• A WARM IRAQI 'HEY': Because Najaf, Iraq, is a very holy city, the Monitor's Danna Harman wore an abaya - a black robe that covered her head to toe (page 9). That made conducting interviews at the homes of religious members of the Hawza, Iraq's foremost Shiite institution, a bit of a challenge. "At each place I had to sit cross-legged on the floor, trying to keep my abaya covering every part of my body, and my head down so as not to make much eye contact," Danna says.
But what really caught her attention was the response as she walked down the street. "People would call out: 'Hey stranger'; 'hey beautiful'; 'hey American.' I kept wondering, as I was completely covered, including half my face, "How do they have any idea I'm a stranger, an American - and so beautiful?"
• BACK TO SEE THE CHILDREN: Monitor contributor Arie Farnham first wrote about the street children of Kiev, Ukraine, in an April 8 article last year. "I got to know some children living under a manhole beside a highway, and I met Jane Hyatt and Barbara Klaiber, whom the street children call Auntie Jane and Auntie Barbara," Arie says. "The women, who run a shelter, were exhausted from four years of hard work but determined to continue."
Arie returned recently to check on how things were going (page 7). She found some things had changed - in part because of funds sent in by readers of her story last year. The Ark, the shelter she had described, had been able to acquire a wooded property near Kiev and is slowly restoring the eight buildings there. Stas, a young artist she interviewed, was still there, though he had run away and returned several times.
She also found 14-year-old Denis, with whom she'd spent considerable time, living in an lot full of garbage and the carcasses of dead dogs. He was obviously hungry and limping badly. "He showed me a stray dog and her tiny puppies that he was protecting from a group of aggressive older boys. He said his younger brother had been picked up by police and locked in a state shelter - though he will probably run away to rejoin his brother."
Denis told Arie repeatedly he wanted to live with Auntie Jane and Auntie Barbara. "If Denis went to their door and said, 'Please let me live with you,' they would take him in, but the kids are often afraid or embarrassed. Jane, who had already looked once - unsuccessfully - for Denis, said she will go back and look again."
Interested readers can contact the shelter at: The Ark c/o Father's Care; 3754 Canvasback Ct.; Marietta, GA 30062
Deputy world editor