I'm in Africa because I hit girls on rollerskates: this is how amazing things in life can happen


I am in Africa living my dream because I hit girls on rollerskates. True story.

I played roller derby. It was another dream of mine since I was a kid and watched these badasss chicks sprint around a track and hit each other.

I got my wish when a league started in Rochester, NY.

One of the many wonderfully diverse friends I met playing is Muffy Stopholes, otherwise known as Natalie Klein.

I read bios of players when they joined and immediately tagged hers as "wow! she's a linguist!"

I have always been interested in language and how language shapes how we think, and how we interact, and all about the many languages that are disappearing around this world.

If I could wake up and be something with the expertise to do it, It'd be me, but as a linguist too.

So why not go photograph their work and be a part of it that way?

After that dawned on me, I talked to Muffy: we had always talked about "hey, we should apply for a grant together, you and I. I do linguistics and you do photos."


Muffy reached out to her contacts, referring them to me, if hey, anyone is out in the field in 2014-2015 and would like a photjournalist to help create a snapshot of the community in which they work.

They got in touch with someone, who contacted another, and that's how I found Michael Marlo at University of Missouri and Michael Diercks at Pomona, which is why I'm here living my dream of helping to capture the essence of the Tiriki and Maragoli communities in western Kenya...

and how I'm going to be living with three Aboriginal groups in the Western Goldfields of Australia to help document their culture and elders, and their last remaining speakers in a week's time.

Thanks Muffy!