Pulitzer Center

Reports from the field - an exclusive channel of Pulitzer Center reporting


Jen Marlowe, for the Pulitzer Center

We sat in the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) office in Nairobi as minutes stretched into hours, awaiting our permits to travel into South Sudan.

A line from the movie I had watched last night on the plane traveling from London to Nairobi kept running through my mind. The movie was "Blood Diamonds"; the line was delivered by Leonardo DiCaprio: "TIA," he told a journalist, as his means to explain the brutality and bloodshed of the Sierra Leone civil war. "This is Africa."

Leaving for Nairobi

Jen Marlowe shares her thoughts and feelings before she, David Morse and the three "Lost Boys" arrive in South Sudan to find—or not find—what the Lost Boys have been searching: their families.

Ready to go

    Tommorrow we leave for Africa - Kenya first, then South Sudan - and I am totally crazed, running errands, taking care of last minute details. I live in rural  eastern Connecticut. One of my errands was dropping off some seedlings for a friend who farms. He has a couple of Rotweillers as guard dogs. I was glad to see the dogs were gone when I pulled up in my pickup truck. I hadn't counted on the rooster. I got out and deposited the plants and was heading back to my truck when that crazy rooster sidled up to me, its shoulders bunched, and quick as a flash sank its spurs into my calf. Drew blood through my jeans. Because I was leaving the next day, I dropped by the doctor's to check out the wound. My tetanus shot was up to date. She prescribed a wide-spectrum antibiotic in case the wound swelled.    Was the rooster's attack an omen? A prophylatic attack, to ward off snakes and other dangers in South Sudan?    If nothing else, it was a reminder that there are a few dangers here. But more to the point, I have a doctor to go to. Innoculations for Yellow Fever, Hepatitus, pills for malaria. Antibiotics if I need them. Things that most people in Africa don't have.    One of the Lost Boys that Jen Marlowe and I are traveling with, Chris Koor Garang, has raised more than $25,000 toward furnishing a clinic in the town of Akon, where we are visiting. Chris finished his last exams last week for his nursing degree, and will volunteer at the clinic while we are there. It's something he can do for the folks back home. We're also bringing some treated mosquito netting, which is probably the singlemost effective deterrant to Malaria.   We're all pretty excited about this trip.


Ready to go

David Morse shares his throughts before he, Jen Marlowe, and the "Lost Boys" leave for South Sudan.

Through the Marsh with the MILF

"I'm looking for the day that the Bangsamoro would be the master of their own selves and destiny," Mohagher Iqbal told me during an interview at the MILF's political headquarters at Semuay Crossing, southern Philippines. "On that day, whether there is heaven or hell, what is important is that the Bangsamoro people could no longer accuse anyone, including the Philippine government, of creating our mess here in Mindanao."