Writing

Aurora Markets in Yangon, Myanmar

  • Posted on: 1 March 2018
  • By: Sander

I walk out into the night to an outdoor corner restaurant which pops up at dusk and disappears by dawn. The night is dark but filled with red and white lights from cars and the few remaining open shops. The table they cook from juts out into the street nearly into traffic while plastic tables and chairs occupy the space between it and the sidewalk. As I approach two old men wave me to their table. I join them and they offer me coffee and a cigarette. They speak only a few words of English and I speak even less Burmese. Somehow, over coffee, tea and cigarettes we manage to communicate. I gather he owns the corner store and his son is there working it. He gathers that I am a photographer staying in the nearby hotel. Occasionally I smile at the girl working the table. She beams back. I venture a photo of the scene and she ducks out of sight. So we sip and smoke, the two old men and I, and smile together. The mix of curry, smoke and gasoline whisper around the glow of flames and headlights. The grey haired man calls a small boy over to refill the teapot and I switch from coffee to tea. We sip. I notice that I am the only foreigner to be seen. Eventually it is time for the men to go. They pay, insisting despite my protestations on paying for me as well, and I bid them goodnight.

Aurora Market Yangon

New Orleans ten years after Hurricane Katrina - where is it now?

  • Posted on: 29 August 2015
  • By: Sander

Today marks the ten year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina making landfall on the Louisiana coast, wreaking havoc throughout the gulf and notoriously causing a breach of the levees which were supposed to protect New Orleans. I won’t sit here and hypothesize on whether that breach was intentional or whether officials were at least complicit, instead I want to focus on where New Orleans is now, and where it should be. 

High school boy Wikersen and his friends work to reforest Haiti

  • Posted on: 28 August 2015
  • By: Sander

Planting trees

As a girl pinned a red flower to my shirt, Wikersen informed me “You’re going first”. “Oh no I’m not, I need to see how this is working first!” He disappeared, returning a few minutes later to tell me I would be third. Fine. All I knew was that I was expected to give a speech on waste management, to which I decided to focus on composting as something they could act on without relying on others, but I had no idea what the rest of the evening was. It had been described to me as an event, a party and a presentation but that was about as detailed as it had gotten. I suppose it was all of those things. The evening was all in Creole except for my speech which was translated by Wikersen, and was a series of speeches, poetry, theater and song about Haiti, the environment and politics. Impressive for anyone to set up an event like that, more so when remembering he has not yet graduated from High School. 

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