September 8, 2012 Dear Friends, I got out of Africa last Friday but it was a struggle. When I got to the radio station I noticed two rips in the bottom of my brand new, “lifetime guarantee,” ultra-light, ultra strong suitcase. Turning it over I found another rip in the bottom and one of its “feet” coming loose. Getting a new suitcase in Juba on … Continue reading Final Letter from South Sudan, I post one last photo gallery and fly out.
August 30. 2012 Juba, South Sudan, Dear Friends, My mother once asked me why I didn’t stay home like she did, close to her parents. I told her it was because of her father, my grandfather, who at 13 was apprenticed to trade as a grocer in Derry City, hated it, and ran away to sea. His travels took him across the North Sea … Continue reading Letter 8 from South Sudan, where I wonder if I am getting too old for this.
August 25, 2012 Juba, South Sudan Dear Friends, Navigating Juba roads after two days of heavy rains is like navigating a large, ever shifting, river. The course of the road changes, what was high ground two days ago is now a sink hole, and when you enter a large mud hole you have no idea of how far down you will sink. I almost think … Continue reading Leopards and Cows and Making Gravel in South Sudan (Letter 7)
August 19, 2012 (Note, this is an archive post, I am ok.) Dear Friends, Suzi left on Saturday, but she got to be part of the celebration Saturday Morning changing the name of the station from Sudan Radio Service (SRS) “For Peace and Development” to Eye Radio “Your Eye on South Sudan.” The new jingles are hot, all African style music. The radio station name … Continue reading South Sudan, Eye Radio Relaunch and then I crash. (Letter 6)
August 17, 2012 Dear Friends, My camera case has a hole in it left by a leopard tooth. If you look closely, my crocks also have a little chew mark from the same leopard. The leopard is the last of the “big 5” (Cape Buffalo, Rhino, Elephant, Lion, Leopard) that I’ve seen in Africa. But I didn’t expect to meet two so up close. Two … Continue reading South Sudan, I return and am “attacked” by two leopards. (Letter 5)
April 20, 2012 Nairobi, Kenya Dear Friends, Suzi and I were upgraded to a suite at the Fairview in Nairobi, which is a good thing because every possible surface on which I could lay out clothes is full and any hook like object has clothes hanging from it. Everything I have is soaked, but that’s the end of the story of today’s travels. On Thursday … Continue reading South Sudan, Letter 4, Flying Out of Juba.
April 14, 2012 Juba, South Sudan Dear Friends, On Friday the thirteenth the newsroom was full for our morning editorial meeting. South Sudan had captured Heglig, a region just north of the border, in Sudan (an area that happens to have a major oil field.) This came after several weeks of (North) Sudan bombing towns and refugee camps in the South. The African Union (AU) … Continue reading South Sudan, Letter 3, Learning history and current events.
April 8, 2012 Easter Sunday Juba, South Sudan Dear Friends, Friday, April 6: Everyone is waiting for the rain. When the rain comes this area is very productive, if not, famine. It looks encouraging. On Sunday the barometer dropped and we got thunder and lightning signifying, for that day at least, nothing. Monday and Tuesday the clouds teased us. Wednesday night we got our first … Continue reading South Sudan, Letter two, Small Road Trip
April 1, 2012 Juba, South Sudan Dear Friends. At the bar Saturday night (anti-malarial gin and tonics or Stony Ginger Beer) an American raised as a missionary son now working for a USAID funded fish farming project building ponds along both the Nile and Congo said, “Welcome to Africa. Kenya and Uganda are just ‘Africa lite.’ This is the ‘real’ Africa. You’re not in Nairobi … Continue reading Juba Letter 1, First Impressions
When it comes to media in South Sudan — radio is king. Radio plays to the country’s oral tradition. Further, there is limited electric power distribution. The country is poor and TVs are expensive. Finally TV coverage has not reached much of the country. Radio is perfet for a country like this. Radio sets don’t require much infrastructure. Radios can be powered by batteries, solar … Continue reading South Sudan
I rewrote this post from three family letters, written in 2010 from Dubai, 2011 from Doha and 2012 from Zanzibar. People think about Arabs as a desert people, riding camels, “The ships of the desert” as I was taught in school, across waves of sand. But in my travels I learned that Arabs were also master seafarers taking their dhows all around and across the … Continue reading Sea Arabs, Oman, Qatar and Zanzibar
May 2, 2012 Zanzibar airport Waiting for a plane that is way too late. Dear Friends, Four thirty in the morning and my mobile phone is ringing. I am tangled up in the mosquito net protecting me from malaria. Worse yet, not only the phone, but my glasses and the light switch are on the other side of the net. The phone stops ringing just … Continue reading Zanzibar
August 12, 2012 Dear Friends, Last week we did the Nairobi tourist trek. We drove to Lake Nahuru, on the floor of the Great Rift Valley on Tuesday. It is what is called a “soda lake.” It usually hosts about a million (literally) flamingos. However, with larger than normal rainfall the lake has become more “sweet” diluting the brine in which tiny shrimp, flamingo food, live. … Continue reading Kenya, Nairobi and the Great Rift Valley.
August 6, 2012 Nairobi, Kenya Dear Friends, Sometimes the much awaited second novel or record album (am I showing my age?) is a disappointment, the first was so good. Suzi had some fears that if we returned to the Mara after the wonderful safari of discovery we had last April it would be like a second novel. I shared some of those apprehensions but wanted … Continue reading Wildebeest Migration, Kenya
May 6, 2012 Shihipol, the Netherlands Dear Friends, When we got back to Nairobi from Mt. Kenya and still had not seen a lion I thought I would give us one more chance. I booked game drive through Nairobi National Park, which is just on the outskirts of Nairobi, for dawn on Thursday. It seemed like a good idea at the time but our flight … Continue reading Nairobi National Park
This is a letter about the drive from Mt. Kenya back to Nairobi. April 28, Nairobi, Kenya Dear Friends, After rain most of Friday, Saturday Morning was gorgeous. I got up at about 6:15 to watch the sun rise behind Mt. Kenya, and while the day stayed sunny the mountain progressively pulled its cloud shroud around its peak until about 8, while we were eating … Continue reading Roadside Kenya
This is the second half of that family letter from Mt. Kenya. We’re on the second half our safari now, at the Mt. Kenya Safari Club in Nanyuki, 7,000 feet up the slopes of Mt. Kenya, which is 17,000 feet high. Yesterday morning I stood, jacket on, outside my room, 75 feet north of the equator, looking up at snow. Snow in the equator. The … Continue reading Mt Kenya
This is the first half of a letter from Mt. Kenya National Park. It deals with our trip to the Masai Mara. The second half of the letter will be in the post from Mt. Kenya. April 27, 2012 Nanyuki, Kenya (Mt. Kenya National Park) Dear Friends, Victor, the deputy chief of the radio project for South Sudan, asked me why Americans want to … Continue reading Masi Mara, Kenya
March 24, 2012 Nairobi, Kenya Dear Friends It’s not what I thought. I’m sitting just a few kilometers south of the equator. It is the time of the equinox with the sun directly overhead, and it is pleasant 78 degrees midday. Sundown comes like switching off a light switch. No twilight at all. Evening breezes mean I sleep with the windows open with no need … Continue reading Nairobi