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Published August 8th, 2013

We, too, from the other side of the barbed wire,

we looked at the snow, and at God.

That's how God is: an infinite and stupefying form.

Beautiful, lazy and still with no desire to do anything.

Like certain women who, when we were boys,

we only dared dream about.

(This Must Be the Place)

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The hands are the first to go

Published August 8th, 2013

Sapper serving on the Italian military ship (ITS) San Marco.

"The suit protects the whole body frontally, except the hands. Being this an extremely delicate job, you can't afford clumsy hands. Conversely, if something happens, the hands are the first to go."

The (ITS) San Marco is the Flag Ship of NATO Operation Ocean Shield, an international counter piracy mission in the Gulf of Aden and off the Horn of Africa. Acting under UN mandate, NATO has been helping to deter and disrupt pirate attacks, while protecting vessels and helping to increase the general level of security in the region since 2008.

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Hanging Over

Published December 12th, 2012

I’m alive

I can breath the air

I can hurt you

I can float up here

So soft and tingling

You can’t touch me

I’m floating away

(Blur, Hanging Over)

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Published December 12th, 2012

Like if you could pour all the beauty of Ethiopia into the eyes of a scam tour guide.

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Published December 3rd, 2012

Zebra and wildebeest are good migration partners for several reasons: zebra have better eyesight and hearing so they are quicker to spot danger, and they also have good memories and can remember the direction of the migration. Wildebeest are good at finding water sources, and some think that lion prefer wildebeest meat, so it's convenient for zebra to mingle with a tastier prey.

On top of the team work, zebra and wildebeest are also good friends because each animal prefers a different part of the same grass, so they don't compete over food.

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Road Closed

Published December 2nd, 2012

Nothing can stop matatus but fuel shortages and big stones. This road had just been paved and scattering it with stones was apparently the only way to prevent matatus (14 seats vans constituting a common form of local transport in Kenya) from using it before the asphalt dried. One thing you learn quickly in Nairobi is that the only laws that matatu drivers respect are those of physics. Although they try hard to overcome even this last barrier.

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Tribalism and candies

Published December 2nd, 2012

Each town has its own “town characters”, extravagant people with attributes that make them emerge from a sea of sameness. Nairobi has its own personalities, and even if I am still new in town, I was lucky enough to meet one of them.

Well, not exactly him, but his wheel chair. The man is a paraplegic hawker. He sells candies on the street. But what makes him unique is that, along selling candies, he also preaches against tribalism.

Tribalism is one of the major problems in Kenya, a country that gathers more than 40 different tribes, not always in peace, as sadly evidenced by the 2007–2008 Kenyan crisis, in which post-election demonstrations and violences spread and continued for two months, causing between 800 and 1.500 casualties. Violences were based mostly on ethnic reasons.

It is in that occasion that the man decided to impress the message on his wheel chair, and started to vehicle it to people in the streets.

In the streets of Nairobi you will find a lot of people from differen ...

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Par tòt

Published December 1st, 2012

"Par tòt" is an expression from Bologna’s dialect that means "for everybody".

The Partot Parade is a street parade taking place every year in Bologna since 2002, at the beginning of summer.

Completely self-organized through free seminars that take place in the months preceding the event, it is the occasion for the thousands of colorful and joyful university students that populate this town to show off their overwhelming creative potential.

These photos are from the 2006 and 2007 editions of the parade.

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Published December 1st, 2012

falling leaves

hide the path

so quietly

(John Bailey, A Haiku Year)

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Published December 1st, 2012

A thing happens once that has never happened before. Seeing it, a man looks upon reality. He cannot tell others what he has seen. Others wish to know, however, so they question him saying, “What is it like, this thing you have seen?” So he tries to tell them. Perhaps he has seen the very first fire in the world. He tells them, “It is red, like a poppy, but through it dance other colors. It has no form, like water, flowing everywhere. It is warm, like the sun of summer, only warmer. It exists for a time upon a piece of wood, and then the wood is gone, as though it were eaten, leaving behind that which is black and can be sifted like sand. When the wood is gone, it too is gone.” Therefore, the hearers must think reality is like a poppy, like water, like the sun, like that which eats and excretes. They think it is like to anything that they are told it is like by the man who has known it. But they have not looked upon fire. They cannot really know it. They can only know of it. But fire co ...

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The Cuamba/Nampula train

Published December 1st, 2012

Probably one of Africa’s most dense travel experiences, the Cuamba/Nampula train departs in each direction at 5 am on alternate days, but life starts to manifest itself around the machine between 3 and 4 am, with people walking in the darkness back and forth along the train in search of a seat. First and second classes are usually unavailable, so third class is the way to go. People, have a seat, no social stratification here.

Later, sunrise will unveil a crowd of silent faces, some sleeping, some eating, all patiently waiting for departure. Sunrise is when the machine becomes a tangle of human lives.

Since passengers largely outnumber the wooden seats, people optimize the available space with placid determination. Bags, firewood, chickens, bodies over bodies, nobody complains, and nobody will for the rest of the ride, which takes between 10 and 11 hours, sometimes much longer.

One might think that the main raison d’etre of the train line is to allow trackside vendors and passengers ...

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To Build A Home

Published December 1st, 2012

There is a house built out of stone

Wooden floors, walls and window sills

Tables and chairs worn by all of the dust

This is a place where I don’t feel alone

This is a place where I feel at home

And I built a home

For you

For me

(The Cinematic Orchestra, To Build a Home)

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Upside down

Published November 30th, 2012

There is this old legend about Baobabs.

When God created the earth, the animals came to him and asked if they could take part in the remaining portion of creation. Since God was nearly done, he told them that the only thing remaining was to create the trees. The animals were excited because they could participate in this work, so they asked God to let them plant the seeds for trees. God reluctantly agreed, and started giving out seeds, one particular seed to one particular group of animals, another group of seeds to another group, and on and on until he got to the last seeds and the last animals. It was the seeds for the baobab trees that remained and the only animal left were the hyenas. So the stupid animals went out and planted all of the baobab seeds, but upside down. That is why the roots look like they are growing up in the air and the leaves are buried out of sight in the ground.

Another legend says that when the Baobab was planted by God, it kept walking, so God got angry, pu ...

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Handle With Care

Published November 30th, 2012

Passengers of the Chauncy Maples, built in 1898 and dubbed the oldest passenger ship still afloat in Africa, load and unload goods - and a kid - from one of the lifeboats used for transhipments in the points of the coast where there are no harbors. Since last summer, the Chauncy Maples has returned to port: after more than 100 years of service, she had become too fragile. Her journey, however, is not over: a UK Charity is raising £2m to renovate the ship as a floating clinic, which will bring primary health care to half a million people - among the poorest in the world - living around the lake (Source).

This picture has been featured at the exhibition “Fragile (handle with care)” in November 2010.

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Lake Magadi

Published November 30th, 2012

Deep in the heart of Maasai land, at the lowest level of a vast depression - some 30 meters below sea level - shines Lake Magadi. The lake is a vast natural salt plain that stretches for approximately 100 square kilometers. At its center stands a towering soda factory, whose smokestack dominates a landscape of desolation.

Even more bizarre is the small, well-ordered village that the company owning the factory has built to host the workers. After a two hours drive on shaky roads in utter remoteness, I suddenly find myself walking on empty, clean streets surrounded by rows of identical houses, each one with four apartment numbers marked on the four quadrants of the facade. The surreal silence of the afternoon indicates that most of the villagers are working in the factory.

Surrounding the village, the baking salt plain stretches as far as the eye can see. The surface cracks under the heat and crunches under my feet as I walk towards horizons of shimmering heat haze.

A tall boy dressed ...

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