Author Archive

Portraits of Tanzanian Villagers

In Tanzania, there’s more to camera & firearm comparisons than the verb used to describe using them and the fact that I wear mine on my belt. Here, people react to a photographer by putting their arms and hands in front of their face in a blocking maneuver. Some turn away or use the nearby [...]

The Other White People in the Middle of Tanzania

When I told my mother about going to Africa, she said, “Brandon! They do voodoo over there!” I had to show her some videos of the school where I’d be teaching so she could realize that things weren’t as dramatic as the stereotypes she created from movies, The Discovery Channel, and National Geographic. Another common [...]

A Hospital in Africa, A Toddler’s Life

A Tanzanian friend of mine had a sick niece in the hospital. I got to know this little child. One of my favorite places to get a meal in Iringa is an old, log cabin-like structure squeezed amidst a few buildings lining the rough-trodden tar street. Walk through the worn wooden threshold and you enter [...]

The Results Are In And These Are The Pictures I Submitted To The National Geographic Photo Contest

125 votes may not be enough to decide the president, but it’s good enough to help me decide which pictures to submit to the annual National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest. Based on readers’ suggestions on last week’s blog‘s comments and also on my Facebook profile–results charted below–I decided to splurge and send in three entries. [...]

National Geographic Photo Contest: Will You Help Me Choose Which Picture to Send?

National Geographic Traveler Magazine is holding their annual photo contest. Anyone (for a fee of $15) can submit a shot for a shot at some prizes. Given all the pictures I’ve taken since coming to Tanzania, I thought I’d give it a whirl this year…and I was hoping anyone reading this could help me decide [...]

Zanzibar Culture: Religion, Politics, and a Big Dance Party

Last week was the natural. This week is the cultural. But it’s not all churches and museums. Culture can be a late night, hip-hop African dance party, too.  *** My second day in the Stone Town section of Zanzibar City was spent solo while the European girls went off to do some swimming with dolphins. [...]

Zanzibar: Stone Town and Spice Tour with Mr. Coconut, Mr. Natural, and Two Beautiful Europeans

Last week, I trudged through rain, traffic, and the girl’s bathroom to get to Zanzibar. Today I get rewarded with sun, nature, and entertaining company. *** I exited Zanzibar customs to bright skies and the old architecture of Stone Town. For my first nights’ lodging, I used a website that locates hosts letting you stay [...]

I’m Searching for Someone to Come Teach in Tanzania: Know Anyone?

As many of you know, I come home to Minnesota in August–August 2nd to be exact. What many of you probably hadn’t thought is that once I leave, there’ll be a void (opportunity) here at the school. Finally, even fewer of you have likely given serious thought to having yourself (or someone you know) making a [...]

Arrival to Zanzibar: Out of the Frying Pan and into the Fire…and the Girls Bathroom

Over our school’s Easter break, I had planned on visiting a few rugged areas of southwest Tanzania—a huge lake, another city, and a colleague’s home village even more basic in luxury than Magulilwa. But by April, and following a stretch of electrical outages and days of rainy slop, I changed my mind. “That’s it.” I [...]

Flat Stanley in Tanzania

A month after I got to Africa, I received my first letter from home. It was from my seven-year-old nephew, Robert. He wrote in large, thick penciled letters asking how I was and then describing a project his class was doing. “My class read a book about ‘Flat Stanley,’” he wrote. Flat Stanley took many [...]