• Food for Thought: After spending two half-days in the Malawian village of Bowa following up on the scholarship for teen girls funded by Monitor readers, staff writer Abraham McLaughlin was struck that not only are the readers paying to keep these girls in school, they are paying for their food. And, for now, that's arguably making the biggest difference in their lives.
"When I went to meet the 12 volunteers on the village's scholarship committee, they were all very subdued. In fact, all through the village people were moving in slow motion," says Abe. "I asked how the food supplies were. Then I asked how long it had been since members of the committee had had a full meal. For most of them it had been six months. One woman had eaten three bananas for breakfast and wouldn't have another meal again that day - and this is hardly the worst-hit area of Malawi. They're not starving in Bowa, but many are hungry."
• Another Take on Haiti: With the string of election postponements, staff writer Danna Harman has been to Haiti three times since September. In addition to all the friends she's made (and time spent memorizing the menu at the Montana Hotel), she's noticed a shift in attitudes. "Each time I returned, people were more excited about these elections. Initially, almost everyone was pessimistic that they would take place at all. Then, in early January, people were apathetic: they were not going to vote, no one was going to vote, it was all useless. This time, some of those same people are telling me it's a crucial election and everyone has to vote - and that they are expecting calm," she says.
David Clark Scott