Reporters on the Job

• GRATEFUL FOR ARAB MOMS: In the Yemeni village of Tarim, everyone is an observant Muslim, and life is governed completely by the rules of Islam (page 1). That poses some problems for a female reporter. "Men cannot be alone with any woman other than their wives," says Monitor reporter Danna Harman. "So, I was forced to carry out interviews in packs. That is, sitting down with four to five people at a time, even if I just was talking to one of them. And the men couldn't look at me, even though I was covered from head to toe. At one point, my shawl slipped a little, and all as one they said, 'could you please cover your forearm?' It struck me as funny, because I didn't think they could even see me."

When Danna asked one of the men to give her a tour of the village, his friends went looking for his mother so there would be another woman present on the trip. "The mother arrived, took one look at my black shawl, and went to get me a different one – three times the size – to prevent any forearm exposure problems. Later, she gave it to me as a present," Danna says.

Finally, when Danna tried to get a taxi out of town, her gender again posed a challenge. "The taxi driver did not want to be alone with a woman either! Believe it or not, we went to get his mother. She joined me for the long ride to the next village. She complimented me on my long shawl, and said she was glad to see I had come prepared."

David Clark Scott
World editor

Follow-up on a Monitor Story

• THE AUNTIES OF KIEV: The article that ran Friday April 8, "Help for Ukraine's street kids, from two US women" is still generating e-mails and phone calls from readers who want to support their efforts. Letters and tax-deductible donations can be sent to:

The Ark

3754 Canvasback Court

Marietta, GA 30062

Cultural snapshot

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