Looking for Sean McLachlan? He mostly hangs out on the Civil War Horror blog these days, but feel free to nose around this blog for some fun older posts!

You can also find him on his Twitter feed and Facebook page.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Traveling through Africa with Border Jumpers

A very cool blog contacted me last week. It's called Border Jumpers and it's pretty much what it says on the tin. Bernard Pollack and Danielle Nierenberg are on a mission to visit nearly every country in Africa, writing about their experiences with a special focus on community groups, NGOs, and local people. Sounds a bit like the Africa Heartbeat project I've covered here before.

They started in Addis Ababa last year and so far have made it to an impressive list of nations. They've talked with conservationist farmers in Ghana and written about using traditional crops to fight climate change in Zimbabwe. These are just two of the dozens of projects they've covered.

As I discovered on my recent trip through Ethiopia and Somaliland, Africa thrusts beauty and poverty at you simultaneously. Just look at the above photo, courtesy of Border Jumpers, of a palm oil processing center. It's little more than a bunch of grotty drums and a lot of hot steam in an already hot climate. Yet the woman standing in front radiates grace, beauty, and pride.

Border Jumpers, Africa Heartbeat, and I are headed the same direction with our writing. We're experienced travelers who have learned that the world is not the big, scary place TV tells us it is. It's big alright, but filled with intelligent, kind people doing all sorts of interesting things. The single most important thing a travel writer can do is communicate that simple truth to as many people as possible. So check out those sites for some uplifting reading, and some facts about Africa the mainstream media don't bother to cover.

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