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Eyder Peralta

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.

He is responsible for covering the region's people, politics, and culture. In a region that vast, that means Peralta has hung out with nomadic herders in northern Kenya, witnessed a historic transfer of power in Angola, ended up in a South Sudanese prison, and covered the twists and turns of Kenya's 2017 presidential elections.

Previously, he covered breaking news for NPR, where he covered everything from natural disasters to the national debates on policing and immigration.

Peralta joined NPR in 2008 as an associate producer. Previously, he worked as a features reporter for the Houston Chronicle and a pop music critic for the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville, FL.

Through his journalism career, he has reported from more than a dozen countries and he was part of the NPR teams awarded the George Foster Peabody in 2009 and 2014. His 2016 investigative feature on the death of Philando Castile was honored by the National Association of Black Journalists and the Society for News Design.

Peralta was born amid a civil war in Matagalpa, Nicaragua. His parents fled when he was a kid, and the family settled in Miami. He's a graduate of Florida International University.

Every morning, just as the sun rises in Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo, men, women and children walk miles to collect water.

They walk gingerly into Lake Kivu — its blue waters lapping against the hills surrounding it.

Pascal Bitasimwa, 12, is a boy with a big smile and a small frame. He carries a yellow jerrycan that is half his size and when he walks into the lake, he has to use all his weight to wrestle the jerrycan underwater.

"This takes me much of my time," he says. "Instead of going to study, I come first to take water."

Marie Gorette piled the broken glass carefully in a corner behind her house.

She had put it on top of a white curtain that was so soaked with blood, it had turned red.

Overnight, armed men had ransacked through her house. They took the TV; they broke the windows and they shot two of Gorette's sons, both of whom are recovering in the hospital.

She picks through the glass. She looks exasperated.

Even at Sunday Mass, you cannot miss the signs of Ebola.

Parishioners at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Goma line up behind buckets to douse their hands with a solution of bleach and water. Then they get in another line where a team of health care workers check their temperature with an infrared thermometer.

The bells from the church tower toll. Girls run around in formal dresses. They flit around posters warning of Ebola symptoms, as the health workers look out at them from behind protective goggles.

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As you walk into Ibiza, a dance club in the middle of Goma, the bouncer takes your temperature, and you have to wash your hands with a bleach and water solution. Then you walk past a little gazebo and into the strobe lights, and you're welcomed by a black-and-white portrait of the late, great rumba musician Papa Wemba. The band, its members dressed in matching silk shirts, is already setting up.

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When Omar al-Bashir was ousted from the Sudanese presidency in April of 2019, there was an explosion of new culture in Sudan. In a country under strict Islamic law, suddenly, graffiti appeared on walls. Music of all kinds blasted from speakers. Men and women commingled openly at a protest camp in front of military headquarters.

Standing as a stark example of these post-military crackdown changes is Capital FM — a popular music radio station that was at the center of the spring's cultural revolution.

A civil disobedience campaign in Sudan has brought the country's capital to a standstill, closing down restaurants, banks and other businesses and turning streets desolate on Sunday, the latest escalation by protesters demanding an end to military rule.

The United States may have committed war crimes as it bombed al-Shabab militants in Somalia, a new report Amnesty International alleges.

Researchers for the human rights group investigated five U.S. airstrikes and found that they had resulted in 14 civilian deaths. The U.S. has "indiscriminately killed some of these civilians," Abdullahi Hassan, a Nairobi-based researcher for Amnesty, said in an interview.

The photograph shows the aftermath of a terrorist attack at a luxury hotel in Nairobi, Kenya. Laptops and plates are still on the table, and four people are hunched over, bloodied and lifeless.

About a mile from the Eritrean border in Zalambessa, Ethiopia, there's a small building made of corrugated metal.

There's not much inside, except for some sleeping mats and clay pots for coffee. But dozens of Eritreans have made it into a home, while they wait for the Red Cross to take them to refugee camps.

In person, Jawar Mohammed is quieter, smaller than the big persona he has built online.

To see him, you arrive at what looks like an old embassy residence in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa. It's hulking and white, multiple stories, surrounded by tall walls. You're frisked by plainclothes security officials and then guided through a series of empty rooms, one covered in Oriental rugs. Finally, you reach his small office, where he is sipping tea, monitoring his phones and keeping up with the latest political action on his laptop.

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.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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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."

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

Hundreds had come to watch Rafiki, a movie about two young Kenyan women who are full of life, joy and wonder. Kena is a great student; she plays football and hangs out with the guys. And Ziki is the free spirit — cotton candy dreads and a smile full of mischief.

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.

Mnangagwa sat alongside the presidents of South Africa, Rwanda, Democratic Republic Congo and Zambia on Sunday, smiling, seemingly relieved that this tense, historic process was at least legally over.

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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.

Robert Mugabe sat on a green office chair. He wore sunglasses, and he looked small placed at the center of a gazebo in the middle of his huge estate in one of Harare's wealthiest suburbs.

Behind him, there was a pond, and down a sloping hill, his mansion — a sprawling multistory house flanked by granite lions and topped with blue, Chinese-inspired tiles that give it its name — "the Blue Roof."

For 37 years, Mugabe ruled Zimbabwe with an iron fist. But the mansion is where he spends most of his time now, since the military pressured him to resign in November.

At home in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, Frehiwot Negash was watching history unfold on television.

She watched Sunday as Abiy Ahmed, the young reformist prime minister of Ethiopia, stepped off a plane and hugged the longtime ruler of Eritrea, Isaias Afwerki, waiting on the tarmac in Eritrea's capital.

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Sixty thousand people a year die of rabies, mostly in Asia and Africa. NPR's Eyder Peralta traveled to Tanzania to learn about a large-scale scientific experiment trying to keep humans and wildlife safe from the disease.

Preparing for a controversial referendum, the central African country of Burundi is on edge.

The Thursday referendum would not only extend the rule of President Pierre Nkurunziza until 2034, but it would also roll back some key aspects of the Arusha Agreement, which paved the way for ending the country's long and bloody civil war in 2005. The fear is that the referendum could spark more violence in the country.

Editor's note: This post contains some strong language.

Stella Nyanzi walks into court with a broad smile. She is familiar with this place, so she is the first in the door and casually takes a seat on a wooden bench right in front of the judge.

Little Girma had charmed the entire hotel lobby in Addis Ababa. Brad and Niki Huelsman looked at the 3-year-old boy with awe and warmth as he played with one of the waitresses.

"He wins people over with the beautiful eyes and the little cheeks that I just want to kiss," Niki says.

The couple had flown from Morrow, Ohio, to Ethiopia to finish adopting Girma in January. As they describe it, the process was complicated and at times, heart-wrenching — five years of fits and starts.

Sudan, the world's last male northern white rhinoceros, died in Kenya on Monday, leaving his species one step closer to extinction, even as a group of scientists undertake an unprecedented effort to try to keep this animal from vanishing entirely.

The stands shake as fans break into song. Hundreds jump up and down, setting a much faster tempo than the play on the field.

This soccer stadium is in the heart of political opposition territory in Ethiopia. On a recent Sunday, thousands of supporters are sitting shoulder to shoulder. And surrounding the pitch, dozens of paramilitary police look out at the crowd, some with their guns in hand, others at the ready with tear gas canisters.

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