Djibouti Jones Published Essays, 2016

I published more than 50 essays in 2016.

am writing

When I write that I feel shocked. What?! 50?! That’s a lot of words, some of them were longform, some super short, and that’s not counting blog posts but it does explain why the blog has slowed down. If only writing paid more than pennies by the hour. *sigh*

Here are some of the highlights:

Published in 2016

Runners World

Running the World, Djibouti


Outpost Magazine

Christmas in the Devil’s Lair


Brain Child

I Know I Should Boast about Battle Scars

Traveler, Writer, or Mother?

Can Kids Make Us Happy?

How to Wake Up a Teenager in 16 Easy Steps

Things No One Told Me About Grief



Beirut Has a Trash Problem

Who Was Hawa Tako?

Around the World in Toilets

Letter from Bankoulé

Dreams of Djiboutian Glory

Tea Time at the TB Clinic


A Life Overseas

How Much Awesomeness Can We Really Handle?

Why Is It Always About Money?

White Savior Barbie Nails It

8 Ways for Expats Who Stay to Stay Well



Being an American Mom, Raising Kids in Djibouti

To the Mom Who Just Had Twins: You Can Do This

People Say We Fight A Lot

22 Ways Teenagers are Basically Super-Sized Toddlers


By |December 31st, 2016|Writing|0 Comments|

Twelve Days of Expat Christmas

Quick link: 12 Days of Expat Christmas

Today I’m singing writing at A Life Overseas. I wanted to record my husband and I singing this for you but he ran off to work and no way will there be a solo performance. So, you’ll have to read, enjoy, and add your own family flair. Our family sings this with a lot of family flair, especially day five.

12 Days of Expat Christmas

From identity crisis to learning to use the squatty potty, this song sings it all.

Click here to read the song: 12 Days of Expat Christmas

Too Much Trash

Quick link: Beirut Has a Trash Problem

What happens when trash takes over a city?


Truck drivers in Djibouti regularly toss empty Coke bottles from windows. School kids unwrap candy and let the wrapper waft to the street without even thinking about it. Plastic bags float like leg-less jellyfish through the air on blustery days and snag on thorny acacia trees.

There is a garbage pick-up service. The orange truck drives through neighborhoods with its cheerful ice-cream truck jingle calling out the guards to bring bags and bins to dump in the back. There are also street cleaners, usually women, wearing bright orange cloaks over their dresses and headscarves over their faces to keep the dust out of their eyes and mouths as they sweep up dust and garbage.

Still there are mounds everywhere, some streets are almost entirely covered with flattened plastic water bottles. Parts of the ocean are nearly plugged up with trash, even protected areas like where sea turtles flock. I thought Djibouti had a trash problem. Then I saw photos coming out of Beirut, Lebanon. Trash problems, it turns out, are relative.

Beginning in 2015, Beirut underwent an apocalyptic trash crisis. Mountains of white garbage bags, as tall as ski slopes, appeared in the city. Literal rivers of trash, on the move from their own weight and momentum, slowly oozed down roads and clogged waterways. Some streets were too full to drive on. Some sidewalks became impassable. The stench was overpowering.

Some people said rain washed toxins from the trash into the water supply. The piles became breeding grounds for rats and disease. Though little attempt was made to clear the trash, the government did sprinkle white powder on it, hoping that would discourage the rats and the disease. The mounds were also dangerous fire hazards. A construction site-cum-garbage dump in the Dbayeh area north of Beirut spontaneously combusted in September 2016.

In picture after picture and article after article, I saw residents of Beirut walk past the piles with their hands over their faces or drive by without glancing at the trash. Had they accepted it? Were they resigned to live in this rubbish hell? What caused this crisis?

To read the rest of the story click here: Beirut Has a Trash Problem

*limited time offer on Djiboutilicious, now through January 1, 2017, only $1.99



Great Gifts for Expatriates

What to get the person you love who lives far away? Some expatriates have access to Amazon Prime but for those who don’t or for those who love those who don’t, here are some ideas.

Expat Gifts

(and here’s another post I wrote, for Babble, about gift ideas for expats)

Gift cards (Amazon, iTunes…)

Travel organizers like this Grid-It, to keep track of cords or crayons or hand lotion while traveling.

This awesome new luggage set, the Bugaboo Boxer.

But for those of us who can’t afford $1,500 for a suitcase(!), here’s a more reasonable option

Plane tickets. Not gonna link to any specific places or airlines here, but go visit. Or bring them to you for a visit. Or send them on a vacation.

A more affordable, trip-orientated idea is to gift cash for a family or individual to vacation in their host nation. A trip to the coast or camping, a safari, out to eat at a nice restaurant, something that would be a treat but not break the bank.

Kindle books. My daughter just ordered this set because she got tired of checking it out of the library

and another that came highly recommended and may or may not be finding its way into my kids’ gifts is this one

Send cash. Maybe that feels cold or simple but sometimes it is the easiest way to gift something to someone far away. Especially if they don’t have great access to the post office or if mailing packages is quite expensive, like it is in Djibouti.

Or how about the Djiboutilicious Cookbook?

On sale now through January 1, 2017, only $1.99!

What are some other fun gift ideas for expatriates?

*post contains affiliate links



Let’s Go Fly a Kite

Last week we hiked around Ardoukoba Volcano and my husband brought his kites. This area is constantly windy. So windy sometimes it is physically impossible to climb to the top  of the volcano or once at the top you lose your balance in the gusts. I have a photo of a four-year old Lucy sticking onto my husband’s chest, without being held at all, except by the wind.

He loves his kites. The wind was pretty gusty but eventually he got flying.

Here’s the one he got for Christmas and flew first:

He also likes more angular kites, like this one, the Prism Jazz Stunt, a name that just sounds cool.

Sometimes the wind was so strong it pulled the person flying the kites. There isn’t much to write about the day, just some fun photos of the lava fields, Lac Assal in the background, the volcano, and kites.






*post contains affiliate links.