Reporters on the Job

A Goat Marks the Spot: Staff writer Scott Baldauf was prepared for the more "relaxed" concept of time among people in Chad. But their different sense of space was a revelation.

While reporting today's story, Scott asked the farmer, Al-Hajj Bakit, to tell us how many acres of land he had given to the Sudanese refugees (see story).

"He didn't know. So we asked him to give us an idea of how large the area was. He pointed over his shoulder. 'You see that hill? It starts there and goes until' ... and then he was stumped. There wasn't another hill to show the other boundary, so he chose the next best thing.

'You see that white goat?' With great difficulty, I kept myself from bursting out laughing. 'It goes to there,' he told me," says Scott. Presumably the goat is not a permanent marker, but it illustrates that a society can operate without surveyors and tape measures, title deeds, and papers typed in triplicate, he says.

Politics Seeps Into the Stands: Correspondent Andrew Downie has seen six games in the Copa America soccer tournament in Venezuela (see story). His favorite to date was the Argentina vs. Colombia match - as much for the quality of play on the turf as for the political contest in the stands. Along with the usual national chants, Andrew was surprised to hear fans chanting against President Hugo Chávez. "Many fans sang 'This government is going to fall,' " says Andrew.

In response, Venezuelan officials tried to divert attention by shooting off fireworks, then by appealing for the Mexican Wave on the electronic scoreboard. "When that didn't work, they broadcast static on the PA system to drown out the protests," he says. Finally, Argentina scored a goal and that diverted attention back to the game. For more about the Copa competition, check our Andrew's blog:

– David Clark Scott
World editor

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