Reporters on the Job

CELESTIAL HARMONIES: While reporting on the concerns of Iraq's Christian communities (this page), the Monitor's Peter Ford visited several churches.

"The beauty of the Armenian choir's voices at Easter Mass, swelling with the feast-day's joy, was a balm to my soul," Peter says. "The day before, I had spent several hours visiting some of the palaces that had belonged to Uday Hussein, Saddam's perverted and corrupt elder son. After that glimpse into the heart of darkness, I needed some spiritual uplift."

Due to extensive emigration during the past two decades, many of the people he interviewed for the story have relatives abroad. "So every Christian you meet also wants to use your satellite phone to call his uncle in Australia," Peter chuckles. He let some of them make calls. "So there may be some unusual charges on my bills when my bosses peruse it," he says.

STORMY WEATHER: After wrapping up the reporting on his story about border tensions between Afghanistan and Pakistan (page 7), the Monitor's Scott Baldauf and his driver had just left a final checkpoint and were on their way home, when the sky turned dark. The subsequent deluge caused a flash flood.

"At one point we reached a place where there had been no water before, but now there was a rushing torrent." After tossing a heavy rock into the current and seeing it swept away, the driver called a halt to the trip.

Just about that time, a man and a donkey laden with palm fronds sauntered up. "The man pushed and pushed, but the donkey dug in his hoofs and wouldn't budge, and people started to laugh," says Scott.

Finally, the water receded enough so that it was just above the wheel wells of Scott's minivan. The journey took twice as long as it should have. "But compared to some other road trips I've made, that was by far not the worst," Scott says.

Margaret Mary Henry
Europe editor

Cultural snapshot

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