Migrants Out, Refugees In / Djibouti

Migrants Out, Refugees In // Obock, Djibouti 

On the edge of Africa sits Djibouti, a tiny country with an escape route for migrants fleeing the continent, and a doorway for refugees coming across the water from Yemen.

Ethiopians, Somalis, Sudanese, and Eritreans are fleeing their countries and crossing the desert to Djibouti’s port town of Obock. Their goal is to make it to Yemen and then into Saudi Arabia to find work cleaning houses or driving taxis. The migrants camp out under trees until the group grows large enough to fill a boat, and, at dusk, a trail of migrants disappears over a ridge, hopefully on to a better life.

The refugees who arrive from Yemen warn the African migrants of the risks ahead, explaining to them the dangerous boat crossing and the war on the other side. The African migrants, most of whom have already made up their mind, continue on their journey, as they have desperate families at home. Most of the Yemenis refugees who have the means pass quickly through the sleepy town of Obock. A few thousand people remain at a refugee camp struggling to make a living until they can return to their homeland.