Malaka Gharib

Malaka Gharib is deputy editor and digital strategist of Goats and Soda, NPR's global health and development blog. She reports on topics such as the humanitarian aid sector, gender equality, and innovation in the developing world.

Before coming to NPR in 2015, Gharib was the digital content manager at Malala Fund, Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai's global education charity, and social media and blog editor for ONE, a global anti-poverty advocacy group founded by Bono. Gharib graduated from Syracuse University with a dual degree in journalism and marketing.

If I could pick when and where I was born, I'd choose 2016 and Hong Kong, instead of 1986 and the U.S.

That way, I'd have an extra seven years of life — the increase in life expectancy from then until now. As a Hong Konger, I'd have a good chance of living to 84 years old — that society has the highest life expectancy on record. And vaccines for deadly diseases like rotavirus and HPV would have already been invented.

It's a puzzling image — with a crime story behind it.

Women in colorful saris — hot pink, highlighter yellow, teal and royal blue — snake up a dusty gray quarry, carrying baskets of coal over their heads. It's early in the morning; they're stealing from the mine before officials come in for the day.

As an Egyptian-American, I had no idea how the rest of Africa felt about my country, or how Egyptians felt about being on the continent — until I saw the Twitter hashtag #IfAfricaWasASchool, which has been trending over the past week.

It made me laugh out loud. Clearly, we Egyptians are a bit snobby.

When I was around 11 or 12, my dad was the general manager of the Hilton Fayrouz in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, a resort town at the tip of the Sinai peninsula. I spent my summers like Eloise, the little girl who lived at the "tippy top" floor of the Plaza Hotel. Like her, I wandered the hotel grounds and made friends with the staff and tourists from Sweden to South Africa. Unlike her, I got to swim and snorkel in the sparkling aquamarine waters of the Red Sea.

Finding people's homes in Nigeria is a nightmare.

ZIP codes don't exist. House numbers are random. In poorer areas of the city, there's no such thing as urban planning. Houses are built wherever people can find a plot of land, for example. And many parts of the city aren't mapped out on GPS. Then, of course, there's the traffic.