Continued from The Yagé Posts, Part II PASTO, Colombia — As the night progressed, I spent a lot of time waiting for the dawn, thinking and staring into the fires. I was freezing because the poncho I had borrowed was too small, having been designed for a child, so I huddled as close to, Read More

Continued from The Yagé Posts, Part I PASTO, Colombia — … I had been warned by accounts on the Internet that drinking this would mean a long night of vomiting, purging, and possibly terrifying hallucinations. Taita Lorenzo Morales, who appeared to be the most respected of the shamans in the group, in a prayer, Read More

PASTO, Colombia — As I gazed into the little white plastic cup of dark chocolate-colored, viscous liquid, I felt the familiar grip of terror in my gut. This was yagé, also known as ayahuasca, the Amazonian root used in shamanistic ceremonies and brought to the world’s attention by that great drug hound, William Burroughs, Read More

BOGOTÁ, Colombia—Two years ago yesterday, I was awakened in Islamabad by an editor in Singapore calling me at 6 a.m. to tell me President Obama was going to make an announcement about Osama bin Laden. “What is it?” I asked blearily. “That he’s been killed,” he said, and waited a beat. “In Pakistan.”

Eight years ago today, the world lost a humane and human voice for those who often have none—the civilian victims of conflicts. Marla Ruzicka, my friend, was killed in a car bomb on the airport road in Baghdad while a group of journalists waited for her at the Hamra Hotel. This is what I, Read More