Category: travel

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Video Portrait #2 from Southern Sudan : Alberto Kuol Kuol Makuach

This is Alberto Kuol Kuol Makuach’s story. During a 7-week visit to Southern Sudan, I interviewed over a dozen Southern Sudanese men and women. Each person offers an intimate view of their lives during the 21-year civil war and since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005. We get a glimpse into their family lives and their hope for a country with an uncertain future. Alberto, tells about his education first in a Minor Seminary in Kenya, then in a Major Seminary in Khartoum toward his vocation of becoming a priest. He offers a glimpse into the family...

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Sudanese-Canadian, Abousfian Abdelrazik’s Story Reads Like Spy Novel

[Montréal, Québec, Canada 13°C]  Everyone has an intriguing life story to tell. We have all experienced significant moments that alter the course of our lives. For the better or the worse. But some stories are more compelling than others by the sheer intensity of the intrigue. Every so often, I come across an individual with a riveting story to tell. The past six years of Abousfian Abdelrazik’s life, as he described for one and a half hours on September 24 in a Montréal community centre, comes right out of a spy novel. In all spy novels, there are always the...

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Al Jazeera & American Military Command in Africa (Africom)

[Montréal, Québec, Canada 22°C] Yesterday, a very good friend lead me to the article, Why I Love Al Jazeera by Robert D. Kaplan. The title reminded me of why I, too, loved the English-language edition of the Qatar-based Arab TV channel. I first started watching it every evening while staying with friends in Juba, Southern Sudan. I remember watching Riz Khan talking with Mogadishu rapper K’naan about Somalia (part 1, part 2). K’naan lives in Toronto now but I don’t I recall any Canadian media produce this kind of serious political analysis, an in-depth interview with an insightful rapper, including...

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Video Portrait #1 From Southern Sudan: Rose Achan Beryl

This is Rose Achan Beryl’s story. During a 7-week visit to Southern Sudan, I interviewed about a dozen Southern Sudanese men and women. Each one offers an intimate view of their lives during the 21-year civil war and since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005. We get a glimpse into their family lives and their hope for a country with an uncertain future. Interview recorded in Warrap Town, and roving footage from back of motorbike recorded in Wau (March 2009). Thanks to Martin Peter Siba Mungu for the tour of Wau from the back of his motorcycle....

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Travel Health: Fourth and Final Visit for Vaccination Booster Shots (for a while)

[Montréal, Québec, Canada  26°C] This morning I cycled to the Clinique Santé-voyage for a fourth immunization visit. During my first visit on January 13 of this year, I received many vaccinations: polio, Tetanus/Diphtheria, Hepatitis A (first of two shots), Hepatitis B (first of three shots), typhoid Fever and I also a tuberculin skin test (I was unable to get the second one within the time frame, so will need to do it again if I want results). On January 20th, I returned for a Yellow Fever and Meningococcal Meningitis. A third visit was on February 10 for my only cholera...

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Permanent Court of Arbitration Makes Ruling on Abyei Border

[Montréal, Québec, Canada  20°C] At 8:00 am GMT, the five-member Abyei Arbitration Tribunal of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague began ceremonies to render its final decision regarding the delimitation of the Abyei boundaries, which have been a source of tension and conflict between Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party and the Government of Southern Sudan. The arbitration agreement between the Government of Sudan and the southern Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) was received by the Permanent Court of Arbitration on July 11, 2008 with both parties agreeing to a “final and binding” decision by the tribunal. On July...

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Sudanese-born Canadian May Fly Home on Friday (updated)

[Abyei Town, Abyei Transitional Area, Sudan 40°C] Abousfian Abdelrazik is a man from Montréal whose been living in ‘temporary safe haven’ in the Canadian Embassy in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, since late April 2008. He has been in Sudan since March 2003, when he went to visit his mother. According to a timeline of his case, Abdelrazik was arrested six months later and detained for ten months before being released. Documents obtained under the Privacy Act (.pdf 169Mb or ZIP 52Mb) and available from the website of the People’s Commission on Immigration Security Measures indicate that Mr. Abdelrazik, a Canadian...

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Immunization in Lurcuk Village, Tonj North County, Southern Sudan

[Warrap Town, Southern Sudan 40°C] Eight of us climb into the Land Cruiser and leave the World Vision compound at around 11h00. We drive to the brick storage room, where refrigerators store vaccinations for the immunization program that takes place in different villages every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in Tonj North County. We load tables and chairs onto the roof of the vehicle; carefully place coollers of vaccines against meningitis, tetanus, measles into the back, and toss boxes of syringes, gauze and rubber gloves under the vehicles back benches. Five children congregate by the passenger door to get a closer look at the khawaja: me the white man in the front seat. Half of them are naked. All of them reluctent to shake this khawaja’s hand, despite customary protocol.

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What to Bring: A Mobile Journalist (MoJo) in Southern Sudan

[Warrap Town, Southern Sudan 38°C] When I started BurningBillboard.org, I began work as a mobile journalist. ‘MoJo’ for short because it sounds cool. You know, “MoJo Rising” à la Jim Morrison. A MoJo by definition must be autonomous and self-sustained, able to gather information, edit it and forward it for publication or broadcast; from anywhere, to anywhere. To do this, the MoJo needs equipment, media contacts and the ability communicate with them. The MoJo also needs to the capacity to edit and communicate the audio, video, photographic or text-based information. Mobility suggests that the equipment should be compact and easy to transport during news gathering projects. It also suggests that movement is perpetual.