Random

Everywhere a Coffee Bar

Three coffee shops next to each other on the same block?  One right across from the other?  This isn’t the left bank of the Seine or downtown DC.  This is Ethiopia! Sure, coffee is grown and exported from other African countries like Tanzania and Kenya, but only in Ethiopia is coffee cultivated, harvested, roasted, and afterwards widely consumed by the public.  In fact, coffee is deeply entrenched in the fiber of Ethiopian society. Long before the Italians came to attempt a takeover of the country (they failed), Ethiopians have been savoring sweet espresso, home-style.  The Italian espresso machine did catch on, however, as it has elsewhere, and is nearly as ubiquitous in Ethiopia as the jabena, the traditional kettle in which coffee is prepared here. Coffee even originates from Ethiopia.  It comes from a region known as Kaffa, from which most languages derive their word for the caffeinated essential.  Below, […]

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Empowering Chad

My most recent video production was shot near Exxon’s oil fields in southern Chad. For women, Chad is one of the most challenging nations in which to live. But in the communities around the southern town of Doba, women are defying the status quo by becoming the leading business people of the area. Thanks to the successes of Africare‘s Initiative for Economic Empowerment of Women Entrepreneurs Program (IEEWEP), women are improving the livelihoods of their families and using their excess capital to begin new ventures. Above, women participate in literacy classes outside Doba.  While I look back on my time in Chad fondly, there was no shortage of difficulties associated with the making of this video. Chad is the epitome of what most westerners think of Africa: hot, humid, hard to find a good meal, and truckloads of men with big guns that I couldn’t film lest I run the […]

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Zooming ’round Hanoi

It’s my first assignment outside Africa this year, and my first time ever to travel to Vietnam. I had some free time to explore the streets of Hanoi this afternoon, which were supposedly sleepy compared to a weekday. I’ll have the next few days to draw comparisons. While the word chaotic comes to mind, the roadways and motorbike taxis are actually a bit more civil than what I’m used to in Uganda. After several hours of meandering I gave up trying to find the Hanoi Hilton and Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum, instead making it my goal to reach it to the city’s waterfront.

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Machines & Animals

One of these days I am going to have to get a car, but I’ll hold out for as long as I can. I came to East Africa in part seeking a simpler lifestyle. I enjoy chatting with people around me and getting to know the culture in-depth. I watch in fascination as the preachers and hawkers board at one town, shout and sell to their captive audience and disembark at the next. Getting across the country is cheap and my clients appreciate the transit fees on the final invoice. But bumping around on buses is starting to wear on me. Above, a busy Kampala street as seen from the window of the Teso Coach to Soroti. The last month has seen me traveling from the shores of Lake Victoria in Tanzania to the remote and mountainous Uganda-Sudan border and various places in between, much of the way spent with […]

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