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  • Alan and I rarely get to work together. The photographer/writer team is vanishing, everybody wants stories cheaper and faster. Today a reporter can be expected to shoot video, take photographs, write a story and record audio. It's pretty amazing we have the technology to be able to do that, but it's not good for the story. A team of two can shared different perspectives, bounces ideas around, and often goes deeper.

    Working with another person can also keep you safe. It's a bit harder to harass, kill, kidnap, beat up, or rob two people rather than one.

    It's also more fun.

    Last spring Alan and I caught a barge down the Nile to the North South border. Tension was high, I had an invite from one of the SPLA's fiercest, and most hospital, Generals and both of us wanted to go check out the oil industry in Upper Nile, a no go zone until a few months ago under the Khartoum regime.

    The barge delivered goods for the UN, driven by a wizened river captain, and it was saving us a couple days in the back of a Land cruiser. Our host was John, a South Sudanese managing the transport for a European company. He was tall, talkative and kind, making his fortune in the wake of his new countries birth.

    As the sun lowered over brilliant green banks of the Nile, John and Alan and I told stories, found connections, solved most of South Sudan's problems, discovered a dozen more, and drank a case of Heineken John was kind enough to share.

    Being on the Nile in South Sudan transports you to another realm, a softer gentler place (unless you mind crocodiles). The slow gentle hum of a diesel carrying you forward along this endless strip of water.

    Fisherman stare as we putter by, the soft green reeds along the shore punctuated only by great flocks of white egrets. John is starting another story as the sun sinks below the horizon turning the river into the color of blush.
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