Here are some of the most moving moments they collected:
Here are some of the most moving moments they collected:
In the beginning, it was just to see what happened to his neighbors. Who had stayed and who returned, and who didn’t and why. It helped him track the property damage, houses pulled off their foundations by floodwaters, then deposited blocks away.
Ten years later, Taylor is still walking. Each Sunday, just after dawn, he gets up to secure the perimeters of his island. His uniform is a pair of faded jeans, a polo shirt, a camouflage baseball cap with a deer on it, and most importantly, a beautiful walking stick fashioned from a twisted local willow branch, a piece of post-Katrina driftwood.
BAYOU PETIT CAILLOU, La.—Just before sunset on a humid weekday, Vic and Bebe McElroy, a couple in their 60s, are cruising through one of the bayous south of New Orleans in their skiff, Fish Dancer. Rickety, oil-stained boats, full of burlap sacks stuffed with oysters, are docking at the Coco Marina in Cocodrie as Fish Dancer passes. Bayou Petit Caillou, the waterway the McElroys use almost more than paved roads, flows gently into an open bay and then the Gulf.
In a lush green bayou a little southeast of New Orleans, John Lopez and Howard Callahan are cruising the waterways in an airboat under the hot Louisiana sun on a recent day.
It’s an area known as Breton Basin, and Callahan is a local land manager who often helps researchers such as Lopez explore environmental changes in coastal wetlands. The pair head to a concrete and steel structure that separates the bayou from the nearby Mississippi River.
This is the Caernarvon river diversion. Built in 1991, it works like a faucet: When it’s open, freshwater and sediment from the Mississippi River — usually hemmed in by the levee system — flow back into what was a dying swamp. Diversions such as this one are meant to free the river to do its original job as it nears the Gulf of Mexico: spread out sediment, create land and provide freshwater to local habitats.
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In the 10 years since Hurricane Katrina ravaged Louisiana’s shoreline, residents who live near waterways have a new mantra – high and dry. Many are embracing home elevation. Jesse Hardman, of member station WWNO, reports.
JESSE HARDMAN, BYLINE: Kim Reeves is going through her checklist on a home renovation job in Louisiana’s Palquemines Parish, which hugs the Mississippi River along its last few miles before the Gulf of Mexico.
KIM REEVES: I’m going with a stucco color that is going to mimic the stucco color on the front of his house that he has now.
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Five years ago today, an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico killed 11 workers. Over the course of three months, more than 3 million barrels of oil gushed into the water, killing the wildlife and fouling hundreds of miles of beaches from Florida to Texas. BP owned the rig and has paid out billions of dollars in penalties. And as we’re going to hear now, safety standards in the offshore oil industry have been scrutinized, too. Jesse Hardman of member station WWNO reports.
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Vietnam has one of the fastest rates of urbanization of any country in the world. Almost half of its nearly 90 million residents are expected to be living in cities by 2030. Many internal migrants are heading to Ho Chi Minh City, the country’s economic center, looking for jobs and money. But that metropolis is seeing some growing pains as it expands its infrastructure along the Mekong Delta region. Geography and climate change are combining to challenge the viability of Ho Chi Minh City, just as its fortunes are rising.
Danh Duc hobbles around his apartment in Ho Chi Minh City’s suburban 7th District looking for a photograph. He’s just back from having an operation at a nearby hospital. The 63 year old Duc reports for local Tuoi Tre newspaper. Duc points to the image he shot of his hospital room.
“The floor, what was shining on the floor?” Duc asks.
ACADIANA, La. — It is just after dawn on Mardi Gras, but I’m not at some Bourbon Street bar, facedown on the floor trying to rally for some morning parades. No, I’m off a country road more than 100 miles from New Orleans, shivering in near freezing weather, wearing a patchwork yellow and orange costume I pieced together, kneeling in the mud as a bunch of strangers dressed in red and black pour alcohol on me and threaten me with a whip.
In order to set foot on this farm somewhere in southern Louisiana, I had to swear not to reveal the location, the names of the event organizers or anything else that might lead you to this Cajun version of X marks the spot. The Faquetaique Courir de Mardi Gras is a version of a centuries-old begging procession that began in rural France as a precursor to Lent. This part of Louisiana, also known as Acadiana, was settled by a French Catholic diaspora expelled from northeastern Canada by the British in the 1600s. Eventually they migrated, with their French traditions, to the American South.
Based on Thai government statistics, there are an estimated 2 to 3 million Burmese working in Thailand. Many of the original wave of migrants came during political turmoil in the late 1980s, but the vast majority arrived in the last decade, for economic reasons. Corruption, international sanctions, and government mismanagement have strangled the Burmese economy. Most importantly, to young Burmese like Khun Mint, the country ranks near the bottom 10% in terms of per capita GDP. So people leave, by the thousands, often with the help of what some migrant labor rights advocates worry is a growing human trafficking network.
Radio producer Jesse Hardman has a tenuous connection with William Graham, a man who once lived as a fugitive from federal authorities for over 20 years. They both are preacher’s kids, sons of episcopal priests. In fact, Jesse’s father, Robert Hardman, was a student of Holt Graham at seminary. Jesse became interested in Graham’s case, and the two men began a correspondence, and then a series of telephone conversations from prison. William Graham, now known as Morgan, recalled his 15-year odyssey of political extremism, robbery, murder, hijacking, and evading capture. Eventually Jesse starts to realize how alike the two preacher’s kids actually are.
It’s called “ceiling time” at Eastern Correctional facility in New York’s Hudson Valley—those minutes between heading back to one’s cell and falling asleep. “Ceiling time is when you lay down and you’re reflecting on things, looking up at the ceiling,” says 28 year-old inmate José Pérez, “thinking about the day, what I did right, what I did wrong.” Pérez has already had a lot of time to think: He was given a 20 years to life sentence for second-degree murder when he was only 16 years old.
When Jose Manuel “Manolo” Gomara arrived in New York City for the first time in 2010, he had been away from his home country of Spain for a year, working at a restaurant in Cancun, Mexico. But he wasn’t done with his travels, and the image of this metropolis, one he gleaned from watching television as a kid, had always loomed in his mind.
New Orleans native and local fine arts photographer Michel Varisco developed a curiosity about the Gulf Coast region at a young age. With a mother who is a former biochemist, and engineer dad, she started learning on family road trips. Her dad would explain the Bonnet Carré Spillway, or point out dead trees while driving down LA1 to Grande Isle.
Violence visits New Orleans with sobering regularity. The local paper keeps a grim roll call of the city’s annual murder count—95 and climbing this year—and the figure can be numbing. But that doesn’t mean coverage about it needs to be.
Take, for instance, a recent episode of the Listening Post, a weekly segment on WWNO, the local public radio station. Prompted by an August drive-by shooting that killed two and injured five, the piece features an array of voices addressing a charged question: “What’s your experience with violence in New Orleans?”
Anniversaries of disasters, like Hurricane Sandy, are important, because they help gauge what’s been learned and what progress has been made. They allow people an opportunity to grieve. But just as often, anniversary coverage overlooks the most important detail that inevitably comes up in a humanitarian situation—peoples’ resilience.
When Hurricane Sandy hit, I had been living in Brooklyn’s Red Hook neighbourhood for two months. Long enough to know where to drink a beer, and where to go for a pick-up game of soccer on the weekend. Not long enough to have any kind of relationship with my new community, which since 1939 has been home to the Red Hook Houses — with more than 6,500 residents, Brooklyn’s largest public housing development.
Ulyses Bermudez just had his first bath in a week and a half. “It was so fantastic, it took me two hours and 22 minutes to warm up that water. But when I went in there, I was at heaven, I was at peace. I mean, I scrubbed myself down, I felt so fresh, I felt like I was born again. It felt so good.”
Bermudez lives at 80 Dwight street, one of the 25 public housing buildings that make up the Red Hook West homes. Hurricane Sandy caused high tides to spread out over the Red Hook neighborhood, which sits right off the ocean in South Brooklyn. It flooded the basement of Bermudez’s building, disabling everything but the gas. Bermudez recently got his water back on, but it’s cold. He, and most of the other 100 or so neighbors who refused to leave the building for storm shelters, have not been able to do basic things, like shower, for going on two weeks.
Around 11 p.m. on a Monday night at B.J.’s Lounge, an old wooden shack of a dive bar in New Orleans’ Bywater neighborhood, 40-year-old musician Jimmy Horn warms up his vocal cords. “We got beans and cornbread” he sings, as he strums his guitar, “100 percent good, I tell you what.”
Like any good bluesman, he’s just telling it like it is. There are, in fact, beans and corn bread (with jalapeños) about four feet from where he’s playing. Earlier in the day, he and his band, King James and the Special Men, slow-cooked five pounds of red beans and rice, simmering it for six hours. Just like every Monday night at B.J.’s, their weekly gig, they’ve made enough for everybody, which tonight is about 50 people.
Whenever Joseph Moya travels around Duluth, Minnesota, the journey unsettles him. Back in Arizona, where Moya, grew up, he felt he was sometimes in the majority because he is Navajo. But in Duluth where a local foster family took him in four years ago, when he was 16, he feels trapped and exposed when he leaves select parts of town. “It’s like Star Wars, it has a dark side and a light side. Depends on what side you want to see it from,” he says as he fills out a job application for Applebees.
Moya describes Duluth’s lighter side as an upbeat place that draws tourism attracted by the city’s naturally beautiful perch above the lake. But he’s more used to the darker side. Since he moved to town he says he’s felt watched constantly by local police, business owners, and citizens when he enters the light side. “Stop following us in stores and stuff, dude. Stop calling us racist names. I didn’t come up to you and say, what’s up white trash…why would I do that, it’s disrespectful and hurtful.”
At halftime of Saturday’s DC inaugural “state” high school football game, coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim gave his Friendship Collegiate Academy players a kind of mid-term grade for the first half. “C, probably a C- type of feeling I got inside of me right now,” he says. “It’s up to you guys to get this @#*% to an A.”
It didn’t matter that the Friendship was winning 22-6. Abdul-Rahim wanted perfection, especially since it took nearly a decade just to get invited to this game.
For the first 50 years of his life Donald Stokes lived happily in Braithwaite, a town of a few hundred residents in Plaquemines Parish. In 2006 he and his wife decided to leave.
Stokes says it was such a painful departure that it took him two years to actually complete the move. “Slowly but surely I put stuff on a trailer, came back, put stuff on a trailer, came back. It wasn’t easy. It felt like I was uprooting my life.”
Low-lying coastal areas are the front lines for sea level rise, and increasingly frequent and destructive storms at sea. Hurricane Sandy proved it’s not just the South or the Gulf Coast at risk. Staten Island, one of New York City’s five boroughs, saw heavy flooding after Hurricane Sandy, which hit two years ago this month.
The way Eddie Perez tells it, the night of October 29, 2012 played out like one of those movies about the apocalypse. “About 7:55 I was watching the news and they said at 8 o’clock it was coming.”
The best way to understand Louisiana’s rapidly changing coastal map may be to look from above. That’s how you see the small highways headed south, slim like bony fingers, disappearing into a blue backdrop. What a map can’t express are the histories, hopes and desires of communities along the bayous of the Gulf Coast.
The best way to understand Louisiana’s rapidly changing coastal map may be to look from above. That’s how you see the small highways headed South, slim like bony fingers, disappearing into a blue backdrop. What a map can’t express are the histories, hopes and desires of communities along the bayous of the Gulf Coast.
A big part of Louisiana’s coastal Master Plan centers around something called “diversions.” Fresh water from the Mississippi River is diverted so that the water, and the silt it carries, can rebuild the sinking coast. But this technique, a centerpiece of Louisiana’s coastal Master Plan, is contentious.
Those who have been lucky enough to travel to the Wax Lake Delta are prone to gush about it. “You’re going a place that is one of the few bright spots on the coast of Louisiana,” says Ben Weber, who leads trips to the Wax Lake area as an outreach coordinator for the National Wildlife Federation.
The face of coastal erosion in Louisiana is often defined by the most visibly threatened communities. Towns that are literally trying to determine how long they have before they might have to move. And while there’s few people calling on New Orleans residents to start making Plan B’s, some local leaders are trying to get their constituents to be more aware.
For the past decade Austin Badon has officially represented New Orleans East’s District 100 in the state legislature. But he’s unofficially been a local tour guide for a lot longer. “I’ve spent almost all of my life in New Orleans East,” says Badon, as he steers his Red Humvee from his office parking lot onto Bullard Avenue.
This spring a state committee approved $477 million for coastal protection and restoration. When you throw in federal dollars, and private funding as well, fixing Louisiana’s coast is becoming big business.
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If you came across a microphone just planted in the middle of your neighborhood, what would you say into it? What if the microphone was tucked into a hanging cardboard tree and had a series of questions taped next to it, begging to be answered?
An innovative project in New Orleans is testing out this unusual way to make news into a two-sided conversation, with a little bit of help from public art and not-so-secret recording devices.
Patti Snyder was 8 when her family moved into a white bungalow a stone’s throw from the sea. Her Italian immigrant father wanted his children to have the opportunity to regularly enjoy what for years he had known only on vacations.
Michael Burnett, who lives in Brooklyn’s Red Hook neighborhood, is trying to get people interested in fixing up a local park. Burnett wants to create a permanent space for his Kingz of New York youth football program, but he’s struggled to find funding and support.
With New York City mayoral hopeful Bill de Blasio waiting to speak and an audience of a few thousand in Brooklyn’s Cadman plaza waving signs and flags, dancing, and chanting “Si se puede,” 23-year-old Pakistani immigrant Hina Naveed, a student from Staten Island, didn’t miss her moment. She captured the identity and energy of the crowd in one quick phrase: “Being undocumented sucks!”
It’s appropriately below freezing at 8 p.m. on a Thursday night in Northern Minnesota. The only lights still on in tiny Callaway, population 200, belong to the liquor store, which features slot machines and toaster oven pizza, and the gas station, which also has slots, and fried chicken, too.
Inside a local community center, a young man in his 20s slouches in a chair. His frame is wrapped in a black hoodie sweatshirt and black baggy jeans, and he’s staring blankly at his cell phone. He says about a week ago he lost his girlfriend, the mother of his young son, to a heroin overdose.
WWNO’s Coastal Desk has been on tour, looking at water management in other cities. Austin and Philadelphia were the first stops. Now we’ll hear about the final city: Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
A delegation of New Orleans city officials and non-profit leaders recently headed to Wisconsin. They learned how Milwaukee, built as an industrial hub, has become one of the greenest big cities in the country.
Last week a delegation from the Crescent City traveled to Austin, Texas. The idea: to check out how Austin manages its water. Drought-stricken Texas has too little water; New Orleans often has too much. But they have a surprising amount to learn from each other.
Outside their city government office building, five employees of Austin’s Watershed Protection Department show off a series of small rain gardens they’ve built. The plots sit along the curb of a major intersection. They’re meant to absorb as much storm-water as possible, to help prevent overflow and flooding to the city’s drainage system.
Jose Cruz does not have a lot to distract him from the misery of living in a cold building at the moment. His employer, a local Red Hook restaurant called Fort Defiance, was washed out in the storm as well. He’s not sure if and when he’ll be back on the job.
Bermudez lives at 80 Dwight Street, one of the 30 public housing buildings that make up the Red Hook West homes. Hurricane Sandy caused high tides to spread out over the Red Hook neighborhood, which sits right off the ocean in South Brooklyn. It flooded the basement of Bermudez’s building, disabling everything but the gas.
A get-out-the-vote campaign in one of New York City’s largest Muslim communities targets recent arrivals who are learning the basics of democracy as they vote
A year after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, fishing families in Bayou Pointe-au-Chien, Louisiana still worry about health effects and seafood contamination
A booming African city, in a police state, with remnants of its brush with colonial Europe. But a place where democracy threatens to emerge says reporter Jesse Hardman in his View From Here.
Forty years ago, the people of Stelle, Ill. prepared for an apocalypse that never happened. Instead, a commitment to sustainable energy was born.
A program in New York City is reviving house calls for Medicare patients with multiple illnesses in hopes of saving money on emergency room visits and hospital care
Six years after Katrina, it’s still a challenge to find basic resources in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward. But a local community garden and education center is trying to change that. New Orleans’ painful last six years have been well documented. And the city’s Lower Ninth Ward has seen the worst of the worst. Houses and businesses were decimated, and the area is still a food desert, there’s literally nowhere close to find groceries.
But that’s slowly changing thanks to an old abandoned grocery store that’s been revived, and turned into an organic garden run in part by local youth. Blair Grocery’s existence means this Thanksgiving residents of the Lower Ninth didn’t have to walk far to find some healthy items to serve for dinner.
The southeast Asian country of Burma may be best known for its repressive government, but it also has one of the world’s lowest per capita incomes.
Government controls, inefficient financial policies and corruption have stalled the Burmese economy, sending a flood of workers East, looking for a better life. There are two to three million Burmese migrant workers in Thailand, according to Thai government estimates. Most find work in garment factories, constructions sites, and farms. One of the best paying but most dangerous jobs for men is in the fishing industry.
In their new book and CD ‘The Recipe Project,’ Brooklyn band One Ring Zero turns recipes from famous chefs into songs.
As Burmese continue to suffer politically and economically, many head to Thailand and find things can get worse.
Hundreds of thousands of migrant workers have fled Libya since fighting broke out in February. Many have landed on the Tunisian border, in a refugee camp, including one aspiring playwright.
While a singular message hasn’t emerged in the third week of the Occupy Wall Street movement, many people articulate their reasons for being there.
Two young students in Benghazi, Libya, share their hopes about the revolution they helped create, and what is next in their country.
Climate change, Islamic militants, lack of aid and bad infrastructure conspire to threaten millions in East Africa.
NBA star Yao Ming’s retirement may disappoint fans, but he has singlehandedly inspired over 300 million people to play basketball in his native China.
As colorful signs fill the streets, Thailand braces for what could be its biggest voter turnout ever. The race is down to two parties: The Democrats (Yellow Shirts) and the Pheu Thai party (Red Shirts).
There are three black and white photographs of my dad that tell the story of the last few years. My brother, Andy, took them, and they are both beautiful and brutal. The first one is of my dad on an August day in 2008. He’s standing in a lake in the Adirondack Mountains. Because of his tremors, he’s down to 130 pounds from his normal weight of 170.
“He looks like he’s out of a concentration camp, he does,” my dad says about the person in the photo. “Nothing I ate, nothing I did, helped me put on weight, because it all went out through my tremors.” He says it was the worst moment in his 15-year battle with Parkinson’s disease.
Back in March I met a young writer named Abdirizak. Well, to be fair, his career was just getting going, but he listed writing as his “favorite,” and he seemed pretty dedicated.
And by dedicated, I mean despite the fact that he had just fled for his life from Libya, where he was working as a day laborer, and before that fled his home country of Somalia as it descended into chaos, he still managed to write every day in a little paper notebook.
“Don’t throw up now,” Mike King says as he begins to remove his right foot from a plastic bag. What “started off with a little spot,” King says, is now a full-blown infection that has caused his foot to grow to twice its normal size. Most of his heel bone is visible, emerging out of his skin. The stench of rotting flesh is overwhelming. “That’s bone I’m walking on. I’m walking on nothing but bone, you know. Every time I put my foot down, it hurts.”
A New Orleans native, King, 57, is squatting in what’s left of a building he has called home for 20 years, long before the post-Katrina floods gutted the shotgun structure. He moved back in after a stint at the Superdome, where he stayed after the storm. His home is one of New Orleans’ estimated 43,000 abandoned buildings — the worst such statistic of any U.S. city other than Detroit. A drive through the Big Easy will show many of these properties are hardly vacant.
As Egyptians look ahead to what’s next, vendors, marketers, and advertisers are trying to capture the lightning in a bottle that was the Tahrir revolution.
Tens of thousands of people who have fled the violence in Libya to Tunisia are relying on informal word-of-mouth communication channels to gather information, according to an Internews assessment of information needs in the Choucha camp, the main transit site on the Tunisian border with Libya. Radio and television are not widely accessible, and though many stranded migrant workers have cell phones and are able to charge them at the camp, they lack direct information about their situation on the ground.
Internews, working with humanitarian agencies such as UNHCR, IOM and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) on the ground, has made a series of recommendations on how to facilitate camp communications to spread accurate information within the camps.
There is a line that stretches for miles in the desert. A line thousands of people long. A line for food, a line for work, a line for humanity, a line for home. But where and what is home? Being born in a single place no longer satisfies a lifetime. People leave as soon as they are tall enough and strong enough to work. That’s why tens of thousands of Bangladeshis are sitting here, with me, in the middle of the Tunisian desert, looking for rice because they can’t stand the baguettes the locals keep bringing them to eat.
And that’s why it’s silly to send them back to the place of their birth, Bangladesh, because that place means nothing to them now — there is no home for them there. Within a few months they will leave again for India, or wherever they can find a job. They were born there, but Bangladesh has provided nothing for them since they became 13-year-old adults, so they left, and they moved to Libya to work for the Chinese, the Koreans, the Europeans.
At the Libyan-Egyptian border, thousands of Egyptians and other foreign nationals flee Libya, each with a personal story of why they fled and what violence they experienced.
Rahm Emanuel is the frontrunner in the race for Chicago mayor. But other candidates, and their constituencies, hope to keep him from running away with the vote.
In New York City’s Times Square, hundreds gathered in support of the antigovernment protests in Egypt.
Between the Red Sox’s season-saving victory over Cleveland, the annual Head of Charles Regatta and the Bikram Yoga regional championships (no, this is not a joke), Saturday was heaven on earth for any Boston sports fan. But the most historic event took place with very little fanfare. That’s right, Harvard and Princeton battled for the 100th time on the gridiron.
I was on hand for the big event and asked everyone I could find — from coeds to old timers — about the significance of the game and most returned my question with a chuckle. Others gave me an empty look and returned to smoking cigars and fixing their VERITAS lapel pins. Needless to say, this wasn’t exactly Ohio State-Michigan.
I have wanted to document my dad’s battle with Parkinson’s for a long time. As many reporters can attest, it can be a hard transition from the detached impartiality required for most journalism to documenting someone close to you. For nearly 10 years, thoughts of interviewing my dad felt forced — and frankly, the idea scared me. Did I really want to know the difficult details of his battle with the disease? On a personal level, I had gotten into the habit of assuming he was OK, and only drawing from his general successes, not what is inevitably a progressive breakdown of the body.
While visiting my parents a few months ago, I woke up one morning and saw my dad was getting ready to go to a Parkinson’s support event. I grabbed my recorder and a microphone and joined him.
When the magnitude 8.8 earthquake hit south-central Chile early on February 27, everything went silent. No electricity, no cell phones, no computers, and most importantly, says Mauro Morshiatti, no radio. But within 15 minutes Morshiatti and his team of engineers, producers and reporters at the Radio Bio Bio network, headquartered in Concepción, a town of a half million people near the epicenter, had broken the silence with a simple broadcast. He had no information about the extent of the damages or the government response, but Morshiatti knew he had to get on the air.
“When there is silence it means you’re absolutely alone. And after an earthquake that’s distressing. And the newspapers can’t solve that, it has to be the radio,” he said. “It has to be a voice.”
Freelance journalists often face big-league dangers by Jesse Hardman January 21, 2010
The Wall Street Journal recently compiled its list of the 200 best to worst occupations, taking into consideration levels of physical demands, stress, employment outlook, income and environment. Reporters ranked toward the bottom, well below nuclear-plant decontamination technicians. Perhaps it’s not surprising that during a year when the Great Recession has compounded a decade of newspaper revenue declines and newsroom firings, reporting has become a career on par with garbage collectors.
What is surprising is that so many young people continue to want to become journalists despite this bleak reality and the unknown future of the industry. Graduate school applications at institutions such as Columbia University, NYU and Northwestern’s Medill are up. Columbia had a 38 percent increase in applications, despite continued low wages and few opportunities in the industry.
This past May, we spent nine days driving around the southwestern United States visiting some of the 33 Native American reservations that have their own radio stations. We knew before the trip that tribal radio would be unique but there was no way to predict how much so. Every station we visited was a different mix of professional old hands, volunteers, elders, youth, tradition, and innovation. The more community members we spoke to, the more clear it became that radio, often dismissed as outdated for the Web 2.0 era, was the most essential medium of communication in Indian country, whether it was serving a reservation the size of a small European country or one just a few square miles long.
(August 1, 2008) Internews has given nearly 3000 transistor radios to families who have been forced to flee their homes by the conflict in Eastern Sri Lanka. The radio distribution is part of Internews’ “Lifeline” project to meet the information needs of Sri Lankans living in camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs).
Kowsalya Murugaiah, the local leader of the Alunkulam welfare camp in Sri Lanka’s Eastern Batticaloa District, calls out to her fifty-some constituents and then waits patiently under a shady tree. Mostly women and children emerge from small one-room huts where they seek shade from the unbearable heat that defines afternoon in this part of the island. The men are out doing physical work like cutting and hauling firewood from the local jungle.
This morning the Sri Lankan government began letting thousands of refugees leave the camps where they’ve been held since the country’s 25-year war with the Tamil Tigers ended last May. According to news reports the government said the Tamil civilians who had been held in the camps would be allowed free movement but would be required to register with local authorities. Some 300,000 people had been displaced by the war.
Jesse Hardman was a reporter here at WBEZ. He’s also been Worldview’s World Cup Commentator for the past two years, and writes the blog Put Me in the Game. Most recently he spent a year doing media training in Sri Lanka, working with local reporters on a project to improve access to information for people who’d been displaced by the war. His group of reporters produced a daily radio show called Lifeline. In order to gather material for the program, they went to the areas where those who’d been displaced by the war were living. Jesse talks to us about what the mood was like in the country when the civil war ended.
Stories of what can and cannot be translated. A short, non-athletic, bespectacled East Asian studies major who couldn’t make his high school basketball team finds himself in the NBA as the personal translator for the first-ever Chinese pro basketball superstar, Yao Ming. Plus, a Palestinian man teaches Hebrew classes in the Gaza strip to Palestinians eager to learn news from the other side of the checkpoint.
One of the stories of 2009 was the end of 25 years of brutal civil war in Sri Lanka. Government troops forced the surrender of the Tamil Tiger rebels in the island nation just south of the Indian continent. One Minnesotan who got an inside view of the conflict was journalist Jesse Hardman In the midst of the chaos he came upon an amazing story of a forgotten people.
Jesse Hardman went to Sri Lanka to train and lead a team of local journalists. They travelled the length and breadth of the country, talking to some of the tens of thousand of people in displacement camps. These were people pushed from their homes by outbreaks of violence, often at a moment’s notice. Some had been out of their homes for months. As Hardman’s news team came into each community they set about spreading information the people desperately needed.
In Hawaii, where few public schools are known for their academic achievements, a student’s chances of landing a spot in a big state school is remote. But Peni Fiuangaihetau, a larger-than-life high school senior from Maui, has beaten cultural and academic odds to land a college spot in Utah. Hawaii ranks dead last in U.S. high school academic testing. Very few students in the state go on to college.
Hundreds of thousands of migrants from Zimbabwe have resettled in neighboring South Africa during the past four years, fleeing a collapsed economy and political violence in their home country. But many of them could face deportation back to Zimbabwe unless they apply for a visa by close of business tomorrow. Anders Kelto reports from Bellville, South Africa.
For centuries, home has been a transient notion for the ethnic community known as the Garifuna. Pushed around the Caribbean region by various colonial powers, many sought safe haven in New York beginning in the 1940s. They’ve kept coming in small waves, but have maintained a low profile — until now. On the cusp of the 2010 census, community leaders are asking Garifuna residents to stand up and be counted.
Peru’s been on a wild ride in recent years. In the 80’s, the country had an increasing security threat from the “Shining Path” coinciding with a financial debacle. The 90’s were spent with the popular authoritarian Alberto Fujimori. Now it’s back to the 80’s president again Alan Garcia.
Chris Carney, an ex-convict, rebuilds a life in the real world after landing a job as a building superintendent.
A drop in crime and fewer inmates means Lyon Mountain, N.Y., is about to lose its prison — the main employer in a town of 400.
Journalists in India, Pakistan, Mexico, France and Sweden describe their countries’ take on America’s Midterm Election results.
Some of Minnesota’s Somali refugees have been lured into terrorism. But community leaders hope soccer can give youth there an alternative to extremism.
For Zimbabwe refugees escaping violence in their home country, seeking asylum in South Africa can mean assault on the streets, refused work and attacks by local politicians.
While Johannesburg and Cape Town are center stage to see the World Cup live, New York City may just be the best place to watch the games on TV.
Earthquake victims from Chile and Haiti can see a cautionary tale in Peru, where rebuilding has stalled in some villages hit by a quake more than two years ago.
In part 2 of this 3-part climatoon, journalist Jesse Hardman and illustrator Arthur Jones continue their tour of the world’s climate change hot spots.
Starting in Copenhagen, Journalist Jesse Hardman and illustrator Arthur Jones take a trip around the globe to explore climate change.
Without major news organizations to back them, freelance reporters are putting themselves at risk to report from the world’s hot spots.
Jesse Hardman reports from Native American reservations in the American west, where radio shows help preserve and develop tribal culture.
The multimedia project “Cassette from My Ex” documents the era of the mix tape, when people created personal soundtracks for their lives and loves.
Gonzaga forward Adam Morrison has been turning heads with his infallible game — 3-point bank shots at the buzzer, 43 points againstMichigan State — and unflattering looks: a hairy caterpillar mustache and long messy hair.
All the excitement has led to some lofty comparisons with another shaggy-haired, mustachioed, do-it-all basketball star by the name ofLarry Bird. Personally — because I can’t resist adding my own shameless interpretation — Morrison looks more like a cross betweenPete Maravich (colorful tube socks), Steve Prefontaine (mustache), and the teenage Amish kids who used to sell pies on my rural Ohiocollege campus (locks-ridden bowl cuts).
I caught Morrison’s performance at the Maui Invitational, where he led the Zags to a ready-made classic triple overtime thriller overMichigan State. I happened to be sitting a few rows behind a certain former Boston Celtics player and current head honcho. Speaking of hair worth watching, as a lifelong redhead, I was a little chagrined to see Danny Ainge sporting hair a shade brighter than my own. Two words: frosty tips.
I glanced over at Ainge every time Morrison did something eye-popping (which was often), and make no mistake, the man looked like he was watching a Celtic ghost as Mr. Gonzaga lit it up with impossible bank shots, hard drives, and crisp passing. There was a magic in the gym, aside from the Thanksgiving Maui heat and customary college basketball coach paunches that were bouncing along the sideline through the button-down Hawaiian shirts.
Watching Gonzaga take on and defeat a talented and equally sound Michigan State team was a joy. There were four missed free throws in the entire game. Both teams rode players with hot hand throughout the game instead of forcing play, and they both attacked the basket, boxed out, and took care of the ball.
This “how-to” college basketball extravaganza was a tough act to follow, and was proceeded unceremoniously by an Arizona-Connecticut stinker marred by sloppiness and offensive disarray. That’s right, I referred to a matchup between two of college basketball’s storied programs as a stinker. That’s what watching Gonzaga and Morrison will do: make you remember and appreciate a style of basketball that is well-executed, thoughtful and well-played.
Rolling into conference play, Gonzaga had played one of the tougher non-conference schedules in the nation and was 10-3, including a two-point loss to Connecticut and a four-point loss to Washington. They have won with injuries and despite the fact that Morrison is stoppable, especially when teams collapse four defenders on him (yet, he still leads the nation in scoring).
Yes, impressive, I thought, but even more electric was watching Morrison miss and then sprint — trust me, that is a generous statement for a man who runs about as gracefully as a penguin — to catch his mark. He also routinely engaged his supporting cast in a heated lecture after a turnover or foul, especially when the game got close down the stretch.
What seemed most Bird-like to me was Morrison’s fire. He did not make every shot, but he kept his team’s intensity up and buoyed their will to win.
The Bird comparisons flow freely these days. Morrison has an eerily similar jump shot that is fired up like a pinball and trickles down like a raindrop. He is also small-town and a gym rat. They have both overcome adversity: Bird his father’s suicide; Morrison his diabetes. Rumor even has it that Morrison idolizes Bird.
Yes, this all makes a nice tidy story. But Morrison also reportedly has sported a Che Guevara poster on his dorm room wall, and not because Che is from the same country ( Argentina) as Manu Ginobli (there is more to life than sports, people.)
Perhaps Morrison is trying to lead Gonzaga in a guerilla revolution at the NCAA Tournament, or maybe just trying to make college hoops a little more sharing, a little more Marxist. (Just for the record, hold up a photo of Morrison next to the classic photo of Che. Now you are seeing a ghost, Mr. Ainge.)
Jokes aside, there is a literal connection here. Part of what makes players like Bird and Morrison fly, aside from a thick-winged moustaches, is that they do have a little socialism in them, the ability to be great without being greater than.
At the end of the day, the can’t-miss kid obviously has a lot of influences, basketball and non. He is Larry Bird and Che Guevara, a natural leader who sparks a successful team and a successful system. He makes shots and draws defensive attention, passes out of double teams, finds the cutting man, runs hard up and down the floor, and his team is right there with him.
Nobody ever said that being a team player and leader meant you had to be boring.
In my hometown of Minneapolis/St. Paul, we are blessed with something not even New York City can boast: a major university and franchises in all four major pro leagues. That’s a lot of sports to watch.
So on a cold snowy night, when it’s time to warm up from a long day of ice fishing (yes, local lakes can be enjoyed without Vikings on party boats), it’s not our multimillion-dollar miscreant crybabies we turn to, but the college kids on ice skates who are playing for the love of the game.
First things first: a non-Midwesterner might struggle to understand why an educated person would pay top dollar to go from the outdoor patch of ice that is the Minnesota winter to an indoor patch occupied by a bunch of college kids. You simply need to be grounded in a more global understanding of sport.
Aside from Chivas, the soccer power from Guadalajara that prides itself on fielding only Mexican-born players, I am unaware of many teams that limit their pool of talent to locals. But until five or six yeas ago, Minnesota’s hockey program survived almost entirely on homegrown players.
“Every kid who plays hockey in the state dreams of being a Minnesota Gopher,” says current Minnesota captain Gino Guyer, who was born in Coleraine, Minn. “I’ve always thought of hockey in Minnesota like football in Texas. It means that much.”
Call it arrogant, misguided, ‘Sota-centric, or whatever, but it worked. See: Herb Brooks, Neil Broten, and the rest of the 1980 Olympic hockey team. Now, only a select few Dakotans and the occasional Wisconsinite are given temporary visas to cross the border and score goals for the greater good that is Gopher hockey.
One must also recall the sights and sounds of fascism in Italy. When the Golden Gophers score, the entire crowd stands up, right arms extended with clinched fists, and spells out M-I-N-N-E-S-O-T-A, accentuating each letter with a punch to the air. The salute lasts about 15 seconds and ends with a twirl of the right arm above the head and a final exclamatory punch forward.
This can get tiring on a good night, and the casual fan might decide to take a breather. But the dedicated follower in aisle 18, seat 7, the one with the Gophers hat complete with fuzzy protruding ears, will stare at you threateningly.
“It’s a thrill to play in front of a crowd like that,” says Calgary Flames defenseman Jordan Leopold, who manned the Gophers’ blue line from 1998-2002. “There’s a six-year waiting list for season tickets. The building holds 11,000 and it’s sold out every night, every year, every game.”
The college kids in the stands are just as entertaining as the ones on the rink. Piling into the section behind the visitor’s goal, backed by the enormous pep band made up of clarinets from the Iron Range and tubas from the prairie, these kids are tipsy, but witty. I’m sure I’ll change my tune when I begin taking my own son to games, but for now, listening to U of M students chant “Union College” (an opponent) is simply hilarious.
At a recent Gophers game, my father and I were treated to eight goals and thorough home team domination, but something was missing. Yes, it used to be even better.
Across the street from the still sparkling “new” Mariucci Arena, where we sit, is the “old” one. It was our first true sporting love. We are warmed by memories of homemade caramel corn, a low ceiling pocketed with dents from flying pucks, and old clanking radiators that served as warm perches for the cigar-smoking old timers between periods. We gaze longingly at the ramshackle rink. Like the first car we ever owned, she’s a little run-down, but, man, was she fun.
Our nostalgic hallucinations were shattered by an unwitting Union College forward who made the very unfortunate decision to run straight into the Gopher’s goaltender. Five of Minnesota’s more massive players quickly piled on and proceeded to “Eddie Shore” any Union player who came near the fray. With Reg Dunlap glee, the crowd delighted in seeing their own beat the crap out of the liberal arts travelers from upstate New York.
Yes, this all might sound a bit old fashioned and even hooligan, but it gets at the heart of why college sports can be much, well… much more. Most of these kids are not burdened by trying to feed their families on mere millions of dollars. They are having fun. So are we. What is better than that?