Bearing Witness

The first time I ever saw people checking under cars for explosives was in Arusha, the tourist capital of Tanzania, a safari springboard just two hours from Kilimanjaro. I was heading into the Arusha International Conference Centre, to see if I could sit in on a trial. I had finished a law degree a few…

Worth losing sleep over

Man, busy few weeks. Busy year, actually. In the space of a week recently at Storyful we had Super Tuesday, two new staff coming on board, a new site design tested and put live, a new app tested and put live and all the usual stuff of daily newsgathering. The team I work with have…

Sunk

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here, mostly due to full-time duties over at Storyful.com. Today something happened that linked the last year at Storyful and my trip to Africa immediately preceding that together – the tragedy in Zanzibar. It was the main news story of the day, a boat carrying 800 people which…

Trade delegation

Heading north-east to Thika to interview a coffee cooperative, I took a matatu (Hiace bus) from central Nairobi early on a Thursday morning. As I headed off, I had no idea that the road I took would be one of the most interesting things I observed that day. The ‘Thika Road’ has acquired legendary status…

Slumming It

Before I am lambasted, a caveat. The phrase ‘slumming it’ is haughty and deplorable at the best of times. I use it here in knowing irony that it’s been chosen as a Facebook photo caption by more than one ignorant gap year student or blundering slum tourist who’s pointed and shot at the slums. And…

Strange Brew

When it comes to coffee, Kenyans don’t know what they’re selling. Their coffee is among the best in the world, but most locals here have no idea. Solomon Kamau took me on a walkabout of his coffee co-operative this week near Thika, about an hour north of Nairobi. It provides around 8,000 smalhold farmers with…

God’s Cabbie

It’s amazing what business prospects strangers will pitch to you in East Africa. While walking along the street, I’ve been given the option to sponsor the university education of total strangers, and help them fund major business investments, often within minutes of having met someone. And for that reason, I’m out. I had another Dragon’s…