Reporters on the Job

NOT SO DIFFERENT: When you report on people's lives, you can't help caring. And the Monitor's Danna Harman worries that five South African orphans with AIDS are unprepared for the prejudice they'll face on their first day of school (page 1). "I kept asking people for directions to the orphanage - and the response I got from neighborhood children and adults was, "Why do you want to go there?"

She was struck by the naiveté of the AIDS children. "They really have no idea that they are different from other kids. It's really touching. They are the oldest kids in the home and so already have a sense of self-importance - and going to school this month is now the most exciting thing for them. I hope so much that they are not disappointed. Kids can be so mean."

COLOR-CODED SCARF: It was cold, so the Monitor's Ilene Prusher wore a scarf she had purchased in Afghanistan when she traveled to southeastern Turkey for today's story about Kurdish language rights (page 1). "It's a huge black wool thing with gorgeous, colorful embroidery in it. I wore it a lot around Kabul last month as a giant wrap, inadvertently fooling people into thinking I was Afghan: Traditional Afghan winter wear is a blanket, rather than a coat. Wearing a puffy down jacket screams 'foreigner.' "

In southeastern Turkey, however, she provoked very different reaction. The colors in the embroidery were yellow, green, and red - the hues adopted by Kurdish nationalists. "I would show up for an interview and find them responding, 'Hey, you're wearing the Kurdish colors!" I had no idea my innocent Afghan scarf could be construed as a political statement in Turkey."

David Clark Scott
World editor

Cultural snapshot

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