Gregory Warner

Gregory Warner is the host of NPR's Rough Translation, a podcast about how things we're talking about in the United States are being talked about in some other part of the world. Whether interviewing a Ukrainian debunker of Russian fake news, a Japanese apology broker navigating different cultural meanings of the word "sorry," or a German dating coach helping a Syrian refugee find love, Warner's storytelling approach takes us out of our echo chambers and leads us to question the way we talk about the world. Rough Translation has received the Lowell Thomas Award from the Overseas Press Club and a Scripps Howard Award.

In his role as host, Warner draws on his own overseas experience. As NPR's East Africa correspondent, he covered the diverse issues and voices of a region that experienced unparalleled economic growth as well as a rising threat of global terrorism. Before joining NPR, he reported from conflict zones around the world as a freelancer. He climbed mountains with smugglers in Pakistan for This American Life, descended into illegal mineshafts in the Democratic Republic of Congo for Marketplace's "Working" series, and lugged his accordion across Afghanistan on the trail of the "Afghan Elvis" for Radiolab.

Warner has also worked as senior reporter for American Public Media's Marketplace, endeavoring to explain the economics of American health care. He's used puppets to illustrate the effects of Internet diagnostics on the doctor-patient relationship, and composed a Suessian poem to explain the correlation between health care job growth and national debt. His musical journey into the shadow world of medical coding won a Best News Feature award from the Third Coast International Audio Festival.

Warner has won a Peabody Award and awards from Edward R. Murrow, New York Festivals, AP, and PRNDI. He earned his degree in English from Yale University.

When Jackline Mumbua decided to go solar, she knew the cost would be steep. The 35-year-old housewife in Machakos, Kenya, can barely cover the expenses of raising three school-age children on the little money her husband earns driving a motorcycle taxi. They have no savings. It took her family nearly two years to pay, in monthly installments, the $55 for a small rooftop solar panel.

A quiet street in Burundi's capital can change in an instant. In recent months, antigovernment protesters in this tiny, east African country have developed a flash mob approach to demonstrations, rapidly convening and dispersing. An hour later, all that's left are shuttered kiosks, tossed bricks and the odor of burned tires in the air.

Activists are taking this approach because they say at least 70 people have been killed in protests in the past two months. Their attackers usually wear police uniforms, but few believe the killers are really police.

Three high school students in Zanzibar have won a prize for a film that tackles a fierce debate in African classrooms: Should the teacher speak in English or the mother tongue? (This piece originally aired June 25, 2015 on Morning Edition.)

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A film focuses on the debate about whether classes should be taught in the colonial language of English or French versus the local languages that students understand and speak with fluency.
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Hundreds of mourners in Burundi spilled out of a funeral service Tuesday at a Catholic church, their hands raised and their palms open in what is now a global meme against police violence.

They were there to mourn an engineering student, Theogene Niyondiko, 28. He was shot last Friday by police during a protest against President Pierre Nkurunziza.

It's a problem in a taxi economy if people don't like getting into cabs that are driven by strangers. A cab driver is a stranger almost by definition. But in the high-crime city of Nairobi, Kenya, people prefer to call up drivers they know or who their friends recommend.

An American named Jason Eisen spent years in Nairobi as a consultant until he had his big idea. He built an app that doesn't just tell you which taxis are close by, like Uber does. It also assigns the driver a trust score, by scouring riders' contacts and social media.

The world's largest refugee camp is also a giant social experiment.

Take hundreds of thousands of Somalis fleeing a war. Shelter them for 24 years in a camp in Kenya run by the United Nations. And offer different opportunities than they might have had if they'd stayed in Somalia.

The Kenyan government wants the experiment to end — soon. It's pushing the refugees to return to their home in Somalia, though the camp called Dadaab is the only home many have known.

Ignatius Agon practices his greeting: "OK, good evening ladies and gentlemen. My name is Ignatius and I am going to guide you into the dark."

It's Monday, and the first day of training for a new restaurant opening this month in Kenya. Diners will be served in the dark. They'll have to find their food with their forks and eat it in a pitch black room.

And the waiters are blind.

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Traveling with the State Department in Africa, you feel like you're traveling in countries without people. Traffic-clogged roads are cleared in advance by security services. The two-hour drive from downtown Nairobi to the airport takes a beautiful 12 minutes.

The conflict in Yemen has escalated rapidly and it has become a difficult place to flee. The land route to Saudi Arabia is blocked by Houthi rebels. Some have tried to cross the Gulf of Aden to the east coast of Africa, but for that you need a boat.

Those who have reached the tiny African state of Djibouti are not your stereotypical refugees. Some were fishermen — they had boats — and others came from Yemen's small professional class, and therefore had the money to buy a seat on the boats.

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Secretary of State John Kerry has performed a secretarial first - the first secretary of state to set foot in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia. Kerry's visit comes at a challenging time for that country, as most times seem to be. U.S.-backed African troops have taken back most of the major cities. But the Islamist militant group al-Shabab remains deadly. NPR's Gregory Warner is in Nairobi. He was with Secretary Kerry yesterday and joins us live on the line. And, Gregory, what was that visit like?

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In the half darkness of an adobe hut in Gondar, Ethiopia, 20-year-old Gezahegn ("Gezi") Derebe pulls out an acoustic guitar. As on many evenings when the power goes out, he entertains his family by singing. Though his mother, Ayelesh, sways to the tune, she doesn't understand the lyrics, because Gezi sings not in his native Amharic, but in Hebrew.

Behind him, on a wall kept cool with a traditional mixture of cow dung and ash, hangs a laminated map of Israel. Above it are the framed photographs of his relatives who have already managed to emigrate there.

At 16, Liz was beaten and repeatedly raped, then thrown unconscious into a pit latrine in Busia County, in Western Kenya. The local police doled out their own brand of "punishment": They ordered the assailants to cut the grass at the police station.

But after millions of people around the world petitioned for a stronger punishment, a trial began last year. And on Monday, three of her assailants were sentenced to 15 years in prison.

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And in Kenya today, the sounds of mourning pierced in the air.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED MOURNERS: (Singing in foreign language).

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