This Is the Picture…

...I took just seconds before the elephant charged up the small hill I was standing on.I still have the Yashica-D twin-lens reflex camera I took this with.  The Leica that took the slide I snapped just after, just before the elephant charged, has disappeared--as has the slide itself.  As has the negative for this print.  … Continue reading This Is the Picture…

"One Hand Does Not Catch a Buffalo"

Jane Albritton, series editor and guiding force behind the "Peace Corps @ 50" series, tells me that the publisher is about to send the proofs of One Hand Does Not Catch a Buffalo off to the printer--which means that it should be in stores in March.  As usual, there are further changes I would like, … Continue reading "One Hand Does Not Catch a Buffalo"

Turning Back, Turning Point: Fiction

The bustle of Ouahigouya had gone. Even the hurrying soldiers had disappeared. The shops, so busy so recently, were shuttered, the marché vacant. No youths peddled cigarettes on the wide, empty streets or lounged in the doorways, no women sold soap from hand-made stands in front of family compounds. No children peeped out from entranceways. … Continue reading Turning Back, Turning Point: Fiction

Some Fiction for Diversion

Dim changes approached. He rolled over to see: faint colors crawling slowly under the corrugated-zinc door. Little light came with them, dull, sliding grays reaching tentative, translucent fingers through outlined cracks. He imagined that they were seeking sneaky purchase for pulling themselves into the room. Furtive, their movement were, certainly. He watched through slitted, sleep-encrusted … Continue reading Some Fiction for Diversion

Helplessly Hoping

[The above is the marketplace in Dapaong, Togo--probably in 1990.]One of the legacies of colonial rule in Africa is the modern nation-state. Before the European colonists imposed their preconceptions on Africa, there were no “countries,” as we in the West know them. Instead, there were areas of influence and prerogative, borders being gray areas of … Continue reading Helplessly Hoping

One Laptop Left Behind

What follows is an edited excerpt from my new book, Blogging America: The New Public Sphere. I’m presenting this passage here because of continuing talk about how Nicholas Negroponte’s One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) is going to save education in the developing world (when it really is nothing more than a new and fascinating toy):Technology … Continue reading One Laptop Left Behind

Creating a Cripple or Saving a Continent?

Some years ago, a couple of people came into my store. As usual, I tried to strike up a conversation with the one not busily examining merchandise. Turns out both of them worked for an organization that was involved in HIV/AIDS prevention and containment in Africa.As I had spent four years in Africa myself during … Continue reading Creating a Cripple or Saving a Continent?