Reporters on the Job

A World Apart: The Montana Hotel in Haiti is a small, serene hideaway in Port-au-Prince. There is an elegant pool, an outside patio restaurant overlooking the city, and the hotel itself is filled with lush trees and plants. "It's an oasis, and everyone in need of a little quiet passes through here at some point," says staff writer Danna Harman, who is reporting on Haiti's on-again, off-again elections. "You can hear gunfire from your balcony in the late afternoons, and see smoldering of fires down in Cité Soleil, the poorest part of the capital. But it all seems like another world."

At least, until Saturday. Danna says that she got up early and went down for a swim at about 6:30 a.m. She didn't hear anything, but she soon learned that the Brazilian commander of the UN peacekeeping force shot himself in his hotel room down the hall.

"When I returned to my room , I still didn't know it had taken place just a few doors away. For the rest of the day, the place was swarming with UN soldiers, police, and reporters. It was a chilling experience and left me feeling sad about his family, this country, and its prospects for progress," she says.

By evening, the UN soldiers and police were gone. "It felt like the hotel was stubbornly trying to once again re-create the feeling of a world apart. A young couple held a wedding reception downstairs, and the music played late into the night," says Danna.

David Clark Scott
World editor

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