Reporters on the Job

POLICE PROTOCOL: The Monitor's Danna Harman was tipped off to the story about an honest Kenyan traffic cop (page 1) by a friend who commutes in Nairobi. But when Danna went to see the policeman, John Wanyonyi, he politely told Danna he couldn't speak to her until she followed the appropriate protocol.

"That meant making my way through interviews with everyone from the commissioner of police in charge of traffic to all four of Wanyonyi's superiors at his station before being given the green light to talk to their top cop," says Danna.

Each of the higher-ups she interviewed wanted to make sure she understood just how hard they worked, and how the accusations of corruption were undeserved.

But their comments didn't inspire much confidence. "The chief inspector at the Millimani station (to which Mr. Wanyonyi is attached) said he was very pleased I was writing the story because 'maybe someone in America will take note and hire us, and that might get us out of this country.' Later, he said 'You can see for yourself that we don't take bribes. We did not ask you for any money to interview us for example.' He then added, 'Sometimes my cops even show someone the correct route - with no compensation for the help....' "

GOSPEL SOUNDS: Reporter Lane Hartill (page 7) says anywhere one goes in Abidjan, the capital of Ivory Coast, there's evidence that religion permeates daily life.

"After the 7 p.m. curfew, I can hear the neighbors in the surrounding apartment buildings singing hymns and praying.

"I went to the market near my house the other day to buy some fresh peanut butter. At a nearby onion stand, a woman, who was balancing a small plastic tub on her head and a dirty little baby with pierced ears on her lap, was singing a hymn to nobody in particular. She embodies the idea of a nation that is poor financially but rich spiritually."

David Clark Scott
World editor

Cultural snapshot
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