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Maun, Okavango Delta / Botswana · 2017 deep delta
Rain falling by the bucket-loads, insisting that I skip this country altogether and move on to browner, dryer pastures elsewhere. And so I sat in my room in Tlokweng, thinking about Namibia. But when you travel for years, not months, you can’t let seasonality get in your way. And I’m glad I couldn’t, not just because of Jacky’s poetry and the lushness of the Delta, but also because of the little coincidence that landscaped my path across several other countries over the months that followed: that road trip through a bunch of memorable stories in Namibia, the return to Botswana and the intimacy of these rural villages and Peace Corps outposts, the waterfall wedding in Zimbabwe, and all the little in-betweens.
glimpse: FROM A TO B | To those born into the lush maze that is the Okavango Delta, navigating the cryptic waterways on a Mokoro must come as naturally as walking. Propelled by pushing a pole into the muddy ground beneath the shallow waters, the slender canoe glides like an arrow through the marshland, undetected by hippos or else... While in many parts of the world the only remnants of such traditions are lackluster tourism interpretations, the Mokoro is a standard way of transporting goods and getting from A to B until today.
Mantshwabisi / Botswana · 2017 light cloak
Mochudi / Botswana · 2017 a view on the rocks
Do you really want to spot game during a game WALK?
Okavango Delta near Maun/ Botswana · 2017 looking for game
And all of life's grand emotions rode in her words as her inside galloped outwards.
Maun/ Botswana · 2017 poetry buffet
places / stories
places / stories
Tlokweng / Village Next Door
Tlokweng / Botswana · 2017 get in
At about a third of Gaborone’s size, Tlokweng wasn’t that much smaller than the capital next door, but it was a village through and through. Coming in from Gabs, the roads turned to dirt, the malls into corner stores, and the high rises into houses. The rain didn’t really know what to do with itself in those days and neither did I.
Tlokweng / Botswana · 2017 world at her fingertips
Tlokweng / Botswana · 2017 arrangements
Maun / Delta Coincidence
Maun, Okavango Delta / Botswana · 2017 delta alpha elephant
It's hard to tell where a non-fictional plot starts and ends, but I want to say that this one started with a perplexed elephant in Botswana, continued with a burning car in the Namib desert, and ended with a waterfall wedding in Zimbabwe, and everything that happened before and after was a different story.
I could tell you that story, but I think it’s just as well if you tell it yourself. Your imagination will do the talking anyway and the less I prompt it, the more it talks.
Let me just say this:
Elephants are rare in the Delta that time of the year, but maybe he was the last, or lost, or maybe that’s the same. The three Mokoros lay still before the buff giant, stopped in their tracks like arrows midair. Subconsciously mulling whether to charge or not, he had put time on hold for all of us and the only motion we could still complete was a slow duck. In front of me and first in line for the charging, a Peace Corps volunteer and her half-brother. What things let to what others I hardly recall – so you can fill in the blanks – but some days, some beers, some dead seals, and some thousands of miles later, we jumped out of a burning car in the Namib Desert…
Maun, Okavango Delta / Botswana · 2017 Savanna tree
Maun, Okavango Delta / Botswana · 2017 marshland torpedo
Maun, Okavango Delta / Botswana · 2017 reciting with her hands
Maun, Okavango Delta / Botswana · 2017 flying finger
Maun, Okavango Delta / Botswana · 2017 green and pink
All Over / Peace Corps Outposts
Mantshwabisi / Botswana · 2017 world on a wall
Mantshwabisi / Botswana · 2017 the day outside
Mantshwabisi / Botswana · 2017 Sex Ed
Mantshwabisi / Botswana · 2017 her buddies
It was easier to get to Zambia from Botswana than Namibia, which is funny-ish because the Botswana-Zambia border is the shortest in the world at less than 500 feet. Go figure, I only just found out, four years later, when looking at a map to jog my memory. Anyway, squeezing myself through this micro-border was my main reason to return to Botswana at the time, but a much better reason in retrospect and on paper was the opportunity to hop from one Botswana village to the next to visit and interview Peace Corps volunteers. They always called it a village, no matter if it had 500 or 50,000 inhabitants and each one had its own character, and so did each assignment. I’m still sitting on these interviews, but I will publish them any day now. Just you wait.
Mantshwabisi / Botswana · 2017 bedroom bathroom
Letlhakeng / Botswana · 2017 porch king
Mochudi / Botswana · 2017 Friendly Clinic volunteer
Mochudi / Botswana · 2017 no bad vibes
Kasane / Botswana · 2017 community center
Kasane / Botswana · 2017 fresh light
photos | people
when your office isn’t anywhere near an office
...nobody robbed us of our freedom; it was an inside job we signed up for. Outside jobs, by contrast, are not always a deliberate choice and oftentimes the harder labor, but they come with a certain spatial freedom... see more
photos | people
Not Pity-Poor: Grace of the Life Lottery's Runner Ups
fortitude and perseverance forged in a hard place
The people you see here are poor, but not pity-poor. They have less – much less – but they have lives and smiles like anyone else. They don’t need an outsider’s soft pat on the back to uplift them... see more
photos | landscapes
man’s first encounter with nature
Considering that Africa is our cradle, this journey leads through the first landscapes humans ever laid eyes on. see more
photos | urban
not one narrative, but all of them
A patchwork of colorful culture, systemic poverty, crass luxuries, and every middle in-between, urban Africa is not one narrative, but all of them. see more
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