Brace Yourself for OZY's 'Sh*thole' Spectacular

Brace Yourself for OZY's 'Sh*thole' Spectacular

Haitian Voodoo priest, or houngan, Jul Mis plays the drums and sings with a group of fellow Voodooists during a ceremony in a 40-year-old temple March 2, 2010 in Cite Soleil, Haiti. Two members of this Voodoo group were injured last week when the were attacked by a protestant Christian mob while attempted to hold a ceremony honoring the people killed in January's 7.0 earthquake. Voodooists also claim they are receiving less aid from international aid organizations because of their faith.

SourceChip Somodevilla/Getty

Why you should care

Because there is no such thing as a “shithole” country, Mr. President. 

Here at OZY, we don’t trade in celebrity insults, gossip or daily tabloid scandals. We’d rather fill your valuable time with fresh, forward-looking stories that help you see the world far beyond your bubble. And while we will never make cheap political shots — we pride ourselves on bringing you news and perspectives from the entire political spectrum — sometimes we have to take a stand.

Last week, President Trump reportedly described Haiti, El Salvador and the nations of Africa as “shithole countries” — though it has recently emerged that he might actually have said “shithouse countries” instead. And while the fallout may be distracting us from important debates on immigration and international relations, which we encourage, we want to make one thing clear: There is no such thing as a shithole country — there are only dynamic societies, beautiful communities and vibrant cultures worthy of celebration.

Last year, we visited every U.S. state to bring you conversations from all corners of the country in our groundbreaking States of the Nation series, because we wanted to put our finger on the pulse of the American electorate — and share a better understanding with you of your neighbors, as well as communities nationwide. In 2018, we are taking our commitment to inclusivity, diversity and globalism one step further with our ambitious Around the World series, which will see us report from every single country in the world by the end of the year. Our whirlwind world tour will take you from the dynamic downtowns of South Korea to the empty steppes of rural Mongolia — and, to be clear, none of the almost 200 countries on our to-do list are shitholes.

To whet your appetite for the Feb. 5 launch of OZY Around the World, here are 12 stories about how these supposed “shitholes” are innovating in areas you might not expect:


#1 How Haitians Helped Win the American Revolution

What really happened when Haitian volunteers fought at the Siege of Savannah in 1779.


#2 Can This Music Be a Force for Good?

In gang-ravaged El Salvador, a percussive style of music is giving teens a shot at a better future.


#3 Why Vodou and Lesbians Get Along

Marjorie Lafontant has found a safe space for LGBT folks in Haiti — the world of the occult.


Arts and Entertainment

#4 Listen to the Bard of Djibouti

Francophone poet, novelist and scholar Abdourahman Waberi jokes that he’s the “Dante of Djibouti.” Which is a surprisingly big job.


#5 Meet Black Coffee, Africa’s First Superstar DJ

He overcame poverty and paralysis to emerge as a pioneer of “Afropolitan” sound.


#6 Could Nigeria Be Home to the Next Coachella?

Online music-sharing platforms are helping a young generation of Nigerian musicians make their mark.



#7 Go There: Madagascar’s Emerald Sea

Dugout canoes, hurricanes, white-sand beaches and retro taxis. Madagascar’s Diego is an old town with island vibes and off-the-beaten-path charm that few tourists visit.


#8 The Path to Seguin

Haiti might challenge the traveler, but the rewards will blow you away.



#9 The Best Roads in Africa? Not Where You’d Think

Namibia’s roads rank 31st in the world — above several European nations. Here’s why.


#10 He’s Banking the Unbanked in Nigeria and Beyond

Tayo Oviosu started Paga with a simple idea: To extend financial services to everyone in his country.



#11 The Superfoods Giving Mozambique a Leg Up

Tree fruits are flourishing where idle fields once reminded of a long war, filling laborers’ stomachs and bringing hope.


#12 Can This Biochemist Bypass Organ Donors?

Zimbabwean Kevin Dzobo is leading research to develop a stem cell patch that could heal injured tissue.


OZYGood Sh*t

If you’d want to drink it, eat it, wear it, ride it, drive it; if it’d be cool to see, listen to or do, we’re writing about it.