

You must be positively understood in order to do your job. Just because the country speaks English doesn't mean that you speak the language. The English that you have been speaking all of these years is not the same as the English that you are hearing in country.

Listen to how the local people are speaking English and try to copy it. Speak slowly. Get rid of your Southern drawl. Get rid of your cool guy city accent. Speak the way the people around you are.

Listen to how the equivalent foreign language is constructed and form you sentences the same way. If the literal English translation of the local language puts words out of the order you are used to, then learn to spread that way. "What do you know about our language," may turn out to be "You know what of our language."

Speaking the local English will not sound macho. In fact, it may sound downright high-brow and liberal, but you have to do it. If you speak English the way you have been in the States, then no one will understand a word you are saying and then?

No one will want to work with you.

Deal breaker.