In Rome, the Holidays Get a Sour Face

In Italy, writes Chris Watts, Saint Nick plays second fiddle to La Befana, the Christmas Hag. Just don’t call her a witch.

Photograph by Danny Wright

The Best Olives

In Jordan, the Al Qurashi family has been making olive oil for generations: “Harun dumps the pulp into a metal pan and massages the mess with his fingers. After a few minutes he scoops up a fist-sized portion and squeezes it between his palms.”

Somali banknote featuring Hawo Tako

Who Was Hawa Tako?

In Somalia, the debate about a national hero’s legacy: “There are two ways of remembering Hawa Tako. There is the woman and there is the meaning of the woman. The stories of our national heroes become monuments of personal and collective memory.”

Photograph by Danny Wright

My Grandmother Taught My Mother Who Taught Me

Nellie Safadi teaches Danny Wright how to make a Jordanian culinary staple: “In Arabic,” she says, “the word mansaf means ‘blow up.’ People eat the dish so fast it looks like it has exploded in every direction.”


Letter from Bankoulé

Rachel Pieh Jones goes looking for a waterfall in the Djiboutian desert: “I tried to keep my expectations low. I know how little water there is in the desert, how unlikely it is to fall in substantial cascades.”