andrew mcconnel


Wagenia/ Wagenya Fishermen

The Wagenya (Enya ethnic group) live in Kisangani, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. They are known and famous for their fishing technique. Fishing and the Congo river are a central part of Wagenya life. Wagenya boys undergo circumcision around the age of 12, the ritual is done on the banks of the Congo river and the foreskin is thrown into the river after the ceremony has concluded. The Wagenya say the Congo river is the river of their ancestors, legends states that a Wagenya can never die in the river because their ancestors’ village is located under the falls and it protects them. Fishing is part of Wagenya culture, the knowledge of how to build tolimo-s is passed down father to son. The tolimo-s are a collective symbol of Wagenya culture and identity. This tradition has existed hundreds of years before Henry Morton Stanley first observed them in 1877. 

[Images by: Ghassen Marzouki, Pascal Maitre and  Andrew McConnell]

watch a video of them fishing 

Andrew McConnell, The Last Colony (2011)

The Saharawi people of Western Sahara have been involved in a decades-long dispute for independence, in land controlled by Morocco along the border with Algeria. In the 1980s, Morocco built a 2,700-kilometer-long sand barrier and planted it with mines, dividing Western Sahara in two. Most Saharawi live in the inland desert behind this barrier, or in refugee camps in Algeria.

Hi Max, it’s me. Sorry to interrupt, I know you’re probably up there playing baseball with your Dad. Um, look, I’ve got a situation here. I think that I’ve been holding myself back from falling in love again… and I think it’s because I can’t let you go. But you’re not here anymore, so… I have to ask this: Would it be okay if I moved on?

Tracy McConnell, How Your Mother Met Me, How I Met Your Mother (2014).


Secret War in Laos

From 1964 to 1973, the U.S. dropped more than two million tons of ordnance on Laos during 580,000 bombing missions—equal to a planeload of bombs every 8 minutes, 24-hours a day, for 9 years – making Laos the most heavily bombed country per capita in history.

Each year there continue to be over 100 new casualties in Laos. Close to 60% of the accidents result in death, and 40% of the victims are children.

Between 1995 and 2013, the U.S. contributed on average $3.2M per year for UXO clearance in Laos; the U.S. spent $13.3M per day (in 2013 dollars) for nine years bombing Laos.

The U.S. spent as much in three days bombing Laos ($51M, in 2010 dollars) than it spent for clean up over 16 years ($51M).

Photos by Andrew Mcconnell