Muslim children sit inside Dariya Khan Ghhumnat Rahat refugee camp set up outside a school in the state of Gujarat in Ahmedabad, India May 10, 2002. The extent of the damage and displacement of more than 120,000 people has threatened the secular ideals of India and left the government under attack for its inadequate relief arrangements….

How do you prepare for an assignment?

It depends where I am going and what the climate and nature of the assignment is but one piece of advice I could give is the old adage…”less is more”. The more you bring, the more you must carry. The less you bring, the more lightly you tread and leave behind. It is much better to try to adapt and fit in and to contribute to local economies. For example, I buy local clothes and food (minus high altitude or specialized equipment). Very often I see people bringing bags and bags of powerbars and supplies and clothing which is completely unsuited to where they may be. In my opinion, you are the guest to this country and place and respecting and taking part in the life around you is an important component to getting the most out of your experience traveling. The more we try to create what is familiar to us, the less experiences we will have and after all, what is the point of traveling if you just want a repetition of what you have at home? It is all about adaptation and experiencing where you are.


Camel fair-trading-Camel traders from India look at the vast offerings as sun falls at the largest camel fair in the world in Pushkar, India in the state of Rajasthan November 26, 2001. Thousands of camels and traders come to the annual event which some say have been going on for centuries.


In Western news accounts, Kashmir is invariably described as an important piece in a longstanding geopolitical puzzle. It is identified as the axis of relations between India and Pakistan, a “nuclear flashpoint” that could spark an unthinkable war in South Asia. While these characterizations are accurate, they overlook the intrinsic value of Kashmir as an entity in itself, as well as the human story of a long-ignored war that is slowly destroying one of the world’s most exquisite cultures.


Villagers fetch water from a polluted hole in the village of Dambas, 80 kilometers outside of Wajir, in northern Kenya May 10, 2006.


Villagers fetch water from a polluted hole in the village of Dambas, 80 kilometers outside of Wajir, in northern Kenya May 10, 2006. Many people are suffering from diarrhoea, cholera, malaria and are even more vulnerable to diseases because of their weakened state. The number of people who are at risk in the Horn of Africa is estimated to be around 15 million of which more than 8 million have been identified as being in need of urgent emergency assistance. Though the rains have come and turned the land green, the problems facing the pastoralists still persist after 3 years of drought that resulted in severe livelihood stress, food insecurity, livestock deaths and high rates of malnutrition. (Ami Vitale)