Ep.3 “Loss is on the Calendar” by Mo Isu

Inherited storyteller Mo Isu traces the repetitive cycle of loss and rebuilding in the rural Niger Delta region of Nigeria as the country weathers extreme seasonal flooding.

Ep.3 “Loss is on the Calendar” by Mo Isu

In today’s episode of Inherited, storyteller Mo Isu traces the repetitive cycle of loss and rebuilding in the rural Niger Delta region of Nigeria as the country weathers extreme seasonal flooding. After meeting a flood survivor in his hometown of Lagos, Mo travels twelve hours to Lokoja – the town where Nigeria’s largest rivers converge – to explore how directly impacted flood survivors endure the region’s relentless cycle of damage and repair. 

And, in our series of behind-the-scenes bonus episodes, Inherited host Shaylyn Martos sits down with storyteller Mo Isu, who dove deep into flooding patterns in his home country of Nigeria for Season 3, Episode 3: “Loss is on the Calendar.” Together, they talk about data-driven journalism, Mo’s growth as a writer and producer, and how his story came together.

Inherited is a critically acclaimed climate storytelling show made by, for, and about young people. We’re a production of YR Media and distributed by Critical Frequency. 

For more information about our podcast, head to our website at yr.media/inherited, and follow us on the socials @inheritedpod. 

Episode Transcript

Inherited Season 3

Episode 3: “Loss is on the calendar” by Mo Isu 

[contemplative beat]


In Nigeria there are two seasons: dry and wet. But due to the effects of anthropogenic climate change, many people of the Niger Delta region spend their summers displaced, the rivers that provide for them throughout the year flooding at alarming rates.

Håfa adai, and welcome to Inherited — we share the work of young audio storytellers, hoping to uplift a new generation of climate advocacy. I’m your season host, shaylyn martos. This is season 3, episode 3: “Loss is on the Calendar.”

Flooding in the middle belt and south of Nigeria has become the norm. The banks of the rivers Niger and Benue overrun each year, destroying homes and taking the lives of people whose livelihoods depend on their access to water.

[synthy music fades in] 

Mo Isu remembers the first major floods in 2012, and sees how the climate crisis directly affects the people along the rivers of Nigeria. Today, he shares the voices of people whose communities struggle to adapt to the destruction of each rainy season.

Here’s Mo Isu with “Loss is on the Calendar.”

[fade out synths]

STORYTELLER MO ISU: Here are two reasons why June is not like any other month. One, it marks the halfway point of the year. Two, perhaps more significantly, because of the rain. 

[faint, musical raindrops]

In the tropical climate of Nigeria, where there are two seasons, the dry and the wet, June kicks off the height of the wet season. If you get caught out in the rain without an umbrella in the middle of June, you cannot blame the weather forecast, only yourself. 

Personally, I like the rain. I like watching the drops patter against my windows. I like the cold breeze it brings, replacing the humidity. I like the certainty of it. Usually, we know when the rains are coming and we know how to prepare for them.


[thunderclap ushers in more intense rain]

In 2012, it felt like no one was prepared for the rainy season. I was 15 years old at the time, living with my family in the heart of Lagos. I remember this one week, in July, when the rains came and did not stop. It rained on Monday, and on Tuesday, and on Wednesday, and was still raining when the next Monday came around. 

All the while, I watched from the safety of my house, on the third floor of a 3 storey block of flats. I watched the pounding rain, the blustering winds, and the gushing stream of water flow down the street. I was oblivious to the change that this particular rainy season was going to bring. 

NEWS ANCHOR 1: It is a critical situation for Anambra East and West. Floods have taken over the entire human habitation and the people are left helpless as their homes and farmland are completely washed away. 

MO: In 2012, Nigeria saw its worst flooding in 40 years. The 15-year-old version of me that watched the rain from his window, learnt from the news what others lived through. The rain this year was more than they had bargained for. By the time June had come and gone, disaster had struck. Still, there was worse yet to come.

NEWS ANCHOR 2: As floods continue to ravage parts of the country, even areas earlier believed to be safe are being overrun. In Delta State, 43 communities in Isoko south and Isoko North, local government areas, have been hit by floods… 

MO: Communities in the middle belt and south of Nigeria were the worst hit. The rivers overran their banks and poor drainage gave runoff from the downpour nowhere to go, and so the water found home in the places where people lived. Whole houses disappeared, leaving only the top of their roofs.

NEWS ANCHOR 3: The Situation is not better in Kogi state. Yet people who are unable to leave their homes and those who left before the floods are now stranded. 

NEWS ANCHOR 4: The floods have ravaged communities in Benue, Niger, Kogi, Edo, and Kano States. Many lucky to be alive are now refugees in their own country.

NEWS ANCHOR 5: The flooding has also hit Adamawa and Taraba, Kano Bauchi, Jigawa and Kaduna as well. The official death toll is around 140 so far but aid agencies fear that will rise as disease takes hold. 

MO: By the end of the year, 363 people had died. 7 million people in 32 of Nigeria’s 36 states had been affected. 2.1 million of them were displaced from their homes. 

VICTOR DANIEL: I only read about floods in the news. I never assumed that flooding was something that could happen to me personally. 

MO: In 2012, Victor Daniel was 18. His family moved to Lokoja two years earlier. Lokoja is a riverine and fishing community, the capital of Kogi state and the town where Nigeria’s two largest rivers converge.

When the flooding started, Victor’s father raised the first alarm. 

Victor was at the time in university in a different part of the state. When the rains came, his father called him – but he met that call with more skepticism than concern. 

VICTOR: I really didn’t think that seriously. My father had a flair for the dramatic. So when he said there was a flood, I was like, this man has come again. So I went to – He said I should come home immediately. 

MO: And so Victor did just that. He left his friends in school and got on the bus to Lokoja, where he expected to find his father overreacting to a little extra water. 

[rising music]

[bus sounds]

On the bus ride, it slowly dawned on Victor that his father might not be exaggerating. The road that led home ran parallel to the river Niger. What was usually a calm aquatic presence was suddenly… not. The water had risen to heights they did not imagine it could reach. Where trees could be seen before, now there was only the whisper of them.

Towns were half submerged under water. Roads disappeared. The people on the bus with him started to cry. They had never seen the river like this before. The source of their livelihood was coming for their lives.

[pause, music]

When Victor got home, he joined his father in preparations for the worst. The flood was growing closer. 

VICTOR: I was seeing canoes in the street next to mine. This all used to be pure land, tarred roads and all of a sudden mode of transportation changed from keke to canoes.. 

MO: The two of them, father and son, did a sort of recon mission, visiting the neighboring streets to see how much of a danger there was. In Victor’s mind, it didn’t seem like much. Yes, there was a flood, the river had breached its banks and was flowing deep into the streets closest to it. But Victor’s family did not live on one of those streets. From their house, they could not see the water. 

Hidden to his eyes, the water was still coming, slowly, in ripples, gaining ground ever so slightly. The flood was still out of sight when the two of them went to bed that night.

VICTOR: Ah so by the time I woke up the next morning, it was just, just 50 meters away from my house. 

MO: So when you woke up this morning – 

VICTOR: Oh we started packing, my father had gone to call a truck. So the truck came, and we started packing immediately. 

MO: Everything in the house. 

VICTOR: By the time we were packing, moving the final stuff, we were stepping into [MO: Into water.] – water. I was already ankle-deep in the water. 

MO: When you guys start packing that day, did you know that you know that – did you go back to the house after? [VICTOR: No.] Did you guys realize that you were packing away from your home? 

VICTOR: We thought within a couple of days, we will come back. 

MO: It was two weeks before Victor and his father would return to their home, in their boat, to find… only the roof. They squatted with family for a few days and soon moved to a different house in a different part of town. Leaving all their neighbors, without ever saying goodbye.

VICTOR: It was chaotic, everybody was trying to move actually. So it was like, we were too traumatized to have any sort of emotional goodbyes, you know. You are moving from your house and you look across the street and you see your best friend’s family also trying to move. So it’s like, at that point of survival, you understand, it was survival at that point. 

MO: Victor’s family was one of the lucky ones. They could afford to move and find lasting safety. 

Some other families did not have the same privilege. Like Victor, they left their homes when the flood came, but instead of finding safer homes, they were moved to displacement camps where they stayed for the months it took for the water to recede. 

And they have been doing this year after year since that first incident. 

MO: Because you, like, you have spoken about it being just like now like a part of life that you the river comes. 

VICTOR: Yeah, after 2012, it just started happening every year. 

MO: In 2012, oblivious to 15-year-old Mo, watching from his window, oblivious to Victor and his family, to the whole country, something was changing.

In Nigeria, where the rain comes in May and leaves in October, flooding in certain parts of the country, became a yearly occurrence. When it came, it took things – people’s homes, livelihoods and security. Sometimes, it took the people too. What was meant to be a one-off disaster became a part of life. And in a place like this, where the people depend on the river, they don’t have the privilege of leaving. Their only option is to adapt.

So my question now is this. What does it mean to adapt to loss?  

To answer this, I took a trip to Lokoja, where Victor and his family once lived.


[sounds of birds, low hums of commerce]

MO: It’s May 2023, and the rainy season has slowly begun to announce itself. It rained the morning I arrived in Lokoja. According to the people I spoke to, it’s been raining for the past three days.

The rain is late this year, but over the next couple of months, it will get heavier. Soon enough, the floods will return. The people living here know this. 

MO: Tell me your name first.

AHMED UMAR: My name is Ahmed Umar. I am an indigene of this community and the youth leader of this community called Igbo community in Adankolo area of Lokoja local government, Kogi State. The issue of flood is a yearly occurrence, yearly. It will come this year, it will. But how do we prevent it?

MO: That’s the voice of Ahmed Umar, a community leader in Lokoja. He is asking the question on everybody’s minds – can we prevent this? 

Within this question, lies others. Like, why is this happening now? And, why has flooding become such a persistent problem? 

The short answer is that we are seeing higher volumes of rainfall across the board in Nigeria. The general consensus is that climate change is the cause of this increased rainfall. This increase is most notable in the North, where rainfall was up by more than 150% last year. Increased rainfall is bad enough by itself. 

Certain urban areas like Lagos, the most populous city in Nigeria, have the only other ingredients necessary for a flooding disaster: poor drainage and waste management systems.

NEWS ANCHOR 6: Lagos Island, densely populated, is one such area bearing the brunt of the rainfall. With streets around Idumagbo, Jankara, and Ojuguwa, among others retaining the water for months.

MO: Then, there are the communities in the South, where the river Niger empties into the Atlantic Ocean. Here, higher rainfall meets rising sea levels along the coast. The resulting flood is disastrous, putting entire communities at risk of extinction.

Finally, we have the East, North and Central parts of Nigeria. The longest rivers in the country are situated here. The river Niger flows in from the North West, and the river Benue from the North East.

NEWS ANCHOR 7: The country experiences seasonal flooding along these two main rivers every year, but on a far smaller scale. It’s a different story this time.

MO: Both rivers meet here, in Lokoja, Kogi state.

[music fades out, walking sounds fade in]

MO: During my visit to Lokoja, I walked through Adankolo, where it is not immediately obvious that most of these buildings were completely underwater less than a year ago. 

There are a few telltale signs that give it away. The rubbled remains of collapsed houses is one. Watermarks on the houses that survived is another.

SPEAKER 1: This is your house. 

SPEAKER 2: It is my house. 

MO: I met up with Abubakr Sadiq, a farmer and fisherman who has lived here, in Adankolo, for as long as he can remember. Because his livelihood is so attached to the river, he has built his house about 200 meters away from it. We are looking over the river when I sit down with him, under a shed, to talk about his experience over the past 10 years, and how it has changed his relationship with the place he calls home. 

We speak in Pidgin English, a Nigerian Creole version of English.

ABUBAKR SADIQ: Really, we no get the rest of mind. We just spoke about this issue of water this morning. I swear to God…

MO: From where we sit, a stone’s throw away from the river, Abubakr shows me the path of the water when it starts to overflow its bank. He starts by mapping out the area closest to the river. He points at a barren piece of land where he says a church used to stand. All that’s left now is the altar. 

There are many stories like this, of ghost houses, built before the flooding problem. 

Where we’d been sitting for our interview. Abubakr shows me the outline of what used to be a three-bedroom house. It’s unrecognizable to me as such, until he points out on the ground what used to be the foundation blocks.

[ABUBAKR speaks, in Pidgin English]

MO: Then we cross into the places where houses still stand, including his own, although a few rooms are under construction, following their collapse last year.

Abubakr guides me through another 100 meters of affected houses. 

In reality, every single house in this area was affected by last year’s flood, including Lateefah Musah’s. 

LATEEFAH MUSAH: My own name. Lateefah Musah. 

MO: – whose house is at least 500 meters away from the river – 

According to Lateefah, last year’s flooding is the worst she has ever experienced, worse than the flooding of 2012. 

When the 2012 flood came, Lateefah left her home out of fear, but the water did not actually enter her house. Last year, the flood not only displaced her family, but kept them away for 3 weeks.

LATEEFAH: ….The water pursued me out of my house for three weeks. I go find another house. I put my loot in there. My husband, my people… spread around.

MO: When the flood comes, it doesn’t only drive families out of their homes, it also divides them. In Lateefah’s case, all 11 members of her family found little places to squat all around the town.

Meanwhile, Abubakr’s wife and children were housed in a primary school that cosplays as a displacement camp during the rainy season while Abubakr sought a temporary home elsewhere. 

No one really talks about this part of flooding. How it breaks up families. 

[somber music]

Every year, come October, the news reports statistics. The number of people affected; acres of land destroyed, and millions of dollars in property lost. And behind these statistics are the lives of people like Lateefah Musah. People who are unable to get a full night’s rest out of fear that the water will come for them while they sleep.

LATEEFAH: Nobody fit sleep go far. If you sleep small, you go wake you, come check if the water done reach your doormat. 

MO: People like Abubakr, who are in a perpetual state of rebuilding.

ABUBAKR: We don’t have any option now.

MO: People, like the many Victor encountered in a displacement camp last year when he visited. People for whom losing their home has become a yearly experience. 

VICTOR: So now they have – to me interesting – they have cliques, have cliques in the camp… you realize that these people met in this camp 4 years ago, 5 years ago.

MO: These people are now forming new communities in their temporary homes, bonded by their shared experience of loss.

This is what it means when displacement becomes part of the calendar.  It changes your life, not just once but over and over again. 

[tension crescendos, sparse sounds of dripping water]

MO: It’s been 10 years since Nigeria started facing regular flooding. Places like Kogi still don’t have any real infrastructure in place to mitigate the flooding or to cater to the affected people

In the community I visited, every year, a few classrooms of a school are converted into halls to house the displaced. Hundreds of people, mostly women and children, pack themselves into these classrooms and they wait. 

They are waiting for help.

When the help comes from the government, it comes in the form of donated food. Food that these people then have to fight over. 

Abubakr doesn’t stay in the camp with his family because he can’t stand that kind of shame. 

ABUBAKR: [describes fights in camp over food]

MO: He can’t stand the idea of not being able to provide for his family and being reduced to fighting for some cups of rice.

This is not the help he wants. 

And, if we are being honest, this is not the help he needs. 

Ahmed Umar, a community leader in Lokoja, told me of an NGO that just a couple of months before we spoke, went around donating building materials to people in his community.

AHMED: You can do cement, the old one, that we are happy for. They give us zinc, to the bond of zinc. They give us 15 bag of cement. They give us over 50 block of block, they give us…

[ABUBAKR speaks Pidgin English]

MO: Abubakr was one of the beneficiaries of this act of kindness. When I met him, he had already used some of these materials in rebuilding his home. 

[ABUBAKR speaks Pidgin English]

MO: So I thought, maybe this is the help he needs. Then, he confessed to me that if given the chance, he would move. After living here for so long, after starting a family here, he was ready to say goodbye to his home. He was ready to live somewhere he could have peace of mind.

So maybe this is it. Maybe the help that these people need is with relocating.

I brought this hypothesis up with Ahmed, and he reacted with a story. Back in 2012, when the floods first came, the Nigerian Government at the time had moved to relocate the affected people. An estate was built, and houses were allocated to victims. It was one of the rare moments when the government seemed to actually take action. But the people that benefited from this – that were awarded these houses, and pieces of land…

AHMED: They sold that land, majority sold that land. Majority put it on rent or sold it. Are we helping the government…

MO: In case you missed that, Ahmed is telling me that many of the people who benefitted from this scheme sold or rented out their houses and moved right back to their homes by the river. 

Bringing us back to where we started. 

Waiting. For a lasting solution. 

[dripping water sounds rise]

Much has changed since 2012, when I watched the rain obliviously from my window.

With every rainy season that washes by, more and more Nigerians become vulnerable to the devastating effects of seasonal flooding. 

There’s a tension in the air every time it rains. 

Will the water come for us now? 

Or will we get another year?

It’s June as I put the final pieces of this story together. 

It’s another rainy season… and we are waiting. 


[fade in shaylyn’s theme]

Hi folks, it’s shaylyn again. Thank you so much for listening to “Loss is on the Calendar” by Mo Isu.

That’s all for this episode of Inherited, we’ll return next week with an all-new episode featuring another fantastic young climate storyteller. And keep a lookout this Friday for some BTS craft talk with Mo on his process, inspirations, and goals for the future.

[shaylyn theme]

Saina Ma’ase’ for joining us for episode three! There is so much more in store for season 3 of Inherited, so make sure to tune in Wednesdays, wherever you get your podcasts.


Inherited is brought to you by YR Media, a national network of young journalists and artists creating content for this generation. We’re distributed by Critical Frequency, a women-run podcast network founded by journalists. 

The story, “Loss is on the Calendar”,  featured in today’s episode, was written, produced, voiced, and sound designed by Mo Isu, an Inherited season 3 storyteller. Special thanks to Fu’ad Lawal and Jill Achineku.

I’m shaylyn martos, your Season 3 host, and producer.

The co-creators and senior producers of Inherited are Georgia Wright and Jules Bradley.

Our audio engineer is James Riley. Our audio engineering fellow is Christian Romo. 

Dominique French and Nyge Turner provided production support, and our intern is Esther Omolola.

Our Executive Producer is Amy Westervelt from Critical Frequency.

YR Media’s Director of Podcasting is Sam Choo, and our Sr. Director of Podcasting and Partnerships is Rebecca Martin.  

Original music for this episode created by these young musicians at YR Media: Christian Romo, Anders Knutstad, Noah Holt, Jacob Armenta, Chaz Whitley, Michael Diaz, Sean Luciano Galarza, and Jay Mejia Cuenca. 

Music direction by Oliver “Kuya” Rodriguez and Maya Drexler. Other music licensed from APM Music.

Art for this episode created by YR’s Marjerrie Masicat.

Art direction by Brigido Bautista.

Michella Rivera is our web designer.

Project management from Eli Arbreton.

YR Media’s Creative Director is Pedro Vega, Jr.

Special thanks to Maggie Taylor, Jazmyn Burton, Shavonne Graham, Donielle Conley, and Kyra Kyles. 

Please throw us a rating or maybe even a review on the Apple Podcast app – it goes a LONG way towards getting these stories out there! You can also follow us on Instagram and Twitter @inheritedpod. 

If you want to learn more about our show and this season’s cohort of storytellers, head to our website at yr.media/inherited. 

Thanks for listening!


Interview with Mo 

SHAYLYN MARTOS: Hey, everyone. You’re listening to Inherited, a sound-rich, solutions-focused, youth storytelling podcast about the climate crisis. I’m Shaylyn Martos, your Season 3 host.

In Episode 3, storyteller Mo Isu shared the voices of people experiencing the devastating yearly flooding of the Niger Delta region in Nigeria. Check out the episode “Loss is on the Calendar,” if you haven’t already. 

I met with Mo to talk more about his story, and ask how the production process has helped him grow as an audio producer. 

MO ISU: So my name is Mo Isu. My pronouns are he/him. And I am a writer and audio producer. 

SHAYLYN: I’m so excited to talk with you today, Mo, because your piece is very, very moving. And it is one that is very, very facts-heavy. We’ve had some narrative pieces this season, but this one for me is very much like a – you have archival sound of news broadcasts, you have multiple interviews of people speaking from experience, you have facts and figures. So it’s very interesting. I’m wondering if you can tell me a little bit about your writing and audio producing in news, since this is more of a newsy piece. 

MO: Mm. Yeah, I guess. I think at the time when I pitched this story, I hadn’t articulated that this was an interest of mine. But I am currently very interested in telling stories about numbers because I think, like the news reports a lot of statistics and it’s very easy – those numbers don’t mean anything. And so I am really, at the moment, really curious about what those numbers mean, like in real life with real people and real effects and consequences. Like I want to know, like the actual gravity of what it means when the news throws numbers around. 

I mean, the reason that I pitched this story is because I was curious about the phenomena of adapting to something so dramatic, like, the idea that it’s just part of your life to experience incredibly disruptive incidents. And so I wanted to talk to people that were going through that. But coming out on the other side I realized that something else that really moved me to do the story was just idea about the incidences, but they don’t mean anything to me. And I wanted to find meaning in those news reports

SHAYLYN: So it does seem to me that you are focusing on something that’s a little bit, sadly, it’s a little bit new in news media, and that’s the concept of people-focused stories instead of facts-focused. Even though this is a facts-forward piece, to me, it’s very salient that your intention was to show it through the lens of how it actually affects the people. So I’m wondering kind of what got you into news and what got you to this point, working with Inherited? 

MO: I think I’ve always written so I’ve always had that attached to my introduction to self is I’m a writer. I haven’t always reported; three years or four years ago I did not envision a world where that was what I would do. My background is in engineering. That’s what I have a degree in. So that’s what I really did. [SHAYLYN: Oh, wow.]

But I got into audio almost by accident. I just wanted to try something out one time and I liked it. And I did it again and again. And then for a couple of years, I did very, very personal audio stories where it’s like a single character and you follow that character to a vulnerable place. And I liked doing that because I thought vulnerable places are really good places to help people fight the feeling of loneliness, like if you walk with someone to a place where they’re vulnerable, you stop feeling alone. [SHAYLYN: Yeah.]

And then about last year, I wanted to see if I could do that in different ways, like in bigger stories and stories that have more impact and stories that might have conflicts that might be difficult to get a conclusion. And I think I sort of do that in this piece in that I thought that I thought that this was definitely a story where I could walk to a place of vulnerability to people because like, they are going through something that’s extremely, extremely challenging. And in doing that, I didn’t expect to be able to say, Oh, this is the way forward. The story has not finished yet, at least not for these people. And I want us to get to those feelings, I wanted to get to that feeling of like, there’s a real human life here, that has vulnerabilities. And there is a difficult thing that they didn’t have an answer to. 

SHAYLYN: So one of the ways that the government has attempted to aid Nigerian citizens living near water sources and the rivers and the sea was providing them with homes. But as you reported, many chose to sell those and move back to their at risk homes. Why is that?

MO: So I think that was very surprising for me to hear, because I did not know that. And when I traveled to Lokoja I did not expect to hear that. But then I was talking to, had spoken to one person and he had said, Oh, I would like to move. And I thought, okay, maybe this is the solution. And someone else. And they said, Well, that doesn’t work, because honestly, I don’t know the answer, I don’t know why that’s the case. 

But earlier on, I knew Victor Daniel, we’d spoken about people adapting to this situation because there is no other choice available to them. Or they cannot envision the other choice available to them, in that their livelihood depends on the river in this particular situation. 

So when that solution came, I think for these people, it was just another opportunity to sustain the life that they wanted to live by the river, and not so much an option for them to change their lives. But in all honesty, I cannot tell you that I can understand why that’s like that, because it definitely perplexes me. 

SHAYLYN: Well, and that’s why I wanted to ask you this question, too, because I think a huge part of solutions journalism that may be overlooked by some some people who were trying to change the trajectory of news media, is that solutions journalism does include criticizing the limitations of the solutions that people are proposing. So I did want to mention, too, that we recently had terrible flooding in California, so bad that folks in farming communities like Pajaro were completely displaced. Flooding is more and more common around the world, and so is governmental negligence that are making the situation so much worse. What does that say to you? Kind of how does that affect you and how you produce a story? 

MO: The first thing that came to mind is someone else had spoken too, but did not include in this particular piece we just, Nigeria just had an election like a couple of months ago. And so we just started a new government tenure or whatnot, so we have a new president. And the person that I interviewed was in the process of putting a roof on his house, the process of rebuilding his house from the last time of the flood. So I spoke to him and he said, the only reason he voted for the current government is because the current government has said they would fix the problem. 

And I thought that just that like establishes like how, for many of these people, how pertinent this is, like how much their life depends on this. 

SHAYLYN: Yeah, well, and that’s why I really like these – I love interviewing reporters about their own stories because we get this. You didn’t you didn’t include that interview, but you and I get to talk about it, so I get a little bit more context and our audience gets a little bit more context into the other perspectives. Have you grown as a storyteller? Have you grown through this experience working with us, with Inherited? 

MO: Yes. Yes is, like, the short answer. Coming into this year, I really wanted to – I think I felt particularly stuck – stagnant in the kind of stories I tell. And I wanted to be able to like, do something maybe more adventurous, is one way to look at it. And I thought this was definitely that. It was a case of me doing a story that was not easily accessible to me, and like the story does not happen in my immediate community or around me, but the story I knew about. 

And so I liked that I was able to push myself to do that. I really enjoyed the support. I think it was so necessary for me at this point in time, in my older career to get the support I got from Georgia and everybody else in the team. Just like, I was doing a good job and I’m supposed to be doing the work that I’m doing and to believe in myself, I guess. Trust what I am curious about and trust what I have to say about what I’m curious about. I think this was necessary for me personally, at like where I was, to do this story with you guys, because it was an opportunity for me to, like, feel more grounded, I guess is one way to put it. Yes, so this is the first time I’ve done a climate story. 

SHAYLYN: And knocked it out of the park. [Mo laughs]. So on that note, I mean, this is your first climate story, but do you have any advice moving forward for any other young climate storytellers? 

MO: I feel like I hear this a lot personally, but clichés are clichés because they are true, it’s “follow your gut,” I think, follow your instincts, I think, is like the best advice I could give. I hear it a lot, to the point of, Oh my God, tell me something that can actually use. But it’s actually so true.Like, you just have that feeling. And you just need to follow the feeling and see where it leads to. 

SHAYLYN: I mean, it’s always solid advice, though. It is. It’s always good advice because people always have trouble with it, you’re taught to shut that down. Okay. So the most important question as we wrap up – most important question for any reporter to ask – is there anything else that you want to share with me? Anything that I’ve missed?

MO: I think you did a really good job. Yeah, I appreciate when the conversation can be an exercise in introspection or reflection. And so, like I hadn’t previously thought about some things, and you made me think about those things. Now I’ll think about them into the future!

SHAYLYN: Oh, that’s fantastic. Is there anything that you’d like to plug for us? Maybe. Do you have anything that we should look out for? 

MO: I have a newsletter that I write about, I write personal essays about breaking into audio journalism. That’s so. Yeah. I think if you’re interested in hearing more about my work, and about me and about my anxieties, then you should check it out on Substack, it’s called Act 2. Like, second act. 

SHAYLYN: Fantastic. Thank you so much for taking this time to to talk with me about this, because, I mean, every time I read one of the scripts from the storytellers, every time I listen to, you know, one of the drafts, I’m like, Oh my God, I have so many things that I want to ask these people. I have so many, so many questions. And I’m hoping that this conversation can answer a few, for whoever is listening. And I’m really glad to hear that, that you were able to think about things in a different way. 

MO: Yeah. Thank you very much.

SHAYLYN: Thank you for joining us for this bonus episode! Season 3 of Inherited continues Wednesdays, wherever you get your podcasts. 

Next week, storyteller Emma Schulman addresses how natural disasters can disproportionately affect domestic violence survivors. See ya Wednesday! 

Inherited is brought to you by YR Media, a national network of young journalists and artists creating content for this generation. We’re distributed by Critical Frequency, a podcast network founded by women journalists. For more information about our show, team, and storytellers, visit our website at yr.media/inherited. See you next week! 

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Support the Next Generation of Content Creators
Invest in the diverse voices that will shape and lead the future of journalism and art.
donate now