The Hmong Mountain Village In Thailand

We walked past one-room houses of bamboo stick walls, straw roofs, and dirt floors. Chickens scampered and clucked about. Children played barefoot and parents in flip-flops tended to the babies, prepped meals, or conducted other daily chores. This was a quiet lifestyle. No machines–though it felt as if we had entered a time machine and gone…
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Visiting Our Sister School In The Hills Of Thailand

  On the morning of May 7, we awoke in our half-star hotel in Thoeng to fulfill the core purpose for our school’s travel to Thailand: meeting our sister school in the rural north. As we had done the day before, we loaded up the vans, left town, and rode the windy, up-n-down road to-and-through the hilly countryside.…
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The Naturally Adapted Hmong Of Chiang Mai, Thailand

The song “One Night is Bangkok” may be one thing that most of us know about Thailand. (Well, that and perhaps the food.) I can remember in my 20s confusing this country in Southeast Asia with the island off the east coast of China: Taiwan. Simple mistake. I was only about 1400 miles off. Then even after…
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Goodbye, East African Village School

As a boy in northern Minnesota, we’d drive down to “the cities” on special occasions. On the way, we’d often stop halfway at a city called Brainerd. Back then, you had to drive through the city because there was no bypass. Mom-n-pop shops through downtown Brainerd were the roadside attractions, and a McDonald’s or gas…
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Gone Fishin’ (the Tanzanian Vs. The Minnesota Way)

When I was 12, my brothers and I would go fishing using our grandfather’s pale green, 14-foot aluminum boat. We’d haul it in the back to our father’s tiny S10 Chevy pickup. When we got to our northern Minnesotan lake of choice, my older brother would take one side of the boat, my little brothers…
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On The Shores Of A Huge African Lake

What do you say we plan a day at the lake? Sounds nice, right? Since I was a boy, I’ve loved going to the lake—to swim, to fish, to picnic, all of it done with the water, the waves, the shore, the breeze, and the loon’s call setting this scene of peaceful invigoration. Now how…
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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…
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Interviewing A Special Woman In The “Real” Village

A few weeks ago I wrote an article about life here in my village, Magulilwa. Soon after, I got an email of my school founder, and native Magulilwan, Evaristo Sanga. You wrote about the new part of Magulilwa, he said. If you want to see the “real village” you should visit my mother about 25…
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The Village

What’s an African village like? You’re about to find out. On the dirt path at the edge of my school’s property lies a large log. This barrier designates the start of the village, Magulilwa . Unlike what I had envisioned before getting here, the school property butts right up against the village, and with a…
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Threshing Grass, Playing Volleyball, And Worshiping God: Part 3/3 Of My Tanzanian Village School

This is the last in a three-part series about my African village school. Next week, we dive into the village itself.  *** Just before dinnertime, I opened the squeaky metal gate to leave the teacher’s housing compound. I looked straight out and then stared at thirty students before me swinging threshers into the tall grass. Each…
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