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Cabbies who live in two countries

I took a taxi from National Airport a few years ago with a guy who fascinated me with the tale of his split life. A little more than half of each year, he drove a cab around Washington, lived frugally in an apartment in Hyattsville with four or five other drivers and sent the bulk of his earnings home to Ethiopia. But come August, when things slow down hack-wise in the nation's capital, he'd board a plane for Addis Ababa, where his brother used those checks from Washington to build up the family import-export business.

Once back in his native land, the man who spent so many hours driving customers around the District lived a cushy life inside a compound of his family's houses. He made the dual life sound almost princely, certainly much plusher than a crash pad in Hyattsville crowded with sleepy bachelor cabbies.

Ever since then, I've been intrigued by the idea of our local taxi drivers-- and who knows, maybe our local parking attendants and dishwashers too -- who use their stateside earnings to fund very different lives back in their countries of origin, going home every year (or so) to a scene that must stand in stark contrast to their sleepless striver's schedule at the edge of the American economy.

Do you know anybody like that? Tell me where I might find them and we can turn their tales in a story for the Post Magazine. I'd like to see how they live on both sides of their split lives...

Post your suggestions below or send them to me at hendrixs@washpost.com. And thanks!

By Steve Hendrix  | April 27, 2010; 3:20 PM ET
Categories:  Build-A-Story  | Tags:  d.c. cab drivers, d.c. taxi drivers, immigrant taxi drivers, immigrants who go home every year, split lives  
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