In three weeks I’ll be flying out to Nigeria to meet up with the U.S. Navy amphibious ship Nashville. The vessel’s mission is to deliver training assistance and humanitarian aid to a slew of West African nations. It’s all part of the Pentagon’s “soft-power” strategy for encouraging stability and winning new allies through good deeds.
Increasingly, my reporting is reader-funded. With the accelerating decline of traditional print media, this “crowdfunding” model for specialist journalism might become the rule rather than the exception. My readers donated $1,500 to send me to Chad last summer and another $1,000 to support me while working in Kenya in December. You also gave $170 to help out Mohamed Omar Hussein, my associate and source in Mogadishu. So far, you’ve donated $900 to send me to Nigeria, and for that, I am extremely grateful.
That $900 goes a long way towards covering the approximately $5,000 I will spend on this enterprise. It’s still a money-losing venture for me — my assignments so far are worth just $2,000 — but every dollar donated reduces my risk. Hopefully I’ll eventually get enough assignments to break even.
I still need your help. After two years of sucking sand and saltwater, my old Pentax digital camera has died, and as it stands I’ll be going to Nigeria without a replacement. I’ve got my eye on a refurbished Nikon D40 that should be adequate for my newspaper, magazine and online illustrations. It costs $380. To afford it, I’m asking for your help, once again. Please consider donating, using the Paypal button at left.
Update #1: Well, that was easy. Within minutes of this post going live, loyal reader JL offered to loan me a very good digital camera for my Nigeria trip. Thanks, JL — and thanks to everyone who continues to support me (I’m looking at you, Chris Albon!) in my relentless quest to get my ass shot off in some Third World Hellhole.
With the camera problem solved, I’m still accepting donations to cover the balance of my $3,000 air fare to Africa and back.
Update #2: $150 donated!