Author Archive

Home and Full-Circle with the Ugandan Father and Sons

  Woozy and waiting, I stood along the sidewalk outside the Minneapolis airport baggage claim. Soon I saw my friend Casey’s grey SUV approach and roll to a stop. I rolled my own worn and torn luggage to his car. “Hey,” I said. “Welcome home,” he said reassuringly. Indeed. In the 24 hours prior, I had flown […]

Race as a Factor in Receiving Jobs, Grants, and College Acceptance

If the comments on the Star Tribune are any indicator, there’s something like a 60/40 split of those who congratulate Minnesotan Munira Khalif for her incredible accomplishment of being accepted to all eight Ivy League schools versus those who are claiming her success as a sign of a problem. Naturally, many don’t want to hear […]

My Last Day in Africa

Eight days. Six cities around North Dakota and Minnesota. Six awesome audiences with which to present about Africa and China, discuss about the ways of life there and here, and all of it to grow in our understanding. Thanks again–all who came out and all who offered support–for making my recent book/speaking tour such a […]

Book Tour Finale: Amazing People and Places Across Minnesota

Last weekend I leapt the Red River from North Dakota to Minnesota to share my experiences from East Africa to China. Bemidji, Duluth, Brainerd, Cottage Grove: these were the final four destinations of my Life Learned Abroad speaking/book tour, each with their own unique flavor to absorb and remarkable individuals to get to know. First up was Bemidji, […]

Book Tour Update: Thank you Fargo and Grand Forks. Minnesota, you’re next.

Every week, I tap, tap, tap away at the letters on my keyboard to share a travel story with readers in North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and beyond. Now I’m spending less time tapping and more time talking (and showing photos and footage). Friday and Saturday, I was honored to share my East African experiences (and China […]

Announcement: My ND-MN Book/Speaking Tour Starts this Friday

This Friday, March 27, I’ll be in Fargo. The following day, I’ll be in Grand Forks. And after that, I have four stops around Minnesota: Bemidji, Duluth, Brainerd, and Cottage Grove. Details of the stops are below. First, a little about these events… *** I spent most of 2014 volunteering at a village school in Tanzania, […]

Education is Bigger than Politics (A Lesson from my Year in China)

Having been in China just 10 days, it was funny how the detail of teaching English–my vehicle for coming out to China–became lost on me. But it was no accident. I didn’t want to think too much about it, because honestly, I didn’t think too much of it. Tons of others before me had gone abroad to […]

Connecting a Minnesotan Father to his Ugandan Sons

On January 15, 2014, I was getting my car washed. It was one of those where you hand the car over to workers, they vacuum it out, it goes through the wash, and then other workers wipe it down and clean the interior. I was inside paying the Latina cashier when a man walked behind […]

Wealth: Equalizer and Diversifier (An Essay from China)

Book Cover Business Card

I know an American man from India and an American woman from South Korea, who on separate occasions shared with me their similar experiences traveling to their mother countries: people there could tell right away that these ethnically identical visitors were, in fact, visitors. In addition, the Indian man told me that people in his […]

Humans of Jinja, Uganda

From houses of worship, to shacks in the slum, to my host’s home in the outskirts, to the snazzy mall in the middle of the city, I had explored Kampala. Now it was time to get to my next city, Jinja. A hop, skip, and a leap away from Kampala, I got on a dalla dalla […]