The Local Local

The first time I got shoved out of the way in a mad rush to the dala-dala bus, my friend Victor said to me, “This is the local local lifestyle, pole sana–I’m very sorry.” The next time he said it was when the electricity went out and I was reading in the living room. “This…

Is your map drawn to scale?

Africa could fit all of the US, China, and Europe inside its borders. Yet on many maps, Africa is smaller than America. (Thanks for the image, Jacquelyn!) In history, it’s the winners who write the past. In mapmaking, it is the mapmaker that chooses the size and name of each place. What else is misrepresented?…

The Art of Leaving

My Swahili teacher at UGA, Rose, spent several years in Athens getting her PhD in Linguistics. She graduated and moved back to Tanzania at the beginning of this summer. I got an email from her asking if I could help bring some of her books to Tanzania with me when I go. I went to…