They say that light rays puncture the heavens at 300 million metres per second - faster than anything else in existence. But Stephen Lewis has walked among the dead in Africa, and there the velocity of darkness far exceeds the shuffling pace of light. read more
Nceka, Swaziland -- Mfan'fikile Dlamini is starting over.
At the ripe old age of 16, the orphaned former herdboy and former abused child is going to school for the first time in his life.
He says he is happy, too - and that's probably another first. read more
Harare -- It is nighttime when I return to Zimbabwe, and what I
notice first are the street lamps.
They don't work, or most of them don't. Many are
beginning to list precariously to the side. Not a few have fallen
down, and their rusting corpses sprawl across the tousled blond
grass in the African darkness. read more
Consider the Zambezi.
From its headwaters in northern Zambia, the fourth-longest waterway in Africa wanders south and then east, tumbles over Victoria Falls and washes into Lake Kariba, where it loops north toward a town called Chirundu, later arching through Mana Pools National Park and across the breadth of Mozambique, on its long journey to the Indian Ocean. read more
Sanjaray, Afghanistan -- Some soldiers wage warfare with rifles and mortars, while others bear silver briefcases brimming with cash.
Warrant Officer Dean Henley of Richmond Hill counts himself among the second group. read more
Havana, Cuba -- In the city of the dead, she is the uncontested queen. Her name is Amelia Goyri de Adot, and she is better known to Cubans as la Milagrosa or the Miraculous One. Never mind that she has been dead for more than 100 years. In this tropical land pervaded by saints, spirits and superstitions, a deceased person is by no means a defunct person. Just the opposite, in fact. read more
Mexico City -- On a clear day, you can see Iztaccihuatl.
Which is not to say that you can pronounce it.
One of two massive, snow-glazed volcanoes that crown the high blue horizon a two-hour drive southeast of Mexico City, Iztaccihuatl (pronounced Ees-ta-SEE-wah-tul) used to be perpetually invisible from the streets of this Latin megalopolis, its four connected peaks invariably obscured by the nearly permanent shroud of smog that once covered the Mexican capital, among the largest and most severely contaminated cities on the planet. read more
Mexico City -- It's 3 p.m. in the land that time forgot, and the
first patrons of the afternoon are strolling onto the shaded
patio of a gastronomic institution known as Restaurante
Bellinghausen. read more
Jerusalem -- A derelict two-storey house slouches on Ethiopia St., not far from the limestone ramparts of ancient Jerusalem.
More than a century ago, this house was inhabited by Eliezer Ben Yehuda. But you wouldn't know it now.
Irbil, Iraq --In order to appreciate some of the practical subtleties that nowadays distinguish the southern and northern regions of Iraq, the astute visitor should first conduct a simple exercise in word substitution. read more
Taybeh, West Bank -- The concert commenced at 7 sharp, here in the last entirely Christian community in the Holy Land, an illuminated rosary of limestone houses and Christmas lights strung across the high Samarian Hills, 20 kilometres northeast of Jerusalem. read more
Beirut -- There's a deal being offered on Mazda automobiles in this frenetic Middle Eastern capital, a city where little stays the same for long. "Turn me on," urges a billboard on Zalka St. in the east end of Beirut. "Zero down payment, 1.99 per cent interest. Limited quantity." Sounds good - but what is most intriguing about this advertisement is not the nature of the offer. It is the nature of the language in which the offer is being made. read more