Dostyk American International School, Atyrau, Kazakhstan

“What were you doing in Kazakhstan?’ asks the customs agent
in Newark.

“How much time do you have?” I want to answer, but these
folks get paid to not know how to take a joke, so I just say, “Visiting.”

He stares me down. 

Wanted in Michigan

No one climbs aboard
a bicycle and proclaims, “I want to crash and fall on my head.  Bring on the broken bones.” No one puts a
cake in the oven hoping it will come out burned black and tasting like a hockey
puck. Likewise, people don’t get married because they want to

Freed from Accelerated Reader Stress

I received this email from my daughter Kelly yesterday.  Go Kelly!  Go Danny!  Following in the family tradition of being plain-clothes revolutionaries.
Mom,
Since the beginning of September the dreaded AR points have been hanging over Danny’s head.  At Danny’s school 4th graders need 12 points a month to go to

Flatter the Mountain Tops with Sovereign Eye

Myth #2

Deconstructing
poetry is an advanced academic pursuit while constructing poetry is child’s
play.

Imagine
this.  You are called into a classroom
and asked to hunch over images of Tiger Woods swinging a golf club.  You answer a set of questions

As Spine Straightening as a Rooster Crow

Thoughtlessly this morning I brushed my teeth with the tap
water. I cooked oatmeal over a steady natural gas flame in a heated home and
then poured it over frozen blueberries. 
When I saw the clock blinking on the stove, I realized we must have had
a power outage in

Cape Coast, Ghana

“Do you really want to do this?” Michael asks.  He knows that I hang on to images.  The Hanoi Hilton.  Treblinka. 
Hiroshima wiped me out for a week. 
I couldn’t eat, close my eyes. Man’s inhumanity quite literally makes me sick.

“Yes.” 

So,

Inside the American International School of Abuja

The road to the American School of Abuja is dusty and hot, but inside is is very cool.  The teachers, the kids, the parents.  We arrived a half-day late due to the misconnection in Lagos and went straight from the airport to write with sixth graders in the library, eating Thai food in the car.

Outside The American School of Abjua, Nigeria

Imagine that it is four days before a big holiday and you
want to feed your family a traditional meal of goat and beef.  You are the head of a large family; everyone
is counting on you.  It must be a big
feast, a celebration, and your income comes from a bead shop

Outside American International School Lagos

The introduction to Lagos is either a laugh riot or a maniacal debacle, depending on your level of jet lag and patience for paths to no where.  The first passport check is as you get off the plane.  Some guy at the end of the jetway flipped open my passport, stared intently at

Inside American International School of Lagos

The
school is an island on an island.  Surrounded on all sides by walls with
rolled razor wire on top, the school sits on Victoria Island, part of the
seamless sprawl of 20+ million people that is Lagos. Teachers live within the
school walls in an apartment building actually

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