December 16th, 2011
Andre “3000″ Francisco is POGO’s Communications Associate. He makes awesome videos and podcasts for POGO, writes for the blog, is a Tumblr extraordinaire, and solves technical problems that stump the rest of the communications team. He hails from the frigid land of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and graduated from Northwestern in 2009 with a degree in journalism. The Watercooler caught up with Andre about journalism, weird food, and gallivanting through foreign countries.
Watercooler: So you’ve taught English in both South Korea and Hungary—can you tell us about it?
AF: I taught English in Seoul for one year and in Sarkad, Hungary for six months. Both experiences were very different—Seoul is a giant city, and I was at a small private school. In Hungary, I was in a rural town working in a public school. I learned a lot—in Hungary for example, it was difficult to explain the concept of racism to Hungarian seniors. We were studying Martin Luther King and civil rights, and they didn’t grasp why it was important. I tried to connect it to the large Romani population that is discriminated against in Hungary. In Korea, most of my stories are about kids coughing into my mouth.
Watercooler: Interesting…do you have a favorite Korean food?
AF: There’s this Korean chain called Red Mango. If you get your frozen yogurt to-go, they tape a little pouch of dry ice on top of your frozen yogurt, so sometimes, the yogurt freezes on the inside of the container. Then, you can combine it with hot water from spigots that are in 7/11. And you end up with your own foaming fog thing on the street.
Watercooler: Do you have a favorite Korean restaurant in the DC area?
AF: There’s a place called Honey Pig in Annandale, Virginia. It’s authentic in all the right ways, which means it mainly has bad Yelp reviews. The menu is permanently on sale, and they serve intestines.
Watercooler: You started your own blog about the homeless population in Chicago—how did you get the idea?
It started as a class project. I reported on the different kinds of services available to the homeless in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood. Then, I did another class project about Chicago’s homeless being outsourced to Indiana. So after I went to Elkhart, I started my blog. In my free time, me and a photographer for Do 1 Thing hung out with a 19-year-old homeless man. Homelessness in the U.S. is an important topic, and the homeless have interesting, unique stories to tell.
Watercooler: You have a lot of nicknames at POGO—what’s your favorite?
AF: Kimchi boy is not my favorite. I like the ever-changing aspect of Thacker’s—I started at Andre 2000, but after I helped him with technical problems, I got up to Andre 25,000.