IRPfellows — Feb 16, 2017

Rio’s Olympic legacy

I traveled to Rio to see the aftermath of the Olympics six months on. There had been high hopes that the international sporting event would provide an opportunity for the city to improve infrastructure and narrow the vast divide between rich and poor, but Rio 2016 has left a sordid legacy for many of the people who needed its help the most.

IRPfellows, Mozambique — Dec 8, 2014

Mozambique’s first opera trains new generation to sing

When one thinks of Mozambique, one probably doesn’t imagine an opera. There isn’t one, at least not yet. However, I met two astounding women who have returned from careers abroad to popularize the genre in their home country. I wrote this piece for The Guardian about Stella Mendoça’s plans to create a Mozambican opera based […]

IRPfellows, Mozambique — Nov 17, 2014

Signs of the times

Take a walk to the American Cultural Center in Maputo and you’ll find yourself on the corner of avenues Mao Tse Tung and Kim Il Sung. Many of the major streets are named for communist heroes, as Mozambique had a brief fling with Communism after independence from the Portuguese in 1975. Fittingly, the street signs […]

IRPfellows, Mozambique — Nov 8, 2014

Ethiopia vs. Ebola

Ethiopia seldom makes the papers, but these days Ebola offers a news peg for just about anything. This week’s meeting between African business leaders in the capital Addis Ababa offered one such example and resulted in the creation of a $28.5 million emergency fund to address the crisis. If you’re wondering what sort of measures […]

IRPfellows, Mozambique — Nov 5, 2014

Indoor residual spraying in action

This week we walked through a neighborhood in Boane, Maputo province, as residents had their homes sprayed with Deltamethrin. It was a good opportunity to chat with people because most had nothing to do but wait for the fumes to disperse. Since the spraying requires residents to empty the contents of their homes, we could also see their […]

IRPfellows, Mozambique — Nov 4, 2014

(No) Ebola in Mozambique

Ebola isn’t in Mozambique or anywhere near it. (See map.) Neither is the hysteria. As the United States works itself into a full-blown panic attack, the reaction here has been muted. Despite daily visits to hospitals and clinics, I’ve heard very few people mention it. Some health professionals have been reluctant to discuss Ebola precisely because it has […]

IRPfellows, Mozambique — Nov 2, 2014

Pick your poison

Combating malaria is a tricky tradeoff in Mozambique. The mosquito-born illness is the leading killer of children here, and the CDC-supported ministry of health is aiming to change that with a door-to-door campaign to spray the insides of homes with repellant. But DDT is toxic, and some scientists say spraying the insecticide should be used only as a last-ditch […]

IRPfellows, Mozambique — Oct 30, 2014


I began calmly, gently calling my roommate’s name from the top of the stairs. “Jessi, it’s time to wake up,” I cooed, as I had promised the night before. My motive now, however, was not just to rouse her after an alarm did not. “Wake up, Jessi,” I called a little more urgently. Then I […]

IRPfellows, Mozambique — Oct 29, 2014

The logistical nightmare of providing health care in rural areas

If you fall ill in rural Mozambique, your options are devastatingly limited. If you had the chance to pick a place from the bad options, however, I have a feeling you couldn’t do much better than Moamba, a village in Maputo province near the border with South Africa. We visited a clinic there that serves the […]

IRPfellows, Mozambique — Oct 27, 2014

A very brief history of the Portuguese in Mozambique

I expected Maputo to be a dusty, jam-packed metropolis, but on a rainy Sunday afternoon it was rather green and uncrowded. Palm trees lined the road that runs along the harbor, some sporting flags for Filipe Nyusi, presidential candidate of the ruling Frelimo party. He will be Mozambique’s next president if everyone can agree on the results […]

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