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Reporters on the Job

January 4, 2005



Entrepreneurial Bent: On a recent trip to Uganda, the Monitor's Abraham McLaughlin heard one plea over and over again: We need capital. (Page 7)

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"In many countries in Africa, the political institutions are established enough that the focus is turning to getting the economies going," Abe says.

Abe says things were buzzing in Uganda. "On a 40-mile stretch from the airport to Kampala, I saw probably 100 schools being built - a result of a growing emphasis on education. I met one man who said he was looking for foreign investors for one that he wanted to build. People were building houses to rent out. And one woman - a former prostitute - told me she was learning the skills to open a hair salon and was looking for investment."

Apparently the woman thought Abe looked like a good investor. "She asked me if I could give her a loan, and I had to politely decline."

A Somber Site: The train wreck in Telwatte Village, in Sri Lanka, has become a national symbol of the destruction of last week's tsunami. The Monitor's Robert Marquand visited the scene twice: last Wednesday and again Monday.

"The first time, I and a couple of other journalists got there by taking a circuitous inland route," Bob says. "It was a very somber sight, especially seeing the train's 80-ton engine just flipped over and not even near the track anymore. Everyone was just very solemn and speechless for a while."

By his second visit, the Army and Air Force were working the scene. Only journalists and official types were being allowed into the immediate area. "I'm not sure people are really dealing yet with what has happened, but the government was trying to show that it was on the case in dealing with this emblematic event," Bob says.

Amelia Newcomb
Deputy world editor

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