1. Kenya Mama Said There'll Be Days Like This

    I am having a rough week. On my way to school Wednesday, my bicycle broke. I was riding downhill when I heard a loud SNAP and knew I was in trouble. I know what you are thinking, “Ryan, you already told us this story”. Unfortunately, and frustratingly, I am not repeating myself. My bicycle broke AGAIN. For the third time in two weeks. I spend most of my time pushing the damn thing to and from school. It is really starting to annoy me. I fixed the brakes last week, rode the thing for a ...

  2. Kenya Speaking of Things that are Sharp....

    I only have a few minutes to write before I have to go to school. It is a little after six, I have been lazy lately and not getting up at 5 like I should. I wake up at five and then hang around reading in bed hoping to wake myself up enough to stumble out of bed. It never works and I am trying to find new ways to convince my body that 7 hours is plenty of sleep. I have always been an eight hours of sleep type person and my body absolutely hates me for cutting back to 5 or 6 hrs. But tod...

  3. Senegal Easter Egg Tutorial

    On Easter Sunday, I shared some holiday traditions with my Senegalese Girls Club.  We dyed Easter eggs and made "cascarones" (a Mexican Easter tradition of filling colored eggs with confetti, or in our case, millet, and using these to crack on someone's head.)  In this video, the girls are explaining what they learned in their native language, Wolof.

  4. Togo Returning to Togo 20 years later

    I served in Togo from 1991 to 1993 as a Guinea Worm Eradication volunteer. I was in an endemic area; almost everywhere there were people with worms emerging from their arms, legs, and other body parts. This was incapacitating for farmers; they were not able to work in the fields. Now twenty years later I was assigned by the CDC, my current employer, to serve as a temporary international consultant for the World Health Organization to certify the eradication of Guinea Worm disease in Togo. Twe...

  5. Nigeria POEMS FROM NIGERIA (1963 – 1965)

    Author’s Note: I wrote these poems at different times during my Peace Corps tour.  I was a teacher at the University of Ibadan in Western Nigeria. We were in that lucky two-year window, right after Independence and right before the Revolution: Everything seemed possible, democracy was in the air. We weathered the shattering of being very far away from home during the assassination of President Kennedy, and we continued working. I’m a writer now—short stories and plays—but these poems are, so...

  6. South Africa Village Traditions

      Traditional Shangaan Muchongolo dancing in the village. There is a local dance troupe who performs the Muchongolo dances each Sunday in a different village in our area. Woody and I were lucky enough to catch one of these performances. The Shangaan people originate from Mozambique and are known more for being agriculturalists than pastoralists and cattle herders. The Muchongolo dances traditionally celebrate the role of women in society, war victories, as well as ritual ceremonies.

  7. South Africa Schools in Kruger National Park

    A local game lodge that is part of the &Beyond Foundation and focuses on “ecotourism” invited representatives from all three of our schools to attend a conservation lesson and game drive. Several teachers, principals, and students attended the event. Even our local village Indhuna (Chief's Headman) got to come along. The purpose of this event was to teach kids about the environment and the animals in the park in order to inform them about the importance of wildlife conservation. 

  8. South Africa Kids in Kruger

    A local game lodge that is part of the &Beyond Foundation and focuses on “ecotourism” invited representatives from all three of our schools to attend a conservation lesson and game drive. Several teachers, principals, and students attended the event. Even our local village Indhuna (Chief's Headman) got to come along. The purpose of this event was to teach kids about the environment and the animals in the park in order to inform them about the importance of wildlife conservation. 

  9. South Africa Kids in Kruger

      A local game lodge that is part of the &Beyond Foundation and focuses on “ecotourism” invited representatives from all three of our schools to attend a conservation lesson and game drive. Several teachers, principals, and students attended the event. Even our local village Indhuna (Chief's Headman) got to come along. The purpose of this event was to teach kids about the environment and the animals in the park in order to inform them about the importance of wildlife conservation. This...

  10. South Africa How I Met My Host-Mother. . .

    After having been at our site for nearly 6 months, our host-mother shows up one day completely unannounced out of the blue.  After initially arriving at our permanent site, we were told by one of our Principals who arranged the housing for us, that our host-mother is not living on the property. She is a single woman who owns the property but she had recently moved to a bigger city and found a boyfriend.  So instead, her nephew has been living in the main house in order to take care of the p...

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“Sunset at the Railroad” by PCV Nicholas Baylor Hall. Namibia, 2011.