Reporters on the Job

Quake Relief: Correspondent Dave Montero has been following the relief efforts in the wake of last fall's earthquake in Pakistan. As the refugee camps were dismantled this week, he says, "it was amazing to see how much the landscape has changed. The camps have been worked to the bone. They're just piles of refuse now."

Pakistani quake survivors are heading back to their villages with some trepidation. "The services they've had in the camps - healthcare, schools - are often not available where they're going."

As a reporter, he says, it seems to him that the recovery is entering a new, and just as critical, phase. "Relief is one thing, actual reconstruction is another."

Finally, Dave says that he noted a new esprit de corps between US and Pakistani troops who worked on the relief efforts over the past 200 days.

"At the ceremony for the departing US troops, both sides were visibly moved by the experience. Of course, that's the nature of this kind of operation. It's an opportunity to work together and help people in desperate need."

Blue or Pink? Scott Baldauf says the sensitivity surrounding India's centuries-old preference for male children has created problems for several of his non-Indian foreign friends who have gotten pregnant in the past few years. When they visit the doctor and get an ultrasound, they ask a question that they ask their doctors back in the States: Is it a boy or a girl?

"The Indian doctor inevitably gets an uncomfortable look on his or her face, and informs the foreign patient that it's illegal to say," explains Scott. "One friend, who grew up in the States, told me, 'I just want to know if I should paint the baby's room blue or pink. I'm not going to abort the kid.' "

- David Clark Scott
World editor

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