Category Archives: Uncategorized

Aid Worker Daily has moved!

We’re no longer posting at  You can now find us at!

Film Nomad

Spent the evening helping my uncle getting his blog up and running.  Check out his Film Nomad blog.

He has shot for National Geographic, Marlboro and Wells Fargo.  Here is a sample:

Read on…

ThurayaAssist and ThurayaRelay – Two new services for Thuraya users.

More positive developments for field folks.  From the Thuraya partner (Geonix) site:

ThurayaRelay™ combines updated positioning services and the ThurayaLocate™ dynamics with a stream of new and useful features.

  • Supports two levels of alerts: basic position reports and emergency SOS requests for immediate assistance

  • Automatically relays SOS messages to multiple user defined e-mail addresses and mobile phones

  • Facilitates free-format text messages from user to centre to aid identification of assistance required

  • Provides detailed travel advice and risk assessment for every country worldwide

  • Provides timely incident reporting on inclement weather, terrorist or other threats as they occur

For more information, download the FAQs by clicking here.


ThurayaAssist™ provides you with access to a spectrum of services when you’re on the go both on the road and off the beaten track. With full global 24*7 voice assistance in emergency or for prior briefing, ThurayaAssist™ is the ultimate in personalised travel SOS services

In the event of an emergency or when faced by threats, you can call on a specialist security advisor who will advise, assist and co-ordinate effective response through to appropriate external services such as police, fire, ambulance, coastguard, embassies as well as relaying to friends, family and employers. All the time the security specialist knows exactly where you are from the emergency SOS report on his screen

The ThurayaAssist™ emergency response services are provided by the UK based global security specialists red24. Additional personalised corporate emergency and repatriation services are also available.  For more information, download the FAQs by clicking here.

Via Zawya

Microsoft’s Seadragon App for the iPhone makes Google’s Earth App look like child’s play

SeadragonTechcrunch posted this evening on Microsoft’s Seadragon App for the iPhone.  It is an impressive piece of software that leaves you wondering how they get imagery to load in such a fast and fluid manner.  It helps to view while you are on a WiFi network but even so it is a refreshing addition to the lackluster pool of Apps that now populate the iTunes Store.  From the site:

The aim of Seadragon is nothing less than to change the way we use screens, from wall-sized displays all the way down to cell phones, so that graphics and photos are smoothly browsed,  regardless of the amount of data or the bandwidth of the network.


Thanksgiving thought: Hydroponics as an aid tool?

Back in early 1994, during a year off from college, I found myself in the Eritrean village of Tio.  Tio is a beautiful little town on the Red Sea coast that lies equidistant between Asab and Massawa.  I had been riding on the back of a flat bed truck from the southern port city Asab for about a week before we became mired in the sand southwest of town.

Tio is situated on a small, low-lying archipelago that juts out into the sea ending in a small hump which was inhabited by a small garrison of Eritrean soldiers.  My traveling companion and I were lucky enough to secure two beds in the small health post that was unoccupied.  The town is surrounded by the beautiful turquoise waters of the Red Sea and I would sit on the bluff and watch turtles and sharks cruise the reef for food.

Photo of Tio by A.Korzeniowski

Photo of Tio by A.Korzeniowski

The city had been hit hard by the war.  The local mosque had one wall collapsed by a round launched from an Ethiopian naval vessel and crates of ammunition were slowly decaying in the surf, remnants of a failed beach assault, their contents ominously hissing as the gunpowder mixed with the salt water.

If you looked inland from our small perch all you could see was baking  sand and rugged brown hills which were covered with acacia trees and camels.  As with most of the Denakil Desert the heat was brutal with daytime temperatures somewhere in the 100-120F range.

We ate mostly what our hosts fed us which consisted of engera and wat.  Occasionally we would manage some fish and a few oranges which we bought from the woman who had ridden in on the truck with us but otherwise produce was basically non-existent.  It was clear from the looking at the children, the ‘canaries in the coal mine’ of public health, that their diets were not up to par with those of children in more fertile regions.  (I would witness this same phenomenon in Ethiopia many years later, during my time with MSF, where I witnessed children with an seeming abundance of food suffering from malnutrition.)

I couldn’t but wonder how we could turn this small town into an oasis and at the same time pump some quality produce into the local market.  Perhaps it was my desire to sit in cool shade of a leafy green tree or to finally stop moving and set down some roots in this beautiful little town (seriously) that made me want to add some green to the landscape.  Regardless, it was clear that with the abundance of sunlight and some creativity it would not be too hard to make a massive difference in the community.  (Right now I am going to ignore the ‘Why the hell would you want to do that!?’ question and finish my thought.)

A recent AP story which covers the resurgence of hydroponic gardening as a valuable addition to the current urban farming trend prompted me to recount this story.  With the portability of hydroponic systems, their widespread popularity in the region (particularly Israel), and their incredible output potential it seems worthwhile to examine whether or not hydroponic systems could prove a valuable tool for combating malnutrition and stimulating local economies.  For example, food grown on the coast of Eritrea could easily be transported across the Red Sea to Jeddah or sold locally in Asmara, Massawa or Asab.  One small non-profit, The Institute of Simplified Hydroponics, is already trying to make a difference.

Given we’re all about to sit down to a plentiful feast it makes sense to take a minute to think abut those that have less.  This Thanksgiving I’ll be thinking about those folks back in Tio and wondering how well they are eating.

My Rock Star Brother

Showing the WordPress App to my bro over lunch.  Check out

More Open Street Map vs. Google Maps – Kabul and Tbilisi

Kevin Toomer over at Patronus Analytical commented on my last post that he had spent a fair amount of time updating Kabul for OSM.  Kabul is another fantastic example of the difference in accuracy between OSM and Google Maps.  Thanks to OSM community members like Kevin Toomer that are making our job that much easier.  I also took the luxury of comparing Tbilisi screenshots.  Be sure to zoom in on the OSM maps as there is even more detailed information the closer in you go.

Kabul, Afghanistan

Open Street Map - Kabul

Open Street Map - Kabul

Google Maps - Kabul

Google Maps - Kabul

Tbilisi, Georgia

Open Street Map - Tbilisi

Open Street Map - Tbilisi

Google Maps - Tbilisi

Google Maps - Tbilisi