Lost photo: Maasai Mara as a storm rolls in

Mara

Every now and then, I enjoy going through old photo libraries looking for gems I missed. This one is particularly appropriate as I’ve been debating the merits of running away from the “system,” living off the grid in a utopia of simplicity.

Sadly, I don’t think it’s possible and too ideal.

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Published: Maasai turn to tourism in face of drought

Freelancing has been slow going. I have several stories finished still with no takers.

But in the April issue of the Caravan, a political and cultural journal in Delhi, you can find my story from Kenya about drought hitting pastoralists near the famous Maasai Mara reserve. It also features one of my best photos from my days down by the Mara.

You can read the whole story here or see the PDF version here. And the audio slideshow of my photos is here.

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A year-in-review

2009 kinda kicked ass

2009 kinda kicked ass

This past year pretty much rocked. And the New Year came in fine manner.  No kisses, but a bonfire amid the palm trees (above), new friends, lobster, a decent cigar (thanks, C!), champagne and even the Harry Connick, Jr., band playing Auld Lang Syne at midnight (never leave home without the iPod).

I meant to post this sooner, but here’s a little look back at my new life (as chronicled on this blog):

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Here, kitty, kitty, kitty… (photo)

My best safari photo

My best and favorite safari photo

I’ve been editing more photos from several days spent in and around the Maasai Mara.

This leopard was close enough that it could have eaten me (or at least nibbled for while) if it had wanted.

Sammy Mwai, our safari driver, was very good and put us directly in the big cat’s path.

F5.8, 1/200th of a second, ISO 100.

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Multimedia re-cut: Tourism, friend or foe to Maasai facing drought?

You haven’t watched this one yet. Re-cut and reposted with new audio, photos and narration to make it better, faster, stronger. Longer, too.

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Maasai face hard times with drought

Maasai pastoralists

Maasai pastoralists

The Maasai, perhaps the most famous of the Kenyan tribes, live in southwestern Kenya, mostly herding cattle and making what they can from the tourists. They largely still live in traditional villages — mud and dung huts and fences made of forest brush.

(A minority have integrated into more modern societies, but they almost always wear the traditional red patterned shawl.)

However, given East Africa’s prolonged drought, the Maasai are having an increasingly difficult time feeding their cows and goats — the lifeblood of their tradition. The grasses they own communally are mostly exhausted, driving more and more Maasai into the game reserves for grazing pastures, which are protected for the benefit of tourists.

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Photos: Zebras are awesome

Just outside Nairobi — a modern city with skyscrapers and major traffic — sits protected African savanna, where zebras and giraffes and rhinos and lions pose for local tourists and Wazungu who don’t have the time or money to visit the big game parks and reserves.

It’s about as wild as you can get, with a major urban center half an hour away.

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