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  • The Homelands Blog

    Sandy Tolan recently returned from Gaza, where he was reporting on water in the context of the ongoing war there. He found people living under siege but determined not to give up hope. Sandy posted …

  • The Homelands Blog

    Sandy Tolan is in Gaza, reporting on the water crisis there. Here is a Facebook post from July 26: This morning in Gaza, a whiff of war in the air in the wake of Israel’s …

  • The Homelands Blog

    In her latest commentary for High Country News, Ruxandra Guidi writes how the U.S.-Mexico border has become a stage for political theater,  and why the Trump administration’s “deterrence” tactic against undocumented immigrants and asylum seekers is cruel and inhumane. …

  • The Homelands Blog

    On April 9th, Bear and Rux’s year-long collaboration with LA’s KCRW – Going Gray in LA: Stories of Aging Along Broadway – will have a culminating event in Los Angeles that’s free and open to the …

  • The Homelands Blog

    Last year, Homelands’ Bear Guerra spent two weeks in the Ecuadorian Amazon making images to accompany anthropologist Mike Cepek’s upcoming ethnography about the impacts that oil has had on the life of the indigenous Cofán. The …

  • The Homelands Blog

    Los Angeles is a rapidly aging city in a rapidly aging county. In fact, over the next 15 years, LA County’s senior population will double, to nearly one-fifth of the total population. Housing, health care, …

  • The Homelands Blog

    One of Los Angeles’ NPR affiliates, KCRW, has launched Bear and Rux’s year-long multi-platform project about aging in the city’s working-class and immigrant neighborhoods. “Going Gray in LA: Stories of Aging along Broadway” is part …

  • The Homelands Blog

    The photo above, from a 2015 story by Bear Guerra and Ruxandra Guidi published in Americas Quarterly, has won a prestigious American Photography award. The piece, “Indigenous Residents of Lima’s Cantagallo Shantytown Confront an Uncertain Future,” describes how …

  • The Homelands Blog

    Family, friends, colleagues, and students gathered to celebrate the life and work of Cecilia Vaisman at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University on January 25, 2016. You can watch a video of the event here. Below are the …

  • The Homelands Blog

    The strawberries on your breakfast cereal might not taste so sweet if you knew how bitter life can be for the folks who pick them. As if backbreaking labor and extremely low wages weren’t enough, strawberry workers are …

  • The Homelands Blog

    Sandy Tolan‘s Children of the Stone has been named one of Booklist‘s Top 10 Art Books of 2015. The news was published in the magazine’s November 1, 2015, issue on the arts. Reviewer Donna Seaman wrote: “Tolan illuminates …

  • The Homelands Blog

    There’s a sweet write-up about Homelands’ Bear Guerra on the Dispatches from Latin America section of the American Illustration and American Photography (AI-AP) website. Bear was recently honored in the group’s Latin America Fotografía competition …

  • The Homelands Blog

    We Homelanders have lost our beloved friend and colleague Cecilia Vaisman. Ceci died of cancer early on September 27 in Chicago. She was 54. Our love goes to her husband, Gary Marx, daughter, Ana, and son, Andres. …

  • The Homelands Blog

    Homelands’ co-founder and senior producer Alan Weisman is spending nearly a month in Colombia and Ecuador giving talks and interviews about his two most recent books, The World Without Us and Countdown.

  • The Homelands Blog

    Since August 13, Ecuadorians from across the political spectrum have been observing a nationwide strike and marching in the streets against the policies of President Rafael Correa. Homelands’ Bear Guerra has been documenting the protests, which have received little attention in the international …

  • The Homelands Blog

    Music, occupation, hope, despair, healing, and the terrible weight of history are all the subjects of Sandy Tolan‘s rapturously reviewed new book, Children of the Stone: The Power of Music in a Hard Land.  While you …

  • Children of the Stone

    Children of the Stone

    Sandy Tolan’s book about freedom and conflict, determination and vision, and the potential of music to help children everywhere see new possibilities for their lives.

  • The Homelands Blog

    Before we say goodbye to 2014 we thought we’d give you a sneak peek at what we’re cooking up for the year to come. If you feel it’s worth supporting, far be it from us to stand …

  • The Homelands Blog

    For the 60,000 residents of Cañar, Ecuador, the costs of migration can be great, especially for children. But the benefits can be great as well: unprecedented access to education and jobs, freedom of movement and financial independence for …

  • The Square Deal

    The Square Deal

    An inside look at the legacy of George F. Johnson, an industrialist who offered his mainly immigrant workers decent working conditions and generous benefits in exchange for labor peace. Until it all fell apart under the pressure of competition.

  • Runner


    Salina Kosgei always loved to run. At 16, she decided to make a career of it. Sixteen years and two kids later she found herself elbow to elbow with the defending champ in the most prestigious marathon in the world, with the finish line in sight.

  • Shipbreaking Worker

    Shipbreaking Worker

    Ismael “Babu” Hussein works as an assistant in one of Bangladesh’s shipbreaking yards, where armies of laborers dismantle old vessels the way ants devour a carcass. The work is perilous, the bosses abusive, the hours exhausting. Heavy stuff for a 13-year old kid.

  • Banker


    Risk, says Brandon Davies, is how we learn and grow as people. We should embrace it, not avoid it. At least that’s what he said in the summer of 2008. Then the global financial system collapsed.

  • Electronics Recycler

    Electronics Recycler

    Vicki Ponce was in her 50s, selling tamales in the street, when she and some middle-aged women friends decided to start a company dismantling old TV sets. Business is good. It would be even better if the jealous mayor would turn on the electricity.

  • Human Smuggler

    Human Smuggler

    For 30 years, Alidad has been smuggling Afghans on a secret nighttime passage through the mountains of western Pakistan into Iran. “I have a lot of sad memories,” he says.

  • Marriage Broker

    Marriage Broker

    If you’re a Korean man who wants to marry a Vietnamese woman, Hang Nga is your go-to gal. Vietnam’s government frowns on the match-making business, but Nga says it’s worth the risk. The money means a brighter future for her two young children.

  • Circus Performer

    Circus Performer

    Svitlana Svystun spends ten months a year traveling around the United Kingdom. Her coworkers include a human cannonball, a crossbow artist, and a crew of Hungarian roustabouts. It’s a dangerous, nomadic life. But it’s surprisingly domestic, too.

  • Labor Inspector

    Labor Inspector

    Leandro Carvalho had a comfortable job as an insurance agent on Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana Beach when he decided to join Brazil’s anti-slavery task force. He says he won’t quit until the last slave is freed.

  • Miner


    Fidele Musafiri spends his days, and often his nights, banging away at a wall of stone in a crude tunnel under a Congolese mountain. He’s a small man with a hammer, a spike, and a dream of striking it rich. But danger is never far away.

  • Pirate


    Agus Laodi could barely feed his family with his earnings as a cocoa farmer. So he left his Indonesian village to seek his fortune on an island in the Strait of Malacca. Now he slips out at night to rob cargo ships with a machete.

  • Industrial Designer

    Industrial Designer

    Industrial designers are the anonymous people who decide how the things around us look and feel. For Raffaella Mangiarotti, design isn’t about colors or shapes. It’s about solving problems.

  • Sex Worker

    Sex Worker

    Samanta plies her trade in Baku, an oil boom town. In a corrupt and violent society, it can be a very dangerous life – especially for a woman who was born a man.

  • Iceberg Wrangler

    Iceberg Wrangler

    With the Newfoundland fishing industry in the tank, Whyman Richards says he’ll give anything a try. So he steers his homemade boat toward the dreaded mountains of ice that break off the Greenland ice sheet every summer.

  • Tannery Worker

    Tannery Worker

    Mohmen left his village at 13 and quickly found work stacking animal skins in one of Karachi’s many tanneries. Now 17, he’s still doing the same job. The longer he works, the deeper his debt. “I don’t want to smile,” Mohmen says, “but it’s all I can do.”

  • Movie Director

    Movie Director

    Nigeria’s Nollywood film industry may be the third largest in the world, but with little government support, daily power failures, no real studios, and rudimentary equipment, Nigerian filmmakers must be masters of making do. That describes Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen to a tee.

  • Trader


    Hussein Ralib Esfandiari crosses back and forth between Dubai and his native Iran laden with whatever bargains he can find at market. The Gulf is one of the most politically volatile regions on earth. But politics is the least of Hussein’s worries.

  • Cargo Agent

    Cargo Agent

    Foreign workers have the same rights in Saudi Arabia, as long as they’re alive. But when non-Muslims die there, as thousands do each year, they have to go home for burial. And somebody’s got to get them there. Meet Wahid Khan Habibula.

  • Chocolate Taster

    Chocolate Taster

    Chloé Doutre-Roussel is in great demand around the world – not just because of her extraordinary palate and her memory for scents and flavors but because of her brutal honesty. “Diplomacy is not one of my known traits,” she laughs. Nor is self-satisfaction.

  • Cabinet Minister

    Cabinet Minister

    Gordana Jankuloska’s assignment is clear: to clean up decades of police corruption and violence in a former East Bloc country desperate to catch up with the rest of Europe. It’s a lot to ask of a young woman with a taste for nature shows and stuffed animals. She says bring it on.

  • Textile Worker

    Textile Worker

    Marco Moreno’s parents were tailors, with a tiny shop in a working-class neighborhood in Lima, Peru. He and his brothers decided they could do better. But nobody said it would be easy.

  • Basketball Scout

    Basketball Scout

    Nigerian Sam Ahmedu is a foot soldier in the NBA’s army of international recruiters. A few of his finds have made it to the pros, but that’s not what motivates him.

  • Lobster Diver

    Lobster Diver

    Romulo Greham, a Miskito Indian on Honduras’ Caribbean coast, almost lost his life while diving for lobsters for the U.S. market. Now he’s trying to keep other divers from the repeating his mistakes.

  • Oil Worker

    Oil Worker

    Blair Ghent left a good job in Toronto to return home to rural Newfoundland. But work is hard to come by on the island, and soon he found himself joining thousands of unemployed Newfoundlanders commuting 3,000 miles to the oil sands fields of Alberta.

  • Express Mail Driver

    Express Mail Driver

    Mr. Wang has traveled through Beijing picking up perhaps a quarter of a million packages destined for dozens of countries. Does he ever wonder what’s inside? “No,” he says, “I just want to make some money!”

  • Pop Singer

    Pop Singer

    Diana Dimova says she’s never so moved as when she sings the ancient mountain music of her native Bulgaria. But it’s no way for an ambitious, attractive young woman to make a living.

  • Fixer


    Tarek Haidar Eskandar can deliver an interview with a rebel commander or an interview with a victim of the latest catastrophe. Or at least that’s the promise. It’s a seat-of-the-pants business, and Tarek’s a seat-of-the-pants type of guy.

  • Metal Worker

    Metal Worker

    Pedro Córdoba’s says his job in a giant Peruvian smelter has made him seriously ill. And he’s not going to take it lying down.

  • Mine Clearer

    Mine Clearer

    Valdet Dule is a Kosovar and father of two young children whose job is to find and detonate explosives left over from the wars of the 1990s. Until the land is safe, he says, his people won’t be able to realize their dream of independence.

  • The Lemon Tree

    The Lemon Tree

    The tale of a simple act of faith between two young people – one Israeli, one Palestinian – that symbolizes the hope for peace in the Middle East. Winner of a Christopher Award, Booklist’s best adult non-fiction book of 2006, and finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

  • The Street of the Cauldron Makers

    The Street of the Cauldron Makers

    Modern Turkey emerged in the 1920s as a secular, westernized nation where the rule was always to look forward, never back. But novelist Elif Shafak says buried memories have a way of rising to the surface. She takes us on a tour of an Istanbul street, where battles over identity, modernity, ethnicity, and minority rights have played out in miniature.

  • Saints and Indians

    Saints and Indians

    Between 1954 and 2000, tens of thousands of Native American children went to live with Mormon families during the school year. For some, it was a chance to overcome the stresses of reservation life. For others, it was a repudiation of their identity. For everyone, it was a life-changing experience.

  • Borderland Jaguars

    Borderland Jaguars

    On the trail of an elusive cat that used to prowl the deserts of Arizona and New Mexico.

  • Luis and Negra

    Luis and Negra

    Mexican-American writer Luis Alberto Urrea returns to the slums of Tijuana, where he worked as a young man, to see a woman he knew as a girl. His story, for This American Life, explores the sometimes uneasy relationship between “first world” writers and their “third world” subjects.

  • Colonia Panorama, Tejas (Spanish)

    Colonia Panorama, Tejas (Spanish)

    A Mexican immigrant organizes the residents of his slum on the Texas side of the Mexican border. In Spanish.

  • Border Stories

    Documentaries and features in English and Spanish exploring social, economic, legal, and environmental issues along the U.S.-Mexico border.

  • An Exodus Of Women

    An Exodus Of Women

    Hundreds of thousands of Sri Lankan women work abroad as housemaids, mainly in the Middle East. Their remittances are a cornerstone of their country’s economy, and a desperately needed source of income for their families. But their absence is keenly felt.

  • Panorama, Texas

    Panorama, Texas

    A Mexican immigrant organizes the residents of his slum on the Texas side of the Mexican border.

  • Border Soldiers

    Border Soldiers

    A story from 2003 about how the then-new U.S. war in Iraq was affecting the Juárez, Mexico, families of American soldiers fighting overseas.

  • The Cross of Juárez

    The Cross of Juárez

    A wave of assassinations of women factory workers in Ciudad Juárez shows no sign of abating, and trust between the twin cities of El Paso and Juárez has given way to a climate of fear.

  • La Cruz de Juárez (Spanish)

    La Cruz de Juárez (Spanish)

    A wave of assassinations of women factory workers in Ciudad Juárez shows no sign of abating, and trust between the twin cities of El Paso and Juárez has given way to a climate of fear. Spanish version.

  • LA Ecovillage

    LA Ecovillage

    Bringing ecological living to an urban slum neighborhood and a Mexican-American barrio, complete with electric low-riders and solar-powered rap recording studios.

  • Runaway


    Debra Gwartney loved her two oldest daughters and they loved her in return. But then Debra divorced and moved the family, and relations with her daughters got worse and worse. Finally, at the ages of 13 and 14, they ran away. In this story for This American Life, mother and daughters try to retrace what went wrong.

  • Roots of Resentment, Part II

    Roots of Resentment, Part II

    Produced for NPR in the wake of the September 11 attacks, this documentary explores the historical roots of anger in the Arab world toward the west in general, and the U.S. in particular. Part 2 of a two-part series.

  • Roots of Resentment, Part I

    Roots of Resentment, Part I

    Produced for NPR in the wake of the September 11 attacks, this story explores the historical roots of anger in the Arab world toward the west in general, and the U.S. in particular. Part 1 of a two-part series.

  • Newfoundland Shipwreck Survivor

    Newfoundland Shipwreck Survivor

    Lanier Philips, an African-American sailor, was on a US Navy ship wrecked during a storm off the coast of Newfoundland during World War II. More than 200 of his shipmates died, but he was rescued. The treatment he received forever altered his life, opening his eyes to the possibility of a world without racism.

  • Eco Pilot

    Eco Pilot

    American flyer Sandy Lanham helps Mexican environmentalists track endangered wildlife. Winner of the 2002 Gracie Allen Award.

  • Coming North

    Coming North

    A visit to a shelter for transients in the Mexican border town of Nogales, where would-be migrants prepare for the harrowing trip across the border to the United States.

  • Laguna Madre

    Laguna Madre

    A profile of people and place – a fragile ecosystem spanning both sides of the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo near the Gulf of Mexico.

  • Laguna Madre (Spanish)

    Laguna Madre (Spanish)

    A profile of people and place – a fragile ecosystem spanning both sides of the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo near the Gulf of Mexico. Spanish version.

  • Me and Hank

    Me and Hank

    The story of a boy and his hero, baseball slugger Hank Aaron, 25 years after Aaron’s traumatic chase for baseball’s all-time career home run record, and an exploration of the hatred Aaron endured in chasing a white man’s record.

  • Ethiopian Jews

    Ethiopian Jews

    A profile of Shula Mulah, an Israeli woman of Ethiopian descent, who came to Israel in 1984 as part of an airlift called “Operation Moses.”

  • Operation Pedro Pan

    Operation Pedro Pan

    The story of a six-year-old girl and the secret U.S.-funded program that sent her and thousands of unaccompanied Cuban children to live in the United States.

  • Gloria Flora and the Elko Uprising

    Gloria Flora and the Elko Uprising

    A rising star in the U.S. Forest Service runs afoul of monied interests – and her own agency – as she tries to protect public lands from depredation.

  • Cholera Diary

    Cholera Diary

    A Canadian physician who joined Doctors Without Borders to help others ends up learning quite a bit about herself.

  • Mucho Corazón

    Mucho Corazón

    The story of a Dutchman, a Cuban woman, and true love in a Cuban factory for pipe organs. A chronicle of passion, music, and international politics.

  • Alicia’s Story

    Alicia’s Story

    A documentary exploring how Alicia Rodriguez, the U.S.-born, middle-class daughter of Puerto Rican immigrants, became a self-described freedom fighter for an island she first visited at age 21.

  • The Paint Factory

    The Paint Factory

    Townsfolk debate the fate of an abandoned 19th century paint factory on Gloucester’s inner harbor. It’s symbolic of a larger debate over Gloucester’s economic and cultural identity.

  • The Stone and the Viola

    The Stone and the Viola

    A first-person profile of a West Bank boy who grew up throwing stones at Israeli soldiers. Now, as a teenager, he has embarked on a life in music. The inspiration for Sandy Tolan’s 2015 book “Children of the Stone.”

  • The Lemon Tree

    The Lemon Tree

    An audio documentary, weaving the voices of an Israeli woman and a Palestinian man whose families occupied the same house, exploring the roots of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

  • Troubled Waters | Part V: Negev Ancient Springs

    Troubled Waters | Part V: Negev Ancient Springs

    Part 5 of a five-part series examining the role of water in political tensions and the peace process in the Middle East.

  • Lost at Sea

    Lost at Sea

    Over the last four centuries, Gloucester has lost, on average, one fisherman every thirteen days. The memory of the dead, and the knowledge that there will be more, have always haunted the town and its people.

  • Troubled Waters | Part IV: Of Jordan: A River and a Nation

    Troubled Waters | Part IV: Of Jordan: A River and a Nation

    Part 4 of a five-part series examining the role of water in political tensions and the peace process in the Middle East.

  • Troubled Waters | Part III: Collision In Gaza

    Troubled Waters | Part III: Collision In Gaza

    Part 2 of a five-part series examining the role of water in political tensions and the peace process in the Middle East.

  • Picture Me Rolling

    Picture Me Rolling

    In his pursuit of the American dream, a young man finds himself at a crossroads.

  • The Poet and the Rickshaw Driver

    The Poet and the Rickshaw Driver

    An Indian poet, Gagan Gill, describes her encounter with a homeless rickshaw driver on the streets of Delhi.

  • St. Peter’s Fiesta

    St. Peter’s Fiesta

    For nine nights each summer, the Italian-Americans of Gloucester gather to pray to the patron saint of fishermen. It’s been a tradition since the 1920s. But with the depletion of the fish stocks, townsfolk are beginning to contemplate a very different future.

  • Troubled Waters | Part I: The Politics of Mideast Water

    Troubled Waters | Part I: The Politics of Mideast Water

    Part 1 of a five-part series examining the role of water in political tensions and the peace process in the Middle East.

  • Carolyn


    A documentary about a woman who grew up hating blacks in a white Boston neighborhood, and how her attitudes have changed.

  • The Penny Fish and the Multinational

    The Penny Fish and the Multinational

    Gloucester was once one of the greatest fishing ports on earth. Today it’s a gritty place where fishermen struggle to make a living. A debate over a proposed foreign-owned herring processing plant casts light on the challenges facing a town – and an industry – in transition.

  • The Fire Within

    The Fire Within

    African-American men in an Illinois prison describe their conversion to Islam in this 1996 documentary.

  • Miracle Farmer

    Miracle Farmer

    In India, where signs of faith are everywhere, a deeply spiritual farmer has found a way to grow abundant supplies of rice without the use of harmful chemicals.

  • Women’s Empowerment in India

    Women’s Empowerment in India

    The cultural, religious, and social realities that stand in the way of lowering fertility rates in India are apparent in the tiny farming villages where one women’s group is trying to bring about change.

  • Family Planning in India

    Family Planning in India

    With funding from USAID, Indian health officials have launched a massive new family planning effort in Uttar Pradesh, India’s most densely populated state.

  • Caribbean Dreams

    Caribbean Dreams

    Different sorts of dreams collide in the Dominican Republic, where industrial parks, sugar cane fields, and a posh resort all belong to a single U.S. corporation.

  • Sugar and Sorrow in Hispaniola

    Sugar and Sorrow in Hispaniola

    Haitian sugar cane workers in the Dominican Republic live in squalid conditions. Although the sugar they produce is exported to the United States, the U.S. government has declined to intervene.