Reporters on the Job

• I SAW IT ON TV: Correspondent Gretchen Peters says it's hard for those who live in the first world to fully comprehend the poverty in which many third-world urban slum dwellers live (page 7). "They're in houses with no plumbing, the walls are caving in, and 12 people may live in one room," says Gretchen. But she noticed one common feature: a TV - if not in the room, then nearby. "So with increasing regularity, they see how the other half lives: Baywatch, Al Jazeera, soap operas. There's a growing awareness that didn't exist when they lived in isolated areas of the disparities between the haves and the have-nots. And it's cause for concern."

• LOST IN TRANSLATION? For today's story (page 8) on Thailand's progress in battling AIDS, correspondent Simon Montlake traveled to northern Thailand with, among others, a number of doctors and health workers from Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, and East Timor. There the group visited a temple where clergy have become increasingly involved with caring for people diagnosed with AIDS.

"The man who gave a presentation on behalf of the temple wanted to know if his guests thought religious leaders in their home countries would play an advocacy role in dealing with AIDS," Simon says. "One by one, they stood up and said yes. But I was skeptical about how easily the lessons would translate across borders - and later, when I talked to people individually, I got varying responses on how comfortable religious leaders might be doing this. The Buddhist monks in Thailand have a more pragmatic role in society that makes doing this easier here."

Simon also took note of another difference. "There were no women among the workers from other countries - and a lot of the community-based response depends on getting women involved."

Amelia Newcomb
Deputy World Editor

Cultural snapshot

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