The republic of Djibouti is a country located in Eastern Africa on the Gulf of Aden. Smaller in size than Switzerland or Croatia, and smaller than the state of Massachusetts, Djibouti sits in a hot, arid region of the Horn of Africa atop a vast stony desert with dispersed highlands. Of the 757,000 people that inhabit this country, the vast majority is Somalis and the minority is Afars and about 15,000 are of European descent. (cia.gov)
Immigrants from Arabia (the Afars) populated this region 300 years B.C.T, Somalis arrived soon after and the Islamic religion did not enter the region until 825 A.C.T. During the 19th century Djibouti became a French Territory, and it wasn’t until 1977 that it gained independence and became a republic (Alwan, Mibrathu, p. 133-136). Before becoming a colonized nation, the Somali and Afar tribes of the region were nomadic pastoralists and traders; their economic success was highly dependent of their proximity to the Red Sea. In the last decade the population of Djibouti has been drastically increasing due to heavy immigration from its war-ravaged neighbors. This rapid growth has rigorously strained the agricultural capacity of this Nation. In 2000 the U.N spent over $2 million to increase the city of Djibouti’s port facilities, and in 2002 the country became a key U.S. military base used to combat terrorism (infoplease.com)
Uniqueness of the Culture
The culture of this region is directly influenced by the neighboring countries as the nomad tribes that first populated this areas came from inland. Although the majority of the population is of Somali descent (predominantly Issa tribe), the first settlers were Afars. Each ethnic group brought wit themselves the traditions and ways of life of their culture. Even if the two cultures are closely related, numerous conflicts arose through the past millennia. The rivalry among the tribes is not due to cultural differences, but by the interest in power and access to resources, which are very limited and precious in this geographic region. This competition ceased when the tribes achieved equal use of the port of Djibouti. Regrettably, with the increase in immigration, new conflicts arose. “There is also tension between the settled population and newcomers, which occasionally turns into open conflict.” (Abbink, p. 630)
Djiboutian foods are influenced by a variety of nations and cultures. In the countryside the traditional foods are dairy products and meat that come directly from the herds as well as grains from the scarce farmlands. In the city the diet is influenced by the imports, European foods, especially French and Italian cuisine form a large part of the diet. There are though some foods that are consumed by almost everyone regardless of location or ethnicity. The staple food of Djibouti is Injeera (also staple food of Ethiopia), which is a flatbread used to wrap different meat and vegetables dishes. The national dish is Skoudekharis,...