Djibouti. Amina Bibi can’t get the pronunciation right. Her husband, over the few conversations they’ve had since his departure six months ago from Dhantala in West Bengal, has corrected her over and over again. She still doesn’t get it right. She doesn’t even know where Djibouti is. “Six hours from Dubai,” she says. That’s where her husband has gone — to build a city in the sand.
Each month, a steady stream of passports lands up on Aden Mohamed Dileita’s desk. Dileita is the First Counsellor at the Embassy of the Republic of Djibouti in India. The embassy does not look anything like UAE’s embassy — there is no metal detector, it’s just a house in New Delhi’s Vasant Vihar where a receptionist sits in what would be the living room and upstairs in one of the bedrooms is Dileita’s office.
President Ismael Omar Guelleh’s picture hangs above his head and his desk is burdened with papers. Each month at least 70 people are applying for a visa, in sharp contrast to just 30 in a year until two years ago.