In rural Liberia, locals have a method for determining if someone is guilty of witchcraft. They administer poison to the suspect. If he survives, he’s innocent. That’s the sort of anachronism that vexes Deborah Isser ’96, a senior program officer at the U.S. Institute of Peace.
Last summer, in South Dakota, when Steve Emery ’89 was made chief of the Prairie Dwelling Lakota, he was given the name Naca Wamni Omni (Chief Whirlwind). The name was meant to reflect his power with words, and the honor was the culmination of a career spent advocating for the sovereignty of his people—a mission he has shared with his brother, Mark Van Norman ’86.
The graffiti started appearing in mid-February: “Aba Lavichè!” Lavi chè was Creole for la vie chère—the high cost of living. I should have realized. Rising prices for gas, basic foodstuffs and school fees had been the talk since I’d arrived last August to work for a small NGO that does human-rights law.