City Living

I sit down in the front seat of Dr. Shirima’s fancy new car and exchange morning greetings – “Habari za asubuhi?? Nzuri sana, asante” – before my eyes inevitably focus on the bottle of yellow liquid on the dashboard that reads “Pure House” on the first line and “Car Fragrance” on the second. Gets me every time. We wind through the municipalities of Ilala and Temeke on our way in to the office, my eyes constantly focused on all that’s happening on the streets. There is so much color, so much life, so much activity. Motorcycles, apparently having become a huge hit since my last stint in East Africa, weave in and out of the cars and particularly enjoy the middle route between the cars in each lane. One of them zips by with a mud flap that reads “GROLY TO GOD.” They all wear helmets, but their undone buckles flap behind them in the wind. “Better than nothing?” I wonder to myself.

Stopped in traffic, I look at all the people passing by the windows of cars trying to sell almost everything under the sun – gum, soda, water, snacks, inflatable soccer balls and flamingoes, maps of Tanzania, a poster of the English alphabet, fruit, newspapers, tarps…. I pause when I see the man with the tarps. “Who would need a tarp when they’re sitting in traffic?” I think to myself. About thirty seconds later, Dr. Shirima honks his horn and signals to the man with the tarps – “Just what I’ve been looking for,” he says in all seriousness. Touché, tarp man, touché.

Men on bicycles line the outside of the roads, some transporting goods and some not. I am most impressed by those carrying furniture (including an entire sofa) and those bringing eggs to sell in the city. They carry what looks like about 48 eggs per carton, with layers stacked so high I’ve seen them rise above the height of the person transporting them. This would not be a good job for me, I think, picturing myself in a pile of hundreds of broken eggs on the side of the road. Dr. Shirima explains that there’s a huge poultry farm just outside the city where they bike in from every morning. I wonder if this is the most efficient way, but then look around at how much faster bikes can move in this traffic and imagine that it may indeed be faster.

A job I definitely lack the coordination to do. Carrying eggs through a city of six million on a bike is an impressive feat. Photo by Gemina Garland-Lewis.

A job I definitely lack the coordination to do. Carrying eggs through a city of six million on a bike is an impressive feat. Photo by Gemina Garland-Lewis.

We turn down a side road to take a short cut, passing by a corner where men sit and smash big rocks into smaller rocks all day in order to sell them for building material. I am reminded of the other day when Dr. Shirima and I stopped at a shopping center and there were three people working each gate to the parking lot. How many jobs in the developed world have been replaced by machines?

Passing through the gate at the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Development, things around me become quiet. But my mind keeps thinking about the city. I’ve been living in Dar for two weeks now, and every day I reflect on how different life is here than what I experienced in the Arusha region. One of the draws to my internship was that I would finally get to experience a major African metropolis – up until now, my time in big cities here has been short but sweet – a day in Windhoek, two in Maputo, maybe three in Johannesburg and Durban. I spent about three weeks in Cape Town, but it’s hard to really put Cape Town in the same category… My mind starts to wander…

My second night here I am taken down to the bar at the place I’m staying by the niece of the woman who owns it. She is a year younger than me, a primary school teacher on her holiday break right now. She, along with most of the other women I see, is wearing pants. Normally, this would not strike me as odd, but I have not seen a woman in pants since I arrived in Tanzania (save my safari guide, but that’s really a practical decision). Women do not wear pants in the villages – when some of my female students wore pants in the villages we were asked why they were wearing men’s clothes. Here at the bar, a few other women walk past with short, skin-tight dresses. I have not seen legs or cleavage since I arrived, either. I am also told that colorful patterned kangas I so adore are not in style in the city – they’re “something your Aunt Mary wears.” That being said, I see women in kangas every day here, just not among the more modern crowd that frequents this bar. She asks a friend for a cigarette and tells me that her mother doesn’t know she smokes. In the city, if you smoke and you’re female it’s a sign that you’re a prostitute. She likens it to what she’s seen in movies about wigs being a sign that you’re a prostitute in America. It’s a combination of the dress and the location, I say, realizing that most of what I know is probably from the media, too.

I look over and see a couple making out. “!!!!!!” is how my brain responds. I am not only scanning my memory to think if I have EVER seen this amount of PDA anywhere in Africa (again, note my lack of experience in big cities) but also remembering a conversation I had with the Maasai not too long ago that made me think “!!!!!!” as well. In that instance, I was being told that men and women never kiss. Kissing is for a parent to their child, they said, but never between a husband and wife. Up until this moment, it had never even occurred to me that kissing your partner was not simply a part of being human. This sends me into a swirl of questions about whether or not kissing is a biological human impulse and how we express love in different cultures and who were the first humans to kiss and why. I have gone from “no kissing” to public displays of kissing in this country in but a few short weeks. How fabulous.

Our campfire in Maasai land where students and Maasai discuss the vast differences between our cultures. Yes, including kissing. Photo by Gemina Garland-Lewis.

Our campfire in Maasai land where students and Maasai discuss the vast differences between our cultures. Yes, including kissing. Photo by Gemina Garland-Lewis.

I have been noticing a man in his underwear and nothing else – small, tight grey briefs. I am also thinking how different this is from village life when my new friend tells me that he is gay. These words come out of her mouth with a mixture of acceptance and disgust, which is a hard line to walk. Homosexuality is not just frowned upon, but illegal many places in Africa (save South Africa where even gay marriage is legal – once you come out of apartheid saying everyone is equal I guess it’s hard to keep institutionalizing discrimination in any form, even though most South Africans are still quite homophobic). Her face, and her later interactions with him, makes me wonder about the role that urban youth in Africa may play in changing this situation. I remember one of Putney students, a girl from NYC, running up to the leaders in joy after seeing two men holding hands – “I saw a gay couple!!!!” she exclaimed. “No you didn’t,” we all reply in unison, crushing her dreams just a little. Here, it is very normal for people of the same sex to hold hands. Two men holding hands is a sign of friendship and nothing more, because the “more” that we speak of does not exist – at least not on the outside. Soon enough, grey underwear guy comes over and introduces himself. Although I learn his real name, I am told that no one would know him by that name because he is called “kichupi” – little underwear. I smile. I need no explanation…

…..

“Ok,” I say, my mind finally coming back to the office after its meanderings through city life. Time to get to work. I know I have the ride home to continue to soak it all in.

Selling goods in the endless line of traffic in Dar es Salaam. Photo by Gemina Garland-Lewis.

Selling goods in the endless line of traffic in Dar es Salaam. Photo by Gemina Garland-Lewis.

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Baby and the Boma

Stepping down, I enter a very dimly lit, very small house. There’s a particularly strong smoky goat smell (if you will), overwhelming my senses. I am being led by Kichua, one of the men of this boma. I have asked to see his newborn baby who, after my visit with my National Geographic Student Expeditions group, was named “Ian” after my co-leader. (Co-leader) Ian has asked me to try and get a picture of (baby) Ian now that I am back in the boma with the Putney Student Travel group. I will, upon leaving the house, learn that babies are not allowed outside for the first three months of their lives (which is why said picture is a little dark and blurry).

The whole house is probably less than 10 feet in width, maybe 15 in length. I am led to the room on my left, where Kichua’s wife holds her child on their bed. Their bed, mind you, being made of various overlapping sticks to make a frame and a stretched cow hide for the mattress equivalent. I get the hand motion invitations to sit down next to his wife, who immediately hands me her child, now three weeks old.

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I have never held a baby this young. Hell, I’ve hardly ever held a baby. I’m sure I can count on one hand the amount of times I’ve held babies – and it might not even take my whole hand. Two of my cousins have babies but, to my regret, I don’t get to see them very often. And indeed, the practice of giving your baby to a complete stranger whose language you don’t speak is not a common one in the U.S., but that’s where I find myself here at this moment. My face is covered in an ear-to-ear grin. This moment. This moment. I feel like there’s another me floating above in the room, watching all of this in awe. This is why I travel, why I explore.

My attention is completely on the baby (Don’t drop it! Make sure to support its head! Don’t let her see you have no idea what you’re doing!), yet I notice that an animal has started to lick and chew at my knee and the kanga I’m wearing. I guess that it’s a goat, never really giving it a good look. Kichua has commandeered my camera (how fortunate it was already on a tripod facing me and the baby!) and is taking some shots of us. It’s hardly light enough to see with my own eyes in here, but I smile at the camera anyway.

After about five minutes, I give the baby back. I need to get back outside and photograph the students (which is, after all, what I was supposed to be doing all along). I look down and realize that the animal that has been enjoying my kanga/knee is a baby cow – the youngest I have ever seen (hence the mix up with the goat). I think of Billy Crystal and Norman, the baby cow in “City Slickers.”

This moment(!)

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I Built That. Or rather, I made those clothes dirty.

Yesterday morning I spent a lot of time thinking about the ways in which, deep down, I am really an American. What got me thinking about this, you ask? My laundry. My dirty-stinky-been-out-in-the-bush-for-a-month clothes. It went a little something like this (imagine lots of hand gestures and broken Swahili on my part, with big smiles):

Zai (the woman who does cooking and cleaning here): Me!

Me: Me!

Zai: No – me!

Me: No – me!

[Exit Zai]

[Enter Zai and Iku]

Iku: I think we have a misunderstanding. Zai can do your washing for you.

Me: I know, but I’m happy to do it myself and I would feel bad if she had to do it.

Zai via Iku: She doesn’t trust me to do her washing?

Me via Iku: No that’s not it! I trust her; I just like to do my own cleaning.

Zai via Iku: Everyone else will think I’m mean and bad at my job if I don’t clean her clothes

Me (in my head): Ohhhh yeah I hadn’t thought of that

I say that, from where I come from in my culture, I will feel very bad if Zai has to wash my dirty-stinky-been-out-in-the-bush-for-a-month clothes. Zai says that, from where she comes from in her culture, she will feel very bad if she doesn’t wash my dirty-stinky-been-out-in-the-bush-for-a-month clothes. We are at an impasse.

I suggest we wash them together, which seems to go over okay. I wait while someone goes out to purchase “super-soap” for my dirty-stinky-been-out-in-the-bush-for-a-month clothes, because apparently what they normally have on hand just won’t cut it.

Zai sets up all the buckets. I call her “Mwalimu Zai” (teacher) in hopes that it will help her feel like I am trying to learn from her (which I am) and not to take over her job. I watch her technique for the first round, knowing full well that she’s much better at hand-washing than I am, even if I have done it many times before. The water in the bucket (with only half of my clothes) starts to look like hot chocolate. We laugh at how dirty it is. I still feel awkward… this poor woman not only has to see all my filth but to clean it up as well. (When viewing the image below, keep in mind that the bucket of brown water is my SECOND round of washing my clothes). Image

And THIS is where I start thinking about myself as an American. There are somecountries and cultures where it honestly doesn’t come up that much. When I’m travelling I’m more interested in adapting to the way of things wherever I am. Except, apparently, when it comes to laundry.

What I realized is that I have been deeply shaped by American individualism, by our do-it-yourself attitude, by the “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” take on life. I AM CAPABLE, my spirit screams. I CAN DO ANYTHING (*Note witty reference in title. Note also that this is only witty if you happened to follow the 2012 US Presidential Election Campaign). [Side bar: trying to explain American individualism here is very difficult, particularly when it comes to why it is very common for people to not live anywhere near their families.] 

I’ll admit there’s a more personal note to this as well. In order to put me through school growing up, my parents started to clean whatever school I was at to get a break on tuition. My mother went one step further and start cleaning houses for a living, that being an easier way to make money that utilizing her B.S. in Wildlife Biology. I grew up watching her clean the messes that other people left for her, and it has left me in a place today where I feel highly uncomfortable with other people cleaning up after me. Especially my dirty-stinky-been-out-in-the-bush-for-a-month clothes.

So with those two things working together, I sit there, covered in soap, trying to ignore the fact that every person who walks by is getting a major kick out of watching me help with washing. “Pole” they tell me later – “sorry.” I try to explain that I like it, but I’m sure that makes absolutely no sense. My fingers start painfully stinging. I have rubbed the skin off my delicate academic hands.

A woman walks over with a butcher’s knife held to a chicken’s throat. She is calling for someone else, someone who will be better at killing the chicken. He comes and grabs the bird by the wings, letting gravity do the rest. The bird is absolutely calm, but quite thin for slaughtering I think (says the American in me). He takes the bird about ten feet from where we are washing, lays the bird on the ground and sharpens the knife on the concrete pathway. He is positioned right behind a palm tree, so when I look up a minute later all I see is the now decapitated bird, with its head in his hands.

Another laundry first, I’d say.

Mzungu

Here, I am no longer “Gemina.” I am “mzungu.” It is a word I hear every day, sometimes more than others, and that has occupied a great deal of space in my mind.

Mzungu. White person.

What intrigues me the most is both how it is used in Swahili and its origins. The word translates not to a color of skin or to any particular ethnic or geographicgroup, but to “one who wanders without purpose.” When I consider what early European exploration and expansion must have looked like to people living in this region, I can understand the roots of this word. What particularly gets me is that this description resonates with me very personally. Ever since I first knew of Everett Ruess and his desert wanderings, “a vagabond for beauty” has been my namesake. From the outside, I feel like I am the embodiment of “one who wanders without purpose,” not only here, but to all those who either have not lived the life or a traveller or who don’t desire to.

There are many practical reasons, “purposes”, if you will, for some of my global vagabonding: research, work, school, etc. Sometimes the purpose is simply the journey, however, which is difficult to explain to people and cultures that do not share this wanderlust gene. I often think about this in terms my personal styling as well. I sport Maasai earrings, Navajo and Zuni rings, a Tibetan Buddhist mala, a Ghanaian bag, pants from Norway, a traditional Portuguese scarf, a sweater from Argentina, a khanga from Mozambique, bracelets I’ve collected from across the world, and then some. These are my stories. These are my journeys. My friends. My memories. My homes. I know that to people who are rooted in one culture, however, I must look incredibly lost and confused. This is where I start to think that I truly am an mzungu to those here, even though the modern context doesn’t necessary refer back to its origins.

On that note, I find it fascinating that the word as it is used today does not really contain anything specifically derogatory in its usage, it’s just that yes, I am a white person and am thus denoted as such. No matter where I have lived or traveled in Africa, I have found that race is talked about much more openly than we have allowed ourselves to feel comfortable with in America. The same openness applies to my African friends who now live in America. It is not racist, derogatory, or negative to include in a statement the color of that person’s skin (depending of course on the context and content of the rest of the sentence). While I have become accustomed to this, and in fact have come to appreciate it, I have a harder time getting used to being defined, in passing, entirely by the color of my skin.

Daily, “mzungu” leaves someone’s mouth and is directed at me. In the village, it was children who saw you walking down the road. “Mzungu! Mzungu! Mzungu!” Here in Dar, where people are more accustomed to seeing white people, it’s generally just in reference to me – “Did the mzungu tell you what she wants for lunch?” Today in the ladies’ bathroom at work, three women who were chatting when I walked in started throwing around “mzungu” when I was in the stall. (*As an aside: using a squat toilet when I have my traveling clothes on vs. when I have fancy work clothes/shoes on is a whole different experience).

My on-site internship mentor is a wonderfully happy man that goes by Dr. Msami. He is the director of surveillance and diagnostics at the Tanzanian Veterinary Laboratory Agency, where I’m interning. On the way home from work today, we discussed how the Western media portrays Africa and, vice versa, perceptions of wazungu (plural for “mzungu”) and Americans based off movies and other media they see. I told him that my students were continually amazed by the fact that people were actually HAPPY in Africa – that they weren’t all starving, engaged in genocide, or otherwise completely in a state of abject horror. When I think about the movies that have been popular in America that are based in Africa, the ones that come to mind are “Blood Diamond,” “Hotel Rwanda,” “The Last King of Scotland.” And yes, recently, “Invictus”, just to throw a little rugby in the mix. (For more on this topic, google Radi-Aid – it’s pretty amazing).

Conversely, however, what people here see of America is that we are all rich. Last night I again got the question: “There is poverty in America???” I think this is also what makes me uncomfortable at times with being “mzungu” and not “Gemina.” I am aware of the associations made here with a person being white, and, I do not necessarily fulfill some of those standards (and do not necessarily encounter people who care to discern the differences among wazungu). While discussing this, Dr. Msami told me that being mzungu means that yes you are stared at, yes you are a novelty, yes you are judged, but that’s it’s always in a positive way. “You are god-like,” he says. That’s a lot to live up to. It also makes it hard to go walk around outside if you’re not in the mood to have your every movement observed, or, as a blonde, your hair touched from time to time (this, and the horrible water pressure, are why I chopped off a good six inches of my locks before coming here). He then explains that anything big or fancy has the Swahili word for “European” added, even if it’s just a nice big herd of local cattle. Amusingly, the word for a big airplane translates to “European bird.”

No matter what, I will always be an mzungu. In both senses of the word, I imagine. I’m also sure it is something that I will continue to ponder as I become more involved in day-to-day life here.

But for the grand finale, a little irony from Dominique, one of our askaris (guards) in Maji ya Chai, our homestay village for the National Geographic Student Expeditions trip: 

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The Long and Bumpy Road

Aside

Well that month flew by.

I’m sitting on my bed at my new home in Dar es Salaam, the Kiota Lodge. Not only do I have amazing zebra print bedding (clashing with the Maasai blanket I added for warmth), but my bed frame extends about four feet up at both the foot and the head and has beautiful wood carvings that frame paintings of peacocks. I’ve been waking up in a tent recently, so this is quite a difference.

Obviously too much has happened in the last month for me to update on everything right now, but I’d like to be able to tell stories here and there from this time. For now, I think I’ll start with the 24-hour journey that got me here from Tarangire National Park.

After finishing my trip with National Geographic Student Expeditions, I joined a Putney Student Travel community service trip as a contract photographer/filmmaker to capture footage of their program. I had a total of eight days with them, half in their village and half on safari. Today is Thursday. Tuesday morning I woke up under the warmth of my sleeping bag and three extra blankets. The sunrise poured in through my window as I packed up, and I made sure to take a few minutes before breakfast to go soak up the view from the “kopje” (the Dutch translates to “little head”, but it means a small rock outcrop in the savannah) at our camping site. We are alone out here, save the Maasai guides who are ever present with their spears. I tell myself to remember this moment, burn it into my mind, so when I’m sitting in endless traffic in Dar I can call upon in.

Tuesday afternoon. We’re on our way to the public campsite in Tarangire National Park. We came in at the other end of the park so getting to our destination is a game drive in itself. I’m in a bit of a predicament, because a resupply vehicle is waiting for me at camp to take me back to Arusha with them, yet the closer it gets to dusk the more animals come out and the more we stop to look at them. We arrive at camp around 5:45pm, and I scramble in a state of hurriedness that I haven’t felt since arriving back in Africa. I need to get out my computer, transfer over the files for what I shot today to the external hard drives I’m leaving with the group leaders to send back. Need to give them all my sound gear. Need to give them my tripod. Need to grab all my things. Need to be out of the park before they lock us in at 6:30pm. I give the group goodbye hugs and hop into an old beat-up Land Rover (the best kind, I might add) and hit the dusty trail.

We zoom along at a speed I don’t think I’ve felt since arriving one month ago. We dodge warthogs, impala, wildebeest, and zebras, but we make it out on time. We hit the highway and encounter a police checkpoint. I know they’re asking about the mzungu in the car (me). Afterwards James, the driver, mentions something about needing to chat with them not to be bribed. I can’t tell if he means in general or if they were asking for a bribe just then. I look out the window at the setting sun. We drive past Lake Manyara and the mountains designating the Great Rift Valley. As we drive, our angle to the mountains keeps changing so the horizon keeps getting lower. Sunset lasts so much longer this way. At times, I even get the sensation of the sun rising again.

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We hit construction and a long bumpy ride begins. A giant moon peeks out over the horizon, caramel-colored and in a halo of clouds. Here and there the moon is framed by the silhouettes of acacia trees, and I realize the only thing more beautiful than an African sunset might be an African moonrise.

We arrive in Arusha at 9pm. I check in to my hotel and find two novelties: wireless and a hot shower. Not only is the water hot, but the pressure is strong enough to allow me to condition my hair for the first time in a month. The simple joys are really all that matter here.

My alarm goes off at 4:33am. I grimace. At 4:50am, my friend’s brother, a taxi driver here in Arusha, calls to tell me he’s outside. He’s 20 minutes early. I finish getting ready and head out into the darkness. At the bus station, three buses are loaded and drive off before mine, the 6:30am departure, arrives. While waiting I sit on a bench with my bags and watch three very newborn kittens, two black and one tabby, play with each other. It’s too much cuteness for so early in the morning.

The bus ride is long and cramped. A large woman with an extreme case of halitosis sits next to me. I turn towards the window. Soon after, the bus attendant comes by and informs me that I am in the wrong seat. She points to seat 22, where I was supposed to be. I see numbers written nowhere, but at this point it’s too much of a hassle for me and the man who ended up in 22 to switch. We wait until the bus stops in Moshi, then the large woman with halitosis tells me to move to 22, so I do.

The in-drive entertainment is spectacularly dreadful. The movie “Python” plays two times in a row. You can still hear the original English but someone has attempted to dub by speaking over it in Swahili. They’ve also provided entirely nonsensical English subtitles such as “hot water rice has been died!” (which, from everything I could gather at this point, was meant to say something along the lines of “Tommy was killed!”). The next movie is “Yankee Zulu.” I pull out my iPod.

I nod in and out of sleep. We have one toilet break at lunch and that is all, so I’m keeping myself pretty dehydrated. I text the colleagues picking me up in Dar at certain points to let them know my whereabouts, as we pass by shops with names like “Nice Pub” and “Friday Pub Everyday is Weekend”. I take a particular liking to the gasoline tankers with “DANGER – INFLAMMABLE” painted on them and a hand-painted sign on a truck that read “VERY LONG ABNORMAL VEHICLE.”

Ten hours after leaving Arusha, we arrive in Dar. My colleagues have been trailing the bus since we got to the city, waiting for it to stop so they can pick me up. I get put into a very nice, very new, Land Rover (issued by the Tanzanian government, I’m guessing) and start the trip to Kiota Lodge. As we get closer to the airport I notice signs with Barack Obama’s face welcoming him to Tanzania, where he just visited earlier this month. Karibu, Obama. Two hours later we’ve driven the short distance between where my bus stopped and the lodge. If traffic is this bad all the time I’m going to need a commuter hobby.

Upon arriving I meet Iku, the woman I’ve been in contact with here at Kiota, and Gabriel, a vet at the agency I’m interning at who specializes in zoonoses, particularly brucellosis and tuberculosis. I haven’t talked about things like this since leaving Boston and my brain perks up. I eat my dinner while we talk, trying to retain some manners while stuffing my face with my first meal since lunch the previous day. Soon after, Gabriel goes home to his family and I allow myself the longest night of sleep I’ve had in… well… that’s a good question. Too long.

And so here I am.

Shifting gears…

Habari rafiki! (Hello friends!)

Although I started this blog as a venue through which to keep people updated on my National Geographic Young Explorer’s Grant project on Azorean whalers, I’m embarking on a new journey this summer and decided I should continue using this site as a means for travel stories and updates. 

I’m leaving for Tanzania in just four days, now (hence the opening with Swahili), and that wonderful mix of excitement and fear that I’m going to forget something important is rife. It’s been two years since I was last in Africa and just under two since I was last in the southern hemisphere. Basically, I’M READY.  I have a lot ahead of me this summer – first up is leading a trip with National Geographic Student Expeditions (you can follow along on our trip blog as well, which will have posts from both students and leaders). Joining us for a week on this expedition is someone from the NG team who I’m a big fan of – Andrew Evans, National Geographic’s Digital Nomad. No doubt he’ll be posting updates on his site as well! After that I’m doing some photo and video work for another student trip, then it’s off to the big city for an internship for my graduate degree. I’ll be living in Tanzania’s capital, Dar es Salaam, for six weeks while interning with the Tanzanian Veterinary Agency working on the beginning stages of a project looking at strengthening food and nutrition security through family poultry and crop integration. During the first three weeks of this I’ll also be finishing the final draft of my thesis, so I have no shortage of things to keep me occupied this summer! I’m thinking I’ll give myself a much-needed weekend escape to Zanzibar after turning in my thesis… 

I’ll leave you with that brief update for now, as for some reason I still haven’t figured out a way to get my thesis to write itself or my bags to pack themselves… strange. Ongoing projects with National Geographic on the Azores will still be posted here, for those of you following along for that aspect. I have a couple more things in the works with them that I’m waiting for to go live. 

I know these next four days will be stressful and contain some not-so-pleasant goodbyes, but I’m just keeping in mind that, come Friday, I’ll be looking up at Kilimanjaro for the first time… So here’s to that!

Baadaye (see you later)!

 

National Geographic News Article

When I visited National Geographic’s headquarters in March to present my work with the Azorean whalers, several conversations were started with various realms of the organization to get the stories and images of these men out. Today one of those conversations finally went live as an NG News piece! Hope you enjoy!