Menu
Share
Share this story
Close X
 
Switch to Desktop Site

Reporters on the Job

Presidential Library : It wasn't the book selected, or that it was free, or even the possible political agenda behind it. When staff writer Danna Harman asked Venezuelans about the 1 million copies of Don Quixote handed out (page 1), people wanted to tell her that they were eager to have a library of their own. "If you go into the home of a poor family, you'll see a TV and video games, but you don't see books. Many people I spoke with saw this as the beginning of a personal collection of books and they were excited about that," she says.

The government plans to follow the Cervantes classic with a series of fine literature freebies, including "Les Misérables" and "Romeo and Juliet."

About these ads

Has Danna read Don Quixote?

"I'm embarrassed to say I haven't. But when I got home I bought a copy on Amazon. I guess you could say I'm another beneficiary of Venezuela's literature campaign," she says.

Street Convenience : In Harare, Zimbabwe, like many places in Africa, when you pull up to a stoplight in a car, you're immediately surrounded by hawkers, usually 20 to 30-year-old men offering everything from CDs to super-glue to hats to maps to umbrellas. And if they don't have what you want, they'll whistle to a buddy across the street who probably does.

"It's the ultimate in drive-by convenience - and in individual entrepreneurial spirit," says staff writer Abraham McLaughlin. "When I was in Harare covering the elections in March, I had to constantly buy 'recharge cards' to use my cellphone. But it was only a minor hassle because the hawkers were everywhere. Now this may have changed with President Robert Mugabe's latest crackdown (page 7).

David Clark Scott
World editor


Follow Stories Like This
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.