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Reporters on the Job

THE CONGO'S RUNAWAY BRIDES: Reporter Nicole Itano didn't know she would be writing a story about love in the Congo. She was curious about how people's lives had changed since war broke out in 1998. "What I kept hearing was, 'My daughter has eloped,' or 'my son has run away.' It became clear that this was a significant shift in cultural traditions."

She also found that older residents were more willing to discuss it than younger ones. "One lady I interviewed in a refugee camp has had three sons run away since the war started. A crowd of young adults and teenagers gathered around as she explained how disturbed she was about this. But when I turned to ask the youngsters, they didn't want to talk about it. They seemed embarrassed and ashamed."

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FEWER MOTHERS IN SPAIN: Reporter Dale Fuchs has many 30-something Spanish friends who match the profile of the "childless by choice" generation she writes about Wednesday. "Quite a few are women who don't want children because of the large-family machista role model they grew up with. They have this traditional ideal of what a mother should be and say they can't achieve that and work."

David Clark Scott
World editor

Cultural snapshot