How Raghad Alhallak and her family sold their home and bakery in Syria, scaled a mountain, fought off wild dogs, evaded border guards and nearly drowned at sea before being welcomed in Germany.

The images of crazed migrant hordes bursting through the checkpoints of Fortress Europe make for great TV -- but leave the wrong impression. This is mainly a movement of ordinary people, forced by war and poverty into taking extraordinary chances.

In Sicily and coastal Turkey this summer, I interviewed Syrian refugees nervously preparing to board whatever boats they could hire for the dangerous sea crossing into Europe, and Africans who had already survived it.

Here are some of their stories.

Burying Minority Istanbul: Last Glimpses of the Cosmopolitan City
Anthropology Now (digital edition)

A Black Sea family had boldly extended its living quarters into an ethnic Greek cemetery. I wasn't sure what upset me more: the desecration, or the historical wrong.

Tea on the Balcony
I planned a sybaritic summer in a Turkish village by the sea. I didn't consider that I might have trouble fitting in.

Crossing Switzerland's St. Gotthard Divide
The railroad that bridged German and Italian Switzerland was meant to unify the nation. Up close, the story looked a little different.

Myth of the Empty Frontier
The San Francisco Chronicle
Explorers' diseases wiped out native populations long before settlers arrived

Deferred Futures
The San Francisco Chronicle
Why young adults can't hang on to what they earn

Peso Power
Institutional Investor
Driven by yield fever, foreign investors are snapping up Latin American bonds denominated in local currencies. It's a great deal--while it lasts.

Return to the Belle Epoque
On an island off the coast of Istanbul, one man pursues a vision of the past

Latin America 2007
Global Finance
Prominent thinkers, financiers and corporate leaders peer into the future and bet on the investment climate 10 years from now

Dancing with the Bear
Global Finance
Mother Russia is on the move, she can't stand still, she's restless and she can't find rest, she's talking and she can't stop.

Back to Work
Most women return, and many also make time for play

Letting Go
The currency band, once praised as a sound middle ground between volatile free-floating money and unpatriotic dollarisation, has fallen out of fashion in Latin America.

Trade Warrior
Working Woman
Increasing exports is an uphill battle

Crime Comes Down Hard on Caracas as High Life Ends
The Associated Press/The Miami Herald
A story that Venezuelans tell on their Colombian neighbors is coming true at home

How - and Why - the U.S. Saved the Peso in '94
The San Francisco Chronicle
One of Mexico's most prominent political scientists examines the bailout

1990-2018 Mary D'Ambrosio. All rights reserved.

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