Reporters on the Job

• SWEPT AWAY IN ECUADOR: Reporter Arie Farnam admits that she's no sports fanatic. "I have never been one for spectator sports, and I have often chuckled at my friends in Europe who stay up to watch soccer or (horror of horrors) tennis in the wee hours of the morning. But once I decided to do a story about the Ecuadorean reaction to the World Cup (page 7), I couldn't help myself. Watching the game from the very beginning and knowing its significance within the tournament suddenly made it gripping."

"I am not one for night life either, but this time the night flew by in a whirl of emotions. I do happen to be a sucker for the underdog and found myself caught up in the poignant desire of Ecuadoreans for a little victory in sports."

• MARRIED TO A RUSSIAN: As a cautionary note to the story he wrote about e-mail order brides in Russia (page 1), Fred Weir says that his own marriage 15 years ago at Wedding Palace No. 4 illustrates that stereotypes should be taken with a grain of salt.

"All Russian women don't want to get to the West. I met my wife, Masha, in Moscow in 1987 and ended up living in Russia with her ever since. And we seem to defy another stereotype: Old-fashioned home-oriented Russian girls are a good match for workaholic North American alpha males? Masha always seemed more Westernized than I in her attitudes and drives, and has since the Soviet collapse become a corporate executive.

"Culture clash? I never noticed any. The only point is that people are all different, and, when they get together, the results are bound to be unique. Russian brides for Western husbands is just a theory; each couple must have their own reality," says Fred.

• DINNER IN MALAWI: Reporter Nicole Itano says that it's uncomfortable to go to dinner while working in Malawi, a country on the verge of famine (page 1). "One minute you're interviewing people with next to nothing, and the next you're ordering a steak at a restaurant. I didn't realize how big it would be. It was at least 24 ounces," she says.

When she couldn't finish the whole thing, she had the waiter wrap it up, and she gave it to a street kid. "This story made me very aware of my own relative wealth. Food isn't hard to come by if you have the money. And meat isn't necessarily hard to come by, it's just that most people here look at their livestock as a bank, not as food. They will often sell cows for a handful of grain instead of eating them."

David Clark Scott
World editor

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