The Shared and Separate Roads Of World Teens

Today the Monitor concludes a 16-part series profiling teenagers around the world - ranging from a Shenzhen, China, merchant to a Boston father-to-be

IF the 16 teenagers profiled by Monitor writers are any gauge, teens in disparate regions are bound to each other by sentiment and culture - Western pop culture, that is.Arab-French teen Ourida spoke for many when she said that being 16 is "not always easy. ...You realize you're becoming your own person, but it's not settled. You don't know what kind of person you're going to be." From Jordan to Japan and Moscow to Kenya, American pop-culture icons were present on the bedroom walls or in the minds of many teens: In Germany, Anne-Stephanie had seen "Pretty Woman" for the second time. Jordan's Omar had a poster of Madonna - and a Palestinian flag - prominently displayed. Peter, in Kenya, aspires to be the next Michael Jackson. Even Pavel admired Arnold Schwarzenegger enough to acquire a "Terminator" poster, though the Moscow teen says he now devotes himself to Nietzsche. A third bond is shared by teens in the developed world: a lack of time. Between rugby, school, and guitar, Michael has no time for a girlfriend or even to take his driving test in Australia. Hiroki's favorite classes were the ones in which the teacher let him catch up on his sleep. In Atlanta, Whitlow's grades were in jeopardy because of basketball. Then there were the differences, sometimes poignant ones: Li Yuehua gave up adolescence to run a clothing stall 12 hours a day, seven days a week; Manila's Yolly avoids her crowded home and troubled father as much as possible. And father-to-be Harry escaped the drug world with his life, but hasn't escaped poverty. Here's one more look at these teenagers' lives-in-the-making. - Owen Thomas, staff writer

Chicago teen's awards "Our country needs more impressive young men like Anthony Moultrie." Those words were put into the United States Congressional Record by Sen. Paul Simon (D) of Illinois. He had read the Monitor interview with the Chicago teen whose religious devotion has steered him away from the temptations and dangers of life in a public housing project and toward a career of teaching and helping troubled children. When his story appeared in the Monitor, Anthony had already been named Youth of the Year by his local branch of the Boys and Girls Club of Chicago. He has since garnered that distinction for the whole of Chicago and for Illinois. Anthony also was presented with a "Yes I Can" award by the state attorney general. Anthony had already found that other kids respected him for taking a moral stand. Reading about him in a newspaper didn't provoke any negative backlash. "Everybody said they liked it. They gave me a lot of support on it," he says. With school out, Anthony spends up to six hours a week at church services and Bible study. He's also taking driver's education. And he landed a rare office job for the summer at the University of Illinois when a human resources staffer was impressed by the fact that Anthony wore a necktie to apply for the job. "God's been really blessing him," says Anthony's mother. - Scott Pendleton, Chicago

In occupied West Bank On the day of his Monitor interview, Omar Abu Gharbiyeh left Amman, Jordan, for the Israeli-occupied West Bank city of Nablus. There he will spend the summer with his uncle and cousins, helping his uncle at his jewelry shop in the market. Omar's mother, Fatima, and brother, Aboud, are staying in Amman. - Lamis Andoni, Amman

Student body president Whitlow Wyatt of Atlanta is on a 16-day tour of France organized by his school. His mother, Claudia, provided the following update: Since the article was published in March, Whitlow started in half of the varsity basketball games at Pace Academy. He got a letter and a "Rising Star" award in basketball, rare for a sophomore. He was also elected student body president for next year, also remarkable. He and girlfriend Heather broke up; he's now dating a classmate. - Catherine Foster, Boston

Shenzhen teen - no phone Li Yuehua, the peasant-turned-entrepreneur in Shenzhen, China, could not be reached for this article because he has no telephone. From the time the article ran in late April until now there has been no major news, economic or political, that would likely have displaced Li from his clothing stall in the popular East Gate free market.

French tension grows With the summer break under way, Ourida Boualili of Argenteuil, France, is thinking more about the local public swimming pool and a family vacation - destination as-yet undetermined - than about academic pursuits. But she's pleased with grades that will allow her to move on to her junior year in lycee, where she will focus further on French, English, and Arab languages. The French-born daughter of Algerian immigrants has taken note of mounting tensions all across France this spring between North African youths and the police. m not directly affected by the trouble, but I'm not indifferent to it, either," she says. Her solution? "Jobs for young people who want to work but have nothing to do." - Howard LaFranchi, Paris

Swiss vacation plans With all her big tests safely and successfully behind her, Anne-Stephanie Guck is looking forward to six weeks of summer vacation starting next week. She and her family plan to spend three weeks in Switzerland and the rest swimming and visiting with friends around Ettlingen, Germany. "I think it's great that the capital is moving back to Berlin," she says, commenting on the Bonn-Berlin debate, which remains a hot topic in Germany's cafes and newspaper columns. Part of her summer plans may include a visit to Bonn - while there's still a government there to visit. - Contributed by Mark M. Sheehan, Bonn

Mexico trip canceled Maria Ibarra still works a lot at the clothing store in the mall near her home in Pasadena, Calif., but because it's summer she goes out more - to the mall, to parties, or to the beach, she says. Back in February Maria said she was saving her money for a trip to Mexico. But plans have changed. "I'm going to stay and work instead," she says, because her parents would only let her go for two weeks, instead of the whole summer. Maria says she's trying to watch less TV and do more reading and chores around the house. Because of work she doesn't get to spend as much time as she would like playing with her youngest brother, Adrian. As for her brother Luis, with whom she often used to fight, "we get along fine now," she says. Will it last? "Maybe," she says with a laugh. She and her sister, Angelica, still share many of the same friends, but Maria insists that they don't wrestle anymore. - Kirsten Conover, Boston

Mexican wins 'Lima Lama' Besides the television and the candle-lit shrine to Virgin Mary, the Vazquez living room now boasts a new focal point: two brass trophies. On June 8, Mayra Patricia Vazquez Licona won Mexico's national "Lima Lama" competition in the 15- to 17-year-old women's brown-belt category. Her older sister, Silvia, took first place in the adult women's competition. Apparently, the two hours devoted to martial arts classes in Chapultepec Park every Saturday and Sunday morning paid off. Mayra is proud of her feat. But she says the real payoff will come from schoolwork. La prepa (high school) classes continue through the summer with just a two-week break. She has another year before entering university. How are her grades? "More or less good," she replies with teenage evasiveness. - David Clark Scott, Mexico City

Japanese pitcher slowed Hiroki Takada broke his leg while training for baseball soon after the interview with the Monitor in March. It wasn't until early June that he was able to get back on the playing field. Meanwhile, he trained alone, lifting weights. It was a difficult time for him, but he said that his teammates had been very supportive. Although he is still recovering from his injury, he says he is mentally ready for the summer tournament that begins at the end of the month. He will pitch and play outfield. His team will need to win five games in order to play in the nationally famous high-school tournament at Koshien. - Makiko Shinohara, Tokyo

City Year youth in Boston Harry Rivera, in Boston's South End neighborhood, continues to spend time at the Blackstone Community school where he is involved in various programs working with young children. His 18-year-old girlfriend, who will give birth to their child in six months, just finished high school. Recently Harry learned that he had been accepted in City Year, a unique urban "Peace Corps" program designed to bring high school graduates of all races and backgrounds together to work at community service projects for a yea r. Private corporations provide all the funding for the program. Harry will be paid $100 a week and work with a group of 70 young people. A spokesman for City Year said Harry was "a great kid, and we're pleased to have him." - David Holmstrom, Boston

Hoping to come to US Peter Nyamora, the Kenyan who wants to give singer Michael Jackson a run for his money someday, has not been able to practice much recently. A local church where he and his band (Ruff Wurk) used to sneak in to use the choir's instruments has closed its door to them. He still hopes to be in the United States by August to begin musical studies at a college. Peter continues to help his father edit Society magazine, which has not had any more trouble with the government since copies were seized a few months ago. - Robert M. Press, Nairobi, Kenya

Back to school Yolanda Cabias has gone back to high school at Lacson College, just a mile or so from Bahay Tuluyan, the center for street children where she works. She had dropped out for two years to spend more time at the center. Yolly will use the money she earns working at the center to pay her tuition. Classes began June 24, a few days delayed by the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo, which dumped about an inch of ash on Manila. "She's really thrilled about going back to school; she's proud of herself," says Yolly's friend, Delia Tamayo, a junior instructor at the center. - Contributed by Teresa Albor, Manila

Rough Australian rugby All the swimming and weight lifting paid off for Michael Jaeger, the Bondi Beach, Australia, teen. Michael, now 17, made his high school rugby team as "hooker," one of the most physically demanding positions on the field. Indeed, he has broken his nose and gotten various cuts and bruises from playing this winter. He is also practicing the guitar two hours a day to prepare for a recital, and has finished the first draft of a musical composition, while ranking in the top 10 in all his classes. Michael's pr essing schedule leaves him no time for swimming, a girlfriend, or a driver's license. He says he doesn't have time to take the test. - Ron Scherer, Sydney

Soviet celebrity The Soviet Union remains a remarkably isolated society, so when an American reporter and photographer stepped into the life of Moscow teen Pavel Bogachko, it caused a few ripples. Pavel's friends refused to believe that a newspaper in the United States would devote an entire article to him. Pavel's parents knew it was true, of course, but their reaction was different. "After your visit, my parents began to treat me more seriously, as a real grownup," he says. The teachers at school responded with a typically Soviet mixture of fear and respect, unsure of the source of Pavel's new-found fame. "Teachers who never taught me began to say 'hello' and in general they began to treat me a little apprehensively," Pavel reports. Ever-serious Pavel passed his final exam in algebra and now is on vacation. Soon his family will go to their dacha (country house) outside of Moscow, and then to the Caucasus to climb mountains with friends. But Pavel finds vacation somewhat trying: "When you have too much freedom and nothing to do, your life seems aimless and it's rather difficult." - Daniel Sneider, Moscow

Unaffected Scot Jackie Meikle of Crail, Fife, Scotland, sounds as down-to-earth as before. The family's new puppy is "a pain in the neck!" she says. The dog - the family finally settled on Benji as his name - can be heard whining in the background over the phone. Jackie has finished all her exams, though she won't know the results until later this month. She's already started on her sixth year "timetable," meaning that she's decided to stay one more year in school. College - and escape from the limited opportunities of this part of Scotland - will come later. Jackie hopes to "work all the time" this summer to "make lots of money." The shop where she's been working Saturdays will take her on every day, 9 to 5. Anything else happened? "No. Not much. No." Did she get the article I sent to her about herself? "Yes - two copies!" But no further comment. - Christopher Andreae, Glasgow

Monitor staff writer John Battersby was on assignment in southern Africa and unreachable at the time of this assignment. We can only hope that all is well with Lere Chapole in Spruitview, South Africa.

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