Clare Richardson's Blogs

  • Rio at a Crossroads

    “You don’t like the beach much, do you?” the doorman mused as I walked into my apartment building in Copacabana, drenched in sweat after a day out in the field. I nodded in solemn admission that the view while zipping around favelas on the back of moto-taxis wasn’t exactly the picturesque coastline most visitors came to see. I’d spent the past week interviewing residents whose lives had been upended to accommodate developments for the Rio Olympics, and the devastating results of the Games six months later. Many of the projects now stood desolate and useless, as is often the case in host cities after the athletes and media have come and gone. However in Rio, where there had been high hopes the international sporting event would provide an opportunity to improve infrastructure and help address its staggering...

  • Off to Mozambique

    Winter is coming and I’m flying south. Over the next two weeks I will report from Mozambique on health care issues such as childhood vaccinations with the International Reporting Project. The project takes journalists to parts of the world that are underrepresented in the mainstream media. As far as I can make out, the tradeoff is a free trip funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in exchange for providing exposure for issues that wouldn’t otherwise make it to press. As part of my initial research and in response to questions from friends and colleagues, here’s a brief primer with very basic information about Mozambique. Where is it? On the eastern side of southern Africa, right across the water from Madagascar. Is it safe? Things were bad in the immediate wake of...

  • 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 commemorating North Korea’s founding father and the leader of the Chinese Communist Revolution do not appear directly outside the American center, however I snapped a photo of the building on the other side of the intersection. As is often the case for American institutions built with the purpose of fomenting neighborly relations in a foreign nation, the center is the most fortified building on the block. America welcomes all with its tall metal gate and signs warning passersby not to take photographs. After passing through the most...

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