From maternal health in Kenya to inspiring stories in the Amazon to rebuilding in Haiti after the earthquake, Jo has traveled the world searching for stories that inform and inspire.

Kenyan Women Go on the Pill—Behind their Husbands’ Backs
Clandestine birth control in Mombasa
In the three weeks Jo spent traveling the rural villages around the Kenyan port city of Mombasa, she interviewed more than 100 women and 25 medical professionals about contraception use and maternal health. I’d assumed that women were skittish about using birth control in male-dominated Kenya, where they are often seen as little more than baby-making instruments, and rape and female circumcision are commonplace. But I found instead that more of Kenya’s women are clandestinely opting to use contraception behind their husbands’ backs.
published: September 1, 2009
read full article


Hunting For White Treasure in Italy
published: October 17, 2011
By 9 pm I had been dreaming about truffles for more than 12 hours, ever since a Google search revealed my friend’s wedding in the Tuscan countryside was a mere 30 miles from the town of San Giovanni d’Asso, the self-proclaimed white truffle capital of Tuscany.
But 30 miles on the back mountain roads south of Siena and Florence, where a herd of wild boar behave like stoplights can take hours.

I frantically phoned La Locanda del Castello, the commune’s well-known truffle center begging them not to close their kitchen before I could get my truffle fix. They laughed more with each call. Italians don’t have bedtimes.
When my travel companions and I finally arrived just before 10 pm, a creamy truffle risotto with copious shavings of white truffle was placed front of us in less than 10 minutes. La Locanda, a restored 13th century castle, is the epicenter of San Giovanni d’Asso, a town of less than 70 in the Crete Senesi region.

read full article

The Secrets to Discovering Authentic Sicily
published: September 23, 2011
Sicily, long romanticized as the birthplace of the Mafia, has begun attracting attention for its more fashionable and scenic attributes.
The design team of Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana has put their favorite haunt, the Eastern seaside party town of Taormina, on the map, and the recent volcanic eruptions of Mt. Etnat that have attracted 20 percent more tourists this year alone.
Yet to the traveler’s detriment, this tiny island in the southernmost region of Italy, still gets passed over in favor of the tourist-friendly environs of Rome, Florence and Venice.
For those seeking the authentic Italy, this tiny island is not to be missed.

read full article

Towns and Tourist Sites Get a Bump on Success of TV Shows
published: September 26, 2011
Want to rally tourists to your city, state, hotel or restaurant? Invite the Dunphys, or the Frankels or the odd bachelor.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming is capitalizing this month on the season opener of the ABC hit “Modern Family,” where the Dunphy and Pritchett families travel to the Rocky Mountain vacation spot.
read full article

EXCLUSIVE: Sean Penn Vows ‘Decades’ in Haiti as Relief Partners Plan Exits
After interviewing a dozen relief agencies on the ground in Haiti while traveling to embattled country with supermodel Petra Nemcova and her Happy Hearts Foundation, Jo obtained an exclusive interview with actor and humanitarian Sean Penn on his plan to stay in Haiti long after everyone else has pulled out.
read full article


Using Education To Combat Albino Violence in East Africa
published June 23, 2010
In an effort to battle the stigma and prejudice against albinism in Africa, where individuals afflicted with the pigmentation disorder are beaten, murdered and have their body parts sold off as magical trinkets, North American aid organizations are pushing education as a sustainable way to keep albino children safe and improve their lives.
read full article

A Global Village Saves Albino Kids From Slaughter
published: October, 11, 2010
It was during her first volun-tourism trip with the group Koins for Kenya that Jami Quesenberry, 47, from Salem, Utah, met the African woman Mwanahamisi and her daughter (right) at a dispensary in Lutsangani, Kenya, a small village about 50 miles outside of the port city Mombasa in 2009. The despair in Mwanahamisi’s eyes said it all — and it haunted Jami all year.
read full article

Dr. Smith, Medicine Women
published: July 28, 2010
Twenty years ago, Dr. Linnea Smith left a comfortable job with a small medical group in rural Wisconsin to set up a remote jungle clinic on the banks of the Amazon river, three hours downriver from Iquitos, Peru.
read full article