I was in the US just last week, trying but failing to just chill out, and visiting la famiglia (both in crime and blood). It had been eight years since I went, but it was still easy as pie to slot in and feel at home. I also did the "Chinese bus" trip from New York to DC, which made me turgid with middle-class guilt about labour, unions, safety. All because I didn't pay top dollar on the Greyhound instead.
While visiting my uncle (real uncle, not "uncle" in the African sense) in Maryland, he asked about work, how I was doing, etc - as uncles are wont to do. "I love the BBC", he said. "But". But what, uncle? "But why do all the stories about Africa involve animals and doom and gloom?" This is a tough one to defend, especially because often I work on the Africa desk. Also because I don't like the Dark-Continent-as-one-huge-Safari pre-colonial view of the continent. Still, please don't send me any complaints about misspellings, pronunciations, or anything else to do with the BBC.
People want to hear good news about Africa when the truth is that good news isn't reported about anywhere else. The nature of news is such that it's about what's happening now. "Man scoops dog's poo from pavement" isn't as newsy as "man bites dog." For all the sins attributed to the BBC, it does do is fair share of "good news" stories. It's just that it does them in the context of current affair documentaries. I've just seen one on BBC World: Survivor's Guide - The Nurse Next Door. Set in northern Nigeria, it displays the kind of community healthcare needed to sustain and enhance the wellbeing of Africa. Rural areas are too often marginalised in planning in Africa, and the documentary shows there are solutions. There's something of the Cuban healthcare system about it, a touch of Fidel. Watch below (hopefully):