Earth Touch via Flickr CC /

Among the things we take for granted in today’s America is knowing the time …which makes transportation, business and national events possible. This, however, was not always the case. Today, from building sewers to standardizing time, we’ll talk about the invisible innovations that got us where we are today. Then, more than 30,000 African elephants are poached every year, mostly out of East Africa. In an effort to understand the illegal ivory trade, a journalist commissioned a tusk made of fake ivory with a GPS tracker inside. We speak with the man behind that tusk.

Rwanda: Twenty Years Later

Apr 15, 2014
oledoe / Flickr/CC

It’s been two decades since the hundred-day mass slaughter, aimed at the country’s minority Tutsi population, and Rwanda is starting to see success in economic growth and public health. We’re talking about how far the country has come, the struggles it still faces, as well as ongoing soul-searching by Rwandans and the international community.


  • Erik Clevenassistant professor in the politics department at Saint Anselm College. His research includes ethnic violence and conflict transformation, and he spent time in Rwanda and Burundi in 2005 as part of a project with Quaker Service Norway to promote post-conflict dialogue.
  • Stephen Kinzer - author and journalist, who has covered more than 50 countries on 5 continents. His books include "A Thousand Hills: Rwanda’s Rebirth and the Man Who Dreamed It" in 2013.
  • Augustin Ntabaganyimana – a refugee from Rwanda who came to New Hampshire in 2000. He was Program Manager at a refugee resettlement agency in the state, but recently moved to DC where he founded the company MultiLingual Links, which works in N.H. and Baltimore.


African Burying Ground NH

During the 1700's, many Portsmouth residents were of African descent– some slave, some free— and were buried in a segregated cemetery. That cemetery was built over, its boundaries obscured. A public works crew rediscovered the site and now the restoration of its dignity has begun. Kelvin Edwards is working on the Portsmouth African Burying Ground Memorial.

Lift Street Kids Blog, Merhawi Wells-Bogue

Before moving to New Hampshire, Merhawi Wells-Bogue earned his living on the streets of the Ethiopian city of Mekelle. Years later, while studying journalism at UNH, he went back and spoke with other street kids, often hearing stories of neglect and abuse. He’s since graduated, and was awarded a grant from UNH to do research on similarly neglected children. He also launched LIFT Street Kids, an organization designed to help children living on the streets of Mekelle. He is raising money for a documentary film using the crowd-funding site Crowdwise. Merhawi was with us to talk about the many children either orphaned or abandoned and left to fend for themselves on the dusty streets of Mekelle.  

African Burying Ground NH

During the 1700's, many Portsmouth residents were of African descent– some slave, some free— and were buried in a segregated cemetery. That cemetery was built over, its boundaries obscured. A public works crew rediscovered the site and now the restoration of its dignity has begun. Kelvin Edwards is working on the Portsmouth African Burying Ground Memorial.

It may be the largest war in the world that we don’t hear about. The death toll of what is now called the Great War of Africa likely stretches into the millions.

Al Qaeda In Africa

Feb 28, 2013

Although the death of Osama bin Laden was a major blow to the terrorist group, al Qaeda,  it has found new life in Africa, where groups aligned with its goals and terrorist methods have created what NATO is calling an arc of instability stretching from West African into continent's Horn. We’ll talk with experts on this development and find out what’s at stake for the U.S.


One Laptop Per Child

The trope goes something like this: one minute you’re teaching your kid to tie his shoes, and the next he’s showing you how to use the new Blu-Ray player. No doubt, fresh minds tend to have an easier time adapting to new technologies – but does the cliché hold water in third-world countries where kids have never seen so much as a calculator? 

Fatoumata Diawara

Sep 27, 2012
retorta_net via Flickr Creative Commons

West African singer-songwriter Fatoumata Diawara has a back story not unlike many of today’s cosmopolitan Africans. She was born in Ivory Coast to parents from Mali and now lives in Paris. She’s a stage and film actress, singer, and songwriter. There's a world of experience that shines through on her album ‘Fatou’ which plays to her roots, but retains an infectious western pop sensibility.  Fatoumata and her band are playing tonight at the Dana Center, St.

After Decades Away, Tourists Return To Liberia

Apr 19, 2012

Liberia has been better known for conflict than tourism the past couple of decades.

But this week, a group of 150 tourists, many of them Americans, arrived for a brief stay in the small nation on Africa's West Coast. When their cruise liner docked in the capital of Monrovia, they became the largest group of tourists to visit the country in many years, probably since the 1970s.

Dock workers in Monrovia usually unload cargo ships full of secondhand clothes or rice — not a cruise ship full of American tourists.

In Egypt, next month's presidential election has undergone a wrenching several days.

First, leading Islamist candidates faced possible disqualification on legal grounds, and then, hours before the deadline to register, a leading face from the regime of Hosni Mubarak jumped into the race.

The appearance of 75-year-old Omar Suleiman, Mubarak's former intelligence chief, has sparked fears that the military council running the country is maneuvering to bring back the old regime.

At a golf resort in suburban Johannesburg, a group of men lounged by the pool. They cheered as five competitors sprinted around a grassy field — in Speedo swimsuits — to the sounds of "Yellow Polka Dot Bikini."

This was sports day at Mr. Gay World 2012.

Gay men from 22 countries took part, and this year's competition was noteworthy because it was the first time it was held on African soil. It addition, it also marked the first time that black African men participated, though there were just two.

The Egyptian city of Port Said is the northern gateway to one of the world's key shipping lanes, the Suez Canal connecting the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea. With its ornate buildings and clean streets, the sprawling city has one of the highest standards of living in Egypt.

But this year, Port Said has become known for something more sinister: It was the site of Egypt's deadliest soccer riot.

Many of the city's officials and residents say the tragedy has destroyed Port Said's reputation and left them in financial trouble.

By now, you may have heard of Bombino, his album, Agadez was a hot seller on i-tunes and named one of NPR’s 50 favorite albums of 2011. Bombino, whose given name is Omara Moctar, is a guitarist from the Tuareg tribe, African nomads who have been persecuted by the government of Niger, especially, who reportedly fought for Gaddafi in Libya and are now considered rebels by the government of Mali, but their real fidelity is to eking out their lives in the desert

Baloji: Finding A Home In His Music

Mar 27, 2012

Rapper Baloji was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo but raised in Belgium. He's built a reputation for incorporating Congolese music into his mix, though he mostly raps in French, his deep voice full of cocky brashness. You can catch his vibe without translation, but it's worth reading the liner notes to get his messages, as well. Baloji raps with brazen ease about the indignities of life as an African in Belgium, but also the tragic, bloody history of his homeland on his second album, Kinshasa Succursale.

(<a href="" target="_blank">Jan Ekenstam</a> via Flickr Creative Commons)

Former Word of Mouth intern Stephanie Reighart visited an unexpected restaurant catering to the Upper Valley called Tastes of Africa.