Eyder Peralta | WCAI

Eyder Peralta

Almost everywhere you go in Zalambessa, a town on Ethiopia's border with Eritrea, there are reminders of war: buildings in rubble, walls riddled with bullet holes and a border still delineated by two rows of trenches.

But now, dramatic change is underway. Many of the troops have pulled out. A little cafe has popped up right on the border. Children are selling candies and drinks to travelers and, for the first time in two decades, people and goods are transiting the crossing between Zalambessa and the Eritrean town of Serha.

As the sun comes up, the white stone on the Holy Trinity Cathedral turns golden.

The church, in Ethiopia's capital, is intimately tied to the country's history. Many national heroes are buried in its gardens. The throne of last emperor, Haile Selassie, is still right next to the altar, and his and the empress's remains are said to be buried here.

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Our international correspondents often find themselves in unusual situations - sometimes, even at home. NPR's East Africa correspondent, Eyder Peralta, sends us this reporter's notebook on the spitting cobra in his backyard.

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Tens of thousands of South Sudanese cheered, paraded and danced around the grounds of the John Garang Memorial Park in the capital city of Juba last week, celebrating a fresh peace deal. It was a striking change of mood for a country that has seen little joy in the past five years, ripped apart by a civil war that has displaced millions and left hundreds of thousands dead.

The Standard Gauge Railway station in Nairobi is easily the most impressive public building in Kenya.

While a lot of Kenyan government buildings are drab and functional and date back to colonial days, this station is adventurous. It's all gray and modern. Geometric shapes form an abstract locomotive, and red neon announces the "Nairobi Terminus."

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Even in the middle of the day, in middle of the week, the theater was completely packed.

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The stands at Zimbabwe's national stadium in Harare were filled with tens of thousands of people celebrating the victory of President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Many of the women wore wraps printed with Mnangagwa's smiling face. The men wore his signature scarf: Red, green, yellow, white and black, like the colors of the country's flag.

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After a disputed presidential election, Zimbabwe has cracked down on the opposition. One of its leaders sought asylum in neighboring Zambia, but he was returned, then detained. Now he's out on bail. NPR's Eyder Peralta reports.

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This week in Zimbabwe, there was a vote, then accusations of vote rigging followed by street protests and a military crackdown. At least six people died. Now finally we have results in Zimbabwe's first election since Dictator Robert Mugabe was forced out in November.

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Let's take you now to Zimbabwe, where tomorrow the country will hold its first elections since Robert Mugabe was deposed from power. This is the story of the rise and the fall of a pop song that marked Mugabe's demise. NPR's Eyder Peralta reports.

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