Cowabunga, Dude

Since I went to Scotland, I have been fascinated by the way that hand gestures vary from country to country. In Scotland, adding the index finger to the middle finger means the same thing. In Nicaragua, to express anxiety you take your hand, open and palm up, then pull it downwards while bringing all your …


When I applied to volunteer at Holy Cross Hospice, the director and Dean looked at my previous "Where is Mark" website, and were highly impressed. Unfortunately, they were impressed not by the content (mine) but by the design (my brother Robert's). When I showed up with a laptop, I immediately became the hospice's IT staff. …

Big Safari Number One

I had hoped to put up some funny photos of my recent Botswana/South Africa tour. Blogger seems to have thwarted that. I am a little disappointed, too - I've got a pretty sweet shot of African penguins that I am convinced my grandfather Bobby would appreciate. Sorry, Bob.


I don't know how to say that in Setswana, sorry. Off tomorrow with fellow American volunteer Emma to visit my friend Jacob in Capetown, via Maun in northern Botswana. Keep an eye out for me on National Geographic.

Africa Lite, Part II of II

...Botswana’s northeastern neighbor, Zimbabwe, suffers from stereotypical African repression and poverty. As the story goes, after overthrowing minority white colonial rule (either violently or non-violently), an indigenous strongman (sometimes democratically, sometimes with the help of the military) wins power, promising (or not) to operate in solidarity with the poor. Robert Mugabe, president of Zimbabwe since …