Global Lens Reflections on life, the universe, and everything

Malawi: Food questions
Malawi: Food questions

The usual picture the media paint of Africa is one of corruption, violence and hunger, a picture that plays well into the goal of aid groups to bump up revenue. After all, if there’s no crisis, there’s no money. And as humanitarian groups become fixers and access providers more and more frequently for cash-strapped foreign […]

Gaza: Life blockaded
Gaza: Life blockaded

It’s like a prison in many ways, surrounded by high walls on three sides, gun towers overseeing the free-fire stretch of scorched earth and rubble warning anyone, including farmers who once tilled the land, from getting close. On the fourth side, the west, the Mediterranean inexorably draws the eye to the horizon, but it, too, […]

Washington: Moms not criminals
Washington: Moms not criminals

No one in the trailer park would have opened their door if I’d been there on my own. People were clearly afraid, so they were either long gone or laying low. After all that had happened, opening their door to one more gabacho wasn’t a great idea. Fortunately I had a Latina with me from […]

Haiti: Rubble Nation
Haiti: Rubble Nation

The January 2010 earthquake generated a new word in the vocabulary of Haitians: goudougoudou. That’s the affectionate Kreyol term that Haitians across the board use to name the disaster that ravaged Port-au-Prince and nearby cities. It’s alternately written goudou goudou or goudou-goudou, and is supposedly–if you say it over and over again very fast–the sound […]

Southern Sudan: Before it’s a CNN moment
Southern Sudan: Before it's a CNN moment

In Sudanese villages along the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, there are homegrown militias that use rather primitive technology–bows and arrows and spears–to fight off attacks from the Lord’s Resistance Army. Yet at the same time, the Arrow Boys take full advantage of modern electronic technology to pass on critical information. Mobile […]

Southern Sudan: Advent waiting
Southern Sudan: Advent waiting

It’s the first Sunday of Advent, and I’m somewhere over the west coast of Africa, sitting in a cramped economy class seat on a 17-hour flight from Johannesburg to Washington. I’m trying to get into the zen of waiting, if for no other reason than I have no choice but to just sit here. And […]

Southern Sudan: voting excitement
Southern Sudan: voting excitement

I’m in Southern Sudan for a couple of weeks, writing about the work of the church in the lead up to January’s referendum on independence. These are heady times in some ways, as people long oppressed by the government in the north feel their way toward nationhood. There’s a rocky road on the other side […]

Haiti: reconstruction in a time of cholera
Haiti: reconstruction in a time of cholera

In an overwhelmingly tragic landscape, the eye is naturally drawn to any spot of hope. That’s what visiting Haiti was like last week. It’s as if the big picture has been desaturated, all the color removed, and what remains is a stark portrayal in black and white of a population that remains incredibly vulnerable. Yet […]

Cuba: Time to go
Cuba: Time to go

Have you wanted to visit Cuba for a while? President Barack Obama is expected to soon announce a loosening of restrictions on the rights of U.S. citizens to travel to Cuba. D’uh. It’s the least we can do. After five decades of blockading Cuba, the U.S. has nothing to show for it but hard feelings […]

The Congo’s Dirty Secret
The Congo's Dirty Secret

When President Obama signed the financial reform bill on July 21, the United States took a significant step towards ending violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where the most violent war of recent decades continues to rage. It’s a conflict is fueled by a variety of factors, including endemic corruption and the proliferation […]

AIDS Conference in Vienna
AIDS Conference in Vienna

I’ve been to some pretty rough places over the years, and I know they’re rough because every once in a while I get to go someplace really pleasant. Like Vienna, where I spent the last week. I didn’t have much time to wander around, but did get out with some colleagues the last night to […]

Sudan: New genocide charges
Sudan: New genocide charges

Judges at the International Criminal Court in The Hague today issued a second arrest warrant against Sudan’s Preident Omar Al Bashir, charging him with three counts of genocide against the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups in Darfur. The three specific charges are genocide by killing, genocide by causing serious bodily or mental harm, and […]

Haiti: Six months later
Haiti: Six months later

Six months ago the earthquake hit Haiti, and things changed there forever. At this six month’s vantage point, some church relief groups are claiming all is well, so please keep the money and volunteers coming. But that’s a pretty rosy picture that isn’t backed up by facts on the ground. Thomas Johnson, a humanitarian coordinator […]

Honduras: Coup +1
Honduras: Coup +1

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the coup in Honduras that ousted President Mel Zelaya. It’s been a tortuous year for Hondurans, as well as for U.S. citizens who hoped that the Obama administration was really going to change course after decades of doing the wrong thing in Latin America. Yet the right thing as […]

Zipping through the Arkansas forest
Zipping through the Arkansas forest

I’m wrapping up two days of shooting in Arkansas, where the heat and humidity makes me wonder if people willingly choose to live here, or if they are forced to remain here by some ominous sub-plot of the infamous Whitewater conspiracy, serving as drones for the evil rulers of our dark age. I have no […]

Size matters
Size matters

My images get used in a variety of places. Photos I captured in Haiti after the quake, for example, besides showing up in church-related magazines and websites around the world, were also used in secular media like the Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, Wall Street Journal, Portland Oregonian, the Guardian, BBC.com, blah, blah, blah. A […]

Sleepless in South Africa
Sleepless in South Africa

I have acquired some penpals. Let me tell you how that happened. Last year I was in South Africa to work on a couple of stories, one of them on the plight of Zimbabwean refugees who have been exploited, abused and even murdered. In the middle of this depressing story–as are many stories of immigration–I […]

Incredible India
Incredible India

Not long ago a principal purveyor of stigma and discrimination for people living with HIV and AIDS, the Christian church has become in many places around the world a leader in providing both care for people living with the disease as well as advocacy and education to reset the culture’s response to people infected with […]

Life goes on in Haiti
Life goes on in Haiti

I’ve been here a couple of weeks now. A few days ago I took a break from shooting for a couple of hours to put some sound and images together in a quick and dirty “slide show”. The music is from the capoeira program run by Viva Rio! in the Belair neighborhood, one of Port-au-Prince’s […]

Haiti: witnessing hope amidst the ruins
Haiti: witnessing hope amidst the ruins

Ena Zizi was rescued by the Gophers today. As her dirty and injured body–resting on a broken piece of plywood salvaged from the rubble–was carefully passed down over three stories of debris to the ground, the 70-year old woman began singing, a not very articulate song as she hadn’t had any water to drink for […]