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Timbuktu – Part III

This is Part III in a series of posts about a trip I took to Mali in 2009. Part I explains the purpose of my visit to Mali, and begins the journey; Part II gets me to Timbuktu. And  now, Part III.

Sankore Mosque

A woman’s bright garb provides a sharp contrast to the mud-daubed walls of the Sankore Mosque in Timbuktu.

When we left off, my traveling companion and colleague Maria Elisa and I were ensconced at our Tuareg encampment in the desert outside of Timbuktu. Night was falling. We had just enjoyed the ritual of tea—three tiny glasses of hot, strong, sweet tea consumed one right after the other. I thought that I might not sleep that night because of the caffeine, but decided to take the risk anyway. Continue reading »

Bananas or kiwis? There’s more to dataviz than pie charts

pie chartQuick: Which will you find more of in a fruit salad — bananas or kiwis? Hard to tell from this pie chart, right?

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A picture from a thousand words

Another week, another powerpoint.  In my role as program coordinator for InnovATE, I track progress, compile reports and prepare presentations.  I’ve been caught off guard again with my blogging duties, as I am in the midst of putting together slides for an upcoming meeting. Which has left little time to think of a topic for this post!

So, I started with a stream of consciousness and put on paper words from my week – about springtime, march madness, seeding in the hoophouse, St. Patrick’s Day, all things green and the burst of energy that comes in with the thaw of winter.  Looking at my emerging listicle, I thought, “Is this interesting to my audience? How can I put this all together (and onto one screen) to best convey the message?”  My answer – Tagxedo! Continue reading »

Selling everything you can and cannot imagine: roadside vending in Uganda


Children selling vegetables along the side of the road in Uganda. They were very persistent!

Drive-thrus in the United States have nothing on Uganda. Roadside vending is a major business in the “pearl of Africa” country where people buy and sell everything you can (and cannot) imagine. If there is anything the U.S. needs to catch up on, it’s having a drive-thru where I can pick up fresh veggies for my dinner and a new cell phone charger so my phone doesn’t die while I wait in traffic.

Continue reading »