Reporters on the Job

Mother's Day again? Staff writer Danna Harman has been on the road a lot lately, and everywhere she goes it's Mother's Day. Different places fete their moms on different days. "For the last four weeks, the holiday has followed me: Mexico, then Venezuela, then Santander," she says, referring to a state in Colombia where she reported today's story on the country's improved security.

In Santander, the local celebration added to Danna's sense of security in a place once deemed dangerous. "I had come in over the Venezuelan border and got a ride through the countryside about half the way to Bogotá, Colombia. I had been warned that this was unsafe, rebel- and robber-filled territory. At the beginning of the drive I had been plotting how I would manage to hide my most precious possessions - BlackBerry, computer, and diary - in case we were attacked," she says. "But, in truth, you cannot imagine a more idyllic scene. Everywhere you looked along the sides of the road were families taking their moms out for steak lunches."

Once in Bogotá, Danna got a call from her own mom. Like mothers everywhere, she was worried for her daughter after reading about Bogotá's dangerous reputation. But Danna found the city quite congenial: "I spent most of Thursday afternoon sitting in an outdoor cafe typing up my story, wishing I lived here. It all seemed so OK to me, it's hard to imagine what it was like just a few years ago."

So did Danna wish her mom Happy Mother's Day? "No," she explains, "luckily, in Israel, where my mom lives, it's not for a few more months - giving me plenty of time to properly prepare."

Follow-up

The article, "Modern China's founding legend: heavy on myth?" (page 1, May 22), referred to the book "The Long March," by Sun Shuyun. It is not yet available in the US, but can be found online at amazon.co.uk.

- Ben Arnoldy
Asia editor

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