One Man’s Story

Benjamin Ruiz, preparing tortillas for breakfast at the soup kitchen where he volunteered on the Mexican side of the US-Mexico border. Last year, I met a 34-year-old man named Benjamin Ruiz. He volunteered at a soup kitchen, spending every morning preparing tortillas to go with rice and beans and big vats of calabacitas to feed […]

Framing the Picture

We’ve been back in Southeast Asia for a month now, and I’ve been thinking a lot about framing—how we convey and interpret pieces of the world around us. A couple weeks ago, we visited the Cambodian coast. We hadn’t traveled to Sihanoukville in years, and we’d heard how much has changed. My first memories of […]

Lao Sabai

? I remember the very first trip. It was August, which meant sticky days and a heat that swelled until the skies opened with a gush of rain. The rice paddies sparkled in a light I still can’t adequately describe. Radiant. Brilliant. Electric. Cliché. They were the very definition of green. It was our first […]

Last Suppers

The summer before my last semester of Journalism School (a long, long time ago), I had a fellowship at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla. My roommates and I lived in a sprawling apartment complex with a pool and hibiscus bushes in a tropical neighborhood surrounded by damp forests and dark lagoons. I kept […]

Still Living in Action

Mekong River, Vientiane, Laos, the evening we met Lee I haven’t posted here in a long time. Quite a long time—but I’m back to the blog. In the weeks to come, I’ll talk about where I’ve been and why you haven’t seen me, but right now I want to tell you about Lee. I met […]

The divisions that unite us

I woke up Wednesday feeling disoriented. I woke up today realizing exactly where I am: facing a vast crevasse that affects us all. This is our common ground. This is the turf we share. No matter which side we are on, this rupture unites us now, as Americans. And we must fight to fix it. […]

Will GMOs feed the world? Did anyone ask the hungry?

Thi Thi Oo harvests mustard greens on her land in Shan State, Myanmar, where most villagers spend their entire lives working the farm. Consequently, locals say, “the land is tired.” As families grow, they divide their farmlands among children and grandchildren. So much intensive farming has led to pests, poor harvests and over-use of pesticides. […]

Camp Food, Laos

Earlier this spring, we followed a bomb clearance team working high in the mountains near the Lao/Vietnam border. We all camped in tents pitched inside a village schoolhouse that offered shelter from the wind, rain, cold, and critters outside. One rudimentary room with a stellar view served as the camp kitchen. Cooking took place over […]

Dinner by Chance

So it happens like this: you’re wandering the street in a country you just entered in a town where you’ve just arrived, marveling at how this place has grown in the years since you’ve last seen it. You barely recognize a thing. You come to a corner café, and you see the hair, familiar hair. […]

Beyond Terror

Happy Thanksgiving week. As some of you know, we recently returned to the US after a month of reporting in Timor-Leste, followed by a week of working in Singapore. A few nights ago, I awoke sleepless and jetlagged 3 a.m. I grabbed a pen and notebook, went to the living room and started writing about […]