The Zone

This is a story about doing fieldwork in the biggest trade zone in Nigeria, and learning about Chinese workers and Nigerian villagers. It’s also a love story.

Giving Tuesday

After Cyber Monday comes Giving Tuesday, a day to support one (or more) of your favorite charitable organizations.

Michael Hobbes Brings the Billfold to ‘Snap Judgment’

Last December, Billfold pal and frequent contributor Michael Hobbes wrote a lovely piece for us called “What Happens When One of Your Coworkers Dies.” A producer from NPR’s Snap Judgment read the story and asked Michael to adapt the story for their show. It turned out really great:

Detroit Would Rather You Not Take Pictures of Its Ruins

I called Philp to ask him what people like me, outsiders with no knowledge of the city and getting this constant barrage of ruin-porn and gentrification panics, should know about what it’s like to live there.

Doing Development Work in Dhaka

This is what I am here to do. This is my place in the system.

A Poor, Yet Expensive, Country

Zimbabwe’s per capita GDP is the third lowest in the world, yet the prices of items in the country—$2 for a Coke, $4 for a jar of peanut butter—is comparable to prices in large cities in the U.S. Why is that?

The Best Headphone Songs I Bought in 2013

When we write the history of how technology has made us happier, I hope there’s a whole chapter about headphones. Life in the pre-headphones era was a dystopia of un-entertained silences, un-podcasted public transport. Bus rides without TED Talks, old magazines in waiting rooms, flights spent deflecting extroverted strangers. Going for a jog meant listening to yourself breathe. 

What Happens When One of Your Coworkers Dies

The first thing that happens is someone tells you.

Poverty in Zambia

Our pal Michael Hobbes has a feature at Pacific Standard today looking at poverty in Zambia. An excerpt:

My Landlord Ratted Me Out to the Cops

I have been renting a room from Inge for four months now. She is in her mid-60s, tall and blond and slender, the glowing grandmother in a Nivea commercial.