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Reporters on the Job

She Can Fix It: New to Lagos, Nigeria, contributor Sarah Simpson was driving her beat-up Mitsubishi jeep – and getting lost – in the hot traffic-choked streets when she saw a hand-painted sign for the Lady Mechanic Initiative (see story). "Intrigued, I made a mental note of the spot. And it wasn't long before I was easing the lumbering jeep back there for repairs."

Sarah says that Sandra appeared, issuing instructions, as soon as she drove in. "Within minutes she had solved the problem – something to do with the front wheel, which I hadn't noticed was at a fearsomely peculiar angle – calmed the noisy engine, and given me a guided tour under the hood. I didn't realize until I was interviewing her for the story, but that day I was just another one of those helpless women drivers that so frustrate Sandra. Her methods work, though. I'll be heading there time and time again with our monstrous old car and will enjoy her loud, laughing company every time."

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Urban Identity: Yigal Schleifer has traveled to Trabzon, Turkey, a few times (see story). "After a lynching attempt in 2005 and the murder of the priest in 2006, it seemed a idea to find out why it's such a hotbed of nationalism," he says.

Trabzon, on the Black Sea, used to be a predominantly Greek city. That changed in 1923, when there was a large population exchange as Turkey gained independence. Asserting Turkish identity seems to be instilled strongly, Yigal says. "Still, people I spoke to were upset and confounded. But there's a 'but' factor. People say, well, there are dark forces aligned against Turkey and people here are affected by events going on in the region, such as Iraq. But they're still trying to figure out what's going on. To have young people creating international headlines is disconcerting."

Amelia Newcomb
Deputy world editor