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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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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