Reporters on the Job
• Bread Shopping in a Bradley: US troops posted in Baghdad neighborhoods don't get fresh fruit or vegetables. About once a week they get frozen dinners delivered. But during her time embedded with American soldiers in Risala, reporter Anna Badkhen saw first hand how the commanders look for ways to boost morale.
"At 5 a.m., we hopped into two Bradley Fighting Vehicles and two tanks and went to the street where an Iraqi contractor was supposed to deliver concrete barriers for a new police checkpoint. We waited two hours, but he never showed," says Anna.
So, the company commander, wanting to salvage something from the outing, went shopping. "We stopped at a bakery and bought everything in sight for $13. The bakery owner wasn't thrilled at serving US troops; he never smiled and only responded with one word answers. But we brought 100 loaves back to the outpost," she says. "The soldiers were very happy. It's the freshest food they've had in months."
• Reusing Latex Gloves? Staff writer Scott Baldauf wasn't prepared for the desperate conditions he found during his trip to Zimbabwe (see story). At Thembelihle House, a hospice for AIDS patients, Scott says it wasn't the state of the patients themselves that surprised him. They appeared to be looked after with loving care. "It was the rubber gloves being hung out to dry that got me. The whole point of rubber gloves is for them to be used once, and only once," he says.
The hospice manager, Grace Dube, was a no-nonsense woman with years of experience as a registered nurse. But she saw that economics were against her. "At one point, her assistant came in for paper to print out a document. Ms. Dube had it locked up in her cabinet, as if it were money. I asked her what she needed most, and she smiled, and said, 'Everything. Absolutely everything,' " says Scott.
– David Clark Scott