Photos and Adventures

Overcoming The Fear of Sounding Dumb in Spanish by Going to Crime Scenes

Frustrated by how fearful I was about sounding dumb when I spoke Spanish, I arranged to host and interpret Spanish for an American documentary film team.

We were turned down for a ride-along with the municipal paramedics and thought the project was lost. But I was able to talk our way into the central station of Los Voluntarios, a well-known volunteer paramedic force that works in some of the most difficult, dangerous conditions in the world. So we filmed with them instead.

The high-stakes of speaking Spanish this night helped me become more adventurous in the language, and I learned it well afterwards.

Here’s what happened. See the final segment by the documentary team in the caption below.


A late night ride-along with Guatemala City’s volunteer paramedics, who face the bitter fruit of the ‘War on Drugs’ each day. This is my own ‘b-reel’ – the final segment is here.

Overcoming Stage Fright With a Global Telecom Corporation

As a kid, I had crippling stage fright that wrecked my ability to speak or perform in front of an audience. When I played music as a teenager, my hands would shake on stage. I’ve worked on this for years and, in 2015, pushed myself to audition for a national role in a series of parody commercials for Claro, one of the world’s biggest telecom corporations.

I was cast as “Chip Williams”, an overly-earnest hipsterpreneur that sells wildly implausible cell phone apps for “You Wish App Company”. My friends joked that I was born for this role…

The series has three parts and each commercial in the series only gets more ridiculous and funny. The series debuted on national television in November 2015.

Update: 2016. The Chip Williams ad campaign was successful in Guatemala. Claro re-adapted and published it throughout Central America in Nicaragua, Honduras, and El Salvador.

Zach at Claro 1 Zach at Claro 2 Zach at Claro 3

Photos of Places and People

5000 calls per day guatemala

5000 Calls Per Day – Central Station, Zone 4

border crossing Juárez Mexico

Border Crossing, Juárez

signs of organized crime bullet holes guatemala

Bullets for Genesis – Signs of Organized Crime, Sololá

burn victim guatemala

Burn Victim, Zone 9

chicken bus mechanic guatemala

Chicken Bus Mechanic

mpesa street trader Kenya

Clothes Vendor with MPesa – Digital Banking in Kenya

desk work in fire station guatemala

Paperwork – Los Voluntarios Central Station

disabled traders union kenya

Disabled Traders Union – Kisumu

central dispatch los voluntarios guatemala

Homebrew Dispatch – Los Voluntarios Central Station

el basurero guatemala

Line Up – El Basurer

el basurero guatemala

El Basurero Swarm

chicken bus named genesis guatemala

Genesis – Guatemala

guard as el basurero guatemala

Guard – El Basurero

herber firefighter and his kids

Herber Showing Off His Kids

homicide TGI Fridays

“It was a shot to the head”

homicide TGI Fridays

Get a better look – Zone 10

informal gate lock guatemala

Homebrew Security System

javier paramedic guatemala

Javier, 22

miriam trashpicker guatemala

Miriam, Trashpicker

fruit trader

Fruit Trader – Mombasa

kid onion vendors guatemala

Onion Vendors – La Terminal

wall peace in kenya grafitti

“Peace in Kenya” – Mombasa

guys with cell phones sitting on corner momba

Check Out My Phone – Mombasa

recycling plant ecoplast


recycling plant ecoplast

Ecoplast Plant

la limonada red zone barrio

Red Zone – La Limonada

revolving loan fund street traders kenya

Revolving Loan Fund

revolving loan fund street traders kenya

“Pay your dues!”

road worker dusty street guatemala

Dustbowl – El Basurero

scavenger standing streetside guatemala

Scavenger Streetside

cowboy mexico

Vaqueros – Casas Grandes

squatter cowboy house chihuahua mexico

Squatter House Chihuahua – Formerly home of Pancho Vill

TGI fridays homicide guatemala

“TGI Fridays”

kids planting trees guatemala

New Generation - Sololá

colorfully dressed old lady with dog guatemala

Viejita and Dog

vegetable wholesale market kenya crowded

Vegetables Wholesale

wilson maina street vendor shoes nairobi kenya

Wilson Maina – Nairobi

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