Mother Jones: Families Who Fled Hurricane Maria Could Lose Their Homes. Again.

“It’s a crisis that we’re facing.”

 Betzaida Crespo and her family have shared this Orlando hotel room since November. (Tim McDonnell)

Betzaida Crespo and her family have shared this Orlando hotel room since November. (Tim McDonnell)

Nearly 2,000 families who fled Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria could once again find themselves without a place to live if a federal court allows the US government to cut off housing subsidies for people displaced by the storm.

One of those families is led by Betzaida Crespo. Betsy, as she’s known, left Dorado, Puerto Rico, in November with her husband Erín and their young son and daughter after their home was severely damaged by the hurricane. Like an estimated 150,000 other Puerto Ricans, the family boarded a plane to Florida. When they arrived in Orlando, they signed up to receive temporary housing aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. They moved into a room with two queen-size beds at a Holiday Inn just down the street from Disney World, and they’ve lived there ever since.

The room has all the trappings of any young family’s home, condensed into less than 200 square feet. The walls are lined with plastic footlockers that have been jammed full of clothing. Action figures are piled on the floor next to tools belonging to Erín, a handyman. Ramen and canned food are stacked on a rickety table alongside a single electric burner and a rice cooker. A bouquet of fresh-cut flowers fills a pink plastic water bottle on the window ledge.

Living in this cramped space has put the whole family on edge, Betsy says. Their months-long search for their own apartment—on what Erín can earn from odd jobs, in a sprawling metropolitan area with one of the country’s worst affordable housing markets—has been unsuccessful. Betsy struggles with crippling anxiety and depression and suffers from back pain caused by scoliosis. She has bad credit from a dispute with a previous landlord. After she gets her children to sleep and steals a rare private moment with Erín in the bathroom, she often lays awake until 4 a.m., scrolling aimlessly on her phone.

Her mind constantly circles the same question: What next?

“The reality is we have nowhere else to go,” she says. “After here, we could be on the streets.”

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NPR: The Refugees The World Barely Pays Attention To

Attention on people displaced by environmental chaos is growing, but new international policies are toothless.

 “Things now are changing. It might become very difficult to stay here if things don’t improve,” says Maigari Lawal, the chief of Saidagyada village in northern Nigeria. “But God wants us to live here. It’s only God who can decide.” (Tim McDonnell)   

“Things now are changing. It might become very difficult to stay here if things don’t improve,” says Maigari Lawal, the chief of Saidagyada village in northern Nigeria. “But God wants us to live here. It’s only God who can decide.” (Tim McDonnell)

 

This month, diplomats from around the world met in New York and Geneva to hash out a pair of new global agreements that aim to lay out new guidelines for how countries should deal with an unprecedented surge in the number of displaced people, which has now reached 65.6 million worldwide.

But there's one emerging category that seems to be getting short shrift in the conversation: so-called "climate refugees," who currently lack any formal definition, recognition or protection under international law even as the scope of their predicament becomes more clear.

Since 2008, an average of 24 million people have been displaced by catastrophic weather disasters each year. As climate change worsens storms and droughts, climate scientists and migration experts expect that number to rise.

Meanwhile, climate impacts that unravel over time, like desert expansion and sea level rise, are also forcing people from their homes: A World Bank report in March projects that within three of the most vulnerable regions — sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Latin America — 143 million people could be displaced by these impacts by 2050.

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NPR: Why Are Some of Africa's Biggest Baobab Trees Dying Off?

One of the continent's oldest and weirdest living things is facing a sudden decline-and scientists think they know why. 

 The Platland tree in South Africa was the home of a cocktail bar until it started to split apart. (Courtesy Adrian Patrut)

The Platland tree in South Africa was the home of a cocktail bar until it started to split apart. (Courtesy Adrian Patrut)

This story first appeared in NPR. 

Baobab trees — ancient, otherworldly behemoths with bulbous trunks that splinter into a constellation of spindly branches — are some of Africa's most iconic living things.

Until late last year, the Platland tree in South Africa, also known as Sunland, was their queen. It was the continent's biggest baobab, at 111 ft. around, 62 ft. high and more than 1,000 years old. It had a cavernous central hollow that hosted a fully functional cocktail bar with seating for 15 people.

Beginning in Spring 2016, the tree began to split apart. By November 2017, it had crumbled completely.

The bar's owners blamed rot caused by heavy rain and threw a barbeque to honor its passing.

But if the Platland's demise was sudden and tragic, it wasn't unique: A new survey of baobab trees across several countries in southern Africa found that most of the two dozen oldest and biggest trees have died or significantly deteriorated in the last decade.

Scientists are wondering what's behind the mysterious die-off — and are looking at climate change as a likely culprit.

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NPR: Why Ghana's Clam Farmers Are Digging GPS

New technology is helping solve the entrenched problem of land rights in Africa. 

 Samuel-Richard Bogobley holds a GPS-enabled tablet to capture the location of one corner of an underwater clam "farm" belonging to Kofi Amatey, in pink, in Ghana's Volta River estuary.  Tim McDonnell /for NPR

Samuel-Richard Bogobley holds a GPS-enabled tablet to capture the location of one corner of an underwater clam "farm" belonging to Kofi Amatey, in pink, in Ghana's Volta River estuary.

Tim McDonnell /for NPR

This story first appeared in NPR.

Samuel-Richard Bogobley is wearing a bright orange life vest and leaning precariously over the edge of a fishing canoe on the Volta River estuary, a gorgeous wildlife refuge where Ghana's biggest river meets the Gulf of Guinea.

He's looking for a bamboo rod poking a couple feet above the surface. When he finds it, he holds out a computer tablet and taps the screen. Then he motions for the captain to move the boat forward as he scans the water for the next rod.

It's slow work. But once it's completed, it could pave the way for significant new legal protections for the property rights of marginalized communities across Africa.

"Before you can start to recognize a fishery, you need to have a lot of data," says Bogobley, a researcher with Hen Mpoano, a Ghanaian nonprofit that supports small-scale fishers. "These people don't have any platform to fight for what is theirs."

The Volta River is rich with clams, harvested year-round by a bustling community of several hundred fishermen and women. The meat is packaged for sale across West Africa, while the shells are ground into an additive for whitewash and chicken feed.

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OZY: This Small Island Paradise Is Showing Africa How to Beat Malaria

Malaria remains a tenacious disease. Not in Sao Tome. 

 People enjoy a New Year’s day swim in São Tomé city on Jan. 1, 2018. Tourists to São Tomé and Principe, a scattering of islands off the coast of western equatorial Africa that once served the slave and sugar trades of Portuguese colonial rulers, are rare.  SOURCE  RUTH MCDOWALL/AFP/GETTY

People enjoy a New Year’s day swim in São Tomé city on Jan. 1, 2018. Tourists to São Tomé and Principe, a scattering of islands off the coast of western equatorial Africa that once served the slave and sugar trades of Portuguese colonial rulers, are rare.

SOURCE RUTH MCDOWALL/AFP/GETTY

This story first appeared on OZY.

Hamilton Nascimento remembers missing months of school as a child when he repeatedly got sick with malaria. It used to be an unavoidable part of life in São Tomé and Príncipe, a nation of two tiny islands in West Africa’s Gulf of Guinea, where Nascimento grew up. But not anymore.

“Most people in São Tomé knew someone who died from malaria, but now we haven’t had a death in years,” says Nascimento, who leads the government’s anti-malaria office and has helped steer the islands through a dramatic turnaround.

São Tomé and Príncipe is best known for stunning beaches, Galapagos-caliber birdwatching and historic coffee plantations. But in recent years, the maritime nation has acquired a new reputation as one of Africa’s most successful countries in fighting malaria, a disease that kills more than 400,000 people across the continent every year. According to the World Health Organization:

SINCE 2014, THE NATION OF SÃO TOMÉ AND PRINCIPE HAS HAD ZERO MALARIA DEATHS, MAKING IT THE ONLY COUNTRY IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA TO MAINTAIN THAT ACHIEVEMENT FOR SEVERAL CONSECUTIVE YEARS.

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The New York Times: Surgery Lit by Cellphone: Togo Doctors Strike Over Deplorable Hospitals

Health care workers have moved to the forefront of a broad public uprising against the government.

  Dr. David Dosseh helped organize a series of health care worker strikes at Lomé’s central hospital, where he is a surgeon. “When you accept to work in these conditions, you might be complicit in a situation that could cause death,” he says. (Tim McDonnell)

Dr. David Dosseh helped organize a series of health care worker strikes at Lomé’s central hospital, where he is a surgeon. “When you accept to work in these conditions, you might be complicit in a situation that could cause death,” he says. (Tim McDonnell)

LOMÉ, Togo — The air-conditioner was broken in the sweltering neonatal ward of Togo’s largest hospital, and only one nurse was on duty to attend to the two dozen infants with life-threatening conditions.

Mothers with babies in the ward were imploring friends and family for loans to buy basic medical supplies from pharmacies around Lomé, the capital, because items like drugs, saline solution, latex gloves and packets of clean water were not available at Sylvanus Olympio University Teaching Hospital.

One infant, Tresor Tsolenyanou, was born in February with gastroschisis, a condition in which the intestines are partly exposed through a hole in the abdominal muscles. He shared a crib with several other babies, his bulging torso wrapped in gauze.

In the United States, the survival rate for gastroschisis is 90 percent. But because of the high risk of infection in this overcrowded, understaffed and undersupplied hospital, Tresor was likely to die, said Steven Kagni, the ward’s attending nurse.

Fed up with situations like Tresor’s, Togo’s public hospital workers are demonstrating their disgust with the level of care they are able to provide, adding their voices to a growing swell of political protests that have shaken this small, West African country.

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The New York Times: What’s the World’s Fastest-Growing Economy? Ghana Contends for the Crown

Mired in poverty not long ago, the West African nation’s economic growth is on track to outpace India’s. But with oil driving much of the expansion, experts worry about the so-called resource curse.

  Kekeli Aryeetey, a shop owner in Accra, Ghana, says the country’s GDP growth doesn’t mean much for most people. “We’re still struggling for jobs,” she says. “You’re on your own to put money in your pocket.” (Tim McDonnell)

Kekeli Aryeetey, a shop owner in Accra, Ghana, says the country’s GDP growth doesn’t mean much for most people. “We’re still struggling for jobs,” she says. “You’re on your own to put money in your pocket.” (Tim McDonnell)

This story first appeared in The New York Times.

 

TEMA, Ghana — As recently as the 1980s, the West African nation of Ghana was in crisis, crippled by hunger after a series of military coups. But it has held peaceful elections since 1992, and its economic outlook turned considerably brighter about a decade ago, with the discovery of major offshore oil deposits.

Now, as oil prices rise again and the country’s oil production rapidly expands, Ghana is on track to make a remarkable claim for a country mired in poverty not long ago: It is likely to have one of the world’s fastest-growing economies this year, according to the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Brookings Institution.

Its projected growth in 2018, between 8.3 and 8.9 percent, might outpace even India, with its booming tech sector, and Ethiopia, which over the last decade has been one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies thanks to expanding agricultural production and coffee exports.

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NPR: Africa Is Suffering A Silent Crisis Of Stroke

The largest-ever study of stroke in Africa reveals how economic development is changing the picture of disease on the continent.

  Courtesy Fredua Agyemang

Courtesy Fredua Agyemang

Last April, Fredua Agyemang, a musician in Kumasi, Ghana, was performing onstage at a funeral, which in this country is often a festive affair with hundreds of guests. Suddenly, he began to feel dizzy, then lost consciousness and collapsed.

When he woke up three days later, his bandmates broke the news: He had suffered a stroke. Immediately, he thought of another doctor visit eight years earlier, when, at the age of 34, he had been diagnosed with hypertension and prescribed medication to reduce his blood pressure. The medication had given him problems with erectile dysfunction, a common side effect, and he soon stopped taking it regularly. That decision seemed foolish, he recalls. He was having difficulty moving and speaking and knew that he wouldn't be back onstage anytime soon.

"I still have weakness," he says, nine months later. "I'm not able to walk well, I can't use my left arm, I can't sing."

Doctors found that Agyemang's stroke was hemorrhagic, meaning that a blood vessel in his brain burst from excessive pressure. In the U.S., this type of stroke is rare; nearly 90 percent of strokes in the U.S. are "ischemic," meaning they're caused by a clot or other blockage of a blood vessel in the brain. But according to a new study, the largest-ever of stroke patients in Africa, up to one-third of strokes in this area of the world are hemorrhagic. And while the survival rate for ischemic strokes is around 80 percent, for hemorrhagic strokes the odds of survival are only 50/50. Agyemang is lucky to be alive.

The study surveyed 2,000 stroke patients in Ghana and Nigeria (including Agyemang) to better understand what factors are most likely to put people at risk. The results were released Friday at the International Stroke Conference in Los Angeles and will be published next month in the peer-reviewed journal The Lancet.

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Bloomberg: How Nigerians Beat Bitcoin Scams

The country’s embrace of the cryptocurrency has led to some old-school precautions against fraud.

 “Ambassador” Smart Oluwadola, a cryptocurrency peddler in the city of Kano, in the hotel lobby where he often does business. (Tim McDonnell for Businessweek)

“Ambassador” Smart Oluwadola, a cryptocurrency peddler in the city of Kano, in the hotel lobby where he often does business. (Tim McDonnell for Businessweek)

This story first appeared in Bloomberg Businessweek.

Depending on your feelings about Bitcoin, it may seem appropriate that Nigeria’s love for the cryptocurrency began with a scam. Mavrodi Mondial Moneybox (MMM), a 30-year-long global Ponzi scheme that began in Russia, roped in millions of Nigerians from late 2015 to the end of 2016 with promises of 30 percent returns in as little as 30 days. When the government began to crack down on bank accounts linked to the scheme, MMM’s operators cut the banks out and started requiring victims to use Bitcoin. By the time MMM suspended its payouts, shortly before Christmas 2016, it had robbed an estimated 3 million people in Nigeria—where the per capita annual income is less than $3,000—of $50 million.

It had also convinced many of them that, the scam notwithstanding, Bitcoin was the future. “It was MMM that made Nigerians understand how Bitcoin worked,” says Lucky Uwakwe, co-founder of Blockchain Solutions Ltd., a cryptocurrency consulting firm in Lagos. Today, Nigerians are trading about $4.7 million in Bitcoin a week, Uwakwe says, up from about $300,000 per week a year ago. That’s No. 23 globally, according to researcher CryptoCompare—far below the more than $1 billion traded daily in U.S. dollars or Japanese yen, but comparable to the volume of activity in Chinese yuan or Indian rupees. “The growth has been crazy,” says David Ajala, who runs NairaEx, one of about a dozen digital currency exchanges in Nigeria. “It took us two years to get 10,000 customers. Within the last year, we’ve added 90,000.”

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NPR: What 'The Crown' Gets Wrong About the Queen's Visit to Ghana

The Netflix show says one dance changed history. The truth isn't so simple.

 Queen Elizabeth II dances with Ghanaian president Kwame Nkrumah at a ball in Accra, Ghana, in 1961. (Central Press/Getty Images)

Queen Elizabeth II dances with Ghanaian president Kwame Nkrumah at a ball in Accra, Ghana, in 1961. (Central Press/Getty Images)

This story first appeared on National Public Radio.

It was a highlight of the latest season of the Netflix series The Crown, which chronicles the early years of Queen Elizabeth II's reign: The year is 1961, the Cold War is heating up and the queen (played by Claire Foy), feeling self-conscious after learning that First Lady Jackie Kennedy (Jodi Balfour) called her "incurious" at a dinner party, decides to take a more proactive role in dealing with Ghana, a former colony whose new leader, Kwame Nkrumah (Danny Sapani), appears to be getting too cozy with the Soviets.

Her solution: A dance with Nkrumah at a ball in the capital, Accra. The foxtrot, specifically, to the extreme, hilarious consternation of Prime Minister Harold Macmillan (Anton Lesser).

It's a high-stakes political gamble that could decide the balance of Soviet power in Africa, which in the early 1960s was fast emerging as a Cold War battleground. To everyone's relief, the dance is a success. The implication is that, in exchange for his photo op dancing with the queen, Nkrumah will "come back to the fold" and squash Soviet hopes for Africa. Later, JFK (Michael Hall) crows to Jackie that her jab at the queen precipitated a major foreign policy victory for the U.S. and U.K. It's the foxtrot that changes the course of history.

"Well, that's nice," says Nat Nuno-Amarteifio, an architect and amateur historian who served as mayor of Accra from 1994-98 and remembers the queen's supposedly fateful visit from when he was a teenage student. "It's a lot of bulls**t."

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NPR: Why It's Now A Crime To Let Cattle Graze Freely In 2 Nigerian States

Farmer-herder conflict in Nigeria is now deadlier than Boko Haram. Will this controversial approach to peacebuilding help, or only make matters worse?

 Sale Tambaya, a cattle herder in central Nigeria, grazes his cows. After his home state criminalized open grazing on November 1, he and his family fled with their livestock to a neighboring state where grazing is allowed. Two of his sons died on the journey.  (Tim McDonnell)

Sale Tambaya, a cattle herder in central Nigeria, grazes his cows. After his home state criminalized open grazing on November 1, he and his family fled with their livestock to a neighboring state where grazing is allowed. Two of his sons died on the journey. (Tim McDonnell)

This story first appeared on NPR.

As a cattle herder in Benue, a rural state in central Nigeria, Sale Tambaya's life revolved around his herd of roughly 100 cows and a few dozen sheep. Normally, he would take them out from a pen near his thatched hut every morning to graze freely in the surrounding grassland. But on November 1, taking grazing animals in the open was designated a criminal activity in Benue. Overnight, his family's livelihood had become a threat to their safety.

So at 6 a.m., he made his decision: The only way to keep both family and herd safe was to flee.

Tambaya, his wife Hafsat, and their six children walked all day with the herd. In the evening they finally reached the Benue River, a powerful tributary of the Niger that separated their home state from neighboring Nasarawa, where they hoped to find refuge and a place to graze the livestock. While Tambaya, Hafsat and four of the children boarded a ferry, two of the boys drove the cows and sheep into the water, clinging to the cows' tails because they didn't know how to swim. Both sons, as well as most of the sheep and 20 cows, drowned before reaching the opposite bank.

Benue is now the second Nigerian state to implement a ban on the open grazing of cattle, after nearby Taraba implemented a ban this summer. It's a controversial new approach to resolving a long saga of conflict between Nigeria's pastoralists and their farmer neighbors that has come with unintended violence and displacement, as shown in this video from the scene.

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National Geographic: A Drying Climate Threatens Africa’s Coffee, But Hope Remains

Uganda is pinning its hopes on its most valuable crop, though climate change is an obstacle to overcome.

 Gerald Katabazi, aka "The Hustler," wants his fellow Ugandans to drink more coffee. (Tim McDonnell)

Gerald Katabazi, aka "The Hustler," wants his fellow Ugandans to drink more coffee. (Tim McDonnell)

This story first appeared on National Geographic. 

UGANDA--Sam Massa doesn’t drink coffee. Like many Ugandans, he prefers milky spiced tea. Yet, like many Ugandans, he says, “we are part of the coffee, and the coffee is in our blood.”

Massa lives at the top of an extinct volcano that straddles the border between Uganda and Kenya, in a small mud-brick house at the center of a grove of coffee trees. Some of the trees were planted here by his great-grandfather more than 100 years ago. Like his ancestors, Massa is a coffee farmer, and derives nearly all of his annual income from the produce of those trees, some of which ends up in the cups of coffee drinkers in the U.S. and other distant lands.

This place is among the oldest and most venerated coffee-producing regions of East Africa. The air is fresh and cool, the slopes studded with sweeping vistas and sparkling waterfalls. But trouble is coming up the mountain. In fact, it’s already at Massa’s door.

Uganda historically has two rainy seasons, from March through May and from October through December. Small farms in East Africa, like Massa’s, are almost exclusively without irrigation, meaning that reliable rainfall is a prerequisite to produce crops, including coffee. But in 2016, Massa’s area received almost no rain during the second season, and when it came time to harvest coffee in January, the yield was very poor. This was no freak accident, he says: In the last few years, the weather has been all wrong.

“Over the last, say, twenty years, the rain pattern has completely changed,” he says. “Rain comes at a time when you don’t expect it. Sunshine or drought come at time when you should be having rain.”

To keep reading, click here. 

 

 

 

 

IRIN: Farming Becomes the New Frontline in Boko Haram War

Nigeria wants farmers to return to land terrorized by Boko Haram. Is there really enough peace to replant?

  Boko Haram militants occupied Bulama Alajiri’s village for three years and forbade him to farm. In April, he and his family fled to an IDP camp near Maiduguri. (Tim McDonnell)

Boko Haram militants occupied Bulama Alajiri’s village for three years and forbade him to farm. In April, he and his family fled to an IDP camp near Maiduguri. (Tim McDonnell)

This story first appeared in IRIN News.

On a recent Monday morning, under the blistering sun of Nigeria’s northeastern Borno State, two senior politicians – surrounded by a hoard of local officials and paparazzi – thought they spied victory in a small mountain of seeds.

Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima and former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo, once a top general, picked through burlap sacks filled with 36 metric tonnes of maize, cowpea, and rice seed bred specially for the region’s arid climate. These are the latest weapons in the war against Boko Haram.

The seeds were sitting in a massive dirt lot in Maiduguri, the state capital, alongside hundreds of gleaming new tractors, all destined to be donated to farmers across the state. The donations weren’t just to grow food, Shettima announced. It was also to send a message to the Islamist militants who have terrorised this region for the last eight years.  

“At the risk of sounding immodest, I dare to say that there is no state in the Nigerian federation that is better prepared for agriculture than Borno State,” he said, to applause. “All we are lacking is peace, and gradually we are going to get that back.”

Shettima’s high-profile dedication of farming supplies signals the government’s readiness to convert its recent military momentum against Boko Haram into a revitalisation of the state’s agricultural sector. Doing so could be lifesaving for the 5.2 million peoplesuffering from acute food insecurity across the region, including an estimated 50,000 at risk of famine.

To keep reading, click here.

NPR: Scientists Try To Break Nigeria's Cycle Of Replanting Bad Yams

A vital crop faces a crisis from an unlikely enemy: Its own genes. 

 Ladi Adaikwu, right, and her business partner, Musa Ogbeba, run one of the few high-quality seed yam shops in central Nigeria. (Tim McDonnell)

Ladi Adaikwu, right, and her business partner, Musa Ogbeba, run one of the few high-quality seed yam shops in central Nigeria. (Tim McDonnell)

This story first appeared on National Public Radio. 

Ladi Adaikwu's top-shelf merchandise is hidden in a mud-brick shed in a warren of narrow alleyways in Angwan-Dodo, a farming village close to Nigeria's capital city Abuja. The steel door is secured with a heavy padlock, and when she opens it, a shaft of light cuts through the damp darkness to reveal what looks like a knee-high pile of narrow, dirt-encrusted footballs.

But don't be fooled by their humble appearance: These are high-quality yams, and around here they're as good as gold.

Adaikwu stoops to pick one up, and holds it under the light. "This one is just like a healthy child," she says. "If you plant it, it will grow directly."

Although this West African country is the world's biggest producer and consumer of yams, the ones inside Adaikwu's shed are special. They are "seed yams," meant to be planted, not eaten. Not only that, they're guaranteed to be disease-free, a trait that's increasingly hard to find here. While a typical seed yam might sell for the equivalent of 25 cents, these can go for nearly $10.

To keep reading, click here. 

NPR: Here's What Climate Change Looks Like To Uganda's Coffee Farmers

What smallholder farmers saw when they were equipped with disposable cameras.

  Portrait by Beatrice Nambozo

Portrait by Beatrice Nambozo

This story first appeared on National Public Radio.

If you've ever bought coffee labeled "Uganda" and wondered what life is like in that faraway place where the beans were grown, now's your chance to see how climate change has affected the lives of Ugandan coffee farmers — through their own eyes.

Rising temperatures and prolonged drought can make coffee trees less productive and increase their exposure to pests and diseases. This is especially a problem in Uganda, where nearly all of the coffee is produced by small farmers who have little access to irrigation or other modern farming conveniences. Coffee is by far the country's most valuable industry: It accounts for one-fifth of export revenue, and about 1 in 5 Ugandans rely on it for part or all of their income.

Yet climate change could slash the country's coffee production in half by 2050 —a loss worth $1.2 billion, according to a 2015 economic analysis commissioned by the Ugandan government.

Because Uganda is a relatively small player in the global coffee market, disruptions there won't necessarily affect the price of your morning joe in the U.S. But within the country, a disturbing new reality is taking root. To find out exactly how Uganda's coffee farmers view their experience of climate change, I recently equipped a dozen of them with disposable cameras.

To keep reading, click here.

NPR: Slum Dwellers In Africa's Biggest Megacity Are Now Living In Canoes

In Lagos, waterfront slums are the front line of an ongoing battle over the rights of the poorest residents.

 Salako Hunsa lives in a canoe in the Makoko waterfront settlement in Lagos, Nigeria. His home was burned down last month. (Tim McDonnell)

Salako Hunsa lives in a canoe in the Makoko waterfront settlement in Lagos, Nigeria. His home was burned down last month. (Tim McDonnell)

This story first appeared on National Public Radio.

At 5:30 a.m. on April 9, Salako Hunsa awoke to the sound of gunfire. He left his wife and five children inside the house, and ran out to a shocking scene: A squad of police officers shooting indiscriminately and setting fire to his neighbors' homes.

"I had to run for my life," Hunsa says.

By the time the sun rose, the neighborhood was leveled, thousands of people were homeless and one young man was dead. The attack was a dramatic turning point in an ordeal that for Hunsa and thousands of his neighbors is far from over.

Hunsa was a lifelong resident of Otodo Gbame (pronounced BOM-ay), an informal waterfront settlement in Lagos, Nigeria, that is the front line of an ongoing conflict over the rights of some of the city's poorest residents.

To keep reading, click here.