Reporters on the Job

EGYPT'S RECYCLERS: The first time reporter Sarah Gauch saw Cairo's Zabbaleen (page 7) was when she arrived in Egypt nearly 14 years ago. "I was downtown and I noticed this completely dilapidated donkey cart filled with black filth and garbage," she recounts. "There was something moving in the back, and at closer glance I realized it was children, rummaging playfully through the trash."

She reported on the Zabbaleen for the Monitor in 1990, when the Egyptian authorities forced them to give up their donkey carts for trucks and there was fear they would be unable to survive given this substantial expense. To this day, the Zabbaleen pick up her garbage. With hefty baskets on their backs they climb the grungy, narrow back stairs nearly every day to each apartment in her five-story building near downtown Cairo. The charge: $1.00 per month.

NO GAS MASK YET: While reporting today's story about Israeli preparations for an Iraqi attack (page 7), The Monitor's Cameron Barr was dismayed to learn that he could not purchase a government- issued "personal protection kit" - which includes a gas mask for adults, hoods and tents for children, and a nerve-gas antidote. Under Israeli government regulations, noncitizens - including foreign correspondents and other residents with work permits - will be without protection until the Israeli government declares a state of emergency. At that point, Cameron says, "we'll have the privilege of joining the masses headed to the department store downtown to buy a gas mask. Can you imagine what the mob scene is going to be like?"

Though his reporting has left him feeling that an Iraqi chemical attack is unlikely, Cameron says, "Personally, I'd rather not wait around for the state of emergency declaration."

David Clark Scott
World editor

Cultural snapshot

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