Anthrow Circus

View From a Pandemic: Togo’s Informal Laborers’ Hope for Survival

PHOTOS AND TEXT BY/PHOTOGRAPHIES ET TEXTE PAR ADODO JOHNSON
FRENCH PROOFREADING BY/RELECTURE FRANÇAISE PAR CAROLINE BERNARD-GILBERT
ENGLISH TRANSLATION BY/TRADUCTION ANGLAISE PAR KAMI L. RICE

While the horns of two taxis blare, further noise rattles the Lomé intersection of Sagbado. “Olé yia, Olé yia?” (“Do you need a ride?”) cry out the drivers of motorcycle-taxis as they rush toward the car taxis that have just stopped in front of the Sanol gas station. The motorcycle drivers hope to attract the attention of passengers exiting the larger taxis and gain another fare by taking them to the passengers’ final destination. The scene is nothing new. It takes place over and over again all day long, from the rising to the setting of the sun. However, for the past few months, since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis and especially since the government decreed a curfew and state of emergency, a new group of venders has joined the motorcycle-taxis at this intersection.

View From a Pandemic: Masked Protests

PHOTOS AND TEXT BY TUNDE ALABI-HUNDEYIN II, CÉSAR ARREDONDO, AND SYLVIA ASARE

In this “year of the pandemic,” every big news story of 2020 takes place against the backdrop of the pandemic, a reality that affects these events in ways sometimes obvious and sometimes not yet clear. Protests in the United States over police violence dominated world news cycles this summer. But like the pandemic, the protests didn’t stop at national borders. In this article, we bring you observations in word and image from correspondents of differing nationalities who witnessed protests in Brighton, England, and in Los Angeles and Paris. Their reports remind us that protests over police violence have been a worldwide story taking place in the midst of a pandemic, an event that—as our View From a Pandemic series shows—has tied humanity together in a common struggle. Together we are humans combatting a microscopic virus as well as jointly fighting the universal disease of prejudice against people who are different from us.

View From a Pandemic: A Kids’-Eye View

TEXT AND IMAGES BY KIDS AND THEIR RESPECTIVE PARENTS

Kids, too, have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, so we’re happy to add their voices to our View From a Pandemic series. Meet four American kids, all 10 or 11 years old, who have experienced various forms of lockdown from perches all around the world. In June and July they took the time to write about it for us.

View From a Pandemic: Concern for People Back Home

AUDIO AND VIDEO PRODUCTION BY MAHBOOB FAIZI
INTERVIEW BY KAMI L. RICE, ANTHROW CIRCUS EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Mahboob Faizi, a member of the Anthrow Circus family, reached out to me in April looking to fashion a story about his concern over how people back home in Afghanistan would be able to weather the health and economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. From his current home in Greece, he was feeling rather powerless to know how to help them. Over the months that followed, I interviewed him and helped shape the account we present here. Mahboob, who works in media production for a nonprofit organization, recorded our audio, supplied images, and did the production work.

A Circus Where Least Expected

TEXT BY DANIELLE B.
VIDEO BY KAMI L. RICE

When people learn that I’ve recently moved to Kabul, their first question is usually, “What is it like?”

How do I describe a city filled with such contrasts and contradictions? Exquisite rose gardens bloom behind walls edged with razor wire, guarded by Kalashnikov-toting private security.

View From a Pandemic: Locked Down Alone in Sarajevo

TEXT AND IMAGES BY KATIE MCCRAW

I panicked. Full-on panic-attack-style, feeling-completely-stuck panic. It was a couple of days after lockdown had been announced in Bosnia-Herzegovina. We had felt the decision coming, as we closely followed news from Italy and Spain and as cases rose in neighboring Croatia and Serbia. My Dutch friend and I had started to make plans to move in together so we wouldn’t be alone for however many weeks lockdown endured, but suddenly she was required to return to the Netherlands. With this, a rift began to destabilize the contingency plans I had made. My mind then went into overdrive, and I fast-forwarded the next few months: living alone, with no physical contact, my family thousands of miles across the other side of Europe, with work ground to a halt, and so many unknowns ahead. And I panicked.

View From a Pandemic: Weathering the Storm in Nigeria

TEXT BY SARATU O. SAMANDE, ESQ.
STREET PHOTOGRAPHS AND CAPTIONS BY DESMOND OKON

A Nigerian teenager hawking masks in traffic. Mask hawkers have become a common sight in Nigeria. Since the mandatory wearing of the face cover was announced by the government, many Nigerians survive by selling masks.

View From a Pandemic: Europeans in America

TEXT BY IRENA DRAGAŠ JANSEN
PHOTOGRAPHS BY MANUELA THAMES

As I observe the global pandemic unfold from the comforts and safety of my Washington, D.C., metro area home, I am transported back to the basement shelters where my parents, sister, relatives, neighbors, and I hid from the daily deadly mortar attacks during the most recent war in Croatia.

View From a Pandemic: Pet Adoption in Nashville, USA

TEXT BY LAURA CHAVARRIA, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NASHVILLE HUMANE ASSOCIATION

Animal sheltering can be difficult, y’all.

But it’s also one of the most fulfilling careers on the face of the planet. Who wouldn’t want to play with puppies and kitties all day and be the voice for the voiceless? (True confessions: Cuddling the animals is just one little part of our jobs at Nashville Humane Association!)

View From a Pandemic: A Missing Muse in Sydney

STORY AND PHOTOS BY JO KADLECEK


Living a few blocks from one of the most iconic bridges in the world, I often stroll to the harbor’s edge, spot the Sydney Opera House, and watch ferries come and go into the Circular Quay. Add the backdrop of the crisp, blue Australian sky as sun glistens across the water, and a poem should practically write itself each day.

But when the pandemic hit and we were told to self-isolate, going out only for essentials, the last thing I felt was inspired.