Happy New Year: A Time To Reflect And Look Ahead (In English, Swahili, Spanish, German….)

HAPPY NEW YEAR Or should I say: Heri ya Mwaka Mpya! (Swahili) Godt Nytt år! (Norwegian) 新年快乐! / Xīnnián kuàilè! (Chinese Mandarin) or Feliz Año Nuevo! (Spanish) Not only are these the words to celebrate New Year’s all over the world. They are the words spoken by those I’ve acquainted myself with through my website…
Read More

New Year, New Video: Portraits Of Tanzanian Villagers (And How They Reacted To Photography)

Happy New Year! Two-and-a-half years ago, while working at the school in the village of Magulilwa, Tanzania, a few townspeople warmed to the idea of having their picture taken. A couple of weeks later, I handed them their photographs. Now all of the villagers wanted one. Before I knew it, I became the village photographer,…
Read More

Video: Talking Travel Adventures On 1180 KCKQ Reno, Nevada

Last Monday I was a guest on the “Peel Off Labels” radio program, on air from Reno, Nevada. Host Paul Malikowski interviewed me–I was in St. Paul–about my experiences in China, Tanzania, and the American South. We discussed the origins of these adventures, highlights from them, and the projects I have coming up. Enjoy it below.…
Read More

My Southern Experience: Religion (& Politics) And The South

The South is religious, right? That’s the stereotype. Maybe it’s only in appearance. An attendee at my presentation in Minneapolis theorized that Minnesotans are just as religious. But they’re Lutheran–so are reserved, don’t wear their spirituality on their sleeve, and conduct a drastically different worship style. Short of any research on who is more spiritual, I can…
Read More

Out Today: My Story About The Hmong In Minnesota In Today’s Star Tribune

I was inspired to write the story two years ago. I walked into a Hmong-owned insurance office near the school I work for to find it decorated like my grandfather’s den: deer antlers, wildlife photography, and pictures of hunters in blaze orange all along the wall. In my mind, such outdoor interests were almost exclusively…
Read More

The World Evolves Around You / My Story About The Hmong In Minnesota In This Sunday’s Star Tribune

On a sunny Saturday in the summer of 2010, I walked a few blocks from my apartment in Minneapolis to the Loring Park Art Fair. Dozens of exhibitors showed their sculptures, paintings, and more to the scores of neighborhood folks walking about. One exhibitor’s work caught my eye. He displayed his black and white photographs…
Read More

Janice At An Ecuadorian Orphanage, Finale: Top 9 Traits Needed

She shared about the children (who were a handful) and the scenery (which was breathtaking). Now Janice reflects on her time in Quito with a list of nine capabilities needed to best survive working at an orphanage in this mountainous, third-world environment. Interested to volunteering in Ecuador as Janice did? See how many of these items…
Read More

Deeper Than Judgement

Last Saturday I had another chance to share with others my experiences having others share their lives with me. I was honored to present at the Bemidji Public Library, which generously sponsored my presentation, “Voices of the South.” I appreciate those who came out to learn from (and connect with) these other voices from our world. Indeed,…
Read More

Photo Album: The Natural (And Manmade) Beauty Of Ecuador

In 2009 Janice traveled to Ecuador to volunteer at an orphanage.  We covered her arrival in part one. The wild kids were in the 2nd article. Part three below gathers all the Ecuadorian beauty Janice captured during her weeks there. *** Early on, we went bike riding around Itchimbia Hill in the capital Quito. We could see the Old City…
Read More

Tour And Conversation On A Southern Farm

This was as close as I’d get to a plantation on my Southern tour. (Yes, Southerners, I know you don’t like people using that word. But “plantation” is simply how we Northerners distinguish–and imagine–farm settings around the country. We up here have our Old McDonald, Charlotte’s Web-style farms. The American West has sprawling ranches. And…
Read More