Africa Central

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Sometimes when we’re stuck in the thick of things – like the beginning of final project season! – we have to take little breaks and live vicariously through others. Ever sit around and wonder, “what have New Zealand Herald travel writers been up to?” I do – and the answer is, a lot!

Find out what David Brown discovered about gorilla tourism – this is something I really hope to do someday.

See how Jim Eagles learned to look at travel in new ways – I’m really curious to see what kinds of trips Innovative Travel will develop based off of Julie Woods’ ideas.

Find out why Stuart Dye sees Dubai as all petal, no stem – I can see Dye’s point, but I think I liked the souks more than he did.

Learn from Michael Brown what not to miss before or after seeing the World Cup in South Africa this summer – if things don’t work out this summer with my internship hopes, I may console myself by running away and checking out the first World Cup in Africa.

As for my real life right now : the light (and palm tree) at the end of the tunnel are at least in sight… That means, at some point, more posts here including my suggestions for where to eat on a trip to Tucson and the pros / cons of commuting for research, and of course, more photos – thanks for bearing with me just a little longer!

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A short but sweet run through of world news…

First of all, not quite tomorrow’s news, but amazing enough to slide in after deadline: this BBC slideshow about a woman in Mozambique who sought refuge and then gave birth in a tree during March 2000 floods.

You’re not the only one who doesn’t like where airport security may be headed, but don’t give up on interesting travel experiences yet.

BBC describes the political temperature in Kigali as “rising,” with grenade attacks preceding French President Sarkozy’s visit next week.

Egypt’s also been going through tensions, and Tuesday’s New Zealand Herald gives some context to one city’s experiences with
a walk through Cairo’s religious history

History also plays a major role in South America as Argentina rallies regional support over Falklands where oil is a sensitive topic.

Did you now that elephants ‘talk’?

Looking forward to this summer’s World Cup? I’m excited – but also a bit glad I’m not in charge of anything. Anyway, security is gearing up already, as NZ Herald reports : South Africa ‘ensures’ safety of World Cup fans. I know I’ll be ready!

And after this quick, little world tour, it’s time for this little Kroeker to get some sleep…

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Travel includes tourism, but is much wider. It includes work, study, moving, and migration. And travel isn’t always physical. Learning can take you from one place to another in ways that a car or plane never can. I’ve heard the argument that meditation is travel too. To me, the best trips involve overlap – trips where the travel comes from more than one source. The following story, to me, is one of the most meaningful examples of travel I’ve found.

I first came across this story in the September issue of American Photo On Campus. I knew immediately that I wanted to write about it – and that it wouldn’t be a fast or easy blog post. While I wrestled with it, or more accurately, avoided facing it head on, the rest of the world kept on noticing. Recently the National Portrait Gallery‘s Photographic Portrait Prize 2007 announced their selection of new emerging artist Jonathan Torgovnik as the overall winner for his work. The photos were already making waves this spring with blogs like The Girl Project, which also explores the impact of photography, posting a review in April.

As describes, these children are often called “enfants mauvais souvenirs,” or “children of bad memories.” Slate points out that Torgovnik himself is a child of Holocaust survivors. The article also how many of these women are deeply committed towards giving their children an education, despite the fact the secondary school is nearly unaffordable for most of them, a fact which led Torgovnik to start Foundation Rwanda.

Part of the impact of work like this is to introduce a topic worth knowing and thinking about. For understanding Rwanda, the two best books that I can recommend are Philip Gourevitch’s We Wish to Inform You that Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families: Stories From Rwanda and Colonel Romeo Dallaire’s first hand account Shake Hands With the Devil. Video of Dr. Alison Des Forges, the world’s leading expert on Rwanda’s 1994 genocide and its aftermath, is available here and her report, Leave No One to Tell the Story, is also on the site (thanks to Human Rights Watch website). For a wider view of Rwanda and the international reaction, I recommend Samanta Power’s A Problem From Hell as well as articles on Darfur from The New Yorker and The New York Times.

As far as Torgovnik’s work, an online version of Intended Consequences, with audio and visual, is available here at Media Storm. For physical copies the photographs are collected here and the book is available on sites like Amazon. The project was funded by a Getty Images Grant for Editorial Photography. As for his background, Torgovnick went to school in New York and
Canon lists him as a contract photographer
in their profile. And here’s Jonathan Torgovnick’s official site.

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Setting pictures may seem pretty self-explanatory, but I think it’s good to think about what setting the scene really means. lists several definitions including “the surroundings or environment of anything,” “the mounting in which a jewel is set,” and “the scenery and other properties used in a dramatic performance.” This is where everything – and sometimes nothing – happens. This is what is there before and after. It can influence mood and it can influence action.

Anyway… I thought I’d focus on examples.

New Zealand

The first four are from the Hawkes Bay area on the North Island, the last two are from Milford Sound on the South Island. For more NZ photos, please see the New Zealand link under Picassa.

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Lake Tekapo

This is from the South Island of New Zealand.

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Democratic Republic of Congo

The first three are from Kinshasa, the next five are from outside the capital. The next two are from Bukavu , on the south end of Lake Kivu(except for the middle one, which was taken in Walungu on the way back to Bukavu).

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the drive to Phoenix

This is from the drive down to Phoenix during the Big Move this summer. The first one, I think, is somewhere in Oklahoma. The second is coming down out of Flagstaff.

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These were taken on our quick visit this summer to scope the city and grab an apartment.

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Finally, this is what the crepe shop looks like from the street view.

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I realized almost the moment I started this post that I could get in over my head pretty quickly. There is so much going on and so much needing coverage. So I’m going to keep this post pretty narrow, but I can assure you there will be future posts on issues in this region. If I leave stuff out, if you have questions about anything I’m not explaining well or leaving out, please, please talk to me know in the comments section – I’ll look up what I don’t know and go from there. OK. Diving in.

The Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA, is a rebel movement known for using brutal tactics and child soldiers during a long running conflict in Uganda. – Behind the LRA’s terror tactics

Children in Uganda are especially vulnerable, and often become “night commuters” to seek safety. – & Gulu Walk & Invisible Children

But as the conflict in Uganda ebbs and flows, the LRA often crosses the border into neighboring countries including DR Congo and Central African Republic, and bring their brutality with them. This month, disturbing new reports of LRA violence in CAR. – Rebel terror spreads to CAR

Violence in DR Congo has also been severe, as cited in these BBC reports from last year (which coincided with General Laurent Nkunda’s offensive near Goma, further south).
Congo terror after LRA rebel raids
BBC Slideshow on Congolese refugees

My awareness of the situation really deepened thanks to a classmate whose blog, Jackfruity, I just got added to my blog roll.

Ways to help kids in Uganda: The Invisible Children Campaign

And for kids in the United States: INVISIBLE CHILDREN: Kids at Risk Action (KARA) – Children’s Rights Advocacy Network

Next post: barring breaking news, will be a bit lighter after natural disasters and regional conflicts. But thanks for sticking with me so far. I like to think it’ll be worth it. Below, Uganda is in red, just to the east of DR Congo.

Central African Republic (CAR)

Central African Republic (CAR)

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When taking pictures like these, I’m rarely asked what I’m doing but frequently asked why. The thing about travel is that even the most ordinary things, like making lunch, can be so different.

(Jill took the last two of this set – she caught on to this concept before I did! In fact, looking at her pictures from the trip, sometimes from the same events, helped me realize what I was missing.)

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The outcome is the same – good food with friends and family, a priceless currency any time and any where.

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But remembering the process, being able to show it rather than just describe it, makes memory that much sweeter.

The last set of pictures for today are from a clothing shop where pieces, from piece cutting to decorative stitching, are made on site.

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I learned so much from this trip, and “process pictures” were a tiny but important part. They help me remember what I experienced, and tell the stories to others.

Oh, and before I forget – a process video, my first :)

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