Brandon’s Portfolio

I liked [your] article a lot. Straight-forward and insightful into issues I don’t deal with and probably won’t ever deal with.

Little Marvel On The Prairie: The Hmong In Minnesota Exemplify The Melting Pot

Little Marvel on the Prairie: The Hmong in Minnesota Exemplify the Melting Pot Minneapolis Star Tribune 12/11/16      

Addressing Race And Disparity In America: One Life At A Time, All Ideology Aside

Addressing race and disparity: One life at a time, all ideology aside  Minneapolis Star Tribune 2/14/16

Connecting A Minnesotan Father To His Ugandan Sons

Days before leaving for Tanzania, I met a middle-aged Ugandan man. He gave me his sons’ phone numbers to contact when/if I made it to Uganda. I did, and I did. And they showed me their lives in Jinja, Uganda. Click here to read the whole story. 

What I Learned About Race Living East Africa

I spent six months of 2014 teaching technology in Tanzania. The experience triggered memories of my conflicted college education regarding matters of race. I arrived in Tanzania, East Africa, on Jan. 23 of this year. After two long bus rides, I ended up along a sun-baked dirt road surrounded by rolling hills covered with rows…
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Interracial Romance

Interracial dating is a topic with as much curiosity for some as attraction for others as distaste for yet some others. While the topic in the U.S. isn’t the head-turner it used to be, I’ve yet found it an interesting area to write about in Tanzania if just because you’re dealing with a lot more than…
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A Rising China

“We’re the country that built the intercontinental railroad. So how can we now sit back and let China build the best railroads?” – President Obama * * * China, China, China. We hear it all the time: China’s rising. China’s going to be No. 1. China’s going to take over. Let me splash a little cold water…
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China: Bone Breaking Pressure

A visit to a 99-year-old woman living in a remote farmstead in central China offered a blast from the past, a lesson in how culture literally shapes us, and a lesson in how much society changes in one’s lifetime. Click here to read the full story of my travel to, and interview with, this special woman.…
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My Tanzanian Village School

Traveling to East Africa to help start a village school’s computer program, this is my description of this school. *** On Monday morning, January 27, 2014, I woke up in my concrete-wall room at around 7:00. I lifted up the fine mesh mosquito net tucked into my mattress and got up intending to start off…
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Election In East Africa

My arrival in rural Tanzania coincided with a special election in the region. So I was able to witness campaigning in these parts.  *** Ever since I got to my village in Tanzania, there has been campaign buzz regarding a recently-vacated seat of parliament due to the untimely passing of this area’s representative. The Iringa…
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Tanzanian Hospital; A Toddler’s Life

I met a woman whose niece was bedridden and stricken with malaria. I visited the toddler in the hospital and watched her battle the disease.  ***  

Portraits Of Tanzanian Villagers

I broke through my village’s collective camera resistance shell, becoming their portrait photographer. ***

Interview With A Witch Doctor

On our motorcycle ride over and around lushly vegetated rolling terrain, beyond small farms of coffee and cocoa, I was being driven to a destination that on one hand had nothing to do with this amazing nature, but on the other, was quite tied to it. We were visiting a man–not a waterfall or the…
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Visit To An African Slum

An African slum. What comes to mind? I was given the chance to visit one of these extreme environments. And for the next two weeks I’ll show you photos and video of the conditions, the lives, and the institutions of a slum in Kampala, Uganda… Click here to read the whole piece.

Gone Fishin’ (the Tanzanian Vs. The Minnesota Way)

I’m walking along the edge of giant Lake Nyasa in southwestern Tanzania, East Africa. I’m watching the men prepare their boats for hauling in a catch of freshwater fish–in a manner quite different than how I used to fish growing up in northern Minnesota. And this told me something about culture’s influence on economic development……
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Cambodia: Monks Among The Temples

During a visit to Cambodia in early 2011, I visited their famed temples–and then interacted with the area monks. The experience was both otherworldly and yet firmly grounded in this one. Monks Among the Temples “Their faces are shaped with serenity. The bright orange cloth serves as an unmistakable symbol. “Admit it: there’s a wonder…
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Cambodia: The Khmer Rouge

During a visit to Cambodia in early 2011, I visited the museum devoted to a dark time in their recent history: the Khmer Rouge of the late 1970s. When these guys took charge, they decimated the economy, culture…and the population. Click on the long image below to read the full story of my travel to…
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Cambodia: Crocs/Wedding

During a visit to Cambodia in early 2011, I had a special day visiting a crocodile farm and crashing a wedding. Click on the miniature story image below to read the full story from my former travel blog.

Thailand: Teaching Football To Thai Students

In May, 2015, I went to Thailand with a group of students to document their trip to their sister school in the hill country from rural, northern Thailand. While there, I taught the Thai youth how to throw an American football.  *** Blue 42; Blue 42!! Our interactions with our sister school in the rural…
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Thailand: The Elephant Park–Potentially Harmful, Certainly Incredible

A visit to an elephant park in Thailand in May 2015 revealed the incredible nature of these beasts–but also brought up the double-edged sword that these parks are. *** On May 3, our group of 43 students and chaperons went to see an elephant park outside Chiang Mai in northern Thailand. After escaping the city in…
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Thailand: One Cliff, Two Rivers, Three Countries–A Story Of Freedom

In Thailand, standing on the borders of three countries proved more powerful to those with me whose parents had to cross this border under the threat of death 40 years earlier.  *** I stood at the edge of a cliff overlooking a windy, muddy river coming into view from my left. It meandered its way across…
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Thailand: The Legendary Long-Neck Women Of Burma…who Had Long Faces

In Thailand, I was able to meet and photograph (and videotape) some Kayan women–otherwise known as “long neck women.” Unfortunately, their way of life seemed stripped down to nothing more than a tourist attraction. *** You’ve likely heard of them. Tribal people whose women have extraordinarily long necks wrapped and stretched in gold-colored rings. This is…
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Romance Scams

Featured in St. Paul Pioneer Press Sunday, March 14, 2010. 

Classroom Chaos

A stint teaching in Minneapolis’s north side taught me about how rough it is in these neighborhoods, and how tough it is in these schools. I walked into my classroom at a K-8 public school in north Minneapolis expecting that it might be a little tougher than other places I had taught. Yet this was…
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Highway-fine Motivation

When fines and citations are used for general budget purposes, this motivation will inevitably lead to abuses.  My co-worker, Rachel, is a soft-spoken young woman. With straight, light hair and an innocent smile, she’s one of the more non-threatening people you’ll meet. Recently, working a night shift at our restaurant, things were slowing down so…
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What say you?