Monday, July 14, 2014

Reading (+crowdfunding) a global walk through time & stories of migration

Reading this week: trail notes from one of the longest walks through the world and modern stories of migration: 

Since April, I am reading the trek notes of a global walk: Paul Salopek, a journalist who won the Pulitzer, is walking the world, following the trail of humans from the origins in Africa along the directions they walked to migrate and spread. The name of his project is “Out of Eden Walk”, it’s supported by National Geographic.

The walk will be 7 years long, leading through 4 continents. Salopek started walking a year ago, in Ethopia. From there, his journey took him to Djibuti, and to Saudi Arabei. His journey notes are collected in an online archive: Out of Eden Walk - Notes

I only learned about the walk in April, and am following Salopek's notes since then, or rather: am catching up on his first months of walking: Today, as I visited the Eden Walk webpage, I saw that he started a crowdfunding campaign to support his walk. I just backed it. Here's the kickstarter link: Out of Eden Walk.

And good to see that projects like this are possible and get support. Especially as just some day ago, I read an article about the difficulty of realizing longer journalistic projects, and the current crisis at the longform non-fiction platform Byliner (german article, and i just saw this litragger byline article that digs a bit deeper) and a disillusioning article in the NY Times: "a cautionary farce about the new media and technology we’re so often told is the bright shining future for writers and readers:";I was a Digital Best Seller


But back to theme of migration:

Migration and Migrant Labor - a reflection in short stories 
"In 2005, the United Nations reported that there were nearly 191 million international migrants worldwide, about 3 percent of the world population. Europe hosted the largest number of immigrants, with 70 million people in 2005.  The numbers of people living outside their country of birth is expected to rise in the future.."  - That are numbers from the wikipedia Immigration page

The July issue of Words without Borders picks up the topic of migration, and explores it from a literary angle, to tell the stories beyond the numbers: "this month we present writing about migrant labor. Through official channels or underground networks, fleeing poverty or chasing dreams, the characters here leave their homelands in search of work and new lives, finding nothing is quite as they expected."

I started to read the issue last week - as part of my "reading the world" journey. And so far, each story was like an own little universe, loaded with humorous, hopeful, tragic moments. Here are some direct links and quotes:   

Me and Mycobacterium tuberculosi by Shahaduz Zaman (Bangladesh)
"I waited. Everyone advised me to prepare myself by buying winter clothing. The very name of England brought to mind snow and ice.... Still, I made a brief visit to Banga Bazar. I lost myself in the lanes and alleyways of that kingdom of clothing..."

Piece by Piece They’re Taking My World Away by Christos Ikonomou (Greece)
"He shouted and cursed and at one point it almost came to blows. But eventually he got tired of shouting and cursing and fighting. What was the point? What difference did it make, today or tomorrow. What was the point. A soul that’s ready to leave will leave.."

Slaves of Moscow (nonfiction by Victoria Lomasko, Russia). 
This is the most painful text of the issue: a reportage of modern slavery. In October 2012, a group of civil society activists in Moscow freed twelve slaves from the Produkty grocery store, owned by a Kazakhstani couple.Victoria Lomasko is a graphic reportage artisst, she works with human rights organizations, and put this reportag together.

The Bed
by Vladimir Vertlib (Russia / US)
"C’est la vie. If you don’t take it like it comes, you won’t be nothing but a loser all your life. Why you always got something to gripe about?.."

** Links & More **


Beth said...

This is terrific, Dorothee: you inspire me, as usual!

bibliophiliac said...

I like your global view of things. The idea of a seven year walk is really inspiring. I'd like to read more about this.