Meet Fathom, the world’s first-ever cruise for voluntourists: vacationers who don’t just want to do beaches, spas, and shopping, but do good.
Spoiler: It doesn’t go as planned.
Impact update: Two weeks after my VICE investigation published, Carnival Corp., the world’s largest cruise operator, announced it would discontinue the cruise.
Published in the November 2016 issue of
Listen: Tiny Spark
Uncertainty over land ownership is playing out across Haiti as the country attempts to attract foreign investment in tourism, mining, manufacturing, and agriculture—often without clear knowledge of who, precisely, owns what.
Read: The New Yorker
After Uganda passed what became known as the “kill the gays” bill, hundreds of LGBT Ugandans began fleeing across the border to Kenya, where they lived in hiding while applying for asylum—but a few Kenyans, like Lucas, fled in the other direction.
Read: Harper’s Magazine
The plight of Kenya’s LGBT Refugees
“God has a book of life,” Mugisa told his worshipers. “He remembers your name. But to be written in this book you need to do good.” Mugisa turned to his congregants. “Mulondo, Lujja, Kasule, Nansamba: You want to be able to say, ‘God, I served you when I was in Kakuma camp.’ You want to be able to say, ‘I served you in Uganda. Remember me. This is what I have done, remember me.'”
Mugisa glanced around his congregation of LGBT worshipers, catching the eyes of a few of them. Unable to ignore the trepidation on their faces, he comforted them. “Trust me—one day we will be out of this place.”
Honorable Mention (runner-up), 2016 Immigration Journalism Award, The French-American Foundation; Official Nomination, “Outstanding Magazine Article,” 2017 GLAAD Media Awards; Shortlist, 2017 One World Media Print Award.
Read: VICE Magazine
In 2007, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced an ambitious endeavor: To eradicate malaria across the globe.
It was late to the game. That year, Chinese scientists working with a Chinese philanthropist had already begun eradicating malaria from the small African nation of Comoros. Now they’re setting their sights on a more ambitious location: Kenya, the East African nation of nearly 50 million people.
Read: The Atlantic
Listen: The China Africa Podcast
In the aftermath of disaster, Haitians ask what makes a city
Port-au-Prince was decimated when a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti in January 2010. Within weeks, settlements began to appear on a barren landscape, shacks and tents spreading over dusty plains. They called it Canaan, the biblical promised land where Moses led the Israelites out of slavery–the land of milk and honey. “This Canaan has the same history,” one pastor, who was among the first to move there, told me. “This is our honey.”
But in Canaan, as in any city, people—the rich and the poor, the powerful and weak, the complacent and the desperate—were destined to get in one another’s way.
As featured in Longreads
Photos by Jake Naughton
Inside the Fight for a Queer Country
Just a few years ago, Kampala was a nightmare for LGBTQ Ugandans, some of whom were beaten and stripped in the streets, chased by angry mobs or jailed.
But you wouldn’t guess that from the relaxed atmosphere at Cayenne on Kampala’s north side. Few people seem to notice the transgender woman dancing by the pool, and if they do, they don’t seem to care. Javan belongs to a generation of queer Ugandans barely old enough to remember when the antigay fervor first erupted here, in 2009.
Biologists Could Soon Resurrect Extinct Species. But Should They?
“Until we make space for other species on Earth, it won’t matter how many animals we resurrect,” writes M.R. O’Connor in her book Resurrection Science. “There won’t be many places left for them to exist.”
“Paradoxically, the more we intervene to save species, the less wild they often become.”
Kenya wants its treasures back.
Read: English | Spanish | Dutch
This story inspired a podcast by Neha Wadekar. Listen: Apple | Spotify
Photo: Ben Stiller visiting Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in April 2010 as part of a school-rebuilding project in which he was involved. Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
Each year, 1.6 million voluntourists descend upon the Haitis of the world.
Read: The New York Times Magazine
Cancel The Museum? | Germany’s Game of Thrones
If restitution advocates have their way, Berlin’s new Humboldt Forum may mark the beginning of the end of an era in which western museums served as humble custodians of other peoples’ things.
“Hermann Baumann wasn’t yet a Nazi when he set sail to Angola in search of Chokwe treasure.”
Read the full feature story: Tortoise
MAXLab Freiburg—the virtual reality (VR) arm of the criminology department at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Crime, Security, and Law in Freiburg, Germany—is at the forefront of a movement to use VR technology to understand, deter, and prevent crime.
Read: Stanford Social Innovation Review
A medical testing center in downtown Laayoune. Image: Kang-Chun Cheng.
When it comes to Covid-19, Western Sahara is a black hole: no information exists. The area is literally a blank spot on the World Health Organization’s map of cases and vaccines.
Read: BBC Future
With support from the Pulitzer Center
The first-ever malaria vaccine is 35 years and billions of dollars in the making. It’s less than 40% effective.
Read: English / Español / Português
That’s how to prevent the next pandemic–if these scientists are right.
Move over, Covid-19. Another, far more lethal disease is in danger of erupting once again. Yellow fever infects some 200,000 people and kills 30,000 of them each year–more than terrorist attacks and plane crashes combined. Stopping the next outbreak from jumping from monkeys to humans may require a novel approach: vaccinating our hairy, banana-loving brethren.
Part of our BBC Future series, Stopping The Next One, with Harriet Constable and The Pulitzer Center.